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UN Security Council calls for ‘peaceful solution’ on Ukraine

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows the interior of the United Nations Security Council in New York.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has expressed deep concern over the situation in Ukraine, calling for a “peaceful solution” to the conflict in the former Soviet state.

In a brief text drafted by Norway and Mexico, the UNSC voiced concern over “the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine,” while avoiding the use of the words “war,” “invasion,” or “conflict.”

“The Security Council recalls that all Member States have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means,” the council said in its first official statement since Russia’s operation began in Ukraine in late February.

The UNSC further expressed its strong support for the efforts of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in the search for a peaceful solution, requesting that the UN chief briefs the council again “in due course.” Guterres welcomed the UNSC’s support, saying he would “spare no effort to save lives, reduce suffering and find the path of peace.”

The UN chief visited Russia and Ukraine last week. It was his first since the war began. During his visit in Russia, he called for a ceasefire “as soon as possible.” 

Guterres has already accused Russia of violating the UN Charter by sending troops into Ukraine and has repeatedly demanded a ceasefire to stop the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the operation in Ukraine on February 24. Western countries have responded by backing Ukraine with cash and increasingly heavy weaponry while imposing sanctions against Russia. The conflict has killed many people and displaced more than 13 million, creating the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

The latest declaration is the first show of unity from the Security Council since that February day.

Mexico’s ambassador to the UN Juan Ramon de la Fuente said the declaration is “a very first initial step but it points on the right direction.”

“It’s encouraging to see diplomacy is getting its place at the council,” he said, adding that “quiet diplomacy is sometimes much more effective than when you have lots of statements.”

His Norwegian counterpart, Mona Juul, also said it was “the first unanimous decision made by the council after this horrific war started in Ukraine.”

“The needs and the suffering of the people of Ukraine needs a maximum effort from the United Nations side both from the council, from the secretary-general and from the UN system as such.”

Asked what led Russia to approve the latest text, a diplomat told AFP on the condition of anonymity that “all the good stuff is gone.”

On February 25, Russia used its veto power against a draft Security Council resolution aimed at “deploring” Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

China, another veto-holding member of the Council, abstained. So did the United Arab Emirates and India, while the remaining 11 Council members voted in favor. The draft Security Council resolution demanded that Russia “immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine.”

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