The UNSC waters down its statement on Ukraine and opens a window

TEN weeks after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Security Council issued its first presidential statement on Saturday morning – adopted by consensus, including Russia – which did not mention “war”, nor ” conflict” or “invasion”. Instead, he called the dispute a “dispute.”

This is the first statement adopted unanimously by the UNSC, and it is significant that it took place under the American presidency – it holds the rotating presidency of the UNSC in May – and that Russia is attached to language widely perceived to be significantly “watered down”.

The statement comes as Russian forces renewed their attacks across Ukraine on Saturday ahead of Victory Day festivities in Moscow on Monday.

India is a non-permanent member of the UNSC. In his statement, he made two important and new formulations: First, he said that “diplomacy will be a lasting casualty”.

“India remains on the side of peace and therefore believes that there will be no winning side in this conflict and that while those affected by this conflict will continue to suffer, diplomacy will be a lasting casualty,” he said. said India’s permanent representative to the UN, TS Tirumurti. said early Friday.

Second, he said that humanitarian aid to Ukraine should not be subject to food export restrictions. Sources said that while aid from the World Food Program is tax-free, aid from some countries, including India, is subject to taxes. It shouldn’t happen, sources said.

Tirumurti said, “Oil prices are skyrocketing and there is a shortage of food grains and fertilizers. This has had a disproportionate impact on countries in the South and developing countries. We acknowledge the efforts made by the Secretary-General, in particular the findings of the task force of the Global Crisis Response Group. We welcome their recommendation to exempt food purchases by WFP for humanitarian assistance from food export restrictions with immediate effect. It is important that such similar exemptions are granted to all Member States and relevant stakeholders, who contribute to this global humanitarian effort.

The first UNSC statement, which was adopted, states that the Security Council “expresses its deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine” and “recalls that all Member States are committed, in under the Charter of the United Nations, to settle their international disputes by peaceful means”.

The four-line statement did not mention the US-led West’s description of events in Ukraine – war, invasion or conflict – nor did it mention the “special military operation”, as Russia describes it.

Russia, which has veto power in the Council, has blocked all past attempts to pass a presidential statement or resolution requiring unanimity.

Sources said it was the “language of compromise” reached after weeks of negotiations. The UNSC also expressed its “strong support” for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ “efforts” to find a peaceful solution to the 10-week “dispute”. He called on António Guterres to inform members “in due time”.

Explain

Putting the United States and Russia on the same page

The UNSC’s first statement on the conflict is seen as a starting point for the talks. Although there are criticisms about the language, it could offer room for diplomacy.

Guterres had recently visited Moscow and kyiv and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

While securing an agreement for the evacuation of civilians from the besieged southeastern port city of Mariupol and the Azovstal steelworks where the last Ukrainian forces are holding out, this diluted UNSC statement is an effort to calm the temperatures and get the warring parties to start talking, sources said.

A view shows buildings destroyed by shelling, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Borodianka, in the Kyiv region. (Reuters)

It is also important for the UN Secretary General since the UN has been seen as marginalized amid the conflict in the heart of Europe.

Following the UNSC statement, António Guterres said: “Today, for the first time, the Security Council spoke with one voice for peace in Ukraine…As I have often said, the world must unite to silence the guns and defend the values ​​of the United Nations. Charter.”

Norway and Mexico had drafted and proposed the declaration.

The language of the resolution contrasts sharply with previous resolutions passed at the UN. For example, on March 2, the UN General Assembly voted 141 to 5 with 35 abstentions in favor of a resolution demanding an immediate Russian ceasefire, the withdrawal of all its forces and the protection of all civilians.

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In a similar vote on March 24, he approved a 140-5 resolution with 38 abstentions blaming Russia for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and calling for an immediate ceasefire and the protection of millions of civilians. and homes, schools and hospitals essential to their survival. .

On April 7, the General Assembly voted by a narrower margin – 93 to 24 with 58 abstentions – to suspend Russia from the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, the main human rights body. UN, over allegations of horrific rights violations by Russian soldiers in Ukraine, which the United States and Ukraine have called war crimes.

India has consistently abstained in all resolutions so far, trying to maintain a diplomatic balance between the two sides. However, he condemned the killing of civilians in Bucha and called for an independent investigation.

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