The situation in Ukraine - Statement of Iceland
The Permanent Mission of Iceland
to the United Nations
H.E. Ambassador Gréta Gunnarsdóttir
GA 68 – Plenary Meeting
Item 33 (b): Prevention of armed conflict:
Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes,
conflict prevention and resolution
27 March 2014
For a small country like Iceland respect for international law in relations between states is of crucial importance.
Russia's actions in Crimea have challenged the core principles of the United Nations. The annexation of Crimea is contrary to the provisions of the United Nations Charter which stipulate inter alia non-use of force to settle disputes and respect for the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Member States. Other international agreements have also been violated, such as the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the 1997 Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
Neither the so-called referendum of 16 March nor Russia's annexation of Crimea changes the legal status of the region. According to international law, Crimea is part of Ukraine. The referendum which was held while Russian forces were in complete control of Crimea was illegal and did not fulfil basic standards for democratic elections.
The crisis must be resolved by peaceful means. We urge Russia to cooperate with the Ukrainian Government and with the international community in order to find ways to out of this crisis.
In this forum, it comes natural to focus on international law, the preservation of peace and security and respect for human rights. The message from the international community is clear: Violations of international law are unacceptable. It is important to demonstrate strong international consensus on the crisis in Ukraine. The recent vote in the UN Security Council on resolution in support of Ukraine, co-sponsored by Iceland, showed that Russia is isolated in this matter.
The Foreign Minister of Iceland visited Ukraine last week. His message was clear: Iceland strongly supports the Ukrainian people and condemns Russia's actions. The use of military force to redraw national boundaries is unacceptable and will have serious consequences for Russia's international standing. Iceland is fully aligned with the European Union as regards the introduction of restrictive measures in support of Ukraine.
In the current situation, Ukraine deserves our full political and economic support. Iceland calls for strong international support for Ukraine, not only here at the UN, but also from other international organisations, including international financial institutions.
The situation in Ukraine is of grave concern for all states that value international law and peaceful cooperation. The violation of the sovereignty and territorial borders of Ukraine is not acceptable.
The most effective measures to bring stability and security to Ukraine is to provide economic and political support for the Ukrainian people, who took to the streets in November last year, demanding change; political and economic reform; and respect for democratic values and human rights. They suffered grave losses but retained their hope. We cannot let them down.
It is of utmost importance that the Ukrainian government successfully meets the demands of its people in the democratic reform process ahead, emphasizing the rule of law, good governance, robust anti-corruption measures, and safeguarding the rights of all people, including minorities.
The international community must stand united for Ukraine.
We urge all parties to resolve the crisis by peaceful means; through direct political dialogue, respecting the will of the Ukrainian people.
Thank you, Mr. President