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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Source: John Minchillo/Reuters.
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  • United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called on Tuesday for the Security Council to act on “an epidemic of coup d’états”
  • The 15-member Security Council had been preparing to discuss the recent military coup in Sudan, which the country’s top general said took place to avoid civil war
  • It’s the latest in a series of military coups to take place in Myanmar, Mali and Guinea, as well as a number of attempted takeovers in other countries
  • The Security Council has the power to impose sanctions and authorise military action, but has been divided over how best to approach the conflicts
  • Mr Guterres said geopolitical divides and COVID-19 have created “an environment in which some military leaders feel that they have total impunity”

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called on Tuesday for the Security Council to act on “an epidemic of coup d’états” as the 15-member body prepared to discuss the recent military takeover in Sudan.

“The Sudanese people have shown very clearly their intense desire for reform and democracy,” Mr Guterres told reporters, again condemning the Sudanese army’s seizure of power on Monday.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s top general, defended the takeover on Tuesday, saying the government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was ousted to avoid civil war.

It’s the latest in a series of military coups to take place in Myanmar, Mali and Guinea, as well as a number of attempted takeovers in other countries.

The UN Security Council — which has the power to impose sanctions and authorise military action — has been divided over how best to approach the conflicts.

Citing strong geopolitical divides, along with the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, Mr Guterres said what has been created is “an environment in which some military leaders feel that they have total impunity, they can do whatever they want because nothing will happen to them.”

“My appeal, obviously, is for — especially the big powers — to come together for the unity of the Security Council in order to make sure that there is effective deterrence in relation to this epidemic of coup d’états,” he said.

“We have seen that effective deterrence today is not in place.”

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