Military coups only heighten crisis – UN chief cautions

Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

Addressing the recent series of military coups predominantly in Africa, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday underscored the importance of establishing lasting democratic governance backed by the rule of law.

Wednesday’s military takeover in Gabon came on the heels of Niger last month, Burkina Faso in 2022, and Chad, Guinea, Sudan and Mali in the years prior to that.

The Gabonese military takeover was announced not long after the electoral authorities declared that President Ali Bongo had secured another term, even though there were allegations of electoral irregularities.

During a media briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, Guterres said, “Many countries face deep-seated governance challenges. But military governments are not the solution.”

“They aggravate problems. They cannot resolve a crisis; they can only make it worse,” he added.

The UN chief appealed to nations to act promptly in setting up trustworthy democratic systems and maintaining the rule of law.

Guterres pointed to the necessity of empowering international organizations like the African Union to play a pivotal role in the promotion of peace, democratic stability, and governance in Africa.

Moreover, he stressed that creating an environment that enables African populations to tackle the underlying reasons for political unrest is critical, with underdevelopment being a primary contributor.

“Development is a central objective if we want to create conditions for peace and stability in Africa,” Guterres responded, when asked by a reporter.

Guterres also spoke of a series of high-profile upcoming trips, where he aims to drum up support for diplomacy and multilateralism, leading to the high-level opening of the UN General Assembly, in late September.

This weekend he will be going to the Africa Climate Summit in Kenya, and then travel to Indonesia to attend the 13th ASEAN-UN Summit. Next, he will head for India for the G20 Summit, and then go to Cuba for a Summit of the G-77 and China.

“I look forward to engaging with global leaders at these four very different summits before the world comes together for the opening of the General Assembly,” he stated.

On the agenda for these summits are topics such as climate action in Africa, reformation of global financial systems, and refocusing on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Diplomacy is more important than ever to navigate the tensions of our emerging multipolar world,” Guterres noted. “Dialogue remains the only way to find joint approaches and common solutions to the global threats and challenges that we face.”

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