President Emmanuel Macron of France on Tuesday called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a return to “imperialism” and said that those who remined silent or were “secretly complicit” were engaging in a “new cynicism” that was eroding the global order.
Addressing world leaders on the opening day of the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, Mr. Marcon said: “Today we need to make a simple choice – war or peace.”
He called that at the end of February, “Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, through an act of aggression and invasion and annexation, broke our collective security … when it deliberately violated the UN Charter and the principle of sovereign equality of states.”
The French President said the ICJ had declared Russia’s aggression illegal and called for the withdrawal of its troops, even as Russia continued its aggression, possibly paving the way for “for other wars of annexation in Europe, today and perhaps tomorrow in Asia, or Africa or Latin America.
“The longer this war goes on, the more it threatens Europe and the world. It could lead to greater conflict where security and sovereignty no longer depend on the strength of alliances, but on the strength of armed groups… and subjugation of others,” he said, adding: “What we have seen is a return to the age of imperialism. France rejects this and will steadfastly search for peace.”
Mr. Macron said the war “is undermining the principle of our Organization, is undermining the only possible world order, is undermining peace.”
With this in mind, he said that he had been and would continue to engage in dialogue with Moscow, “because it is only by working together that we can find peace.,” including, among others, “the humanitarian, military and political support that we are providing to the people of Ukraine so they can enjoy their legitimate right to defense and preserve their sovereignty.”
Mr. Macron said he rejected the stance of those nations that said they remained “neutral”, declaring: “They are wrong. they are making a historic error.” President Macron stated: “Those who are keeping silent today are, in a way, complicit with the cause of a new imperialism…. that is trampling the current order.”
It is not a matter of choosing between East and West, or north and south, Mr. Macron said, “because over and beyond war, there’s a risk of dividing the world” and he called on the members of the General Assembly and the Security Council to stand up for “our most precious common good – peace.”
He called on the members of the Security Council “to act so that Russia rejects the path of war and assesses the cost for itself and for all of us – and, really, bring an end to this act of aggression.”
Turning to other pressing issues on the international agenda, Mr. Macron stressed that with climate change, ecosystems “reaching the point of no return”, food shortages and price spikes, looming famine, and terrorism, among other ills, “it is always the most vulnerable people that are the most impacted.
“These are all things that we need to address urgently. Many of these problems are caused by divisions between us and therefore our shared responsibility must be to help the most vulnerable to cope with these challenges,” he stated.