I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*and Albania*, as well as Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
This year, during the time of pandemic outbreak, we have commemorated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, a tragic chapter in the history of Europe and of the whole world. We welcome that despite difficult and not always transparent negotiation process, the consensual adoption of the resolution A/RES/75/5 preserved the unity of the international community on this important subject and permitted the organization of this postponed session where we pay tribute to the victims of the war.
We should never forget the horrors of the past and the cruelty of war to prevent ourselves from repeating them. We have the responsibility of ensuring that such atrocities will never reoccur. We also have to remember the sacrifices made and mourn all the people who lost their lives as victims of the war, occupations and acts of repression and those who were murdered in the Holocaust. We believe that historical awareness is a necessary step in preventing similar crimes in the future.
The United Nations were conceived in order to preserve international peace and security. In its very Preamble, the Charter of the United Nations states that “We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind”. This important lead-in phrase should not ever be forgotten.
We remain very conscious of the fact that it has not been only the two world wars that have brought untold sorrow to humankind over the past century. Unfortunately, our efforts for peace have failed too often. The European Union, which itself was born from the ashes of conflict, as well as all the EU Member States have pledged to work with all the States Members of the United Nations to lift those scourges and to create a more peaceful, just and prosperous world for future generations.
We note with regret that many crises remain unresolved and new are arising. This year anniversary and UNSG call for global ceasefire to focus on ending the COVID pandemic should lead us to redouble our efforts to settle disputes by peaceful means.
We pay our earnest tribute to the historic role of the allied forces and their sacrifices in the defeat of Nazism during the Second World War. However, we should likewise remember that the Second World War brought about painful divisions in Europe and that for many European countries the end of the Second World War brought not freedom but more crimes against humanity committed against their people. We need to overcome the legacies of the war and build on the progress made since the end of the Second World War in promoting democratic values, human rights and fundamental freedoms. When it comes to commemoration, we should pay tribute to the women and men who fought for liberty and peace. They should inspire us to look forward with hope and to redouble our efforts for peace and understanding. Today, we, the States Members of the United Nations, must play this crucial role together.
The European Union and its Member States believe that mutual respect and an honest and thorough debate on history will facilitate reconciliation based on truth and remembrance while preserving the memory of the victims of one of the darkest episodes of our history.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.