UN chief urges India, China to de-escalate tensions through talks
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UNITED NATIONS, Dec 29 (APP): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for 2021 to be a “year of healing”, stressing the need for unity and solidarity when addressing the coronavirus pandemic and climate change crisis.

“Both climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic are crises that can only be addressed by everyone together – as part of a transition to an inclusive and sustainable future,” he said in his New Year message.

According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, an American research institution, confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide have exceeded 81 million, with over 1.7 million fatalities and more than 45 million recoveries.

Praising the kindness shown by people around the world, the tireless efforts of frontline workers, the scientists who have developed vaccines in record time, and the countries making new advances to save the planet from climate catastrophe, Guterres expressed his wish for a year of healing.

Against the backdrop of persistent suffering and grief, in a year when the COVID-19 pandemic marked everyone’s lives, he said in his message that “we shall work together in unity and solidarity”, so those “rays of hope can reach around the world”.

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“So many loved ones have been lost — and the pandemic rages on, creating new waves of sickness and death”, he noted.

Adding that poverty, inequality and hunger are on the rise, with jobs disappearing, certain sectors struggling to survive, debts mounting and children struggling, Guterres raised his concerns regarding the increased violence in the home and insecurity.

But a New Year lies ahead, he continued, and if we work together in unity and solidarity, the rays of hope can reach around the world: “people extending a helping hand to neighbours and strangers; frontline workers giving their all; scientists developing vaccines in record time; and countries making new commitments to prevent climate catastrophe”.

“That’s the lesson of this most difficult year”, he said, “both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are crises that can only be addressed by everyone together – as part of a transition to an inclusive and sustainable future.”

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As for the UN’s plans for 2021, a central ambition is to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality – net zero emissions – by 2050, Guterres spelled out, adding that “every government, city, business and individual can play a part in achieving this vision”.

Urging the world to act together, the UN Secretary-General called on people to make peace not just among themselves, but also with nature, tackling the climate crisis, stopping the spread of COVID-19 and making 2021 a year of healing: “healing from the impact of a deadly virus. Healing broken economies and societies. Healing divisions. And starting to heal the planet”, he noted.

“That must be our New Year’s Resolution”, the UN chief concluded, sending his wishes for a happy and peaceful 2021.