Nigeria on Thursday in New York backed a UN General Assembly resolution which declared Russian annexation of Crimea illegal and affirmed Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
The resolution, in the 193-member UN General Assembly, was supported by 100 countries, 11 countries voted against with 58 abstentions.
It called on countries and international organisations not to recognise any alteration of the status of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol based on the March 16 referendum.
It also urged states “to refrain from any action or dealings that might be interpreted as recognising any such altered status”.
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Joy Ogwu, said “Nigeria voted in favour of the resolution solely on the basis of principle”.
In a copy of her statement Ogwu said in supporting the resolution, Nigeria was guided by the same consideration in the March 15 vote on the draft resolution on Ukraine brought before the Security Council.
“We want it to be clearly understood that by voting for these resolutions, Nigeria neither supports nor opposes any particular country or group of countries.
“Rather, Nigeria firmly upholds the sanctity of the UN Charter and the principles of international law in accordance with the Declaration on Rights and Duties of States of 1949.
She also made explicit reference to the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) and other relevant instruments that protect the sovereignty of states.
Ogwu said Nigeria did not take lightly the decision to vote in favour of the two resolutions.
“We weighed the evidence of the case on the scale of justice and the reality of the situation in our own part of the world.
“We also considered the universality of the application of the principles that we pledged to uphold in our interaction with the rest of the world,” she said.
According to the Nigerian UN envoy, both resolutions by the UN have reaffirmed the fundamental principles of international law as well as the principles and purposes of the UN charter.
Ogwu called on UN member states to respect the rule of law at the international level, and also demonstrate due regard for the universal and self-evident truth that all states were equal.
“It is our firm conviction that peace can only be achieved on the basis of mutual respect. Indeed, respect is the foundation on which the rule of law is anchored.
“In this regard, we believe that the protection of ethnic minorities, guarantee of their inviolable rights and respect for their dignity, among others, were the obligation of all states.
“Therefore, no state should deny the rights of whole nationalities or strip them of their identities, including the use of their native languages,” she said.
She pledged that Nigeria would continue to abide by the rule of law and respect the provisions of the charter of the UN.
She advised states to endeavour to seek peaceful and amicable ways to settle their disputes.
Ogwu made reference to Nigeria submission to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on Bakassi peninsula.
“Our willing submission to the ruling of the International Court of Justice in our dispute with the Republic of Cameroon should serve as an example to all law abiding nations.”
She, however, said Nigeria had resolved to facilitate peaceful resolution of the situation in Ukraine guided by universally accepted principles. [NAN]