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10/26/2022

Ukraine and Russia “need to sit at a table and discuss directly for a solution”

Ukraine and Russia “need to sit at a table and discuss directly for a solution”

The enduring conflict in Ukraine has divided the world in two: on one side are countries that support a military solution, which especially Western leaders define as a lasting Russian defeat beyond the actual conflict.

On the other side are countries – the world’s majority – that demand a ceasefire and a negotiated solution, which takes both sides’ needs into account. Having presented a mediation proposal to the United Nations, Mexico is one of these.

On Mexico’s position, we spoke with Héctor Vasconcelos. Vascoselos is Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Mexican Senate, the upper house in the country’s bicameral system. The Senate is, as he points out not the executive but the legislative in the political system of his country. Vasconcelos has been elected to the Senate representing MORENA, the Movement of National Regeneration – Mexico’s governing party, of which he is a founding member.

I spoke to Héctor Vasconcelos in his office in the Senate of the Republic.

Violation of internationally recognized borders “inacceptable”

What is your evaluation of the conflict in Ukraine?

My opinion is that the international community cannot allow that, via, whether you call it invasion or military operation, internationally recognized boundaries of a country are violated and changed. This is a matter of principle. This is not a way of interaction between countries that Mexico accepts – wherever it be.

Ukraine conflict a “complex issue”

Now, this is a very complex issue between Ukraine and Russia that reaches back not only hundreds, but thousands of years. I will not argue on that dimension, because that would contradict one of the historic principles of Mexican foreign policy – the non-intervention into conflicts between other countries.

But I am well aware that it is an extremely complicated issue, with all the Russia population in Ukraine, with what a possible membership of Ukraine in the EU or NATO means from the Russian point of view.

Despite all the complications, I do not believe that any country in the world will accept that another country invades it and annexes regions. This is simply against the international law and the UN charter.

The Mexican proposal

What is the Mexican proposal in face of the conflict?

First of all, we observe a great paralysis of international organizations such as the United Nations or the UN Security Council in responding the conflict. As you know, the permanent members in the UN have veto option in the UNSC.

All this has limited the capacities of the international system, the international community and organizations to find a solution for the conflict in Ukraine as well as others.

In this situation, where the conflict endures now months and there is not perspective of a solution in the short term, Mexico has made a – if you will – heterodox or unconventional proposal. The focus was to break the deadlock, where the war continues, the economic problems arising from the war, such as the distribution of grains and energy continue and escalate, affecting negatively millions of people all over the world.

In short, all the negative effects of the war keep on occurring, while the great powers do not achieve an agreement. And for the time being, one cannot observe that the United States and Russia come closer to an agreement.

In these circumstances, the President of Mexico had the very unusual idea of introducing potential diplomatic mediators to take part in possible negotiations.

Héctor Vancocelos in interview with Yunus Soner

Why did he propose a role for the Papa? Because the Mexican government observes that specifically this Papa has a high degree of credibility due to his very practical engagement in global problems such as climate change, inequality or the protection of minority rights. Hence, whether you are a believer or not, this is an internationally highly respected personality.

Why did the President propose to include India? Because India has since decades, since the times of the Soviet Union, a very special relationship with Russia. And India’s Prime Minister has a great international acceptance.

And then the Secretary General of the UN was included into the proposal. I believe that the current Secretary General has contributed a lot to that the UN itself became conscious of the fundamental problems that the world faces. Therefore, he is also an internationally very respected person.

Now, the idea is to unite these three personalities to see whether they can mediate and get to a point where the governments of Ukraine and Russia can enter a dialogue.

More concretely, the idea is to create a group or a mechanism outside of international organizations, such as the UN, which is failing in the crisis. We cannot say that the UN had played an important role in halting this conflict.

All efforts to get Ukraine and Russia to sit at a table and begin a dialogue are “more than welcome”

How do you evaluate Türkiye’s mediation efforts and its possible contribution to this proposal?

Now, this is my personal opinion: For the objective getting these two governments, the Ukrainian and the Russian, to a dialogue, to sit at a table and discuss directly in search of a solution, the contribution of all countries is more that welcome. Every country that wants to join this effort and unite forces for that objective of finding a solution without getting to the worst escalation of a nuclear warfare is more than welcome.

But I do not make this statement in the name of the Mexican government – the executive. It is only the Ministry of Foreign Relations that can speak on behalf of the government.

“No reason” why Mexico should not welcome Türkiye’s contribution

Notwithstanding, I do not see any reason why the Mexican government should not welcome Türkiye’s contribution to that proposal. That is very probable. Very probable.

Mexico opposes sanctions

How do you evaluate the fact the while the conflict endures, the United States establishes a sanctions regime and sends arms to Ukraine?

I can state that the position of the Mexican government is against imposing sanctions. This position is valid for any kind of international situation or conflict, because we also do not want that sanctions are imposed against Mexico. We have already been threatened with economic sanctions, even recently, and Mexico opposes that kind of policy.

Therefore, the government of Mexico does not apply sanctions – which besides would be another form of direct intervention into matters of other countries.

In terms of sending arms, I withheld my opinion. Here, the position needs to be determined and expressed by government representatives and by the Ministry of Foreign Relations. 

Yunus Soner
Political Scientist, former Deputy Chairman of Vatan Party (Turkey) Soner has participated in diplomatic visits to China, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico, among others. He has conducted meetings with President Bashar Al Assad (Syria), President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Mexico), Manuel Zelaya (Honduras) and Foreign Ministers, Ministers of Finances and Representatives of Parliament from various countries. He has worked on Turkish-Russian, Turkish-Syrian, Turkish-Chinese and Turkish-Egyptian relations as well as on Latin America. Soner has had media participation in various international media channels, among them Russia Today and Sputnik (Russia), CGTN (China), Press TV (Iran), Syrian TV, El Mayaddin (Lebanon) and Telesur (Venezuela) and Turkish media. He has been a columnist to Turkish daily newspaper Aydınlık
 

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