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10.07.2017

Secretary-General’s press remarks with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine

9 July 2017

Ladies and gentlemen of the press,

I want, first of all, to express my very deep gratitude to President [Petro] Poroshenko for his very warm welcome and his invitation that allowed me to be here today.

I have a very emotional, special link to the Ukrainian people. When I was Prime Minister, Portugal was becoming, after centuries of being an emigration country, we were starting to be an immigration country. And there were certainly lacks in the Portuguese authorities in relation to the migrant situation ¬– I was proud that I was able to introduce a new policy and to fully legalize the host communities, and I have to say that I was inspired by the wonderful qualities of the Ukrainians living in Portugal. They showed an intelligence, a wisdom, skills, that were extremely important for our own development, and the capacity of integration in the Portuguese society that is absolutely remarkable. And this has created a very strong and emotional link between me and the Ukrainian people, and I want to pay tribute to those Ukrainians that really give your country a fantastic image.

Now, with this emotional link, I want to express my solidarity to all those Ukrainians who are suffering because of the recent events that have caused 1.7 million displaced people in the country. I started to work with them as High Commissioner for Refugees, and I want to say that I deeply feel the suffering of the people and I am deeply committed to do everything I can in order to be able to address their plight.

It is clear for me that the Ukrainian people have the right to live in peace and prosperity and in full respect of its independence, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity. I believe that in a moment like the one we are witnessing at the present moment, it is essential to appeal for a full respect of the ceasefire and namely of the other ceasefire that was recently agreed.

On the other hand, the UN is following and will be ready to support all efforts, both of the Normandy Four, of the TCG [Trilateral Contact Group], of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe], and to do everything possible for the solution of this crisis that has been lasting already for such a long period, and you can be sure that for us this is something that we keep in the agenda. It is not a forgotten situation.

At the same time, I want to say that we really want to do better and to do more in our support to humanitarian activities in the country and to enhance our cooperation with the Government in this respect, and also to make sure that we are able to overcome all the difficulties and obstacles that we sometimes feel with respect to the populations in distress.

And I confirm our interest in fully supporting the reform process of the Government. I followed with a lot of interest and attention the London Conference and the very important commitments that were made. And, as the President mentioned, we are ready to upscale our cooperation and our presence to support the Government in the reforms that the Government will be promoting. I am not here to tell to tell Ukraine what are the reforms that Ukraine should conduct – I am here to say that we follow with a lot of interest the decisions that were made and the commitments that were made. We are totally at the disposal of the Ukrainian Government to do everything to support the process that we consider will be very important for the welfare of the Ukrainian people.

And finally, I would like to say that we fully appreciate the excellent cooperation Ukraine is giving the United Nations. Ukraine is today a member of the Security Council and your Permanent Representative has had a very important role in making sure that his body is able to perform as much as possible in guaranteeing peace and security in the world.

Ukraine has a very important contribution to peacekeeping and this is something that is very dear to my heart in the present moment. Ukraine has been actively engaged in all processes in relation to both peace and security, sustainable and inclusive development, and human rights, and I want to express my deep appreciation for what has been an exemplary cooperation.

The human rights bodies of the United Nations are, of course, active in relation to the situation, and, as it is known, the human rights High Commissioner will be providing also his report on the human rights situation in Crimea in due time, so the United Nations will go on in line with the Charter and, observing the principles of the Charter, will go on in fully assuming its responsibilities.

Thank you very much.

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