Secretary of State reports UN general assembly in New York
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Francisco André, reiterated Portugal’s position today that the war in Ukraine will only end when Russia leaves the country.
A day after speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Francisco André told Lusa: “Russia must realise that this aggression, in addition to being illegal and unjustifiable, is atrocious and uses unacceptable, often medieval tactics, such as hunger and suffering of populations, with consequences on a global scale”, such as Moscow’s recent unilateral suspension of the Black Sea Cereals Initiative, which allowed food to be exported from Ukrainian ports and supplied to the most fragile countries.
“Portugal unquestionably condemns these atrocities” and will continue to support Kiev, at various levels, including military and financial, as well as the reception of refugees (about 60,000 since the beginning of Russia’s illegal invasion on 24 February 2022), and the territorial integrity of Ukraine “without any margin for doubt”.
“The distance we are from a peace process is the time it takes Russia to immediately end its military intervention in Ukrainian territories,” he stressed.
Francisco André explained that these meetings at the United Nations are important to mobilise the entire international community to support Ukraine and “to understand that this situation we are experiencing is unacceptable, because it causes suffering, because it destroys infrastructure, because it takes lives, and also has global consequences that today we all recognise as very negative in the prices of goods”.
He mentioned in particular impacts on developing countries, “which are without any responsibility paying a very high price for the consequences of this Russian aggression” quoting UN Secretary-General António Guterres – with whom he met earlier this week – when he said that the suspension of the grain agreement was an option for Moscow, but the countries suffering from the consequences of this war do not have that option, and this needs to be fully understood.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, involving Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, came into force roughly a year ago – and has since allowed almost 33 million tonnes of food products to flow through Ukrainian ports and silos.
The meeting in New York this week also served to mobilise representatives of countries with different positions on the conflict, “to explain what is at stake”, André continued, describing the “very emotional account” by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who read the diaries of three Ukrainian children “so that all participants in the General Assembly could realise that children who should be preoccupied with play and education are now victims of war, lose parents and siblings and have to deal with death and destruction every day”.
In addition to Ukraine, other themes taken forward to the meeting by Portugal were the commitment to the digital transition and the climate transition.