Kathmandu | UN chief Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said as geopolitical tensions rise, global divisions are becoming deeper and more dangerous, and smaller countries fear becoming collateral damage in competition between great powers.
Guterres made these remarks during his address to Nepal's parliament.
The United Nations Secretary-General also spoke on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, acknowledging that despite being thousands of miles away, Nepali citizens were among the victims of Hamas' brutal attacks in Israel.
He extended his condolences to the families of the 10 Nepalese students who lost their lives during an attack by Hamas militants in Israel and expressed his best wishes for the safe return of Bipin Joshi, a student who is currently missing.
"As geopolitical tensions rise, global divisions are becoming deeper and more dangerous. Smaller countries fear becoming collateral damage in competition between great powers," Guterres said.
Emphasising Nepal's commitment to global peace and security, he pointed out that the Himalayan nation is the second-largest contributor of troops to United Nations missions worldwide.
India has been the largest troop contributor to UN missions since its inception.
Nepal, the UN chief said, "is a promoter of peace, a champion of multilateralism, and a staunch supporter of sustainable development and climate action".
As climate catastrophe is accelerating with a deadly force, the world could learn much from Nepal in responding to these crises, he said.
He also recognised Nepal's unique position, nestled between two major powers (India and China), and commended the nation for forging its own path to safeguard sovereignty and independence.
Guterres also underscored the need for reform in the United Nations, including the Security Council.
"Developing countries must have far greater representation in international institutions," he said, adding, "I have called for reform of the outdated United Nations Security Council."
Guterres said he "has proposed measures to reform the global financial architecture so that it better represents developing countries and responds to their needs".
He expressed the UN's commitment to support Nepal's graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status, underlining that this transition is imminent.
During his visit to Nepal, which began on Saturday, Guterres met with President Ramchandra Poudel and Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal "Prachanda", among other dignitaries.