History has called on the United Nations secretaries-general at certain moments to act more as generals and less as secretaries. This is the moment that Antonio Guterres should temporarily move his office to the UN Headquarters in Vienna and invite the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine to negotiate a ceasefire, presenting them with the sketch of a palatable agreement with which they could save face, as well countless lives of their citizens.
Both the aggressor and the victim are sustaining growing catastrophic damage while the hatred between the two peoples deepens and may last for generations. The elements of a compromise are more or less obvious. I hope that at least Sergei Lavrov, an intelligent and sensible man as I remember him from our UN days, will respond creatively.
Guterres might have to visit Moscow and Kyiv. And probably Washington, Paris, London, Berlin, Brussels and Beijing.
He should act now and not wait for efforts by Israel, Turkey or anyone else. It is his job, his obligation and his opportunity to save human lives, stop the unraveling of the established world order and make the UN, the supreme human assembly, relevant again.
Dr Sotiris Mousouris
Former United Nations assistant secretary-general