UN chief calls for solidarity on Int'l Day of Peace

UNITED NATIONS -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for solidarity and unity on the occasion of the International Day of Peace, which falls on Sept. 21.

This year's International Day of Peace comes at a time when humanity is in crisis. COVID-19 has claimed over 4 million lives and counting; conflicts are spinning out of control; inequalities and poverty are growing; there is a planetary emergency in climate change; there is mistrust in facts and science and in one another among people, he said.

Each crisis threatens to pull humanity apart -- at a time when solidarity is needed more than ever, he told an annual UN peace bell ceremony that marks the International Day of Peace.

"Our world faces a stark choice: peace or perpetual peril. My friends, we must choose peace. It's the only option to repair our broken world," he said.

He called on combatants around the world to lay down their arms and observe a day of global cease-fire.

"We need to focus on fighting humanity's common enemy: COVID-19. We need solidarity to end this pandemic, urgently deliver life-saving vaccines and treatment, and support countries on the long road to recovery ahead. We need to intensify our work to reduce inequalities and end poverty. We need a bold global plan of action to heal our planet and make the transition to a green economy. Most of all, we need to renew trust in one another," he said.

Peace and progress depend on coming together as a human family -- united in the commitment to building a better and brighter world, he said. "We cannot allow our future to be eaten away by the acids of hatred, division, conflict and mistrust." "It is time to rebuild our world, to make peace with nature -- and with one another, to lift each other up, instead of knocking each other down, and to live up, finally, to the true promise and potential of humanity. On this International Day of Peace, let's re-commit to one another. Let's re-commit to the best of humanity."