Britain will remain a “very important pillar” of the United Nations after Brexit, the organization's secretary general has said. Antonio Guterres’s comments appear to contradict the fears of some opponents of Brexit that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU might throw into question its position as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, alongside the US, Russia, China and France.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, he warned that the Security Council was “paralyzed” on a number of key issues – such as the war in Syria – because of deep divisions between the permanent members.
He said the world was in “dangerous times” comparable to the Cold War era, but lacked the formal mechanisms that helped de-escalate tensions between the US and the Soviet Union in that period.
Mr Guterres urged US President Donald Trump not to tear up the nuclear treaty with Iran, which he described as “an important diplomatic victory” which should be preserved. But he was “optimistic” about the prospects for denuclearization in North Korea, where “things are on track for a meaningful negotiation”.
Speaking shortly after bilateral talks with Theresa May at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday evening, the Portuguese national declined to comment on the merits of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU.
“I’m the United Nations secretary general and as such, I do not intend to interfere in the Brexit debate,” Mr Guterres said. “What is very important for me is that the UK preserves and enhances its very strong commitment to multilateralism at a global level, namely with the United Nations.
“There, I must say I am very encouraged by the recent progress that was made.
“The UK has been extremely supportive of our humanitarian appeals, the UK is very active in all our debates, and that reassures me that – Brexit or no Brexit – the UK will remain a very important pillar of the work of the UN as it has been from the beginning, as a permanent member and founder of the United Nations.”
Mr Guterres acknowledged the risk of confrontation between Iran and the US and Israel in the Middle East. “The risks are there and I think we need to do everything to avoid those risks,” he said.
The 2015 deal under which Iran promised to give up its military nuclear program in return for the relaxation of sanctions was “an important achievement”, he said. “If one day there is a better agreement to replace it, that’s fine. But we shouldn’t scrap it unless we have a better alternative.”
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Wow! These 'opponents' of Brexit seem to not understand that the UK was a permanent member of the UN Security Council before the EU existed.May 08th, 2018 - 05:05 pm +3
In fact getting out of the EU is the only way to be sure the UK kept it's seat (and veto) because the glorious new EU superstate wanted to take those votes from the UK and France.
If I were French I'd be worried right now because the EU wants your seat at the table because (for reasons only known to the unelected EU officials) they 'need' those rights even though, unlike the USA, UK, Russia, China and France, they never 'earned' them. The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council were the main allies in WW2 and fought side by side to ensure world freedom.
How many more straws are these 'remoaners' going to continue to 'grasp' at. The UK voted to leave the EU...get over it...that's how democracy works...something that is in very short supply in the EU.
DTMay 09th, 2018 - 10:00 pm +2
Why are you Brexiters still so determined to pick a fight with anyone who disagrees with you?
Please answer these questions below.
Why do you remainers want to undermine democracy and hand over our country to unelected officials?
Why do you remainers want to hand our security over to unelected officials that started a war in the Ukraine? Those unelected officials that during the Brexit campaign stated that the leave side were lying when they said the EU was going to have it's own military...but after the vote the truth came out about their plans to absorb the militaries of member countries (under the control of UNELECTED and UNACCOUNTABLE EU officials) and to take the place of the UK and France on the UN Security Council.
Why do you remainers hate people who voted to leave and have constantly tried to undermine the will of the majority?
Why do you remainers refuse to accept reality?
Why do you remainers constantly b!tch and moan because you lost?
Why are you remainers determined to divide the country? Why do you remainers try to alienate and shout down those who voted to leave?
Why are you remainers such bad losers?
And I think you'll find that it is the remainers who are constantly picking the fights and then complaining when those of us who voted to leave defend ourselves.
Face it, the UK is leaving the EU. It's going to happen. The House of Lords has already signed it's well over due death warrant and they'll be out on their ears and a new House of elected officials will be introduced.
The UK will do fine without the EU. The EU is in a panic because they can't survive without the UK.
And the UK will remain a permanent member of the UN Security Council and will trade with the other 180 odd countries that actually exist OUTSIDE of the EU.
Yes DT! There is a whole world out there. You should try looking outside the EU and you'll see just how corrupt and dysfunctional the EU actually is.
@LEPRecon. I have a little bit of a problem with part of your comment. I know how the UK and USA earned their seats. I'm still having trouble with the other three. I know that China was invaded by Japan and part of it became Manchukuo, but what did China actually DO. Then there's Russia. Would probably have been defeated by Germany but for all the war materials and food supplied by the UK and USA. Hundreds of thousands of tons of it. Very little information about the supplies via the Persian Gulf. Lots of information of information about Allied ships struggling through the Arctic. No mention of Russian maritime support. There was even one convoy that was virtually wiped out and the Russians didn't believe that the majority of ships had been sunk! You don't win a war by piling up your corpses and only attacking when the enemy is virtually beaten anyway. As for the French, I believe a few of them hung on to British and American coat tails. They even liberated Paris because they were allowed to. Not because they'd done a lot of fighting. I can't see anything other than politics that has China, France or Russia on the Security Council. Certainly nothing to justify them having a veto. And most of the world's problems wouldn't be if they didn't.May 09th, 2018 - 03:27 pm 0
@DT. Haven't noticed us picking much in the way of fights. We leave that to greedy, selfish Remoaners. We are the ones that believe in our country and our nation. With good reason. Thus, we are right and you are wrong. Not least because we have a thousand years of success whilst you have forty-five years of scrambling after crumbs. When will you understand that the EU gives you nothing because it has nothing. All your rights are given to you by other nations. All could be done by agreement without a bunch of elitists creaming their cut off the top. But perhaps you aren't old enough to remember before the european empire.