Summary: 27 March 2014, New York – European Union Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda item 33 (b) - Prevention of armed conflict: strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution: "Territorial integrity of Ukraine"
- As delivered -
Thank you for convening this special meeting of the General Assembly.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Country Montenegro*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Albania, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
After the horrors of the Second World War, the international community agreed on a new system of international relations based on the Charter of the United Nations. This system was designed to protect peace and security of all countries around the world, and it is our collective responsibility to safeguard it.
The European Union supports the General Assembly resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and all 28 Member States of the European Union have co-sponsored. This resolution re-confirms the importance of the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations, notably the obligation of all states to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, and to settle their disputes by peaceful means in full respect of international law.
Significantly, the resolution also affirms the General Assembly's commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognised borders. These principles are also prominently included in the political provisions of the Association Agreement signed on Friday 21 March between Ukraine and the European Union.
The European Union remains committed to upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The European Union does not recognise the illegal referendum in Crimea, which is in clear violation of the Ukrainian Constitution. It strongly condemns the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and will not recognise it.
The European Union firmly believes that there is no place for the use of force and coercion to change borders in Europe or elsewhere in the 21st century. The European Union strongly condemns the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces. Russian actions are not only in breach of the UN Charter. They are also in clear breach of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and its subsequent processes and instruments within the OSCE, which over the past 40 years have contributed to overcoming divisions in Europe and building a peaceful and united continent. These actions violate also specific commitments to respect Ukraine´s sovereignty and territorial integrity under the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 and the bilateral Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership of 1997.
The European Union urges Russia to take steps to de-escalate the crisis, immediately withdraw its forces back to their pre-crisis numbers and garrisons in line with its international commitments, avail itself of all relevant international mechanisms to find a peaceful and negotiated solution, in full respect of its bilateral and multilateral commitments to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The European Union welcomes the meeting of Russia's Foreign Minister with his Ukrainian counterpart in The Hague this Monday, but deplores that Russia has still not taken steps to de-escalate the crisis and that direct talks between Ukraine and the Russian Federation have still not started. We call on both Ukraine and Russia to start a meaningful dialogue as soon as possible and without preconditions.
The European Union fully supports multilateral initiatives aimed at fostering peace, stability and security, as well as respect for human rights in Ukraine. We commend the visit of the Secretary General to Moscow and Kiev last week.
The European Union welcomes the agreement reached on 21 March on the deployment of an OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine to monitor and support the implementation of OSCE principles and commitments. The European Union is fully committed to the Monitoring Mission's success, and calls for its early deployment throughout Ukraine.
We also applaud the deployment of a United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. We welcome that Assistant Secretary General Šimonović was finally given access to Crimea, and call on the UN mission to be given such access as well. We strongly share the view of Assistant Secretary General Šimonović that there is an urgent need to assess and report on human rights violations as well as on the implications of recent events and to monitor the current situation throughout the country, so as to help investigation, prevent further violations and verify the truth with regards to the human rights situation. We also welcome the valuable contribution of the Council of Europe.
We commend the measured response shown so far by Ukraine. We welcome the Ukrainian government's commitment to ensuring the representative nature and inclusiveness of governmental structures, reflecting regional diversity, to ensure the full protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, to undertake constitutional reform, to investigate all human rights violations and acts of violence and to fight extremism. In this context the European Union encourages the government of Ukraine to ensure that the Presidential elections on 25 May will be free and fair.
The European Union is ready to stand by Ukraine and committed to provide strong financial support to its economic and financial stabilisation. We encourage other member states and international organisations, including financial institutions, to assist in restoring stability of Ukraine and in support of structural reforms.
The European Union supports the Ukrainian people and their right to choose their own future. Our common goal is to restore Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and uphold its independence. The European Union stands ready to facilitate and engage in a meaningful dialogue involving Ukraine and Russia, including through the establishment of a multilateral mechanism. The European Union will remain at the forefront of efforts to find a political solution in accordance with the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
Thank you, Mr President.
*Montenegro continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.