Jun 17, 2024

Vice President Harris Speaks at Peace Summit in Ukraine

Harris at Peace Summit
RevBlogTranscriptsUkraineVice President Harris Speaks at Peace Summit in Ukraine

Vice President Harris delivers remarks at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine opening plenary. Read the transcript here.

President Amherd (00:01):

Important goals for this weekend are to inspire a process leading to a framework for a comprehensive just and lasting piece for Ukraine based on international law and the UN Charter, to develop a common understanding on how to take concrete steps towards such a framework, and we want to discuss how and under what conditions Russia can be included in this process.

It is essential that so many of us use this summit to express our support for a peaceful process for a process beyond any armed hostilities. Over the past few months, you have actively and with the utmost commitment helped plan and prepare for this summit. I wish to thank you most sincerely for your help.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, finding a path to peace requires perseverance and will. It requires effort on all sides. We can only achieve the ambitious goal of this summit if we pool our strength and come together, even in areas where our positions differ. Here on the Burgenstock, we will all be making that first crucial step. It is up to us to make sure it is followed by a second. Thank you very much.

Speaker 2 (01:57):

Thank you, Madam President. And now I invite the president of Ukraine Zelensky to take the floor for his address.

President Zelensky (02:08):

Thank you so much. Madam President, thank you. Thank you for your efforts to organize the summit and bring about a just peace.

Ladies and gentlemen. Today is the day when the world begins to bring a just peace closer. I thank everyone who has worked for this day, every leader, all the teams and advisors, all the states. 101 states and international organizations are now at the summit and this is a tremendous success, our success, the common success of all those who believe that a united world, United Nations are stronger than any aggressor.

Distinguished leaders and representatives of states and international organizations, everyone who is here today for the sake of a just peace, I’m pleased to welcome everyone to the first Peace Summit, which can be the first step towards a just end to the war of Russia against Ukraine. And when we end it justly and fairly for Ukraine on the basis of international law, then every nation in the world will be able to count on the same justice and fairness, on the same effectiveness of the UN Charter with regard to its rights. And then these words will once again have their full power.

We, the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and words of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women, and so important of nations large and small. And to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained. These are the first words of the UN Charter, but they are also the words that describe the essence of the peace formula, which became the basis of the Peace Summit and encouraged all parts of the world and different nations with equal respect to participate in our joint work, the Peace Summit.

Our unity here proves that the very idea of international law remains alive and effective. Your presence here proves that the UK Charter and their basic conventions are not a formality, but the real foundations of coexistence among peoples. Our principles are clear. No one has the right to wage a war of aggression against the neighbor and undermine one of the basic principles of the UN Charter, the territorial integrity of states. No one has the right to threaten the world with nuclear weapons. No one has the right to undermine food, energy or any other security of the world and its regions. No one has the right to kidnap the children of another nation. No one has the right to undermine peace. We are able to ensure the effectiveness of such principles, these are globally important principles. And I’m grateful to you, distinguished leaders and representatives of states and international organizations, for proving that the world may not fall into total war anymore.

The war Russia unfortunately brought to us to Ukraine, to our homes, to Ukrainian cities, our villages and hundreds, hundreds of them were unfortunately completely burned by the Russian bombs, artillery, and missiles. Putin has taken the lives of thousands of our people. Why? Because he wants to take over a neighboring country. I do not wish this to anyone. I sincerely wish that all of you, all the peoples of the world, every child, every family, could simply live without war. And I want this for all Ukrainians. Ukraine has the right to peace, just like all of you.

Ladies and gentlemen, we must stop this war based on the UN Charter, respect for international law, the just interests of the Ukrainian people and the idea of the undeniable value of human life. Life not war.

Now, we will focus on three points, like Madam President said, on what is useful to everyone in the world without exception. The first point is radiation and nuclear safety. The second is food security. The third is the release of prisoners and deportees, adults and children, military and civilians whose lives have been broken by war. We will focus on three initial points of the peace formula. And in the process of working on them, we can reach an agreement and create an action plan for each point of the formula.

Therefore, this inaugural Peace Summit includes three panels where each participating country can show its leadership. The peace formula is inclusive, and we are happy to hear and work on all proposals, all ideas, what is really needed for peace and what is important to you. Dear friends, I urge all of you to be as active as possible and I’m proud that all parts of the world, all continents, are now represented at the Peace Summit.

We have managed to avoid one of the most terrible things, namely the division of the world into opposing blocs. Here, there are representatives from Latin America, Africa, Europe, Middle East, and Asia, the Pacific, North America and religious leaders, 101 participants and no one has the privilege of deciding for another. This is true multi-polarity. When each political pool of the us is represented and has its own influence in solving a globally important issue.

No one doubts that the global majority wants to guarantee all aspects of security, including nuclear and food security. The majority of the world definitely supports the principle of territorial integrity of states, sovereignty of nations, and equality in relations between peoples. The world majority definitely wants to live without bloody crises, deportations and ecocides. And so, every nation that is not represented now and that shares the same values of the UN Charter, indeed and war will be able to join our work in the next stages. The peace formula encourages all the powers of the world to think about ending the war, and to propose how to end it. And therefore the very idea war has already lost. Putin should switch from the language of ultimatums, to the language of the world majority which wants a just peace.

Distinguished leaders and representatives of states, what exactly can this summit deliver? Plus is to prove that the return of security is indeed possible. We will work out the steps with you. Second is to provide a real plan to make every step for peace work, from nuclear and food security, to the release of prisoners and deportees, to the complete end of the war without the threat of its new outbreak. I believe it’s possible.

Third, there is no need to reinvent the wheel when the UN Charter already defines the foundations of peace and normal coexistence of peoples. We just have to return to them. And for these purposes, we need to decide how countries will cooperate, who will be core leaders in order to fix and implement an action plan. These are absolutely clear and achievable goals.

Now, there is no Russia here. Why? Because if Russia was interested in peace, there would be no war. We must decide together what a just peace means for the world and how it can be achieved in a truly lasting way. The UN Charter is the basis for us, and then when action plan is on the table, agreed by all and transparent for the peoples, then it will be communicated to the representatives of Russia, and so that at the second Peace Summit we can fix the real end of the war.

Now we are starting this path together, we must prove that the united world is a world of peace, a world that knows how to act correctly. Thank you for attention. Thank you for participating in the summit. I hope for fruitful work together. Of course, together we all need peace. Slava Ukraine.

Speaker 2 (12:54):

Thank you, Mr. President. Now I’m pleased to hand over the floor to the Vice President of the United States of America, Kamala Harris.

Kamala Harris (13:12):

Thank you. Thank you, President Amherd and President Zelensky for hosting the summit. It is my honor to be here with all of the leaders today.

I first met President Zelensky in February of 2022, just five days before Russia invaded Ukraine, an outrageous attempt to subjugate a free people and an attempt to wipe a sovereign state off the map. On that same day, I addressed the Munich Security Conference and made clear that the United States of America is a steadfast supporter of the principles, that people have a right to choose their own form of government, nations have a right to choose their own alliances. There are inalienable rights governments must protect. The rule of law must be cherished. Sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states must be respected. And national borders should not be changed by force. And nearly two-and-a-half years later, I’m here to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to these principles, and our unwavering commitment to support the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s brutal aggression.

As I discussed with President Zelensky earlier today, President Biden and I have made clear over the past three years we are committed to uphold international rules and norms, to defend democratic values and stand up to dictators, and to stand with our allies and partners. This approach has provided for our security and prosperity for generations, and it continues to do so today. This approach makes America strong and it keeps Americans safe, and this approach bolsters global stability.

Russia’s aggression is not only attack on the lives and the freedom of the people of Ukraine, it is not only an attack on global food security and energy supplies. Russia’s aggression is also an attack on international rules and norms and the principles embodied in the UN Charter. Russia is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, nevertheless, for nearly two-and-a-half years, it has shamelessly violated the core tenets of that charter.

If the world fails to respond when an aggressor invades its neighbor, other aggressors will undoubtedly become emboldened. It leads to the potential of a war of conquest and chaos, not order and stability, which threatens all nations. President Joe Biden and I will continue to support Ukraine and continue to impose costs on Russia, and we will continue to work toward a just and lasting peace based on the principles of the United Nations Charter and the will of the people of Ukraine.

President Zelensky, the United States shares your vision for the end of this war and an end to the suffering of the Ukrainian people. And let us all then commit to the imperative of returning innocent children kidnapped by Russia returning them to their homes. Let us also agree a practical benefit of the work of this Peace Summit is to increase global food and energy security. And let nothing about the end of this war be decided without Ukraine.

By contrast, however, yesterday Putin put forward a proposal, but we must speak truth. He is not calling for negotiations. He is calling for surrender. America stands with Ukraine, not out of charity, but because it is in our strategic interest. We stand with delegations from more than 90 nations who also have a strategic interest in a just peace in Ukraine. Among us, no doubt, exists a diverse range of views on many of the global challenges and opportunities we face. We don’t always agree, however, regarding Putin’s, unprovoked, unjustified war against Ukraine, there is unity and solidarity in support of international norms and rules. For President Joe Biden and me, it is one of our defining missions to uphold the international rules-based order, to defend it, strengthen it, and promote. And no doubt it must be a priority for us all. Thank you.

Speaker 2 (18:13):

Thank you, Madam Vice President. May I now ask the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to give her address.

Ursula von der Leyen (18:32):

President Amherd, [foreign language] Viola, President Zelensky, dear Volodymyr, Vice President Harris, dear Kamala, Presidents and Prime Ministers, Ministers, Excellencies, we have all come to Switzerland from different places with different histories. We may not always see the world in the same way, but there’s something all our countries have in common. We all value our independence and our freedom. We all expect our borders to be respected. We all yearn to be the masters of our own destiny. Some, indeed many countries have had to fight for this, for independence, for self-determination, for freedom, and this is also what Ukraine is fighting for. This is also what the people of Ukraine desire, and their greatest aspiration is to be independent and free in peace. They want the missiles to stop hitting their cities. They want to live free from fear. They want their children to be safe, not constantly worrying about the next air raid siren.

Surely this is the right of all countries and all people, and this is why we’re here today. We are here today to help bring an end to a brutal and unjust war. A conflict that has shattered lives and displaced millions. The echoes of Russia’s war of aggression reverberate across the globe. Energy prices have soared, food prices have exploded, and it is a cautionary tale for the entire world. Is it right that a larger country can invade and take territory from a smaller neighbor? The answer is of course no. It is written in the Charter of the United Nations, and that is why it is vital that we reaffirm that Charter. It is vital that we pledge again to uphold firmly the principles of the UN Charter.

Freezing the conflict today with foreign troops occupying Ukrainian land is not an answer. In fact, it is a recipe for future wars of aggression. Instead, we need to support a comprehensive, just, and sustainable peace for Ukraine. One that restores Ukraine’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity, the unviolability of all borders, the sovereignty of ran of all nations, this is at stake.

And history teaches us the quest for peace is fraught with challenges, but it was precisely from the ashes of World War Two that the United Nations were born. And today we need once again to light that beacon of hope for global peace and security. The international community must stand together to support Ukraine in its pursuit of peace. That is how we open the path to peace. That is how we open the path that will allow lives and homes to be rebuilt. And that is how we open the path to restore international peace and security. Our common task is to reaffirm the primacy of the United Nations Charter. Thank you very much.

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