On 19 February in New York, the Foreign Minister of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs addressed the United Nations Security Council and called on Ukrainian authorities to immediately stop the use of force against civilians. The minister also urged both sides to refrain from violence and a further escalation of the situation and to return to talks between the Government and the opposition.
“It is with increasing concern that Latvia follows the tragic events in Ukraine and, in the strongest possible terms, condemns violence that has led to the death of several dozen of people. The Ukrainian President is directly responsible for what is going on in the country, and we call on the Ukrainian Government to ensure the rule of law and legal order,” Latvian Foreign Minister emphasised.
In his address to the Security Council, Minister Rinkēvičs highlighted the fundamental role that compliance with international law and ensuring the rule of law have in safeguarding peace and security. “The rule of law has a major significance in preventing and solving conflicts as well as in peacekeeping. The United Nations Organisation and its members, having committed themselves to the principles laid out in the Charter of the United Nations, perform a crucial role. Latvia is satisfied that the rule of law has become one of the central elements in the UN peacekeeping missions, and Latvia also calls for including this vital aspect in the mandates of the organisation’s future missions,” said the Foreign Minister.
Mr Rinkēvičs drew attention to the significance of the International Criminal Court for preventing impunity on the international scale. According to the Foreign Minister, the establishment of the International Criminal Court was a major achievement of the international community, and the institution should be strengthened further so that it could prevent and effectively respond to serious violations of human rights.
The minister’s address at the UN Security Council took place as part of the debate on the rule of law held by Lithuania as the country presiding over the UNSC in February. Edgars Rinkēvičs is the first Latvian Foreign Minister to ever address the UN Security Council.
Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs was also scheduled to meet with the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe, UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, and representatives from some regional groups.