Statement by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher
Secretary for the Relations with States and International Organizations
at the Open Debate United Nation Security Council
“Upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter through effective multilateralism: maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine”
New York, 20 September 2023
Mr. Secretary General,
This Open Debate of the Security Council takes place in the context of the cruel and senseless war against Ukraine, which, with great sacrifice, is defending its sovereignty and the inviolability of its internationally recognised borders. These are the same values promoted and shared since the foundation of this noble Organisation. Faced with the ongoing tragedy, a spontaneous question arises: against whom is this war being waged? It is before the eyes of everyone that those paying the highest price are civilian, simple people and, above all, children, youth and the elderly.
War is a great evil, and at present we can see that it is expanding more and more, beyond the Ukrainian borders, covering with its thick shadow not only Europe, but also other continents and, above all, infiltrating human hearts, making them containers of a ‘logic of war’. Truly, as Pope Francis reminds, we are witnessing World War III, which is being ‘fought piecemeal’.
It is undeniable that the Russian attack on Ukraine has jeopardised the entire global order, which arose after World War II. Its negative consequences can already be glimpsed in the humanitarian, demographic, food, socio-political, legal, economic, ecological, military, nuclear, energy, health, educational, religious, migratory and other spheres, which are altogether fundamental elements of the architecture of world security. Evil is incapable of generating good. Aggression can only generate new aggression. If this war is not stopped and peace is not sought at every turn, the whole world risks plunging into even deeper crises.
The solution to the war in Ukraine is not only a matter for Ukraine itself. In the face of the tragedy unfolding before our eyes, it is due time to ask ourselves some of Pope Francis’ questions: “What am I doing today for the Ukrainian people? Am I doing something?” Today, the entire international community, more than ever, cannot surrender itself and let this issue pass by in silence. In order to have a peaceful and secure future, all Member States of the United Nations, and especially those of this Security Council, are called upon to join efforts in the search for a just and lasting peace for Ukraine, as an important element of the global peace of which the world thirsts. It is better and cheaper for all to invest in peace instead of war!
The Holy See, for its part, is close to Ukraine and fully upholds its territorial integrity and, moreover, continues to engage in humanitarian initiatives aimed at alleviating the suffering of the Ukrainian population, especially that part of it which is weakest and most vulnerable while, at the same time, urging all States and relevant International Organizations to become creative and courageous artisans of peace and weavers of constructive dialogue.
Peace is not a reality whose features and properties are unknown. Everyone knows what peace is. It will surely come when there is a common commitment to implement it not only at the international, institutional level but also in our own hearts and homes.
To all of you, and especially to the tormented Ukraine, I would like to extend my heartfelt wish that the desired peace may return to cheer the whole world.
Thank you, Mr. President.