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National statements

The Situation in Ukraine

Thematic issues

  • Peace and Security
  • Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

Explanation of Vote by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Thank you Madam President.

Australia is seriously disturbed that the draft resolution before us has been vetoed.

Its purpose was to reaffirm the fundamental principles and norms governing relations between states in the post-1945 world – obligations which form the core of the United Nations Charter:

  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states;
  • The obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state;
  • The illegality of the acquisition of territory through the threat or use of force; and
  • The obligation to settle disputes by peaceful means.

As the body mandated under the UN Charter with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, this Council has a primordial responsibility to uphold these obligations. As Council members, we do so on behalf of all member states.

The draft resolution directly and carefully reflects these fundamental norms. There is nothing in it that any UN member state could reasonably oppose. Russia's decision to veto the resolution is therefore profoundly unsettling.

The referendum to be held tomorrow in Crimea is dangerous and destabilising. It is unauthorised and invalid. The international community will not recognise the result, nor any action taken on the basis of it.

With or without a resolution, the message from Council members and the wider international community has been overwhelming. De-escalation of the current crisis is imperative.

Russia must pull back its forces to their bases and decrease their numbers to agreed levels. It must allow international observers access to Crimea. It must demonstrate its respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including by desisting from any recognition of – or action on the basis of – the results of the Crimean referendum. And it must engage in direct dialogue with Ukraine, as Ukraine has repeatedly requested – either bilaterally or through a diplomatic mechanism such as a Contact Group.

Russia can be under no misapprehension about the action the international community is demanding it take. Should it fail to respond, there will be consequences – the international community will demand it.

Thank you Madam President.

Last Updated: 17 June 2015
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