Ghana has maintained its position that the on-going aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation is by all standards, unlawful, unjustified and unacceptable.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr. Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, who made the remarks at the United Nations Security Council on February 24, 2023, said it was untenable that a permanent member of the Security Council, entrusted with the distinct responsibility for the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security, would choose the path of war to the exclusion of the diplomatic and internationally acceptable means at its disposal.
“Over the past year, as we have called upon the Russian Federation to end this destructive war, we have listened carefully, at each turn, to its attempts to rationalize the on-going actions in Ukraine. Between the reality on the ground and the changing narratives, including protection of ethnic Russians in parts of Ukraine from Russo-phobic attacks, our assessment remains that the on-going aggression against Ukraine is by all standards, unlawful, unjustified and unacceptable,” he observed.
Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong also called for the urgent reform of the Council and the prohibition on use of the veto, especially, in matters affecting international peace and security, particularly “where a permanent member of the Council is the one in breach of the Charter and international law.”
Below is the statement
1. I thank Malta, in its capacity as the President of the Security Council, for convening this debate on the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine.
2. I also thank Secretary-General António Guterres for his statement and for his leadership in the past twelve months on the humanitarian, security and political aspects of the war, in support of our shared ambition for an end to the war in Ukraine, and a return to the cherished principle of peaceful settlement of disputes.
3. I wish, at the outset, to re-affirm Ghana’s deep commitment to the sovereignty, political independence and the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We reiterate our solidarity with the people of Ukraine as war ravages their farms, towns and cities.
4. We recall that as the Security Council convened in an emergency session on the night of 24th February, 2022, amid widening concerns of an imminent attack against Ukraine, our worst fears were borne out before our very own eyes. Given the firm denials by the Russian Federation to any assertions that the mounting presence of its troops along its shared borders with Ukraine was in preparation for an invasion of Ukraine, Ghana, at that time, had urged for the de-escalation of tensions and the tempering of war rhetoric.
5. Regrettably, that night, as the Council met, the Russian Federation, without justification, began its actions to violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbour, Ukraine. As has been asserted, so many times, the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine constitutes a serious violation of international law and stands today as one of the clearest violations of the prohibition against the use of force under article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.
6. Over the past year, as we have called upon the Russian Federation to end this destructive war, we have listened carefully, at each turn, to its attempts to rationalize the on-going actions in Ukraine. Between the reality on the ground and the changing narratives, including protection of ethnic Russians in parts of Ukraine from Russo-phobic attacks, our assessment remains that the on-going aggression against Ukraine is by all standards, unlawful, unjustified and unacceptable.
7. In our view, conventional frameworks and judicial mechanisms such as the Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice should serve as the only acceptable recourse in addressing any claims of human rights violations. We, therefore, consider it untenable that a permanent member of the Security Council, entrusted with the distinct responsibility for the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security, would choose the path of war to the exclusion of the diplomatic and internationally acceptable means at its disposal.
8. The veto by the Russian Federation on 25th February of the Security Council draft resolution intended to end the military offensive, has regrettably prevented the Council from taking decisive action. The present circumstance underscores the long-standing arguments for the urgent reform of the Council, and the prohibition on use of the veto, especially, in matters affecting international peace and security; more so where a permanent member of the Council is the one in breach of the Charter and international law.
9. The war on Ukraine, as we know, was preceded by efforts to address certain concerns with the post-cold-war European security architecture. We believe that any revisions to the existing structures that guarantee collective security of its members must emerge from broad dialogue, involving all relevant actors in the region. We are concerned that a fallout from the continuing war in Ukraine are attempts to create or reinforce opposing alliances, a situation which took us to two world wars. We believe that this is the time for cooler heads and a rededication to mutually beneficial cooperation and multilateralism, not competition for hegemonic advantage. Those who wish to dig in their heels for selfish advantage in the geopolitics of the 21st Century would lead us down the pit of even greater disaster.
10. The war has unleashed a devastating humanitarian toll and claimed thousands of lives. Sustained missile bombardments mainly targeted at civilian populated areas have resulted in more than 21,000 casualties, including 8,006 deaths and 13,287 injured. It is saddening to note that 478 innocent children have been killed and 954 injured. Millions of people have been displaced with some 8 million living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Our own national compatriots, most of whom were college students, had their education disrupted when they were forced to flee from Ukraine.
11. We are informed that 50% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged. This situation has left many households without heating or water and at the mercies of the harrowing winter conditions.
12. We regret that hostilities have carried on without regard for the principles of proportionality and distinction and therefore, we reiterate our condemnation for the targeted attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure. Warring parties have obligations under International Humanitarian Law, which they must comply with.
13. It is impossible to see the aggression against Ukraine in any other light, except as an attack on the accepted standards of our international order and allowing it to stand imperils the independence and equality of States under the Charter, especially of less powerful States. We must, therefore, sustain the political will for accountability, first to ensure justice for the people of Ukraine and not least, for the preservation of the present international order. The coordination of on-going investigative processes as well as the strengthening of our international justice system, including the universalization of the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court, remain crucial to ensuring that the perpetrators of atrocities in Ukraine, like elsewhere, do not go unpunished.
14. We recognize the courageous efforts of humanitarian workers who have worked under very difficult circumstances to provide life-saving and lifesustaining assistance to some 16 million people and urge international support to help fund the Ukrainian Humanitarian Response Plan with the $3.9 billion that is required to aid nearly 40% of the population, with varying humanitarian requirements.
15. The rest of the world has not been spared the aftershocks of the war, which continue to reverberate, with crippling and systemic impacts on global food, energy and finance systems. Developing countries, already hard hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, debt and inflation, have little coping capacity for the worsening economic conditions.
16. We take note of the useful policy recommendations put forward by the Global Crises Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance to address the vicious cycle of the crises, including the restructuring of the global debt architecture. We believe priority should be given to implementing those recommendations, especially to support Africa’s economic transformation and its capacity to address the growing debt crises and the interlinked consequences of the war.
17. Given the centrality of the Russian Federation and Ukraine in the global grain and fertilizer markets, we support the further renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative to ease global market volatilities that hold long-term economic effects. Necessary attention must also be given to realize the effective implementation of the MOU between the United Nations and the Russian Federation on the export of agro products and fertilizers.
18. We are acutely concerned by the growing appeal of a military logic and the hardening of the conflict to a war of attrition. The war is moving in a direction that leaves much concern as the events of the past 12 months have demonstrated that no one is immune from the consequences of the war in Ukraine. We have a responsibility to redouble our efforts to avert the catastrophe of a more brutal war than what we have witnessed so far.
19. The resolution on a just peace in Ukraine, adopted yesterday by the General Assembly under the 11th Emergency Special Session, in affirmation of the values and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, should ignite a renewed commitment to take the actions needed to realize our collective aspirations for lasting peace between the two countries.
20. We strongly believe that the channels of diplomacy and dialogue offer the best chances of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace and urge the Members of this Council to strengthen their efforts in support of credible negotiations between the parties. We have little option than to invest in peace.
21. In concluding we reiterate our call for the Russian Federation to return to the status quo ante through the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of its troops from all areas within the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine.
I thank you for the kind attention.