36th Plenary Meeting - General Assembly 75th Session

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07-Dec-2020 01:38:08
Resolutions calling on withdrawal of forces from Crimea, establishing epidemic preparedness international day among texts adopted by General Assembly.

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The General Assembly this morning adopted three resolutions dealing with prevention of armed conflict and global health and foreign policy, including one urging the Russian Federation to withdraw from Crimea and another that declared 27 December as an International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.

By a vote of 63 in favour to 17 against, with 62 abstentions, it adopted the resolution “Problem of the 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/75/L.38/Rev.1). Through that text, it urged the Russian Federation, as the occupying Power, to immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its military forces from Crimea and end its temporary occupation of the territory of Ukraine without delay.

Ukraine’s representative, who introduced the text, said that by occupying Crimea and turning it into a powerful military outpost, the Russian Federation is violating international law and the Charter of the United Nations. Moscow’s growing military presence on the peninsula represents a threat to peace and security well beyond the Black Sea region, he added.

The Russian Federation’s representative, in an explanation of position before the vote, underscored the politicized nature of the draft. For a third year, he said, the Assembly was being distracted by a text put forth by Ukraine, even though the people of Crimea have already decided its future through a referendum.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the resolution “International Day of Epidemic Preparedness” (document A/75/L.8), proclaiming 27 December as a day to highlight the importance of the prevention of, preparedness for and partnerships against epidemics. Its adoption came on the heels of a two‑day special session of the Assembly devoted to the COVID‑19 pandemic. (See Press Releases GA/12293 and GA/12294.)

Viet Nam’s representative, who introduced the text, said COVID‑19 is not the first epidemic that the world has faced in recent years, nor will it be the last. “The pandemic caught us off guard, but it also has served as a wake‑up call for improving our preparedness.” Observing an International Day on Epidemic Preparedness can help achieve that goal, he said.

Also acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the resolution titled “The role and importance of a policy of neutrality in maintaining and strengthening international peace, security and sustainable development” (document A/75/L.31).

Turkmenistan’s representative, who introduced the draft, underscored the experience of neutral States in such areas as mediation, conflict prevention and easing global tensions. He also noted the text’s reference to his country hosting a conference devoted to the International Day of Neutrality on 12 December.

Also speaking this morning were representatives of Malaysia, Singapore, Cuba, India, Syria and Azerbaijan as well as the European Union.

Also speaking in explanation of position were representatives of the United States, Denmark (on behalf of the Nordic countries), United Kingdom, Singapore, Belarus, Indonesia, Iran and Algeria.

The representative of the Russian Federation spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 3 p.m., Monday, 7 December, to consider reports from its First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) and act on draft resolutions contained therein.

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