27 March 2014
General Assembly
GA/11493

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Plenary

80th Meeting (AM)


General Assembly Adopts Resolution Calling upon States Not

 

To Recognize Changes in Status of Crimea Region


100 Votes in Favour, 11 against, 58 Abstentions for Text on Ukraine


The General Assembly today affirmed its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, underscoring the invalidity of the 16 March referendum held in autonomous Crimea.


By a recorded vote of 100 in favour to 11 against, with 58 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a resolution titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, calling on States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any change in the status of Crimea or the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol, and to refrain from actions or dealings that might be interpreted as such.


Also by the text, the Assembly called on States to “desist and refrain” from actions aimed at disrupting Ukraine’s national unity and territorial integrity, including by modifying its borders through the threat or use of force.  It urged all parties immediately to pursue a peaceful resolution of the situation through direct political dialogue, to exercise restraint, and to refrain from unilateral actions and inflammatory rhetoric that could raise tensions.


Today’s debate preceding the vote offered the first opportunity for the broader United Nations membership to air their view on the Crimea question.  Many said the referendum had contravened international law, the United Nations Charter and Ukraine’s Constitution, emphasizing that they would neither recognize it nor the Russian Federation’s subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea.


Presenting the non-binding text was Ukraine’s Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, who said that an integral part of his country had been forcibly annexed by a State that had previously committed itself to guaranteeing its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The draft resolution broke no new legal or normative ground, but sent an essential message that the international community would not allow events in Crimea to set a precedent for further challenges to the rules-based international framework.


Supporting those remarks, Georgia’s representative said the situation in mainland Ukraine was reminiscent of the Russian Federation’s seizure of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions in 2008, pointing out that 20 per cent of his country’s territory remained under illegal Russian occupation.


The representative of the Republic of Moldova said the Crimea referendum was not legal because it contravened Ukraine’s Constitution as well as international law.  “The future of Ukraine can be considered and decided only upon the free will and aspirations of all Ukrainians themselves, without any outside influence,” he emphasized.  Turkey’s representative stressed the need to ensure the security, well-being and rights of Crimean Tatar Turks, an integral part of the Crimean population.


The Russian Federation’s representative said, however, that the referendum had reunified Crimea with his country.  “We call on everyone to respect that voluntary choice.”  The Russian Government could not refuse Crimeans their right to self-determination, he said, blaming the political crisis in Ukraine on the “adventurous actions” of provocateurs whose actions had led to the reunification decision.


Several delegations explained their support for the text, with the Head of the European Union Delegation strongly condemning the illegal annexation, and the representative of the United States saying that today’s resolution made clear that “borders are not mere suggestions”.  Coercion could not be the means by which self-determination was achieved.


Others took issue with the resolution’s motivations, expressing regret that the Assembly had failed to consider the historical context of the geopolitical dispute and the nature of the regime change that had occurred in Ukraine.


El Salvador’s representative, explaining his abstention, said the text neither reflected the difficulties of Ukrainians, nor helped to resolve the causes of the crisis.  It neither called for dialogue, nor set a precedent for handling future inter- and intra-State tensions.  Jamaica’s representative added that the adoption would only delay the quest for a peaceful resolution.


Also speaking today were representatives of Brazil, Cuba, Liechtenstein, Costa Rica, Canada, Japan, China, Iceland, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Norway, Cyprus, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uruguay, Guatemala, Nigeria, Chile, Singapore, Argentina, Qatar, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Viet Nam, Peru, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Venezuela, Ecuador, Belarus, Algeria, Honduras, Cabo Verde, Libya, Botswana, Paraguay and Armenia.


In other business today, the Assembly took note that Dominica had made the payment necessary to reduce its arrears to a level below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.


The General Assembly will reconvene at a date to be announced.


Background


The General Assembly met this morning to take action on a draft resolution titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”.


Introduction of Draft Resolution


ANDRII DESHCHYTSIA, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, introduced the draft resolution (document A/68/L.39), saying that the reason for the presence of all delegations present today was an issue of paramount importance; of crucial importance for his country and of vital importance for every United Nations Member State, even more so for the United Nations and the world order it embodied.  “What has happened in my country is a direct violation of the United Nations Charter,” he said.  “Many struggle to grasp the reality — it happened in Ukraine, in the very heart of Europe.  It happened in the twenty-first century,” he added.


After two weeks of military occupation, he recalled, an integral part of Ukraine had been forcibly annexed by a State that had previously committed itself to guarantee that country’s independence, sovereignty and territory integrity in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum; by a State which happened to be one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, entrusted by the Organization’s membership with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.


Eight rounds of urgent Security Council discussions on the military intervention clearly demonstrated the extent of the Russian Federation’s isolation on the issue, he continued.  “We have consistently called for the recognition of a polycentric world order, equal and indivisible security in full conformity with the United Nations Charter basic principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity of any State, inadmissibility of intervention in the domestic affair….”


That statement was not his own, but an excerpt from a Russian Government one delivered during the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, he said, urging the Russian authorities to “practise what you preach”.  The draft resolution was all about respect for territorial integrity and non-use of force to settle disputes, he emphasized.  It broke no new legal or normative ground, but it sent an essential message that the international community would not allow what had happened in Crimea to set a precedent for further challenges to the rules-based international framework, he said.


Statements


VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that after the 16 March referendum, Crimea had been reunified with the Russian Federation.  “We call on everyone to respect that voluntary choice,” he said, adding that his Government could not refuse Crimeans their right to self-determination.  Historical justice had been vindicated, he noted, recalling that for many years, Crimea had been part of the Russian Federation, sharing a common history, culture and people.  An arbitrary decision in 1954 had transferred the region to the Ukrainian Republic, upsetting the natural state of affairs and cutting Crimea off from Russia.


In 1992, the Crimea constitution had given the region independence within Ukraine, but eventually, that status had changed and Crimea had been reduced to an autonomous republic, he continued.  Crimeans had openly shown their sympathy for the Russian Federation, and the deep political crisis in Ukraine, provoked by “adventurous actions”, was aimed at giving Kyiv a false choice between the West and the Russian Federation.  The central square, the Maidan, had been converted into a militarized camp where violence had broken out against law enforcement, and a building housing the United States Embassy had been captured, he noted, adding that from that building, snipers had fired upon police and demonstrators, intending to provoke a violent overthrow of the Government.


He went on to recall that on 21 February, President Viktor Yanukovych had agreed to disarm militants, free the building, create a national unity Government, and launch a constitutional process that would see elections held by year’s end.  Yet, the violence continued and the President had been compelled to leave Ukraine.  Following a reshuffle, a “Government of victors” had appeared - national radicals who preached racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views, and who hated everything Russian, he said.  Their first decisions had been to revoke the status of the Russian language used by Crimeans and to appoint governors rejected by the locals.


Such actions had created the critical mass that had led Crimeans to make their decision on reunification with the Russian Federation, he said, adding that it was for those reasons that the Russian Federation opposed the proposed draft resolution.  The text was confrontational in nature, and while it was correct in parts — such as its call to refrain from unilateral actions and inflammatory rhetoric — its adoption was not necessary.  Rather, it was important to base decisions on the interests of Ukrainians and of normal international relations, he stressed.  Ukraine required a true political process that would lead to conditions in which its people did not fear for their lives and were sure that they could exercise their rights.


THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, voiced support for the draft resolution, saying it reconfirmed the importance of fundamental Charter principles.  It also affirmed the General Assembly’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.  The European Union did not recognize the illegal referendum in Crimea, which was a clear violation of Ukraine’s Constitution, and strongly condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, which it equally would not recognize.


He urged the Russian Federation to take steps to de-escalate the crisis, immediately pull its forces back to their garrisons, reduce their strength to pre-crisis numbers, in line with its international commitments, avail itself of all relevant international mechanisms to find a peaceful and negotiated solution, and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The European Union welcomed the agreement that had led up to the deployment of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission to Ukraine and applauded the deployment of a United Nations human rights monitoring mission.  It also commended Ukraine’s measured response so far and was ready to provide strong financial support for its economic and financial stabilization, he said.


SAMANTHA POWER ( United States) said the draft resolution was about only one issue: affirming a commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine.  With it, “we make clear that borders are not mere suggestions,” she said.  The text also expressed a desire for a peaceful outcome to the dispute between Ukraine and the Russian Federation through a political dialogue that would reflect every part of society.  Crimea was part of Ukraine, she emphasized, pointing out that while self-determination was a widely welcome value, at the same time, the United States recognized the importance of national and international law.  Coercion could not be the means by which one “self-determined”, she stressed, calling for a de-escalation of tensions and an electoral process that would allow all Ukrainians to choose their leaders freely, fairly and without coercion.  Ukraine was justified in seeking a vote that would reaffirm respect for its borders and help encourage the Russian Federation to end its isolation and shift from its policy of confrontation to good-faith diplomatic efforts, she said.


ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA ( Brazil) said the international community must reaffirm its strong resolve to urgently find a peaceful solution, emphasizing that his country’s concerns reflected its close bilateral ties and strategic partnership with Ukraine.  Noting that Brazil hosted one of the largest Ukrainian-descendant communities outside Europe, he expressed deep regret over the deaths in Kyiv.  The United Nations Charter must be respected under all circumstances, as should international law, he stressed, urging all parties to engage in constructive talks, while commending the Secretary-General’s initiatives to de-escalate tensions, restore calm and promote dialogue.


Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez ( Cuba) stressed the importance of allowing peoples to exercise their right to self-determination, saying that his delegation would not accept the current Ukrainian authorities because they had assumed power by overthrowing the constitutional Government through violence.  Cuba also opposed sanctions against the Russian Federation and rejected the double standards and hypocrisy shown by Western States.  With their military doctrines, the United States and its allies violated international law and threatened the sovereignty of other States, he said, emphasizing that any attempt to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) posed a threat to the region’s peace and stability.


CHRISTIAN WENAWESER ( Liechtenstein) said the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol was a very serious violation of international law, and of grave concern to the Government of Liechtenstein, which considered the action null and void, and would neither recognize it nor its consequences.  The United Nations Charter committed the international community to the principle of territorial integrity and the right of self-determination of peoples.  Liechtenstein was fully committed to the right of self-determination, exercised in conformity with international law.  The Security Council’s failed attempt to adopt a draft resolution earlier this month raised important governance questions for the Organization, among them the worrisome increase in the use of the veto and pervious threats to do so, which had prevented the United Nations from fulfilling its core functions, he said.


Eduardo Ulibarri ( Costa Rica) said the importance of the draft resolution went beyond the geographical area in question.  The text stressed respect for territorial integrity and rejected the use of force to settle disputes.  It also respected the United Nations Charter, he said, pointing out that the obligations set out therein were not optional.  The five permanent members of the Security Council had even greater responsibility to fulfil them.  Costa Rica had no military to defend its borders, he pointed out, adding that international law was “o ur weapons”.  The conditions for an exercise of the right of self-determination were absent in Crimea, he said.


GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI ( Canada) condemned the Russian Federation’s “unilateral and unjustified assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” in the strongest terms, saying that its refusal to de-escalate had forced his country to take action.  Canada had recalled its ambassador to Moscow for consultations, limited engagement with the Russian Federation, suspended military-to-military contacts and frozen the assets of former Ukrainian officials, including President Viktor Yanukovych.  Last week, it had imposed financial sanctions and entry bans on Russian and Crimean officials responsible for the crisis in the peninsular region and for threating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  “It is not too late for Russia to choose an alternate path,” he said.  Canada supported the United Nations mission investigating reports of human rights violations across Ukraine, no matter the alleged perpetrators, he said, emphasizing that it must be allowed into Crimea.  Due to the Russian Federation’s aggression and its refusal to de-escalate, Canada strongly supported the draft resolution.


MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA ( Japan) emphasized that the Russian Federation’s recognition of autonomous Crimea’s independence and its illegal attempt to annex the region infringed on Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, in violation of the Charter.  Any attempt to change the status quo through force was a serious challenge to the international community, and no country should overlook such actions.  Japan welcomed the 24 March meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, he said, stressing that international support would be indispensable to ensure Ukraine’s economic stability.  Japan would contribute $1.5 billion to that end.


Liu Jieyi ( China), emphasizing the importance of a balanced approach, said all parties should refrain from actions that could exacerbate the situation and work through diplomatic means to resolve the situation.  United Nations actions should reflect consensus and be conducive to an easing of tensions as well as a political settlement.  Expressing support for the Secretary-General’s mediation efforts, he said any attempt to push ahead with a General Assembly vote would only complicate the picture.  China had always opposed intervention in the internal affairs of States, and respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries.  He called for the creation of an international coordination mechanism, involving all parties concerned, to examine proposals for a political settlement.


Y. Halit Çevik ( Turkey) stressed the importance of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and political unity.  Describing the results of the “illegitimate referendum” held in Crimea on 16 March, in violation of the Ukrainian Constitution and international documents, he said it had no legal validity.  Turkey did not recognize the de facto situation, and creating faits accompli by military means was extremely dangerous and inimical, with negative consequences for the region’s stability and security, he said.


Emphasizing the need to ensure the security, well-being and rights of Crimean Tatar Turks, an integral part of the Crimean population, he said that since the onset of the crisis, they had responsibly and peacefully voiced their views and concerns, as they had done in the past.  Turkey would continue to follow their situation closely.  He called for a political solution to be achieved through diplomatic channels on the basis of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within the framework of universal democratic principles, and in line with law and international agreements.


KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia), associating himself with the statement by the European Union Delegation, said his Government unequivocally supported Ukraine’s political independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders.  Georgia did not recognize as legal and legitimate the 16 March referendum conducted in Crimea, and the situation in mainland Ukraine was reminiscent of the Russian Federation’s seizure of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions in 2008, he said, pointing out that 20 per cent of his country’s territory today remained under illegal Russian occupation.


He went on to note that more than 400,000 internally displaced persons and refugees were denied the right to return home, and the European Union-brokered six-point ceasefire agreement was yet to be implemented, and international monitors had been denied access to the occupied territories.  Barbed wire fences were still being installed along the occupation line, and communities divided by the war were denied basic human rights and freedoms.  Georgia’s calls on the Russian Federation to reciprocate a pledge of non-use of force remained unanswered, he continued, adding that Russian gunships and drones frequently violate its airspace.


The latest developments made it apparent that the current international system’s security architecture was being undermined, and the credibility of the United Nations threatened, he continued.  Georgia supported closer international engagement in Ukraine through the United Nations, OSCE and other global and regional organizations.  “We deem it absolutely necessary that the internationally mandated mission has access to the whole territory of Ukraine, as requested by the Ukrainian Government,” he stressed.  That was Georgia’s principled position, based on its own experience.


He recalled that, following the Russian Federation’s veto of a 2009 draft resolution that would have extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Georgia, and six years after the end of that war, no one had been allowed to monitor human rights violations in the occupied territories.  Georgia joined the international community in stressing that neither partial nor total disruption of Ukraine’s national unity and territorial integrity, nor the modification of its borders, should occur through the threat or actual use of force, or other unlawful means.


GRÉTA GUNNARSDÓTTIR ( Iceland) said neither the so-called referendum nor the Russian annexation of Crimea had changed the region’s legal status.  “Crimea is part of Ukraine,” she emphasized, noting that the referendum had been held with Russian in control of the region, which was illegal and not up to the standards for democratic elections.  Such actions threatened peace and security in Europe, she said, urging the Russian Federation to cooperate with Ukraine and the international community in seeking ways out of the crisis.   Iceland was fully aligned with the European Union concerning “restrictive measures” in support of Ukraine, she said.


MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua), emphasizing the importance of non-interference in the internal affairs of States, pointed out that those speaking of democracy had used anti-democratic methods.  Policies based on double standards were the true threat to international peace and security, she said, adding that the world had seen how some had directed terrorist actions from abroad in countries that failed to submit to their interests in a desire to establish new forms of colonization and slavery.  Nicaragua supported the principle of peaceful, legitimate self-determination through the ballot box and rejected unilateral methods, including political and economic sanctions against the Russian Federation, which were in violation of international law, she said, stressing that her delegation supported an “inclusive political resolution” to the situation in Ukraine and would vote against the draft resolution.


Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz ( Bolivia) noted that the issue, initially considered by the Security Council, was in the General Assembly today, which indicated the urgent need to reform the former and revitalize the latter.  Bolivia was a pacifist country and would not take a position on the referendum conducted in Crimea, he said.  However, it would not accept the interruption of the constitutional process — the regime change in Ukraine — through the overthrow of a democratically elected Government.  While not opposing universally accepted principles, Bolivia would vote against the text to demonstrate its disagreement with major Powers, which exercised double standards and threated international security, he said.


GEIR O. PEDERSEN (Norway), associating himself with the statement by the European Union Delegation, said the prohibition on the use of force was a basic rule of international law, which implied that no State had the right to intervene in the affairs of another.  The international community must react in the face of such a breach.  Norway did not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, and was not aware of independently reported abuse of Russian-speaking minorities there, he said, adding that even if there had been, international mechanisms were in place to deal with it.  Such mechanisms existed within the framework of the United Nations, Council of Europe and OSCE, but they had not been used in Crimea, he said.


Menelaos Menelaou ( Cyprus) said he would vote in favour of the text because it was important to adhere to the fundamental principles of respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of all States, including Ukraine.  Cyprus enjoyed close relations with both Ukraine and the Russian Federation, and urged the Ukrainian authorities to reach out to all regions and population groups while ensuring full protection of the rights of people belonging to different ethnicities and investigating all acts of violence.  He also urged the Russian side to commit to a diplomatic solution and to help de-escalate tensions.


Action on Draft and Explanation of Positions


Inga Rhonda King ( Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said the draft resolution and the arguments of its chief proponents called into question the universal applicability of international law in the current situation.  Despite real and continued concerns over events in Crimea and Ukraine, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines viewed the text as motivated more by “principals” than principles, she said, expressing regret that the Assembly had failed to consider the historical context of the geopolitical dispute and the nature of the regime change in Ukraine.


Cristina Carrion ( Uruguay) said her Government would abstain, despite its concurrence with several of the text’s provisions.  The principle of sovereignty had always led Uruguay to act in accordance with international law, including in respect of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo and the Malvinas ( Falkland Islands) referendum.  In both cases, Uruguay had rejected the undermining of Charter principles, she said, emphasizing that territorial integrity was an essential principle that must be respected.  Statements not in line with the constitutional principles of the Ukrainian State could contravene the territorial integrity of States, she warned, stressing that international legality must prevail.  The promotion of democratic principles was a responsibility of all stakeholders in Ukraine, and the conflict should be resolved peacefully on the basis of dialogue among all parties.


Rubén Armando Escalante Hasbún ( El Salvador) said the draft resolution neither reflected the difficulties of Ukrainians, nor contribute to resolving the causes of the crisis.  It neither called for dialogue, nor set a precedent for handling future inter- and intra-State tensions.  Reform of the United Nations would allow the Organization to better respond to such realities.  Calling for a peaceful diplomatic solution to the situation, he said that his delegation would abstain from the vote.


Mr. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) then requested a recorded roll-call vote on the text.


By a vote of 100 in favour to 11 against, with 58 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the resolution entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine” (document A/68/L.39).


Ana Cristina Rodríguez Pineda ( Guatemala) said his delegation had voted in favour of the text because it could not accept changes in international borders, particularly the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea.  Guatemala was concerned that peaceful protests had turned violent in Ukraine, and called for legitimate electoral processes.  There should be no return to the cold war, he emphasized, cautioning against the re-emergence of confrontation.


U. Joy Ogwu ( Nigeria) said she had voted in favour solely to protect the fundamental principles of international law and the Charter.  Nigeria had not taken sides with one party by voting in favour, she pointed out, stressing that all States must respect the rule of law.  The peaceful settlement of a territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon should serve as a beacon, she added.


Octavio Errázuriz( Chile) said he had voted in favour but also called for the peaceful resolution of the situation peacefully.  All States should refrain from unilateral actions, such as imposing sanctions on the Russian Federation, he said, welcoming the efforts made by the Secretary-General and OSCE.


Neo Ek Beng Mark ( Singapore) said that in voting in favour of the text, his Government had demonstrated its opposition to any annexation by any country, including that of Crimea by the Russian Federation.  It was important to respect sovereignty and the rule of law, he stressed.


María Cristina Perceval( Argentina) said her delegation had voted in favour of a similar text in the Security Council earlier this month, having felt that it upheld standards that should guide the international community, but some Governments had shown a lack of coherence.  The Charter had no room for interpretations, she emphasized, adding that tabling the draft resolution did not contribute to a peaceful settlement of the dispute.  Argentina had abstained.


Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani ( Qatar) encouraged all parties to cooperate in the quest for a consensual resolution to the situation in Ukraine.  Qatar respected international law and the Charter, as well as the principles of sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity, on the basis of which its delegation had voted in favour.


Ja Song Nam (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) attributed the crisis in Ukraine to interference by the United States and other Western countries.  Crimea’s reunification with the Russian Federation had been conducted legitimately through a referendum and in accordance with the Charter, he said, adding that his delegation had voted against the text because his Government opposed attempts to overthrow legitimate Governments and respected the right of Crimeans to self-determination. 


Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil ( Egypt) said diplomacy was the best way to resolve crises.  International law was in many cases not consistent with State concerns that were better handled at the regional level.  At times, there was a contradiction between the people’s will and the legal frameworks governing them.  Unless creative mechanisms were created to deal with such realities, crises would continue, he cautioned, saying Egypt had abstained from the vote.


Nguyen Trac Ba( Viet Nam) urged a restrained, peaceful outcome of the situation in Ukraine.


Gustavo Meza-Cuadra( Peru) said his Government supported the text because the peaceful resolution of disputes was essential to peace and security.  Appealing for constructive and inclusive dialogue, he cautioned against a return to past divisions.


Chayapan Bamrungphong ( Thailand) said his Government supported the resolution because of the overriding importance attached to the Charter principles of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful conflict resolution.  The door should be kept open to a peaceful solution reflecting the interests of all concerned.


Vlad Lupan (Republic of Moldova) emphasized that bilateral agreements must be observed, adding: “The future of Ukraine can be considered and decided only upon the free will and aspirations of all Ukrainians themselves, without any outside influence.”  The Crimea referendum was not legal because it contravened Ukraine’s Constitution as well as international law.  As a country with an unresolved, protracted separatist conflict on its own territory, the Republic of Moldova had voted in favour of the resolution.


Kairat Abdrakhmanov ( Kazakhstan) noted that his country was home to Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Germans, Poles, Koreans and others who lived in peace and harmony.  The Government of Kazakhstan was interested in a sovereign, stable and independent Ukraine, he said, adding that its economic recovery was a prerequisite for resolving the situation.  It was important to heed the voice of reason and explore all ways to resolve the situation peacefully, he said, adding that he had abstained from the vote.


Raja Reza bin Raja Zaib Shah ( Malaysia), calling upon all parties to adhere to Charter principles, stressed that his Government valued its close relations with both the Russian Federation and Ukraine.  He urged them both to explore all possible avenues for peaceful resolution and called for a moderate approach towards an amicable solution.


Tofig Musayev ( Azerbaijan), saying he had voted in favour, condemned extremism, radicalism and separatism in all their forms and manifestations.  He reiterated Azerbaijan’s adherence to the fundamental principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders, saying they constituted the basic foundation of international relations and the international legal order.


Shorna-Kay Marie Richards( Jamaica) said his delegation had abstained because the complexity of the situation in Ukraine required the international community to act in a balanced manner.  While Jamaica supported the promotion of the rule of law and Charter principles, such as non-use of force, the resolution’s adoption would only delay the quest for a peaceful solution.


Samuel Moncada ( Venezuela) said he had voted against the text because his Government opposed the changes in Ukraine that had overthrown the democratically elected President.  There was a growing trend of constitutional Governments being overthrown by extremist groups linked to foreign Powers that had unleashed the Second World War, he said, emphasizing that it was crucial to re-establish the constitutional order in Ukraine and to resolve the situation through peaceful means.


Xavier Lasso Mendoza ( Ecuador) said he had abstained.  It was unfortunate that street protests had turned violent, leading to human losses, he said, blaming foreign politicians who irresponsibly encouraged street protesters.  The Crimea referendum should not be grounds for any change of a State configuration, he said, rejecting regime change and unilateral sanctions imposed without recourse to the Charter.


Evgeny Lazarev ( Belarus) said he supported the use of mechanisms that were less representative than the General Assembly, saying they had greater constructive potential to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation in Ukraine.  He cited the Observer Mission on Human Rights in Ukraine in that regard.


Sabri Boukadoum( Algeria) said his Government had abstained, and reiterated its strict adherence to Charter principles.  They were the cornerstone of international relations and the basis of international law.


Mary Elizabeth Flores ( Honduras) said her Government had voted in favour of the text because it supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.  She also urged respect for the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States.


Fernando Jorge Wahnon Ferreira (Cabo Verde) said his delegation had voted in favour because a solution to the Ukraine crisis could only be achieved through respect for the Charter.


Ibrahim O. A. Dabbashi ( Libya) said he had voted in favour because of its commitment to the principles of international law and the Charter.  Libya was aware of Russian interests in Ukraine, but it could not ignore the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.  Changes in State borders must be undertaken within the constitutional order of the country involved, as well as valid national laws, he said, underlining the need for dialogue in resolving intra-State issues.


Charles Thembani Ntwaagae ( Botswana) said his Government did not support the dismemberment of sovereign nations, either through unilateral declarations of independence or through coercion by external forces.  In abstaining, Botswana wished to allow sufficient space for the diplomatic efforts under way at the bilateral and international levels.


Marcelo Eliseo Scappini Ricciardi (Paraguay) said he had abstained because direct, open dialogue was the best way to settle the situation.


Garen Nazarian( Armenia) said he had voted against the text.  Armenia had consistently promoted democracy, decolonization and self-determination, which were enshrined in the Charter; the key was to act within international law and to seek solutions through peaceful dialogue involving the parties concerned.


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For information media • not an official record