NEW YORK: The UN General Assembly on Wednesday overwhelmingly condemned what it called Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of Ukraine’s partially occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in the wake of the recent holding of Moscow-backed referendums.
The resolution called on all countries not to recognize the annexation, urging respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine while demanding that Russia reverse the move.
Out of 193 members of the General Assembly, 143 voted in favor of the resolution, including Saudi Arabia and the other GCC countries.
In his explanation of the vote, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdulaziz Al-Wasil, speaking on behalf of the GCC, said the support of the resolution was in line with the Gulf nations’ commitment to the principles of international law and the world body’s charter.
“We reiterate the need to respect the (principles of the) sovereignty of states, good neighborly relationships, and abstention from the use or threat of use of force, as well as settling disputes peacefully,” Al-Wasil said.
He said the GCC countries remain convinced that the best way to stem further negative developments was through dialogue and a diplomatic settlement of the crisis “in a way that caters to the interests of all parties concerned.”
Al-Wasil stressed that the GCC has, since the conflict began, maintained “friendly relations with all parties,” and urged them to “exercise self-restraint, to avoid escalation and to adopt peaceful means for the resolution of disputes.”
He hoped that “work will continue until a satisfactory solution to all parties is reached, to avoid any further humanitarian, political and (economic) repercussions.”
Only four countries joined Russia in voting against the resolution — Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus. Thirty-five countries abstained from the vote, including China.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the resolution was “politicized and openly provocative,” warning that it “could destroy any and all efforts in favor of a diplomatic solution to the crisis.”
The General Assembly had automatically taken up the resolution for debate, triggered by Russia’s use of the veto in the Security Council over its attempted annexations.
The debate over the Ukraine resolution began on Monday, with the President of the General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi telling world representatives that the UN Charter was clear on the illegality of “Russia’s invasion and attempted annexation of Ukrainian territory by force.”