NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 21 – In the current situation where instability and isolationism are reawaken in Europe and beyond, it is impelling – according to Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations – to foster “a multilateral approach” vis-à-vis protracted crises in the Continent. The Italian ambassador expressed these views in a statement delivered on Tuesday, February 21, 2017, at the Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Conflicts in Europe”. This is the transcript of his speach.
Mr. President, Excellencies, dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning.
I would like, first of all, to thank the Ukrainian Presidency for convening such an important and timely debate. Faced with multiple challenges and new threats, today more than ever we are called upon to find collective and peaceful solutions, including in Europe.
Exactly sixty years ago, Europe’s founding fathers signed the Treaty of Rome, the first crucial step towards the establishment of the European Union. Reemerging from the horrific ashes of the Second World War, against all odds, they initiated an era of unprecedented and unsurpassed peace and prosperity. Most importantly, they proved that the people’s innate longing for solidarity and peaceful coexistence can, if given a chance, prevail on the sterile impulses of unbridled ultra-nationalism, isolation and exclusion.
Having experienced the self-destructive repercussion of such impulses, my Country was proud of hosting the dawning of Europe, which is, and remains, a model of peaceful coexistence, common values, democracy, solidarity and openness. An approach that, we believe, will best serve the future of our own children.
On 25th March 2017, in cooperation with the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council, we’ll host in Rome a Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the EU members. It is a way to honor a symbolic moment but also an important occasion to reinvigorate the spirit of the European project and to underscore the EU potential as a force of peace and for peace.
In the current situation where instability and isolationism are reawaken in Europe and beyond, it is impelling  to foster our multilateral approach vis-à-vis protracted crises in our Continent,  to leverage all the tools at our disposal to prevent conflict, and  to respond to whomever threatens to violate the principles embodied in the United Nations’ Charter, the international legal order and the equal rights to existence of any Country or people.
I would like to reaffirm Italy’s commitment to ensuring that any international dispute in Europe is resolved through legal and peaceful means, upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, the inviolability of frontiers, and the principles embodied in the Helsinki Final Act.
Italy looks with great concern at tensions on the Eastern flank of the Continent, starting with Ukraine, in the Caucasus and in the Balkans.
We believe that the only acceptable and possible outcome of the crisis in Ukraine lies in a lasting political solution preserving Ukraine’s territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty that can only be attained through a constructive dialogue involving all concerned parties and actors. Italy firmly supports the multifaceted and pivotal role of the OSCE and the reconciliation efforts of the Normandy group, lately convened in Munich last Saturday to facilitate progress towards a swift and full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. The Minsk Agreements – incorporating not only security aspects, but also political clauses as well as the necessary economy-boosting measures – are the only platform for a lasting compromise.
We also support the efforts carried out by the OSCE for a peaceful and comprehensive resolution of the Transdniestrian conflict, based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova, with a special status for Transdnistria.
In this framework, we welcome the resuming of talks in the “5+2” format last June.
Looking at the long-running tensions in the Caucasus, I reaffirm in the same spirit my Country’s commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity, and call for an intensification of the dialogue with the breakaway regions to relaunch the Geneva Talks.
I also would like to reassert Italy’s support to a peaceful solution of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh, and welcome the efforts of the three Co-Chairmanships of the Minsk Group for a compromise grounded on the Helsinki Final Act and the 1997 Madrid Principles.
The persisting difficult political situation in the Western Balkans is a dire warning of the risk of relapse into conflict in a region at the very heart of Europe and essential for its security.
We call on all local leaders to tone down their rhetoric and to genuinely embrace the European Union’s steadfast support to dialogue and peace in the region. Only by following the path of mutual collaboration and regional cooperation Countries of the Western Balkans will be able to ensure a better future for their own people. We continue to work in this direction as chair in 2017 of the Berlin Process in view of the Summit on Western Balkans Italy will host in July in Trieste.
Today an agreed settlement for a reunited Cyprus is closer than ever. We strongly support the continuation of the talks, the two Communities’ ownership of the negotiations and the mediation role played by the UN and the EU.
No prosperity and no achievement are born out of division, and the people of Cyprus deserve a workable agreement and to prosper in a common endeavor.
Europe turned last century’s scars into a formidable set of tools to prevent and resolve further conflicts. Italy welcomes the renewed dedication of the Secretary General António Guterres to political solutions to international crisis and calls upon all the members of this Council to factually enact our common commitment to sustaining peace in Europe and beyond.
By leveraging Chapter VIII of the Charter we entrust regional organizations such as the OSCE and the EU with the responsibility to promote conflict-resolution across the Continent, reaping substantial results, such as the progress achieved in the Ukrainian crisis.
Finally, the European Union, thanks to ambitious and effective stances such as its Enlargement and Neighborhood Policies, is the strongest driver for peace and resilience in Europe and, through its vast and substantial external action, an irresistible stabilizing force for the whole world and for our collective security.