By Prof. Simon El hag Kulusika
OPINION – Readers will wonder as to why the word ‘War’ is used in the title of this article with inverted commas. There are several reasons for such strange usage. One is the belief of this article that ‘War’ does not provide solutions to conflicts between states or between armed groups and governments. Because at the end of fighting the parties to conflicts have to sit down and agree on settlements. For example, at the end of Second World War (WWR II), negotiations had to be held at Potsdam where Germany was divided into two and Berlin into four Sectors. The Germans were there although with little say.
When Japan finally agreed to a truce, the Americans led by a Five Stars Gen – the last one – Douglas MacArthur and the Japanese Gens and authorities had together to craft a Truce which the Gen and the Japanese Emperor signed to terminate fighting between the two sides. All these actions imposed by armed conflicts could have been averted if Diplomacy took its course. If in 1941 Nazi Germany opted to negotiate, Germany would not be bombed to ashes and then had to capitulate disgracefully. The same for Japan: they could have avoided dropping of two Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This article prays that Ukraine and Russia have learned something from the two disasters the world had witnessed.
Diplomacy is the Way
This article holds peace as the highest gifts from our Lord in the Highest. All should pursue and walk on the path of peace. In the face of conflicts that threaten the integrity of a nation or groups of people, Diplomacy should be the Guiding Star. Those in disagreement must negotiate to manage conflicts and resolve them pacifically. The use of force or threat of use of force as an instrument of national foreign policy should be avoided. This is what this article expects from Russia, Ukraine and those countries that would appear to encourage Ukraine to fight on, giving little room for real Diplomacy.
There is still chance for mediation to bring fighting in Ukraine to an end. But time is quickly running out. The risks involved are varied, one is both sides will take rigid positions in matters of gives and takes. In this case mediation, active one becomes imperative to avoid escalations and widening of the conflict.
This article sees that there are numbers of world leaders who could take the roles of Mediators. For example, HE Emmanuel Macron, President of France, if he continues to be reasonable in imposing sanctions on Russia and not to provide military assistance to Ukraine. A mediator must remain neutral to win the trust of both sides.
Other Mediators include the President of Turkey, the President of South Africa, the President of Brazil, the President of PR of China, the PM of India, the Chancellor of Austria. The Chancellor of Germany has lost his role of mediation, because Germany is sending or has sent lethal arms to Ukraine, as reported. In effect Germany has not only helped Ukraine, but also has taken side in the fighting, minus physical presence of German troops in Ukraine.
The UN SG has started his designated role of mediation, but the start was bad. A Mediator should not issue press statements after meeting with leaders of countries fighting. He or she should not visit areas where there was fighting, nor go to the front. Such acts would put off the other side to the conflict. UN SG has to mend these negative impressions.
Mediation cannot be done by one or two visits. Mediation means Shuttle Diplomacy, until differences are bridged to pave way for fair and real negotiations that lead to conclusion of peace agreement. Mediation should first aim at de – escalations, and cessation of hostilities, to pave way for real and frank talks between the two sides. It’s hoped the Mediators referred to and others will take the challenge to prevent deaths and destruction in Ukraine.
For any meditations to succeed the parties to the fighting in Ukraine should agree to listen to mediators and agree to compromise. There should not be constant shift of positions. As this will make mediation difficult and meaningless, the fighting in Ukraine should be terminated as quickly as possible before it grows into a ‘third world war’. A ‘war’ in which all will be losers. Ukraine and Europe in general will be the theater of wars in which all types of weapons of mass destruction will be used. God forbid.
The author is a professor of law at Zambia Open University. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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