by STAFF WRITER
March 3, 2022
NEW YORK, Mar 3, CMC – In what is being described by some industrialized powers, such as Great Britain, as “a very moving speech” by the smallest member of the United Nations Security Council, St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday called for “an immediate ceasefire” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In a ‘Statement in Explanation of Vote before the Vote’, in which the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution demanding that Russia immediately end its military operations in Ukraine, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to the UN Rhonda King said her country would vote in favor of the draft resolution calling for an end to the war in Ukraine and a return to diplomacy.
“Our support for the draft resolution is rooted in our conviction that the strict adherence to international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, and the principles of peace, dialogue and compromise for the preservation of humanity is not optional,” the envoy said.
Ambassador King repeated St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ call for the principles of international law to be applied consistently and upheld “as universal truths, instead of selective, uneven and unpredictable tools to further great power ambition, anywhere and by anyone”.
She said that historically, and in recent times, the world has witnessed “naked hypocrisy, double standards and cynical misapplication of international law, which we have condemned”.
“Today, we strongly emphasize that our august assembly should apply the fundamental principles of our Charter impartially, irrespective of the size, economic and military power of the principals involved. In the midst of prevailing global challenges, such as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, we simply cannot afford another conflict.
“War does not manage grievances. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, therefore, calls for an immediate ceasefire to avert further bloodshed, human suffering and a global catastrophe, and to engage in peaceful dialogue, to find a solution to this war, post-haste. Today, we must unite for peace,” the envoy contended.
On Wednesday, a total of 141 countries of 193 UN Member States voted in favor of the resolution, which reaffirms Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
The resolution demands that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders”.
It was sponsored by more than 90 countries and needed a two-thirds majority in the Assembly to pass.Five countries – Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Russia and Syria – voted against it, while 35 abstained.
The voting capped off a rare special emergency session of the General Assembly that began on Monday, during which countries took to the podium to declare their positions on the crisis, now entering a second week.
In her address in that session, Ambassador King said Russia’s military operation cannot reasonably be justified, stating that “it only endangers international peace and security, and will exacerbate human suffering across the globe”.
“Let us be clear, no member state of our organization will be immune from the ripple effect of this armed conflict,” she stressed.
The ambassador reiterated recent calls made by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the sub-regional Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) for the “pacific settlement of disputes and the respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Stating that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is “a stout champion of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and their primacy in our multilateral system,” King said: “We must give peace a real chance to succeed.
“We must stop this war and return to diplomacy,” she appealed.