Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the Fourth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Reykjavík, Iceland
May 17, 2023


Thank you very much. Let me start by stating very categorically that, in the wake of the Second World War, two major multilateral institutions were founded with the express purpose of preventing a recurrence of those horrors: The United Nations and the Council of Europe. I come here today as the United States Representative for one of those institutions in support of another.

Right now, we face a striking challenge to the Council of Europe’s core principles: democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Russia’s war against Ukraine is an affront to all three of these principles. Russia invaded a sovereign, democratic country. Members of Russia’s forces and other Russian officials have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. And Russia has run roughshod over the rule of law.

And that is why we enthusiastically join the Council of Europe’s Register of Damage. We will join as a Founding Associate Member and plan to provide, working with Congress, initial voluntary funding to support the Register as part of our assistance to Ukraine. Russia’s damages must be documented so that those responsible are held accountable. And so that the world sees what responsible nations do.

Can we demonstrate once and for all that democracies deliver for their people? I believe we can.

After all, people around the globe, from Moscow to Managua, from Beijing to Tehran, are seeing how authoritarian regimes are choosing corruption and control over care and competence.

Together, let us continue to stand on the front lines of freedom. And let us continue our close and continuing cooperation – from climate to cybercrime to counterterrorism — to make the world a better, freer, more just place for us all.

Thank you.