Espreso. Global

UN reform and veto: highlights from Zelenskyy's speech at UN Security Council

20 September, 2023 Wednesday

On September 20, Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the UN Security Council: the Ukrainian President emphasized the need to reform the organization, create a mechanism to override the veto and give all nations the opportunity to be represented

The president's speech was broadcast by Espreso.TV.

Zelenskyy on UN reorganization and Russia’s veto power

Zelenskyy emphasized that the General Assembly Resolution confirms the fact that the only source of this aggression is Russia, but this has not changed anything for Russia in the UN. He emphasized that nations are forced to look for other alliances because they can no longer rely on the UN.

"We have to admit it: The Organization is in a dead end with regard to aggression. Humanity no longer pins its hopes on the UN when it comes to protecting the sovereign borders of nations," the head of state said.

He emphasized that Russia's veto power in the UN "makes the organization incapable of functioning."

"Everyone in the world can see what exactly makes the UN ineffective. In this chair in the Security Council, which Russia occupies illegally through backroom manipulations after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there are liars whose job is to justify the aggression and genocide that Russia is committing. And all the actions of the UN are broken by the privilege that this chair gives to the aggressor The veto in the hands of the aggressor is what has driven the UN to a dead end. No matter who you are, the existing UN system makes you still less than the veto, which is held by only a few and used by one - Russia - to the detriment of all other UN members," the president said.

According to Zelenskyy, he believes that the UN is "capable of more."

"Many years of talks and projects on UN reform should become a process of reforming the UN. The use of the veto is what needs to be reformed, and this can be a key reform. The one that restores the power of the UN Charter. The veto should not serve as a weapon for those who are obsessed with hatred and war," he said.

The president emphasized that the organization should come up with a way to override the veto.

"The UN General Assembly should be given a real opportunity to override the veto. This is the first necessary step. Provided that two-thirds of the votes reflect the will of the nations from Asia, Africa, Europe, both Americas and the Pacific - a global qualified majority - the veto should be really overcome, and such a General Assembly resolution should be binding on all member states," Zelenskyy explained.

Zelenskyy calls for expansion of UN permanent missions

The president of Ukraine emphasized that it is necessary to expand the representation of nations in the Security Council, as it should reflect the present.

"The African Union should be here permanently. Asia deserves a wider permanent representation. I cannot call it normal that nations like Japan, India or the Islamic world are still without a permanent representation. Germany deserves a place among the permanent members of the Security Council. Latin America should be represented here - permanently. And the Pacific states," he explained.

The head of state also emphasized that "we cannot limit our attention to those in the top chairs".

"It is necessary to expand participation and access to the work of the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies for all members of the General Assembly who are not recognized as aggressors. And at the same time, any participation of any Security Council member state should be suspended for the time when such a state, in violation of the UN Charter, is engaged in aggression against another nation," Zelenskyy comments.

Aggression prevention

Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the UN should create a system of aggression prevention and preemptive sanctions against aggressor countries.

"Anyone who wants to start a war should see, even before their fatal mistake, what they will lose when they start a war. The issue of preventive sanctions should be submitted to the UN Security Council automatically when any member of the General Assembly declares the threat of aggression," the President said.

The President emphasized that Ukrainian soldiers are now "doing with their blood what the UN Security Council should do with their votes: stopping aggression and protecting the principles of the UN Charter". He also said that Russian troops and the navy should withdraw from the territory of Ukraine within the internationally recognized borders of 1991. In addition, Zelenskyy noted that Ukraine must regain effective control over its state border and exclusive economic zone in the Black and Azov Seas, as well as the Kerch Strait.

Ukraine’s peace plan

The President noted that he had created the Ukrainian Peace Formula based on the principles of the UN Charter and that the members of the Formula were ready to work on reforms of the organization.

"The nations that join the Formula realize that they are working for the sake of the rules-based international order, for the protection of territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, protection of human rights, prevention of aggression and genocidal policies. The epicenter of such work should be this hall – the hall of the UN Security Council and, to an even greater extent, the hall of the General Assembly. If this requires reform of the UN institutions, then we should not be afraid of reform. We are ready to work together with the UN members participating in the Peace Formula on relevant draft resolutions and amendments to the UN Charter," he explained.

  • On Wednesday, September 20, more than a dozen European countries, as well as Australia and Canada, asked the International Court of Justice to determine its jurisdiction in the genocide case brought by Ukraine against Russia.

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