Statement by Foreign Minister Baerbock in her capacity as Chair of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at the High-Level Week of the UN General Assembly
In today’s meeting in New York, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, re-emphasised that all Members of the United Nations must refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of any state, or from behaving in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. This principle is a fundamental part of international law, it is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and protects each and every state.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative strongly condemned Russia’s announcement to conduct sham referenda on sovereign Ukrainian territory, which is temporarily under Russian control. Any referenda held under conditions of Russian military presence, intimidation, and forced deportation cannot be free or fair. Any annexation of Ukrainian territory would be a gross violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and the UN Charter. They called on all states to unequivocally condemn any referenda and not to recognize the results. The G7 will also pursue further targeted sanctions and are committed to sustained economic and political pressure on Russia. They deplored deliberate Russian escalatory steps, including the partial mobilization of reservists and irresponsible nuclear rhetoric. Russia must immediately stop its aggression, withdraw its troops and military equipment from Ukraine and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and the territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The G7 further called on Russia to immediately cease its filtration operations and forced deportations of Ukrainian civilians to Russia.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative expressed their deep concerns in view of the latest reports of atrocities committed in parts of Ukraine recently liberated by Ukrainian Armed Forces, including in particular reports of numerous graves, crime scenes and torture facilities in the city of Izyum and in the Kharkiv region. The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative agreed that the swift and thorough preservation of evidence on the ground is of utmost importance in order to hold the perpetrators accountable for crimes committed. Ukraine can rely on the support of the G7 in this regard.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative reiterated Ukraine’s legitimate right to defend itself against Russia’s continued, unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression to regain full control of its territory, within its internationally recognized borders. They saluted the courage and successes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the current counter-offensive, which has allowed them to liberate significant portions of Ukrainian territory from Russian control.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative were unanimous in their unwavering commitment to continue and sustain economic, financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support for Ukraine for as long as necessary and to the extent necessary, to ensure Ukraine’s path to freedom, peace, reconstruction and economic development.
Global consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative expressed deep concern about the global consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine which particularly affect the most vulnerable countries. They committed to further coordination between G7 countries and beyond, to mitigate the consequences of Russia’s war, especially on international food and energy security. They recalled their significant contributions in that regard, e.g. in the field of humanitarian aid for the most vulnerable. They called on all members of the international community and potential donors to join the G7 global solidarity efforts with increased financial and humanitarian support.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative noted with concern the economic challenges which rising inflation and elevated public debt levels pose particularly to the most vulnerable states. They underlined their solidarity with countries most negatively affected and highlighted the importance of working on solutions with partners, especially in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. They underlined their continued ambition as responsive, attentive and responsible partners and firm supporters of effective and rules-based multilateralism. They also stressed their ongoing commitment as the largest supporters of UN appeals for humanitarian aid and assistance like the World Food Program and Global Fund.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative acknowledged the need to strengthen and modernize the United Nations, with a view to making it more effective in the face of mounting global challenges and expressed their support for the UN Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative expressed deep concern about global food security and in particular the risk of famine and acute food insecurity faced by an increasing number of countries across the world. They reiterated that Russia’s destruction of agricultural and transport infrastructure in Ukraine and its months-long blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports have greatly exacerbated global food insecurity.
The G7 welcomed the successful implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, leading to agricultural exports via Ukrainian ports, which has been key to stabilizing global grain prices, thereby assisting not only the direct recipients of Ukrainian grain, but partners in the Global South more broadly. They noted that as part of the current arrangement, to date, far more than half of exported Ukrainian grain went to low and middle-income countries. They especially welcomed Ukraine’s support for the export of grain to the Horn of Africa. They called for continued commitment to the arrangement as facilitated by the United Nations and Turkey, including its automatic roll-over in November. Russia’s threat to end this arrangement directly undermines this key effort to ensure global food security and directly targets the world’s most vulnerable by again risking increasing grain prices.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative commended other efforts, in particular the European Union’s EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes for moving grain by road, rail and barge to world markets. With more than 10 million tonnes shipped out of Ukraine via the Solidarity Lanes since March, these efforts have contributed to Ukraine’s substantially increased capacity to export grain. This has helped to stabilise global grain markets and to lower prices, thereby mitigating the impacts of the crisis for most vulnerable countries.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative underlined once again that contrary to Russian disinformation, sanctions adopted by the G7 in response to Russia’s illegal war of aggression do not target exports of Russian food and agricultural products to third countries. They expressed their continued support to the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance set up by the UN Secretary-General, and for supporting mechanisms and initiatives such as the Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS), the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) and the Roadmap for Global Food Security – Call to Action, all of which have contributed to bringing countries together to tackle the effects of global food insecurity. They recalled their determination to increase the resilience of food systems globally through these efforts, notably by enhancing local and sustainable food production. We also underscore the importance of continued, increased humanitarian food assistance to protect the most vulnerable from hunger and malnutrition, including in the Horn of Africa.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative recalled their statement of 2 August, underlining in particular the G7’s resolve to mitigate the impact of energy supply disruptions globally, particularly for vulnerable groups. They reiterated their condemnation of Russia’s weaponisation of its energy exports and reaffirmed their intention to finalise preparations toward implemention of a price cap on Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products, as announced by G7 Finance Ministers on 2 September. They underlined that the measure is specifically designed to reduce Russia’s ability to fund its war of aggression and limit the impact of Russia’s war on global energy prices, particularly for low and middle-income countries. Successful implementation of the price cap could thus also help to reduce food prices due to lower input costs. The G7 reaffirmed that their aim was to establish a broad coalition in order to maximize effectiveness and called on all countries that still seek to import Russian oil and petroleum products to commit to doing so only at prices at or below the price cap. The G7 underlined their overall commitment to increase coordination with partners in order to bolster efficiency, stability and transparency in energy markets, and to expedite the global clean energy transition.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative expressed deep concern about nuclear safety and security in Ukraine, including the shelling near the Nuclear Power Plant South Ukraine. They also recalled their statement of 10 August on the seizure of Ukrainian nuclear facilities by Russia, in particular the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), and other related actions by Russian armed forces. They underlined that Russia must immediately withdraw its troops and military equipment from the ZNPP and hand back the control over the ZNPP to its rightful owner Ukraine. The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative intend to continue to support the IAEA efforts to ensure nuclear security and safety, including through the IAEA nuclear safety and security assistance plan for Ukraine, in full respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty. They also welcomed the Director General’s work to follow-up on his visit of 1 September, and the proposals contained in his report.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative stressed the overarching importance of nuclear safety and security and underlined their continued engagement and support for the IAEA´s efforts on this matter in close cooperation with partners worldwide.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative discussed recent developments in China and the region. They opposed unilateral changes to the status quo. They reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. There is no change in the basic positions of G7 members on Taiwan, including stated one China policies.
The G7 welcomed the recent publication of the OHCHR Assessment of human rights concerns in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. They remained deeply concerned by the serious human rights violations in Xinjiang and took note of the overall assessment of the report that some of these violations may constitute “international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity”. The G7 committed to continue to address these issues with partners, civil society and the international community. They underlined the importance of the United Nations following up on the OHCHR report. In line with China’s obligations under national and international law, they urged China to fully respect human rights.
The G7 also discussed concerns related to the imposition of measures by China which are not compliant with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The G7 emphasized that despite the systemic differences with China, its members will continue to pursue cooperation in fields of mutual interest, in particular in addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, or global food security issues.
The G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative reiterated the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific which is inclusive and based on the rule of law, democratic values, territorial integrity, transparency, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. They underlined their commitment to improve regional connectivity through quality infrastructure investments, and to strengthen sustainable free trade, enhance national resilience, and confront climate change and the loss of biodiversity. They expressed their intention to work together with ASEAN and other countries towards these aims.