PETR PAVEL, President of the Czech Republic, recalled that his country has its own experience with wars and interventions, including decades’ long military occupation imposed by Moscow, which “taught us what it means when ‘might makes right’”. Visiting Ukraine in April, he “saw the infamous crime scenes at Bucha and Borodyanka”, stressing that the “list of stories full of horror is endless.” The Russian Federation must unconditionally withdraw all troops from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, with its leaders held accountable for the crime of aggression against its neighbour. He noted that from day one, his country has stood by Ukraine’s side and provided the defenders with weapons and ammunition, and per capita, has received more Ukrainian refugees than anybody else, mostly women and children. He called for a just and durable peace on the defender’s terms.
“Those who contest the international rules steer the wheel of global security backwards, into confrontation, and sooner or later at the expense of all of us,” he stressed. Expressing concern over the security, humanitarian and political crises unfolding in the Sahel, he called on the international community to find a way to end the series of military coups and ensure a return to constitutional order. This is the only way countries can effectively protect themselves against terrorism and achieve the much-needed economic and social development called for by African people. He emphasized that some countries pretend to be willing to help, but in reality, create economic and political dependencies which undermine long-term stability. He condemned China’s military actions raising tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and its unfriendly actions against partners in the South China Sea. He further cited reckless escalation of nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile activities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran.
Turning to the Middle East, among the world’s most volatile regions, he pointed to efforts to normalize relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours, bringing positive steps towards stability and peace. Having its own national experience with oppression, fundamental rights and freedoms “are deeply embedded in our values system and foreign policy,” he stated. Prague strives to pursue an active human rights and democracy policy and is a staunch supporter of international human rights mechanisms, currently serving as the Presidency of the UN Human Rights Council. He called for greater efforts to support media freedom to enable access to independent and factual information, as without it “disinformation and propaganda can win.”
“The 2030 Agenda is a promise to current and future generations, which we need to keep,” he stated, noting that in the latest SDGs Index, the Czech Republic ranked as the eighth most advanced country in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Turning to climate change, he cited it as the single most destructive threat to the current and future existence and well-being of all humankind since prehistoric times. Thirty years after the end of the cold war, he emphasized that the world is witnessing efforts by authoritarian regimes to redefine core principles of the multilateral order. Malign actors use cyberspace; disinformation; and economic, political and other tools to disrupt democratic processes, to undermine institutions and to weaken security. “The challenges we face today are significant and it is apparent that only collective action can ensure a safe and prosperous future for all,” he stressed.
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