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Joint Nordic Statement - Working Group on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the context of International Security

Mr. Chair, I am speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Finland). The EU member states among us align with the EU statement.

 

At the outset, let me underline that the Nordic countries express their full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. The Nordic countries condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. It violates flagrantly international law and the UN Charter, and undermines international security, stability and the core principles of the international rules-based order. The Nordic countries demand that Russia ceases its military actions immediately and stops its disinformation campaign and cyber-attacks against Ukraine.

 

The Russian Government’s repeated violations of international law including the continuous use of cyberattacks clearly illustrates Russia’s disregard for the subject matter we are discussing today. In fact, it shows that Russia has no intentions to engage in good faith in negotiations in our efforts to ensure peace and stability in cyberspace.

 

The United Nations is the core of multilateral cooperation and has a leading role in promoting dialogue on the use of ICTs by States. Strong multilateral institutions and a rules-based international order are of utmost importance to the Nordic countries. Therefore, we have been committed to constructive participation in this process as well as in the Ad Hoc Committee -process on cybercrime. Whilst we will continue to engage constructively to uphold the strength of multilateralism, the prospects for achieving meaningful progress without an agreement on the modalities for multistakeholder participation are, however, in our view questionable.

 

The Nordic countries have shown willingness to compromise in order to reach consensus on multiple occasions and we therefore deeply regret the unwillingness demonstrated by a few member states to find common ground. Inclusion and mutual understanding is the bedrock of the United Nations, and the views and experiences from a wide array of stakeholders – including the private sector, academia, and civil society- are invaluable assets to our work.

We had previously agreed to allowing the formal discussions to proceed in the first substantive session under the shared understanding that a progress on the issue of modalities will be made before the current session. However, since we do not have such an agreement, it is clear that we cannot continue to proceed on the same basis from last December.

 

It is therefore our position that we should not proceed our formal discussions before we reach an agreement on the modalities. At this stage, we can agreed to allowing informal discussions to take place in accordance with the established UN practice, but in order of the formal substantive discussions to continue, there needs to be an agreement on the modalities.

 

Proceeding without an agreement would not only undermine the meaningfulness of this round of the OEWG, but could also undercut the credibility of the consensus-based outcome achieved so far in the OEWG-process.

 

I thank you Mr. Chair

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