Excellencies, Mr President,
First of all, I would like to thank the United Kingdom for paying particular attention to the situation in Ukraine. I would also like to thank Deputy Secretary General Rosemary DiCarlo for her presentation, dark as it may be. I welcome the participation of the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, His Excellency Kuleba.
Last month, the second edition of the conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine took place in London. In July 2022, Switzerland hosted the first edition of this conference. Both in Lugano and in London, the international community proved its strong determination to support Ukraine in its reconstruction process.
This prospect of a reconstruction, of a future, is essential: in the wake of this military aggression, we find thousands of people killed, Ukraine's infrastructure devastated, global food security shaken and certainties shattered.
Allow me to elaborate. Firstly, as we have just heard from the Deputy Secretary-General, the loss of human life in Ukraine is immense. Just last week, civilians lost their lives in the Zaporizhia region while receiving humanitarian aid. Added to this is the destruction of Ukrainian infrastructure, which is a Herculean task to rebuild.
It is unacceptable that this score should continue to worsen! We reiterate our call on Russia to immediately begin de-escalation, to cease all combat operations and to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory without delay. We recall that international humanitarian law protects the civilian population and infrastructure. They must never, never, become targets!
In this context, I would like to express Switzerland's grave concern about the use of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions in Ukraine. As a State party to the Ottawa and Oslo Conventions, Switzerland calls on all States and parties to the conflict to refrain from using these weapons. Their indiscriminate or disproportionate use is a serious violation of international humanitarian law.
Secondly, restoring global food security is an urgent task. Since the start of the Russian military aggression, millions of people around the world have been suffering from food insecurity. The Istanbul agreements are making a difference for these people. We regret Russia's announcement concerning these agreements and hope that they will be renewed in the very near future.
Finally, we have seen the resurgence of a spectre that we thought we had banished: the war of aggression aimed at territorial expansion by one sovereign state against another sovereign state. These are some of those shattered certainties.
In the face of these multiple challenges, we must rely on a solid foundation. We have that foundation: the United Nations Charter. One might have thought that a flagrant violation of the Charter would undermine its power. On the contrary, we note that the vast majority of States reaffirm its importance. More than 140 States deplored the aggression against Ukraine.
Indeed, the principles of the Charter, and the resolution adopted by the General Assembly in February 2023, constitute the basis on which a comprehensive, just and lasting peace can be built in Ukraine. Switzerland is closely following the various commitments aimed at moving towards peace, while stressing that Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected.
There is an urgent need to rebuild Ukraine. But that is not enough. We must also provide justice for the victims.
There is also an urgent need to restore global food security. Hunger must never again become a weapon of war.
We must therefore continue to close ranks behind international law and in particular the United Nations Charter, the shield that protects us all. So that the buildings, the supply chains, the peace and stability that we will eventually rebuild are based on a solid and lasting foundation. For our humanity.
Thank you very much.