Singapore’s UN ambassador hugged by Ukrainian counterpart after emphatic speech

·2-min read
Singapore’s UN Ambassador Burhan Gafoor being hugged by Ukraine's UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya. (SCREENSHOT: United Nations/YouTube)
Singapore’s UN Ambassador Burhan Gafoor being hugged by Ukraine's UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya. (SCREENSHOT: United Nations/YouTube)

SINGAPORE — Singapore has urged the 193-member United Nations (UN) General Assembly to vote for a draft resolution to condemn Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, saying that the matter represents an “existential issue” for the tiny city-state.

Speaking at the UN emergency meeting on Monday, Singapore’s Ambassador Burhan Gafoor said the city-state has always taken a consistent position on the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries.

“A world order where might is right, or the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must, would be profoundly inimical to the security and survival of small states. We cannot accept one country attacking another without justification, arguing that its (Ukraine’s) independence was the result of ‘historical errors and crazy decisions',” Gafoor said.

Singapore is a staunch supporter of the rules-based multilateral system and of the UN. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is a “clear and gross violation” of the fundamental norms of international law and the UN Charter, Gafoor added.

“This is why Singapore condemns in the strongest terms possible any unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country under any pretext.”

Singapore deplored Russia’s military operations across Ukraine and noted with “great sadness” the loss of many innocent lives due to the “unjustified attack and act of war”, said Gafoor.

Following his speech, Gafoor was approached by Ukraine's UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya, who walked over from his seat to give his Singaporean counterpart a hug.

Gafoor said Singapore fully supports the call by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for Russia to withdraw all its troops from Ukraine, all hostilities to cease, and diplomacy to address all issues peacefully, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.

The emergency meeting took place after Russia – a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) with veto powers – vetoed a resolution condemning its invasion of Ukraine in the 15-member UNSC last Friday.

Singapore is one of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution to be tabled before the General Assembly, which is expected to be put to a vote on Wednesday. Gafoor urged all members of the General Assembly to vote "yes" for the resolution, saying it is about upholding international law, and the principles of the UN Charter.

The resolution requires two-thirds support from General Assembly members for it to be adopted. General Assembly resolutions are non-binding but they carry political significance in highlighting positions on the issues being considered.

(Note: Speech by Singapore’s Ambassador Burhan Gafoor in above UN's YouTube video starts around the 3 hour 6 minute mark)

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