Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to address the Ministerial Meeting of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and thank the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the current Chairman, for organizing it.
The Republic of Serbia, a successor State of Yugoslavia, the founding Member State of the Movement, attaches great importance to its role. For many years, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, a unique political alternative in the period of the Cold War, contributed to reducing tensions and building a different world, based on universal, noble goals of lasting peace and security, sovereign equality of States, social justice, sustainable development and respect for human rights.
The Republic of Serbia is committed to cooperating with the Member States of the Movement and, in the context of contemporary international relations and guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, supports the efforts to strengthen the role of the Movement in advocating the goals and objectives of the developing countries and its platform for promoting their interests at the international level. Also, by participating regularly at the Movement’s Summits and Meetings, my country confirms unequivocally the importance it attaches to its activities and work.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The theme of the Meeting, "Promulgation and Implementation of Unilateral Coercive Measures, in Violation of International Law and the Human Rights of the Peoples Subjected to Them", is of paramount importance for reassessing the current international relations and preventing unilateral actions and solutions to ongoing conflicts and crises in the world. Regrettably, Serbia has been at the receiving end of these destructive measures and witnessed their tragic consequences. The decision to use armed force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was taken and carried out without the authorization of the Security Council, which led not only to gross violation of the sovereign rights of my country, but also to the undermining of the Security Council’s authority and its primary responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security.
Let me recall that the ‘humanitarian intervention’ assertions with regard to Kosovo and Metohija were not the assertions of the Security Council or any other credible body. The invocation of ‘humanitarian intervention’, Mr. Chairman, as a basis for the use of armed force is in sharp contrast with the practice of the International Court of Justice and the documents adopted under the auspices of the United Nations. That notion has never become part of international law as evinced, among others, by the 2005 World Summit Outcome in which it is reaffirmed that “the relevant provisions of the Charter are sufficient to address the […] threats to international peace and security” and that it is ‘the authority of the Security Council to mandate coercive action to maintain and restore international peace and security.” It goes on to stress “the importance of acting in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter.” UNSCR 1244 (1999) is not, nor can it be, a post factum authorization of the use of force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The Republic of Serbia opposes in principle the promulgation and implementation of unilateral coercive measures and interference in internal affairs of sovereign States. We call for refrain from threats and support settlement of all disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law and full respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. In the current conditions and processes of addressing the complex challenges of today, we consider that it is necessary to strengthen multilateralism and improve the functioning of international institutions, primarily of the United Nations. Convinced that international law is a pillar of the stability of the international political and security architecture, while unilateralism is a cause of tensions, we trust and believe that peace can be achieved through a comprehensive approach based on concerting the interests of all stakeholders.
I take this opportunity to thank the numerous Members of the Movement for consistent adherence to the principles of the rule of law within international confines and their refusal to recognize the unilateral declaration of independence of ‘Kosovo’, a violation of the basic principles of the Charter of the United Nations, Helsinki Final Act and UNSCR 1244 (1999). In protecting its own sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Republic of Serbia is also defending, as a matter of principle, international law and the supreme authority of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security. We are well aware that the road for those standing by Serbia today in its just struggle for preserving its territorial integrity and defending the principles of the Charter of the United Nations has not been easy, just as was not the decades-long road that Serbia traversed as it stood by many of you in your straggle for national liberation and the emancipation from colonial rule.
The Republic of Serbia will continue to promote its relations and cherish the traditional friendship with the Members of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, including cooperation in all areas of mutual interest. The commitment of the Movement to, and its support of, the promotion of equality, a just international order and greater solidarity continue to be very important for contemporary international relations. In that, dear friends, you can always count on the support and partnership of Serbia.
Thank you for attention and understanding.