MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has urged Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from Ukraine, voting to support a new United Nations (UN) resolution calling for an end to the war that marked its first year on Friday, February 24.
The Philippines was among 141 countries that voted to support the UN General Assembly resolution, while 32 other countries abstained and seven voted against it on Thursday, February 23.
One of the demands in the 11-paragraph document is that Russia “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine and called for a cessation of hostilities.”
It also calls for accountability for serious crimes committed in Ukraine during Russia’s invasion in the interest of ensuring justice for victims and the prevention of other crimes in the future.
As countries voted on the resolution, UN General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi of Hungary said the world is facing “stark choices about who we are as an international community.”
“These choices will either set us on a path of solidarity and collective resolve to uphold the tenets of the UN Charter, or a path of aggression, war, normalized violations of international law and collapsed global action,” he added.
UN General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but are symbolic and carry political weight.
Support for peace plans
Nearly a year ago, the Philippines had denounced what it considered as the “invasion of Ukraine” as it voted to support a UN resolution that condemned Russia’s actions against its neighboring country.
In calling for peace, the Philippines has also repeatedly drawn attention to the Manila Declaration on the peaceful settlement of international disputes, which was adopted by the assembly in November 1982. The document reiterates the obligation of states to settle disputes by peaceful means and through the rule of law.
“No conflict will ever be resolved when even the most basic norms are being violated with impunity,” Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said after talks with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Berlin last week.
A peace plan proposed by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy last year called for a restoration of territorial integrity and for Russia to reaffirm it according to the UN Charter, which Zelenskiy said was “not up to negotiations”.
It also demanded a withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities.
Manalo earlier said the Manila supported all proposals that could lead to peace in Ukraine that were acceptable to all parties concerned, “especially Ukraine.”
“Our position has not changed on the matter and we have been clear with our statements with the press and in the UN General Assembly that we voted in favor of all the General Assembly resolutions that we must reaffirm the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of Ukraine,” he added. – with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com
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