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UN Chief Issues 'Red Alert' In His New Year's Address

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (file photo)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a "red alert" to the world and urged it to come together in unity to face the dangers of inequality, nationalism, xenophobia, and potential nuclear war.

"On New Year's Day 2018, I am not issuing an appeal. I am issuing an alert -- a red alert for our world," Guterres said in his New Year's message on December 31.

"We can settle conflicts, overcome hatred, and defend shared values. But we can only do that together," he added.

He said that when he took office a year ago, he "appealed for 2017 to be a year for peace. Unfortunately, in fundamental ways, the world has gone in reverse."

"Conflicts have deepened and new dangers have emerged. Global anxieties about nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War," he said in an apparent reference to the crisis over North Korea's tests of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

He also lamented the increased speed of climate change, economic inequalities, and "horrific violations of human rights."

He concluded by saying that "unity is the path" to "bringing people together around common goals."

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa