Ukraine - We must now turn to how to restore peace (01/26/2015) [fr]
Ukraine - Security Council - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I thank Mr. Feltman for his briefing. We would have all wished to see 2015 begin under better auspices for Ukraine and its stability. The year has barely started, and twice in less than a week the situation on the ground has forced us to meet here.
The spiral of chaos, which started two weeks ago after several months of relative calm, could not be halted these past few days — quite the contrary. The deaths of 13 civilians in Volnovakha on 13 January, as well as the shelling of a trolleybus in Donetsk last week, which claimed at least eight civilian victims, were already a source of concern, even as the previous day the Russian, Ukrainian, French and German Foreign Ministers had been able to reach an agreement on the withdrawal of heavy weaponry.
On Saturday and Sunday in Mariupol, separatist groups attacked residential neighbourhoods with rockets, killing nearly 30 civilians and instilling terror among the population. All reports from the ground, in particular those of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observers, confirm this. More than a further violation of the ceasefire, this is also a serious violation of the international humanitarian law that protects civilians. These acts are unacceptable as they indiscriminately target civilians. The offensive against Mariupol, which was provocatively welcomed by Alexander Zakharchenko last Saturday, violated the commitments undertaken by the parties last September in Minsk and is entirely unacceptable.
Let us not mince words. By supporting the Ukrainian separatists and their actions, Russia bears a significant share of responsibility for the violence. We must now turn to dialogue and seriously discuss the future of Ukraine and how to restore peace. We also call on Russia to stop supporting the separatists, who are hell-bent on destabilizing the situation. We call for a long-overdue end to the transfer of weapons and manpower across the Russian-Ukrainian border, which is fuelling the war and violates the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the most fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and which undermines diplomatic efforts seeking to settle the conflict in accordance with international law and the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Ukrainians, including its minorities. We urge Russia to use all its influence on the separatists in the east of the country so that they fully respect the ceasefire.
The statements made by Mr. Lavrov today, announcing the facilitation of contacts between the warring parties, are a positive sign but they are not enough. We also call on Ukraine to begin the institutional reform as per its commitments. President Poroshenko has spoken publicly of the prospects for national dialogue and institutional reform. That statement was a further step towards the comprehensive implementation of the Minsk accords, which are the only way to achieve a negotiated solution to this crisis. The international community will judge the good faith of the parties not on mere statements but on concrete and verifiable actions that prove their genuine commitment to de-escalation.
We must also call on all parties to refrain from attacking the civilian population, to respect international humanitarian law and to ensure humanitarian access to the wounded and to civilians in need of assistance. We must underscore that there can be no military solution to this conflict. Only by all parties fully implementing the Minsk accords and resuming serious diplomatic discussions, in the context of the trilateral contact group, can there be a positive outcome to this crisis. Every efforts must be made to that end.
In this difficult context, we cannot afford to let down our guard. France remains and will remain fully mobilized to achieving a peaceful settlement. Our goals are clear and consistent: respect for the ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weaponry on each side of the contact line, a resumption of prisoner exchanges, the resolution of humanitarian issues and the implementation by the parties of all measures under the Minsk accords.
France will pursue its efforts, in close contact with our German partners and the Russian and Ukrainian authorities, under the so-called Normandy format. We have no time to waste. This is not the time for prevarication or hypocrisy. Today we must urgently end this conflict, which has already claimed more than 5,000 lives and exacted too high a price from Ukraine, from Russia, from the European Union and from the international system as a whole.