A Commitment to the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Ukraine

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
March 27, 2014
Ambassador Power Confers With U.S. Delegation as the UN General Assembly Approves a Draft Resolution on the Territorial Integrity of Ukraine

Today, the United Nations General Assembly approved a draft resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine.  In remarks to the UN General Assembly, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power urged a "yes" vote on the resolution, which enshrines the centrality of territorial integrity and calls for a diplomatic, not a military solution, to this crisis.  In her remarks, Ambassador Power said:

"We meet today to express our collective judgment on the legality of the Russian Federation’s military intervention in and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. The resolution before us is about one issue and one issue only. And that is affirming our commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Through it, we make clear our ongoing support for the fundamental idea that borders are not mere suggestions.

"At the same time, this Resolution expresses the desire of the international community to see a peaceful outcome to the dispute between Ukraine and Russia and stresses the importance of maintaining an inclusive political dialogue that reflects every segment of Ukrainian society.

"We have always said that Russia had legitimate interests in Ukraine; it has been disheartening in the extreme to see Russia carry on as if Ukrainians have no legitimate interests in Crimea, when Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Self-determination is a value that all of us here today hail. We do so while recognizing the critical, foundational importance of national and international law. Coercion cannot be the means by which a self determines. The chaos that would ensue is not a world that any of us can afford; it is a dangerous world. We echo the views expressed by all regions of the world these last weeks calling for a de-escalation of tensions and an electoral process in Ukraine that will allow the people of that country -- in all of their diversity -- to choose their leaders, freely, fairly, and without coercion."

Ambassador Power continued, "Ukraine was wise to bring its concerns before this body. It is wise to seek our backing for the preservation of its rights, which are also all of our rights -- to have our territory and independence respected. Ukraine is justified in seeking our votes in reaffirming and protecting its borders. It is justified in asking us not to recognize the new status quo that the Russian Federation has tried to create with its military. Ukraine merits our commendations for the restraint it has shown and the positive steps it has taken to prevent a further escalation of the crisis. And Ukraine deserves our full support in trying to persuade Russia to end its isolation and to move from a policy of unilateral confrontation and aggressive acts to a good faith diplomatic effort informed by facts, facilitated by dialogue, and based on law."

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John N.
March 28, 2014

Russia's UN ambassador touts this resolution as moral victory for Russia with supporters that are such great "democracies" like Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Reminds one of a Soviet "big lie" from many decades ago...

- Sergii Gorbachov's excellent map of the UN resolution (includes English lables): facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=894123717269407&set=pb.100000153610067.-2207520000.1395970233.&type=3&theater

Eric J.
New Mexico, USA
March 30, 2014

 This resolution is all well and good, but what's the point if the UNGA cannot find the political will to dicipline the member state who's violations of its charter membership created the need for this resolution in the first place?

  When I see a UNGA vote on a resolution to revoke or modify the status of Russia's UN membership to that of "observer" by 2/3rd majority aproval, stripping the Russian Federation of it's voting priviledges and "perm 5" status; then maybe I'll be convinced folks are serious about "isolating" Russia diplomaticly for its breaches of international law and its obligations to abide by the terms of the UN Charter as a member state. 

  This would be a lot different than Russia getting kicked out of the old League of Nations for what Stalin did to folks in Ukraine back in the 1930's  as we live in a much more interconnected and interdependant world these days. Nor would such action have the same effect on the institution of the UN today, as happened to the League of Nations in weakening the institution's ability to remain a viable fora for international diplomacy. Quite the opposite in fact, as only via the UN proving to itself (and among all its member states) , that it's founding charter is sancrosanct, not to be violated by any state that wishes to remain a member in good standing, enjoying the rights of membership and privilges afforded to a state that upholds the principals outlined in the UN Charter.

  The fact that the Russian Federation still enjoys veto power in the UNSC is an insult to every other nation that strives to uphold and live by its charter membership, international law, and international norms of behavior.

  For that matter why is Assad's government still allowed a vote, when it is committing atrocities against its own people, or Iran, when for years that government has been calling for the "death" of other member states every Friday at prayers, by senior members of the Iranian government?

  That the UN is , and has been unable to dicipline its own members through its own mechanisms designed to do so, IS the reason the UN remains questionably effective in maintaining international peace and security on a fundemental diplomatic level. 

  EJ 3/30/2014

Evan P.
United States
March 31, 2014
The US Department of State sponsored the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government in Ukraine, and installed a gang of neo-fascists. Then you sent in the IMF to demand a reduction of living standards. If you expected the people of Ukraine to just meekly submit to all this, that was probably an unrealistic expectation.


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