Pacific Islands Forum condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Pacific leaders raise concern over 'spillover' effect of the European crisis



By Mar-Vic Cagurangan


While raising concerns over the European conflict's impact on the Pacific region, the Pacific Islands Forum condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the massacre of its citizens.


"The actions of the Russian Federation are violations of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and are inconsistent with the principles of the charter of the United Nations," Dr. Satyendra Prasad, Fiji's permanent resident to UN said, reading PIF's statement during the UN Special Session on March 23.


"We are collectively shocked at the scale of the humanitarian crisis, which has already displaced more than 10 million people," Prasad said.


The regional bloc appealed to Russia to retreat its forces from Ukraine, spare the noncombatants, de-escalate the situation and return to a diplomatic route.


"We call on all parties to fully respect international law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law, and to uphold human rights," Prasad said.


PIF also called on the warring forces to protect the civilians, civilian infrastructure, medical facilities and personnel, and nuclear sites.


The Forum urged the Ukrainian and Russian governments to call for an immediate ceasefire, pave the way for safe humanitarian access to affected areas and the urgent withdrawal of military forces.


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"We are concerned by the spillover effects of this conflict, particularly greater food insecurity and higher fuel prices, which are already affecting lives and livelihoods, including in the Pacific and other regions," Prasad said.


"Our Blue Pacific relies on the rules-based international order that has promoted peace among our global family for over half a century. The challenges we collectively face today are numerous and will not be overcome without peaceful dialogue," Prasad added.


"Climate Change and Covid-19 must remain at the forefront of our global efforts. Our actions must be guided by established rules and norms," the statement said.



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