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26 March, 1999
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Statement by
H.E. Mr. Volodymyr Yelíchenko, Ambassador,
Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations
at the 3989th Meeting of the United Nations Security Council

Mr. President,

I thank you for your invitation to participate in this discussion, as well as express my gratitude to all other members of the Council for their concurrence with this invitation.

At the outset, I would like to read the statement, issued by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on 24 March 1999, since it expressed the position of my Government with regard to the subject currently under the consideration by the Security Council in the most comprehensive and condensed manner. This statement is as follows:

"It is with deep inquietude and concern that Ukraine has perceived the news about NATO air strikes against the targets on the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Adhering to the norms and principles enshrined in the UN Charter, Ukraine considers as inadmissible the use of military force against a sovereign state without authorization of the UN Security Council Ė the only body entrusted to take such decisions in order to maintain international peace and security.

At the same time, the Belgradeís refusal to sign the agreements elaborated through the mediation of the Contact Group resulted in the breakdown of the negotiating process. Therefore, the provisions of the Security Councilís resolutions 1160 (1998) and 1199 (1998) have not been fully implemented, and that led to the use of force.

Ukraine urges the parties to the conflict, as well as the international community to urgently exert additional efforts in order to stop the further escalation of the conflict. It is necessary to return as soon as possible to a peaceful political settlement on the basis of the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and granting a wide autonomy to Kosovo.

Ukraine reaffirms its readiness to contribute to the efforts aimed at restoring peace and ensuring stability and respect for human rights, including the rights of national minorities on the territory of the FRY."

It was the statement of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine of 24 March 1999. Even if it was issued as far back as two days ago, all of its provisions remain topical with regard to the current crisis in the center of Europe. My country has all grounds to be seriously concerned about this crisis, because it is fraught with danger of unpredictable consequences. We are ready to do everything possible in order to avert such consequences.

That is why Ukraine has already got actively involved in the efforts to stop the crisis and to achieve a peaceful solution of the Kosovo problem. I would like to inform the body, which, as we still believe, bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, about the current visit to Belgrade by the Foreign Minister of Ukraine H.E. Mr. Borys Tarasyuk, which is underway as we speak.

This peace-making mission undertaken by the Foreign Minister of Ukraine is another proof of sincere aspiration of my country to contribute constructively to the cause of finding a solution to the conflict, to the restoration of peace and stability in the entire Balkan region.

In the course of negotiations with the leadership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Mr. B. Tarasyuk will put forward a number of concrete proposals, which could lead to the suspension of NATO air strikes against the FRY, resumption of negotiating process between the parties to the conflict in Kosovo, return of the OSCE Verification Mission, settlement of the refugees problem, preservation of the territorial integrity of the FRY and granting a wide autonomy to Kosovo.

One of the specific proposals, to be made by the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, is to reconsider the question about the guarantees to secure the political settlement in Kosovo through the deployment there of a multinational peace-keeping force, which composition could be acceptable to all parties. As soon as I receive information about the results of negotiations in Belgrade, I will immediately make them known to the members of the Security Council.

In the meantime, I would like to emphasize that the sine qua non of any peaceful solution must be full implementation by both the authorities of the FRY and the leaders of the Kosovo Albanian community of all relevant provisions of the Security Councilís resolutions 1160 (1998), 1198 (1998) and 1203 (1998), first of all, concerning the maintenance of an effective cease-fire and withdrawal of Serbian security forces, involved in the repressive actions against the population in Kosovo.

Mr. President,

I donít want to comment on the results of the vote just held. I just want to say on a personal note that the discussion we have heard reminded me very much the grim times of the cold war. I sincerely believe that it is not the wish of anyone in this room that these grim times come back.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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