56th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 73rd Session

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17-Dec-2018 03:22:58
General Assembly adopts resolution urging Russian Federation to withdraw Its armed forces from Crimea, expressing grave concern about rising military presence at 56th plenary meeting.

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The General Assembly today adopted a resolution urging the Russian Federation to withdraw its military forces from Crimea and end its temporary occupation of Ukraine’s territory without delay, but rejected an amendment that would have called on both sides to investigate an incident in November involving the seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and crew.

In adopting the resolution “The problem of militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine), as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov” (document A/73/L.47), by a recorded vote of 66 in favour to 19 against, with 72 abstentions, the Assembly expressed concern about the use of force by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, including seizing three Ukrainian vessels on 25 November. It also called for the release of Ukraine’s vessels and crew members it captured.

By terms of “L.47”, the Assembly called for the utmost restraint to de-escalate the situation immediately. It also condemned the Russian Federation’s construction and opening of the Kerch Strait bridge between the Russian Federation and temporarily occupied Crimea, which facilitates the further militarization of Crimea.

The Assembly further condemned the increasing military presence of the Russian Federation in parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It called on the Russian Federation to refrain from impeding the lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms and stressed that the presence of Russian troops in Crimea is contrary to the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The representative of Ukraine, introducing “L.47”, said the text’s main goal is to urge the Russian Federation to withdraw from Crimea. “It is a matter of utmost important for every Member State to support the principles laid out in the United Nations Charter,” he said. Having seen increased militarization of the Crimean peninsula since Russia’s occupation began in 2014, he said Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine and other Black Sea States entails long-term negative consequences in the region.

The representative of the Russian Federation, following the adoption of the resolution, expressed regret that the text went up for vote, but was glad to see so many delegations abstain. Ukrainian armed forces are waging war on their own citizens, shooting at women, children and the elderly. The United States is providing weapons to Ukraine in an attempt to pit two brotherly people against one other. Kyiv is run by Washington, D.C., he said, adding that Crimea has always been and will always be a part of the Russian Federation.

Prior to taking action on “L.47”, the Assembly, by a recorded vote of 64 against to 25 in favour, with 60 abstentions, rejected a draft amendment (document A/73/L.68) proposed by Iran’s delegation. The draft would have had the Assembly urge both States to exercise restraint and respect for each other’s sovereignty and would have called on both to conduct a full independent investigation into the 25 November incident.

In other business, the Assembly considered a report of the Credentials Committee (document A/73/600), containing the draft resolution “Credentials of representatives to the seventy-third session of the General Assembly”, which it adopted without a vote. Iran’s representative said that, while his delegation joined consensus, it had reservations about sections in the report that could be construed as recognizing the Israeli regime.

The Assembly also elected 30 members to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law to serve six-year terms beginning on 8 July 2019.

Delivering statements today were representatives of Iran, Syria, Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, United Kingdom, United States, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia, Singapore, Republic of Korea and Indonesia. A representative of the European Union also spoke.

The General Assembly will meet again tomorrow at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 18 December to take up human rights questions.

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