Islamabad: Pressure mounted on Pakistan as heads of various foreign missions in the country on Tuesday urged it to condemn “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine” in the ongoing emergency special session of the UN General Assembly, which has been convened to vote for a resolution against Moscow.
In a joint statement, the heads of mission of leading EU nations like Germany, France, Italy and others, including Japan, the UK, Canada and Australia, pointed out that Russia launched an “unprovoked attack and invaded a peaceful neighbouring country”.
“As Heads of Mission to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, we urge Pakistan to join us in condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and voice support for upholding the UN Charter & founding principles of international law,” said Lis Rosenholm, the Ambassador of Denmark in Pakistan.
The 193-member UN General Assembly convened the rare and unprecedented emergency special session on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine Monday after the 15-nation Security Council voted Sunday on a resolution to refer the crisis to the most representative body of the world organisation.
India had abstained on the resolution, along with China and the UAE, while Russia voted against and 11 Council members in favour.
The statement noted that Russia launched an unprovoked action against Ukraine that posed no threat to it. “This constitutes a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and presents a serious risk to global peace and security,” it said.
The envoys said the international community must work in solidarity and support and uphold the rules-based international order “in these extreme times”.
The other envoys who signed the letter include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland as well as the head of the Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan.
The high commissioners of Canada, the United Kingdom and the Charge d’Affaires of Australia to Pakistan are also signatories to the letter.
The envoys also said in the letter that a draft resolution brought in the UN Security Council on February 25 was vetoed by Russia. Eleven members voted in its favour but three members, including China, India and UAE, abstained.
The statement comes ahead of the vote in the UN General Assembly on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s action as well as seeking an end to its aggression.
According to diplomatic sources, Pakistan might abstain from voting in the UN General Assembly session in order to avoid taking sides in the conflict.
According to a UN statement, some 100 countries are expected to address the General Assembly, which is scheduled to vote on a draft resolution on Ukraine, tentatively expected on Wednesday.
Pakistan became conspicuous in the Ukraine crisis as Prime Minister Imran Khan was visiting Moscow when the attack was ordered by President Vladimir Putin.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a press briefing that it was a bilateral visit planned well ahead of the eruption of the conflict. He also said that Islamabad would not take sides and later on he held a telephonic conversation with Ukrainian counterpart.
While a UNSC resolution condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine would have been legally binding and General Assembly resolutions are not, voting in the 193-member UN body is symbolic of world opinion on the crisis and carries political weight as they represent the will of the entire UN membership.