Resolve conflict through diplomacy


The world’s peace and security are once again at stake because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed has now also added his voice on it saying this crisis can be interpreted as start of the World War III. Indeed the situation is very worrisome and heavy responsibility rests with important capitals and the United Nations must play the part to avert such an eventuality, otherwise, consequences will be worse for whole humanity.

The recent emergency session of the UN General Assembly also adopted a resolution calling for Russia to completely and unconditionally withdraw its forces from Ukraine. There is no denying that the conflict is causing immense human sufferings in Ukraine and a massive damage to its infrastructure, economy and society and all this must stop but concerns of the other party especially vis-à-vis expansion of NATO also needs to be listened to and addressed. Russian President Vladimir Putin has long complained that Western alliance has been pushing closer to its borders. Whilst passage of resolution will be seen by many as a success yet in our view it will not bring any change on the ground until and unless path of diplomacy and dialogue is pursued. It is also important to note that thirty-two member countries including China and Pakistan abstained from voting on the resolution. China’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dai Bing rightly pointed to the fact that brutal facts offer an ample proof that sending weapons to Ukraine will not bring peace and instead adding fuel to the fire will only exacerbate tensions. It is really unfortunate that this time the land of Ukraine is being used as a laboratory to test latest weapons as well as weaken Russia as a strategic goal.

It must be understood that Russia-Ukraine conflict has only been adding to uncertainty that in turn is triggering volatility in global commodity and financial markets. Both Russia and Ukraine are important agricultural and energy suppliers in global chain and since they are off the market, this has driven up prices to all time highs, fuelling a cost of living crisis in both developed and developing nations. The worst affected indeed are countries like Pakistan whose economy is already struggling to cope with balance of payment crisis. Also the African continent is largely dependent on wheat import from Russia and disruption in supplies is creating problems for it as well. The World Food Programme (WFP) says the crisis remains at ‘unprecedented proportions’ with ten times the number of people facing famine compared to five years ago.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has exemplified that people around the world are being directly affected by the war. Hence, instead of pursuing strategic goals, sanity must prevail by demonstrating flexibility. As opposed to increasing military arsenal on both sides, important capitals especially Washington must come forward and lay the groundwork for negotiations to end the conflict. Obstacles will definitely come in the way but these can be surmounted through collective will and wisdom and persistence. There is a common saying that most wars end with diplomacy, so it should be done now instead of seeing more death and destruction.