(CMC) – Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders have “strongly” condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and have called for an “immediate ceasefire and an end to all aggression” as well as the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Eastern European country.
In a statement issued Thursday following their Inter-Sessional Summit that ended here on Wednesday night, the 15-member regional grouping said “concerns the Russian Federation may have must be resolved diplomatically and not through warfare.
“We reaffirm the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and call for respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. We call on all parties involved to urgently intensify diplomatic dialogue and to immediately de-escalate hostilities and work towards sustainable peace.”
In a third statement issued by Caricom since the political situation in Ukraine last month, the regional leaders said that the invasion of Ukraine is “causing untold loss and destruction of life and property for the civilian population of Ukraine, including women and children, in violation of international humanitarian law, and has caused a growing humanitarian crisis.
“We express appreciation to the Governments and people of neighbouring countries who are extending humanitarian services to refugees fleeing Ukraine.”
But the leaders said that they are particularly concerned about the plight of and discrimination against non-European nationals and call for the guarantee of the safety and security of nationals of the Caribbean, Latin American and Africa and from those countries who are seeking to leave Ukraine.
“In this regard, we underscore the importance of respect for human rights and the human dignity of persons in keeping with international commitments.
“We reiterate that the principles of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of another sovereign state, the prohibition on the threat or use of force, and the peaceful resolution of all disputes must be adhered to by all nations.”
Speaking during the end of summit news conference, host prime minister and Caricom Chairman, John Briceno told reporters that the leaders left the possible imposition of sanctions on Russia to individual member states.
“We discussed the issue of Russia at length,” he said, adding “Caricom felt that that is something we should do as individual countries.
“We have to decide what kind of sanctions, if any, we can take as countries and not as Caricom.”