Home » Ukrainian conflict – view from the East – Kommersant newspaper No. 178 (7379) of 09/27/2022

Ukrainian conflict – view from the East – Kommersant newspaper No. 178 (7379) of 09/27/2022

by archyde

The general political discussion that ended on Monday at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly revealed two alternative approaches to the Ukrainian conflict – relatively speaking, Western and Eastern. Statements by representatives of China, India and other powers of the non-Western world showed that these countries are not ready to recognize Russia as the only culprit in the confrontation threatening nuclear war. The countries of the East place responsibility on both sides of the conflict and see its solution not in the military victory of one of the parties, but in de-escalation, designed to avoid passing the point of no return.

The high-level week of the UN General Assembly, which took place from September 19 to 26, became a diplomatic marathon in the extreme conditions of the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, the destruction of the mechanisms of diplomacy, as well as the increasingly harsh rhetoric of Russia and the West on the possibility of a nuclear conflict. While the United States and its European allies from the first days reaffirmed their determination not to deviate from the path of supporting Ukraine and achieve a military defeat for Russia, the countries of the East made it clear that there will be no winners in the game of escalation. Everyone will lose, and therefore it is urgent to use new mechanisms of diplomacy in order to prevent the most destructive conflict since the Second World War.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke about the danger of spreading the negative consequences of the Ukrainian conflict to other regions in his speech at the 77th session of the General Assembly.

Not limited to Beijing’s traditional call for a peaceful settlement addressed to all parties, the head of Chinese diplomacy outlined the main task as follows: “to prevent the spillover effect of the Ukrainian crisis, to ensure the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.” Recalling Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal to create a “comprehensive and sustainable security system,” he urged “respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and resolve disputes through dialogue.”

In turn, Indian Foreign Minister Subramaniam Jaishankar emphasized the inadequacy of the ongoing attempts to divide the world into two opposing camps, depending on the attitude towards the Russian operation in Ukraine.

“As the conflict in Ukraine continues to escalate, we are often asked – which side are we on? And every time our answer will be direct and honest. India is on the side of peace and will stand firm on that. We are on the side that respects the UN charter and its fundamental principles. We are on the side that calls for dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out,” said the head of the Indian Foreign Ministry.

While his Chinese counterpart called for a return to the creation of a global security architecture, the Indian minister stressed the need to return to resolving issues that remain in the background when everyone’s attention is riveted to Ukraine. “The world is already grappling with the challenges of economic recovery from the pandemic. The debt position of developing countries is unsustainable. Added to this are rising costs and the shrinking availability of fuel, food and fertilizer. This, along with trade disruptions and diversions, is one of the many consequences of the conflict in Ukraine,” the Indian minister said.

Already in December, India will take over the chairmanship of the G20, which this year belongs to Indonesia, which is preparing for the G20 summit in Bali (scheduled for November 15-16). In this situation, Delhi is already demonstrating today its determination to use its future G20 presidency to get away from the “Ukraine-centricity” of the world agenda, which manifested itself during the high-level week of the UN General Assembly, and return to international institutions the lost ability to respond to major challenges and crises. “India will work with other G20 members to address the serious issues of debt, economic growth, food and energy security and, in particular, the environment. The governance reform of multilateral financial institutions will remain one of our top priorities,” Subramaniam Jaishankar promised.

Another manifestation of the growing fatigue of the countries of the East from the Ukrainian conflict and their growing demand to return to the discussion of security and development issues, which the states of the non-Western world consider a priority, was the speech of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri.

“The pandemic, and then the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, further aggravated the plight of the most vulnerable states,” the minister said. Avoiding the search for right and wrong in the Ukrainian conflict, he called for “the restoration of a multilateral approach in international relations” and declared the inadmissibility of “the application of double standards to the settlement of various conflicts.”

The common position of the Arab world was also demonstrated during the meeting of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly with members of the contact group of the League of Arab States, one of the topics of which was Ukraine. The meeting was attended by the heads of the diplomatic departments of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and the Arab League Secretary General. In a statement released after the meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that “the Russian side gave a high assessment of the balanced position of the Arab League on this issue.”

Common to most non-Western countries and addressed to all the players involved in the Ukrainian conflict, the allegorical appeal was made by the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Foreign Minister of this country, Don Pramatvinai. He tried to convey to the audience the idea that the nuclear threat to the whole world had ceased to be speculative. “We have a saying in the East that is appropriate to recall in this context. It refers to the pleasure of riding an animal, be it a tiger or a dragon. Riding on the back of a tiger can be fun and challenging, but no one can enjoy a ride that has no end in sight. The question is: how to safely get off the back without killing the tiger, ”said Mr. Pramatvinai.

According to him, Thailand is ready to offer all parties to the Ukrainian crisis to gather in Southeast Asia in November and use three platforms at once to find a way out of the current situation. These venues could be the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits in Cambodia and the G20 in Indonesia, as well as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Thailand, scheduled for November 11-13, November 15-16 and November 18-19, respectively.

“The UN is well positioned to maintain stability and peace and can also contribute to these efforts. Let’s hope that this golden opportunity will not be missed,” urged Don Pramatvinai.

Sergey Strokan

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.