I’m honored to speak on behalf of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM, which is a regional initiative of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
At the outset, let me thank the Delegation of Ukraine for organizing this high-level debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Conflicts in Europe” and for providing us with an opportunity to add voice and share our vision on this important topic from our particular region’s perspective.
This year the GUAM celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Since its establishment the Organizations’ activities have been aimed at fostering stability and regional cooperation in the Black Sea – Caspian Sea region by promoting democracy, trade and economic development, energy and transport links, as well as tourism and culture among the GUAM member states and their partners. This endeavor in addition to the joint initiatives to counter terrorism and transnational organized crime, ultimately contributes to the attainment of the purposes and principles of the United Nations. The role of GUAM as an observer organization and its place in the network of regional cooperation has been acknowledged through the respective United Nations General Assembly biannual resolutions on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development — GUAM. Let me assure you that we remain open for active multi-faceted cooperation based on shared principles and values.
Achievements and success in the fields of major activities of the Organization is significantly shadowed by the unresolved conflicts in the GUAM area, both protracted and newly-emerged, which erode security and stability system across Europe and beyond. Perhaps better than many others in this hall, the GUAM member states, with their 60 million populations, can testify the threats and challenges that conflicts bring along. The existing conflicts on the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine undermine their sovereignty and territorial integrity and have adverse implications on peace, security and cooperation at both regional and wider European levels. These conflicts have affected the lives of millions of people in the GUAM countries, which are in need of protection, assistance and support, whether being forcefully displaced, unable to return to their places of residence or residing in conflict-affected territories.
The GUAM member states are convinced that the peaceful resolution of the conflicts will contribute immensely to the comprehensive and lasting security in Europe. The role of the international mediation mechanisms in conflict prevention and peaceful resolution becomes more critical. The GUAM member states strongly believe that the resolution of the conflicts on their territories within, as appropriate, the Geneva International Discussions, the Trilateral Contact Group, the OSCE Minsk Group and 5+2 Talks on Transnistrian settlement, exclusively on the basis of the norms and principles of international law, which are the respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of States, are vital and imperative for sustainable peace and stability in the region.
Meanwhile, the international community should be vocal and united in restoring territorial integrity of the GUAM member states, de-occupation of the temporary occupied territories, as well as safeguarding the fundamental right of IDPs and refugees to safe and dignified return to their places of residence, as durable solution for the forcefully displaced persons remains a key challenge to be addressed across the GUAM area.
Resolving armed conflicts is also a principled prerequisite for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which underscores that there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.
In the face of daunting obstacles, the United Nations remains as an indispensable forum for addressing ever-complex challenges we are facing. For us is very important to obtain the support for GUAM initiatives under the UN General Assembly agenda item on “Protracted conflicts in the GUAM area and their implications for international peace, security and development”.
We fully support the Appeal for Peace by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made on the 1st of January 2017 and believe that through cooperation, joint efforts and political will we can overcome the multitude of current challenges and pave the way for sustainable peace and development.
I thank you.