Novak in Reykjavik: Finding ‘opportunity for fair peace’ a priority
Addressing a meeting of the Council of Europe, Novak said if all conditions of a just peace were met that would clear the path not only for a ceasefire but reconciliation under an enduring peace.
The heads of state and government of the Council of Europe have an extraordinary responsibility in advancing and ensuring peace for the citizens of their countries, she said and welcomed that an increasing number of leaders supported a fair and just peace which she said was “the universal desire of all our citizens”.
The Council of Europe is key in promoting and protecting human rights, and has done much for democracy and fundamental freedom rights, she said.
“This is the right time and place to send a firm message, that of the right to peace,” she said.
At the same time, it is a priority that the fight for freedom does not curb the rights of minorities, she said. “Respect for minorities’ rights is one of the foundations of European cooperation, and cannot be set aside,” she said.
The summit should have been an opportunity to celebrate, she said: “Our economies have never been this advanced, we have left the coronavirus pandemic behind, we learnt to bolster common values and to handle cultural, historic and linguistic differences…”. At the same time, Europe is facing grave challenges: “there is a war in continental Europe and our peaceful lifestyle is under attack,” she said.
“Russia’s mad decision to attack Ukraine, a neighbour of Hungary, has upended our world,” she said.
Aggression and attack on a sovereign state is unacceptable, she said. War crimes must be investigated and the perpetrators held to account, she added.
On the sidelines of the summit, Novak had talks with Italian PM Giorgia Meloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Moldavian President Maia Sandu, as well as Ukrainian PM Denys Smyhal.