The joint statement by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden was delivered by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden – and my own country Denmark.
Almost eight decades ago, leaders from all over the world signed the UN Charter. They thereby committed their countries to protect future generations from the scourge of war and to ensure that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest. They committed to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State. They committed to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.
But, one year ago, air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine, and Russian tanks crossed the Ukrainian border. The Russian Federation chose to launch an unprovoked and brutal war of aggression on a sovereign and peaceful neighbour. In blatant violation of the UN Charter.
So far, many thousands have lost their lives. Millions have been displaced. And right now, we see no end to the war. Instead, we see Russia waging a brutal war. We see systematic violations of international law, including international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation. Inhumane attacks on civilians. On critical infrastructure. Health care facilities. Schools. Residential areas. We see sexual violence, and civilians – including children – being forcibly deported out of Ukraine. And we see forced adoption of children in violation of international law.
We have a joint responsibility to stand up against all violations of international law, wherever they occur.
A responsibility to ensure that war crimes and other atrocities are investigated and perpetrators held to account.
Today, a resolution for peace will be put before us.
A resolution, which – in essence – asks us to denounce this brutal aggression. Asks us to support a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on the principles of the UN Charter.
To support territorial integrity and demand that the Russian Federation immediately, completely, and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Ukraine, within its internationally recognized borders.
A resolution that urges us to cooperate in the spirit of solidarity to address the global impact of the war.
Distinguished colleagues. The UN charter was signed to maintain international peace and security.
It clearly prohibits aggression and wars of conquest, like the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine.
So let us be honest about the issue before us. This is about standing up for international law, including the UN Charter. About standing up for peace.
We will not be neutral when asked to stand on the side of the UN Charter and of a victim of aggression.
As the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
The fact remains as simple today, as one year ago: If Russia stops fighting, there will be no more war. If Ukraine stops fighting, there will be no more Ukraine.
The fact remains that Ukraine’s right to protect themselves is enshrined in article 51 of the UN Charter. The inherent right to self-defense.
The fact also remains that Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine has no justification, legal or moral. The International Court of Justice has ordered the Russian Federation to immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February 2022 in the territory of Ukraine.
This war must end. The violence must end. We must restore respect for the UN Charter. And we must make sure that similar horrors do not happen again.
Today we have an opportunity to vote for peace. For a peace, which respects and upholds the UN Charter. For a peace that does not encourage future aggressions. Against Ukraine or any other Member State.
Let us not miss this opportunity. The Nordics will honour the signatures our representatives placed on the UN Charter. We hope to be joined by all.