Hoppa yfir valmynd

Emergency Special Session on Ukraine

Statement by H.E. Mr. Martin Eyjólfsson

Permanent Secretary of State of Iceland

General Assembly, 22 February 2023

Mr. President,

Iceland aligns itself with the statement to be made tomorrow by Denmark on the behalf of the Nordic countries.

This is a sad moment. The General Assembly of the United Nations convenes in an Emergency Session to mark that a year has passed since Russia launched its unprovoked and unjustifiable full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, has with this horrendous act of aggression assaulted not only Ukraine but our common institutions, our common values and our basic human rights. Rights enshrined in the very United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rights that we have all subscribed to. Rights that Russia has subscribed to.

Our admiration for the courage and resilience of the people of Ukraine grows with each day they valiantly defend their country. Their sacrifice and suffering must not be in vain. The Foreign Minister of Estonia said in his speech a short while a go that the people of Ukraine were the bravest people in the world. I can not only subscribe to that but added that the Captain of Team Ukraine, President Zelensky, is the bravest leader in the world and has given a whole new meaning to the concept of leadership.

Mr. President.

The solution to end the war is straightforward. Russia can and must stop this war today and withdraw all its forces from Ukraine in full respect of Ukraine´s recognized right to independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-defense. 

Let us also be reminded that ending the war is only first step. To establish just and lasting peace for Ukraine is also of critical importance.  Russia must and will be held to account for its actions. Accountability for international crimes committed within the context of the war, including the crime of aggression, is vital to ensure justice and reparations. There can be no impunity. Accountability is the only way to ensure lasting peace.

Mr. President,

This warfare conducted by Russia against a member state is an act of aggression that affects us all. Humanitarian concerns, food security, economic development - all these important issues that weigh so much on our agenda are hit by this senseless war. To sit idle on the fence or even support the aggressor is beyond comprehension.

It is our collective responsibility to end this war, defend Ukraine, and stand up for the values and principles that underpin the UN Charter and the work of this organisation.

That “we, the Peoples” owe to the people of Ukraine and all other innocent victims presently facing the scourge of armed conflict all over the world. That we owe to previous generations that built the system of international law and the rule-based order, from the ruins of two world wars and their unforgettable horrors. And that we owe to our children, the generations that will follow us.

Mr. President,

Iceland remains unwavering in its support and solidarity with Ukraine We are committed to play our part, including in our role as the Chair of the Council of Europe, and we are proud to co-sponsor the resolution on just and lasting peace in Ukraine.

I call on all Member States to support the draft resolution and vote against the Belarus amendments of course.

I thank you Mr. President.


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