Thank you, Mr. President.

Let me begin by referring to the vote on a request for a speaker’s participation at the beginning of the session

My country would like to stress that we welcome in principle the possibility for the Council to invite briefers it considers qualified, under rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure. We believe that they can bring an important perspective to issues within the Council's competence.

Today, Switzerland voted against the proposal to invite a proposed briefer, because we believe that it is imperative to consider General Assembly resolution ES-11/4 for this decision.

In this resolution, all states are called upon to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognition of an alteration in the status of the Ukrainian regions declared annexed by Russia.

Mr. President,

I would like to thank Under-Secretary General Martin Griffiths for his presentation and to underline Switzerland's appreciation for his efforts, in particular to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

As said many times in this room: civilians and civilian objects are not a target. International humanitarian law and human rights must be respected. Yet the humanitarian situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate. Switzerland is concerned about the report and the conclusions published by the International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine this week. We reiterate our support for the mandate and the continuation of the work of this Commission.

We call on Russia to immediately begin de-escalation, to cease all combat operations and to withdraw its troops without delay from the Ukrainian territory. The humanitarian consequences of this war are being felt around the world. Food and energy insecurity has increased. This is particularly hard on people who are suffering the consequences of armed conflict or who live in extreme poverty.

Mr. President,

Today, I would like to focus on three points:

First, Switzerland condemns the persistent strikes on civilian infrastructure, including Russia's indiscriminate attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure. Switzerland reiterates its call: international humanitarian law must be fully respected. Nothing can justify targeted attacks against civilians and civilian objects.

Second, Switzerland insists that humanitarian workers be given unhindered access to the nearly 18 million people in need in Ukraine, including those in the areas occupied by Russia.

Third, we reiterate the fact that the Black Sea Grain Initiative, along with the Memorandum of Understanding focused on the export of Russian food and fertilizers, is critical to global food security. Facilitated by the Secretary General and Türkiye, the initiative has resulted in the export of 24 million tons of grain and more than 1,600 secure ship voyages across the Black Sea. The food price index of the Food and Agriculture Organisation has been declining for the past ten months, after reaching record levels in March 2022.

This initiative must continue. We call on all parties to redouble their efforts to find a lasting solution to alleviate the consequences of the war. We note the importance of a long-term perspective that allows for greater predictability. This is essential for planning and the implementation of the initiative. Switzerland welcomes the good offices of the Secretary-General in this regard and stands ready to provide its support, particularly in its role as host state.

Mr. President,

The international community continues to send clear signals in favor of solidarity and against divisions, in favor of dialogue and against violence, in favor of peace and against war. We are all called upon to contribute to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in accordance with international law.

Until the Ukrainian population can enjoy such peace, we will emphasise as often as necessary: Civilians and civilian objects are not a target.

I thank you.