Speech/statement | Date: 06/05/2014 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
"I reiterate Norway’s strong support for Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We strongly urge Russia to pull its troops back from Ukraine’s borders and to avoid any action that could destabilise Ukraine", said Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende, in his statement.
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Thank you, Mr Chairman.
As we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Council of Europe, we find ourselves at a pivotal point in the history of Europe.
The Secretary General’s report on human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe could not have been more timely. I am concerned by the trends on our own continent, documented in the Report.
Corruption and immunity from prosecution are on the rise. There are serious shortcomings in the set-up and functioning of the judiciary in many countries. There are also threats to the freedom of expression and media freedom. These challenges must be taken seriously.
On this occasion – 65 years after the foundation of the Council of Europe – we can look back on many important achievements by this organisation. The Council of Europe has served its Members well. It has increased both knowledge and respect for human rights in Europe.
Despite these achievements, we cannot allow ourselves to become complacent. Human rights are under pressure. There is a gap between commitments on paper and realities on the ground. This is a challenge to all of us. I can assure you that the Norwegian Government will continue to give high priority to promoting and protecting human rights.
It is with deep concern that we witness serious breaches of international law in the heart of Europe.
Developments in eastern and southern Ukraine are very worrying. We were deeply saddened by the deaths in the past week. The Geneva agreement represented a possibility to put an end to the violence. We strongly regret that the pro russian separatists have not been disarmed. Quite the contrary. We also strongly underline the importance of the upcoming Presidential elections on 25 May.
I reiterate Norway’s strong support for Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We strongly urge Russia to pull its troops back from Ukraine’s borders and to avoid any action that could destabilise Ukraine.
It is now crucial that all Member States fully respect the United Nations’ Charter and the Statute of the Council of Europe.