SC: Conflicts in Europe

Nordic statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway at the Open Debate on Maintenance of international peace and security, given by Ambassador Geir O. Pedersen, 21 February 2017

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Mr. President,

First, let me express my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and the Russian people with regard to the passing of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin. 

I was deeply saddened to hear the news yesterday. Ambassador Churkin was a highly respected colleague, who sought to find solutions through compromise and great diplomatic skill. I always appreciated our conversations. We have lost an extraordinary diplomat and friend. 

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and my own country, Norway.

Europe has seen much conflict, but also groundbreaking cooperation. A robust, comprehensive and inclusive security architecture with the EU, OSCE, NATO and the Council of Europe has ensured peace in most of Europe since the close of the Second World War. The UN must cooperate closely with all these partners to address the on-going conflicts and prevent any future ones.

However, Europe now faces serious challenges and attempts to undermine this rules-based order. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as shown by the ongoing violations of its sovereignty and territorial integrity and the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, constitutes clear violations of international law. Apart from the unique role played by the OSCE, and the support provided by the EU, international efforts have not been sufficient. We call on the Council, the Secretary General and the whole UN to assess what more can be done to restore security and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We must see concrete steps towards the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. We commend and fully support the efforts by the Normandy Format.

Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has been severely compromised, in breach of the UN Charter. We call for access for international human rights mechanisms in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In many conflicts, multilateral organizations are hindered from fulfilling their role. In Abkhazia, the UNOMIG mission was terminated and other institutions are not allowed meaningful access. The Geneva international discussions must continue.

Security Council resolutions on Nagorno Karabakh must be implemented.

Mr. President,

The UN was directly engaged in Cyprus from the start of the conflict. The Secretary General’s good offices and patient support has now produced real prospects for genuine progress. We commend you, Mr. Secretary General, for your focus on diplomacy for peace.

We remain convinced that when allowed to fulfill its mandate, this Council can play an important role in conflict prevention and in upholding a rules-based international order.

The OSCE plays a unique role also in Moldova. The resumption of the 5+2 negotiations on Transnistria has demonstrated the value of an OSCE-led small-steps approach.

In The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the international community intervened successfully to assist national authorities upon an early warning from the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, which probably prevented a wider conflict. An ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure.

In Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the active presence of the UN, EU, OSCE, NATO and others has provided security and facilitated reconciliation between peoples. Regional cooperation is the key to development and prosperity.

Mr. President,

The Nordic countries will continue to promote women’s effective participation and the women, peace and security agenda wherever there are discussions about peace and security. We urge the Council to work to ensure that gender equality and women´s rights are an integral part of its work, as it increases legitimacy and possibilities for lasting peace

Thank you.