Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Foreign Minister Ebrard to UN General Assembly: “It is time to act” in Russia-Ukraine war

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard has presented Mexico’s proposal to end the Russia-Ukraine war to the United Nations.

Addressing the U.N. Security Council in New York on Thursday, Ebrard said that President López Obrador’s proposal to create a “committee for dialogue and peace in Ukraine” was aimed at “strengthening the mediation efforts” of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

The committee – which would conduct “direct talks” with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, according to López Obrador – should include “heads of state and government,” the foreign minister said.

He repeated López Obrador’s proposal for Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Pope Francis to participate in the proposed peace talks.

“The objective would be very clear – to generate new mechanisms for dialogue and create complementary spaces for mediation that promote trust, reduce tension and open the way to lasting peace,” Ebrard said.

He said Mexico hoped that the creation of the proposed committee would go ahead with the support of the United Nations’ member states. “As Secretary-General [Guterres] has said, it’s time to act, to make a commitment to peace,” Ebrard said.

He also spoke about Mexico’s peace proposal in an address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday. In that address Ebrard asserted that the Security Council – of which Mexico is currently a non-permanent member – “has been unable to fulfill the mandate conferred to it by the United Nations Charter” because it was unable to prevent the war in Ukraine and hasn’t been able to stop it since it began.

It has failed to initiate “any diplomatic process that seeks a solution [to the conflict] through dialogue and negotiation,” the foreign minister said.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, left, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, right.
Mexico’s proposal included direct talks between President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, with mediation by other world leaders. CC BY 4.0

Mexico’s peace proposal – first outlined by López Obrador during an Independence Day address last Friday – was rejected by Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to President Zelenskyy, last Saturday. He took particular umbrage at the president’s call for a five-year “truce” in the Russia-Ukraine war and all other conflicts.

“’Peacemakers’ who use war as a topic for their own PR are causing only surprise. @lopezobrador_, is your plan to keep millions under occupation, increase the number of mass burials and give Russia time to renew reserves before the next offensive? Then your ‘plan’ is a [Russian] plan,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter. 

Ebrard on Thursday acknowledged that both Ukraine and Russia have been critical of Mexico’s proposal, but defended the government’s decision to present it. “It’s not enough to [only] condemn [the war],” he told reporters.

The foreign minister had the opportunity to personally explain Mexico’s plan to the the foreign ministers of both warring countries in New York, meeting with Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine Thursday and Sergei Lavrov of Russia Friday.

“I shared President López Obrador’s proposal in favor of peace as well as our ideas about the future of the Security Council,” he wrote on Twitter after the latter meeting.

Lavrov on Thursday defended Russia’s military operations in Ukraine during an address to the Security Council and described Ukraine as “a Nazi-style totalitarian state where standards of international humanitarian law are trampled underfoot with impunity.”

Russia appears to be planning for a long war in Ukraine given that President Vladimir Putin this week announced a “partial mobilization” of military reservists that could see an additional 300,000 Russian troops deployed for active service.

Mexico’s peace proposal appears doomed to remain just that – a proposal – with Putin, Zelenskyy, Modi, Guterres and Pope extremely unlikely to be seen around the same table, despite López Obrador’s apparent best intentions.

With reports from El Universal and AP 

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