Minister Xavier Bettel speaking at UN General Assembly in NYC; Credit: Evan Schneider / United Nations Photo

Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Minister of Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, Xavier Bettel, paid a working visit to the headquarters of the United Nations on Thursday 22 and Friday February 2024.

In New York, Minister Bettel participated in ministerial meetings at the Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly marking the sad second anniversary of the war of aggression launched by Russia against Ukraine. The debates focused in particular on the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine, the situation in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories, as well as the situation of Ukrainian children affected by the war. The minister was able to speak on the sidelines of these meetings with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.

Minister Bettel took the opportunity to reaffirm Luxembourg's full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people who continue to defend themselves against the aggressor, Russia.

Xavier Bettel regretted the fact that the Permanent Representative of Russia left the room after his own intervention at the General Assembly. According to the ministry, this shows the lack of real desire for dialogue. Minister Bettel also criticised the rewriting of history by the Russian authorities and the justification of the war of aggression against Ukraine by the fight against Nazism.

Starting a war is not greatness in politics, it is ending a war which shows the greatness of a politician,” remarked Minister Bettel. “Let us also recognise the strength of the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians are fighting. But they don't just fight for themselves. They also fight for us,” underlined Minister Bettel.

As part of his trip to New York, Minister Bettel also had a meeting with the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres. They spoke of the war of aggression launched by Russia against Ukraine, emphasising that it is a serious violation of the Charter of the United Nations. The situation in the Middle East and in particular in the Gaza Strip was also on the agenda. In this regard, Minister Bettel reiterated Luxembourg's call for an immediate ceasefire as well as for the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza. The importance of releasing all hostages held by Hamas was also highlighted in this context.

Minister Bettel was able to speak with Catherine Colonna, who chairs the independent review panel of UNRWA established by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. He also participated in a discussion on the situation in the Middle East with representatives of countries in the region.

The head of Luxembourg diplomacy concluded his visit with a meeting with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Kiyoto Tsuji, which provided an opportunity to take stock of bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of air transport services and space.