By Kurt Campbell
Guyana has co-sponsored and intends to vote ‘yes’ later this week on a United Nations (UN) Resolution that seeks to isolate Russia by deploring its aggression against Ukraine and demanding that Russian troops stop fighting and withdraw.
As fighting continued on Tuesday, Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the U.N, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett joined the more than 100 member states physically in New York to condemn the crisis in Ukraine.
At the Emergency Special Session of the U.N General Assembly which commenced on Monday and continued on Tuesday, Rodrigues-Birkett said Guyana fully aligns itself with the statements issued by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and with the Declaration of the Organization of American States (OAS).
“The Government of Guyana fully supports the resolution before us,” Rodrigues-Birkett, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, said.
This draft resolution is similar to the one vetoed by Russia in the 15-member Security Council last Friday.
The difference now is that no country has a veto in the General Assembly and diplomats expect the resolution, which needs two-thirds support, to be adopted.
While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they carry political weight.
The draft resolution already has at least 80 co-sponsors with well over 100 countries condemning Russia’s aggression before the General Assembly votes.
“The Government of Guyana is gravely concerned over the recent military intervention by Russia in violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to diplomacy,” Rodrigues-Birkett told the August body as she joined regional representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Guyana continues to deplore the threat or use of force in the conduct of international relations and urges a peaceful resolution of the differences that currently exist, in consonance with the rule of international law and the provisions of the United Nations Charter.
“The current military action in Ukraine is contrary to the principles of respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and the non-interference in the internal affairs of another sovereign state,” Guyana asserted.
According to Rodrigues-Birkett, the aggression against Ukraine is a threat to the region and countries everywhere.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Russia’s actions in Ukraine were being “distorted.”
He told the General Assembly: “The Russian army does not pose a threat to the civilians of Ukraine, is not shelling civilian areas.”
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” that it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.
Tuesday marked six days since Russia invaded Ukraine with daily shelling and efforts to capture the capital with other small cities already captured.