Statement on the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine

Statement by H.E. Ms Tanja Fajon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia at the 56th Plenary meeting, 78th Session of the UN General Assembly on The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine – Item 62

Thank you Mr. President.

These days we are marking the second anniversary of Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine and almost 10 years since the destabilisation of the region has begun with the annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

The second and tenth anniversaries are an opportunity to recap what the UN and its Member States can do in order to stabilise the region and bring just and lasting peace to Ukraine. There have been many discussions about what can be done and what should be done in this respect. Allow me to present Slovenia’s take in a few points:

One – Peace. Peace should come to Ukraine. It may seem impossible at times, but it will happen. What we can do to expedite it, is to support the peace process that is taking shape with Ukraine’s Peace Formula. Russia needs to do its part, Russia must stop the aggression and immediately and unconditionally withdraw from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. Its war rhetoric and threats need to cease.

Another important step towards peace where we can aid Ukraine is to support global and regional initiatives aimed at providing a stable foothold for its reconstruction and environmental recovery. Slovenia is gravely concerned with existing environmental impacts of the war and is dreading potential ones – all of us can continue to support the IAEA in its efforts to prevent a nuclear accident in Ukraine.

Two – International humanitarian law should and must be respected. With all the ruined homes, hospitals and schools and with civilian casualties on the rise for consecutive months, this is obviously not the case. If lasting peace is to come to Ukraine, accountability needs to be assured. What we can do in this respect is to lay the groundwork for justice to be served in the future. We can support the strengthening of the international legal framework and assist in the establishment of the special tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine. The recently signed ‘Ljubljana-The Hague Convention’ is an important complementary mechanism responding to violations by fighting impunity and promoting accountability for the most serious international crimes.

Three – The humanitarian situation should be addressed. We are witnessing the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II. An estimated 14.6 million Ukrainians will need humanitarian assistance in 2024 and we should take care that it reaches as many as possible, especially in light of increasing needs in other crisis areas around the world, such as Gaza. Slovenia will do its part.

At the same time, thirty percent of Ukraine is contaminated with land mines, the highest percentage of any country in the world. We see humanitarian demining as a vital step towards normalisation and economic recovery of the country.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude with the following:

There is no room for double standards. No one should ignore violations of international law, neither in Ukraine nor in Gaza. We will not allow undermining of international organisations. We will not allow undermining of our institutions. We demand respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law across the board, by everyone, everywhere, all the time.

Than you Mr. President.

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