President Berset speaks at UN Security Council debate on Ukraine
Bern, 20.09.2023 - On 20 September, President Alain Berset attended a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine. Other highlights of his stay in New York during the opening week of the 78th UN General Assembly were Switzerland's address in the general debate and the Summit on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, which is held only once every four years.
At the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine, Mr Berset recalled the principles of the United Nations enshrined in the UN Charter and the mandate of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security. Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, denies its responsibility for the thousands of dead and wounded in Ukraine and for all those who have been plunged into insecurity – everywhere in the world, including in Russia itself – by its war of aggression against its neighbour. Switzerland reiterated its appeal to Russia to respect the UN Charter and withdraw immediately from Ukraine’s territory. At the same time, the president underlined Switzerland’s solidarity with Ukraine, its humanitarian support for the country and its commitment to the reconstruction process.
In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Mr Berset cited the great challenges facing the global community, in particular extreme inequality, which in some countries has reached levels not seen since the early 20th century, the climate crisis, war, conflict, and the continuing erosion of multilateralism. The president stressed that strong institutions were essential in combating this development and called for a renewal of the cooperative world order: “The UN embodies the institutionalised hope of a better world.” Switzerland welcomes the New Agenda for Peace that was presented by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in July with a view to the UN Future Summit next year. Mr Berset stressed that Switzerland, as a member of the UN Security Council, would continue its commitment to peacebuilding and the protection of the civilian population in the coming year.
The Summit on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on Monday marked the half-way point to the deadline the global community has set itself to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the 169 targets associated with the SDGs, currently only 12% are on course. In some cases, progress has actually backslid. As Mr Berset explained, most of the targets are on the right track, but not at the right pace. In Switzerland’s view, what is needed is a stronger multilateral system, an efficient international financial architecture, and better cooperation between science, politics and the private sector.
On the fringes of the UN General Assembly, Mr Berset discussed a range of bilateral issues and global challenges with around a dozen heads of state and government, including Moldovan president Maia Sandu, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol. At Mr Berset’s meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, talks focused on the Black Sea Grain Initiative that Russia has withdrawn from, the war in Ukraine, and efforts to achieve comprehensive peace in Colombia.
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