Concluding Security Council Open Debate, Speakers Stress Dialogue, Diplomacy Based on Charter Principles Needed for Peaceful Resolution to War in Ukraine
As the Security Council concluded its high-level open debate on effective multilateralism and the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine, speakers underscored the need for dialogue, diplomacy and a just peace among Member States, stressing the need to uphold the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in efforts to bring a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine. (For background information, please see Press Release SC/15416.)
Joining more than 60 Heads of State and Government, ministers and senior Government officials and country representatives at the beginning of the two-day open debate was United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who urged the international community to recommit to their obligations under the United Nations Charter and use the full range of diplomatic tools that it provides. Those principles, he stressed, are a how-to manual for resolving conflicts.
As the session resumed today, speakers reiterated that call, with Sanjay Verma, Foreign Secretary of India, underscoring that dialogue is the only answer to settling differences and disputes. Spotlighting the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on global food security, he pointed out that the Global South countries have been “left to fend for themselves”. Why is it, then, that the UN system and the Security Council have been rendered completely ineffective, he asked, calling for urgent reform of outdated and archaic structures for multilateralism to be effective.
Franklin Ramirez, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs for Europe of Venezuela, on that note, said: “Unfortunately, our warnings were not heeded,” recalling that in 2022, his delegation informed the international community of possible conflict in Eastern Europe, which, if not approached in a balanced and cautious manner, could trigger a conflict of global proportions. The United Nations must facilitate a peaceful solution of the conflict, through dialogue and political negotiation between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to build a balanced European security mechanism, he said.
Other speakers spotlighted the rules of war, including Zane Dangor, Director-General of the Department of International Relations of South Africa, who stated: “While we believe that war is never wise, when there is war, the Security Council must call on the warring parties to respect the laws of war, especially the principle of distinction.” He also called attention to the visit of African leaders to Ukraine and the Russian Federation — the first high-level direct initiative from the continent — to highlight their views on the necessity for a just and lasting peace, which is a prerequisite to progress and development.
Fabián Oddone of Argentina meanwhile stressed: “War is not a blank check for combatants. War has limits and they must be respected.” Underscoring that “this war is a disaster” and that not respecting international law is not an option, he called on the Russian Federation to cease military operations on Ukraine’s territory. Moreover, all parties to the conflict in Ukraine must return to negotiations, including those on the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he said, adding that his country will continue to support peace efforts.
Riccardo Paternò di Montecupo, Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Order of Malta, in a similar vein, also noted his organization’s efforts, pointing out, however, that its Catholic confreres, Caritas-Spes, this week suffered the destruction of an aid warehouse in Lviv containing 300 tons of aid, the most recent of several attacks on their work. “We also grieve over the infinite waste of resources that is a consequence of war,” he said, adding: “Government bodies and independent analysts estimate conservatively that, by the end of 2023, the world economy will have spent $224 billion on this conflict, enough to fund UNICEF [United Nations Children’s Fund] for the next thirty-plus years.”
Echoing calls heard throughout the debate, Arrmanatha Christiawan Nasir of Indonesia said the New Agenda for Peace must have the reform of the Security Council at its core. Further, the international community needs to build a strong multilateral peace infrastructure that is sheltered by mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes and fortified by regional architecture contributing as building blocks for peace. Pointing out that the war in Ukraine has been going on for far too long, he stressed: “We all have the responsibility to create conditions conducive for peace talks. No war can be justified.”