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Her is a transcript of his UN Security Council 20 of November speech.
Mr. President, ambassadors, Secretary General NDB, president, distinguished Diplomats, ladies and gentlemen. Today’s meeting takes place at a time of several major wars. In my testimony I will refer to four.
- The Ukraine war which started in 2014 with the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s president Victor Yanukovych,
- the Israel Palestine war which has flared repeatedly since 1967,
- the Syrian war which began in 2011,
- and the Sahel Wars which began in 2012 in Mali and have now spread throughout the Sahel.
These wars may seem intractable but they are not indeed. I would suggest that all four Wars could be ended quickly by agreement within the UN security Council. One reason is that major Wars must be fed from the outside both with external finances and armaments. The UN Security Council could agree to choke off these awful Wars by withholding external finance and armaments. This would require an agreement among the major powers. The other reason why these wars can end quickly is that they result from economic and political factors that can be addressed through diplomacy rather than through war.
By addressing the underlying political and economic factors the security Council can establish conditions for peace and sustainable development. Let me consider each of the four wars in turn briefly.
The war in Ukraine has two main political causes. The first is the attempt by NATO to expand to Ukraine despite the timely and repeated objections by Russia. Russia considers NATO presence in Ukraine as a significant threat to Russia’s security.
The second political cause is the East West ethnic division in Ukraine partly along linguistic and partly along religious lines. Following the overthrow of president Yanukovich in 2014 ethnic Russian regions broke away from the post coup government and appealed for protection and autonomy the Minsk 2 agreement endorsed by this Council. In resolution 2202 called for regional autonomy to be incorporated in Ukraine’s Constitution but the agreement was never implemented by Ukraine despite the UN Security Council backing. The economic cause of the war results from the fact that Ukraine’s economy faces both West to the European Union and East to Russia Central Asia and East Asia when the EU tried to negotiate a free trade agreement with Ukraine. Russia expressed alarm that its own trade and investments in Ukraine would be undermined unless a three-way agreement was reached among the EU, Russia and Ukraine to ensure that Ukrainian Russian trade and investment would be sustained alongside EU Ukrainian trade. This is a well-known event in trade negotiations.
Unfortunately, the EU was apparently not prepared to negotiate with Russia over such a three-way Arrangement and the competing East West orientation of Ukraine’s economy was never resolved. This council could end the Ukraine war quickly by addressing its underlying political and economic the causes. On the political front the P5 countries should agree to extend a security guarantee to Ukraine while also agreeing that NATO will not expand to Ukraine thereby addressing Russia’s concerns over NATO enlargement. The council should also work to achieve a lasting governance solution regarding Ukraine’s ethnic divisions. On the economic side there are two considerations one in policy and the other in finance. On policy Ukraine’s strong economic interest is to join the European Union while also maintaining open trade and financial relations with Russia and the rest of Eurasia. Ukraine’s trade policy should be inclusive rather than diversionary allowing Ukraine to serve as a vibrant economic bridge across the east and west of Eurasia. On the financing side Ukraine will need funding for reconstruction and for new physical infrastructure such as fast rail, renewable energy, 5G and port modernization. As I describe below, I recommend that the security Council establish a new peace and Development Fund to help mobilize the financing to help Ukraine and other war zones to turn away from war towards recovery and long-term sustainable development.
Consider in a similar way the war in Israel and Palestine here too. The war could be ended quickly by the council enforcing the many UN Security Council resolutions made over several decades calling for a return to the 1967 borders an end of Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories and the two-state solution including in UN security council’s resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515 and 2334. It is clear that Israel and Palestine are unable to reach agreements in line with these UN Security Council resolutions. On both sides hardliners repeatedly frustrate moderates, moderates who seek peace based on the two-state solution. It is High Time therefore in my view for the UN Security Council to enforce its Decisions by implementing a just and Lasting solution that is in the interest of both Israel and Palestine rather than allowing hardliners on both sides to ignore the mandate of this Council and thereby to threaten Global Peace. My recommendation to this council is that it immediately recognized the state of Palestine in a matter of days or weeks and well welcome Palestine as a full member of the United Nations with the capital in East Jerusalem and with sovereign control over the Islamic holy Sites. The council should establish a peacekeeping force drawn heavily from the neighboring Arab countries to help provide security in Palestine. Such an outcome is in the overwhelming will of the International Community and the Manifest interest of both Israel and Palestine despite the vociferous objections by Hardline rejectionists on both sides of the Divide. An economic strategy should accompany the political strategy. Most importantly the new sovereign state of Palestine must be economically viable and I give several examples of how that can be done but most importantly both Israel and Palestine should become part of an integrated sustainable development plan for the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East that supports climate resilience and the Region’s transition to Green energy.
The council could similarly end the war in Syria. The Syrian war broke out in 2011 when several regional powers and the United States joined forces to topple the government of Syrian president Bashar al- Assad. This deeply misguided regime change operation failed but it triggered a prolonged war with enormous bloodshed and destruction including of ancient cultural heritage sites. The council should make clear that all P5 countries and the countries in Syria’s neighborhoods are in full agreement that all regime changes attempts are now permanently ended and that the UN Security Council intends to work closely with the Syrian government on reconstruction and development. On the economic side Syria’s best hope is to become closely integrated into the Eastern Mediterranean and middle east region especially through the construction of physical infrastructure connecting Syria with Turkey, the Middle East and the Mediterranean Nations.
The war in the Sahel has similar roots. Just as the regional powers in the US aimed to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-assad, in 2011 the NATO Powers similarly aimed to overthrow the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. In pursuing this aim they grossly exceeded the Mandate of UN Security Council resolution 1973 which had authorized the protection of Libya’s civilian population but certainly not authorized a NATO-led regime change. The violent overthrow of the Libyan government quickly spilled over to the impoverished countries of the Sahel. Poverty alone made these sahelian countries highly vulnerable to the influx of armaments and militias. The result has been ongoing violence and multiple coups gravely undermining the possibility of economic improvement. The countries of the Sahel form a natural aggregation for regional economic investment in infrastructure.
The entire region urgently needs investments in electrification, digital access, water and sanitation and road and rail transport as well as in social services, notably education and health care as the Sahel is among the poorest regions of the world if not the poorest. The governments are utterly unable to finance the needed Investments here too and perhaps more than in any other region the Sahel needs external funding to make the transition from war to peace and from extreme poverty to sustainable development. All P5 members and indeed the whole world have suffered adverse consequences from the continuation of these Wars. All countries are paying a price in terms of financial burdens, economic instability, risks of terrorism and risks of wider war.
The Security Council is in a position to take decisive actions to end the wars precisely because it is clear that the interest of all UN security Council members and notably all of the P5 countries is to bring these long-standing wars to an end before they escalate into to even more dangerous conflicts. The Security Council is vested with considerable powers by the UN Charter when it has the resolve of its members it can introduce peacekeepers and even armies if necessary. It can impose economic sanctions on countries that do not comply with UN Security Council resolutions. It can provide security guarantees to nations. It can make referrals to the international criminal court to stop war crimes. In short the Council is certainly able to enforce its resolutions if it chooses to do so for the sake of Global Peace.
Let the Council now choose to end these wars. The UN Security Council can also bolster its toolkit by engaging in economic peace building alongside the more usual decisions on borders peacekeepers, sanctions and the like I’ve mentioned already several times. The idea of creating a new peace and Development Fund that the UN Security Council could deploy to create positive Dynamics for sustainable development and to work with other investors such as the World Bank the IMF the regional Development Bank such as the NDB and others to co-invest in peace making. I would recommend three guideposts for such a fund.
First it would be funded by the major powers by transferring a part of their military outlays to global peacemaking. The US for example now spends roughly $1 trillion dollar per year on the military while China, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia are the next biggest Spenders with combined military spending roughly half of the US. Suppose that these countries reduce military outlays by just 10% and redirect the savings to the Peace and Development Fund. That alone would free up around $160 billion per year. Second the fund would emphasize Regional integration. This is paramount for peacemaking as well as for successful development.
Ukraine would be helped to integrate both West and East. Israel Palestine and Syria would all be helped to integrate in a network of the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East the SEL countries would be helped to break their isolation and lack of services through a network of
infrastructure. Third the Peace and Development Fund would partner with other funding streams such as China’s belt and Road initiative, the European Union’s global gateway, the g7’s global partnership for infrastructure and investment and increased lending by the Breton Woods institutions and the regional development banks as the Secretary General has called for in the SDG stimulus. Interestingly the fund for peace and development could be a vehicle for greater investment partnerships that links China the EU the United States and the G7. This too would be a contribution towards peace, not only into endingtoday’s wars but into increasing cooperation among the world’s major powers. Directly across the street from us is Isaiah’s wall with the visionary words of the great Jewish prophet of the 8th century BCE. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their Spears into pruning hooks. Nations shall not lift up sword against nations. Neither shall they learn war anymore. It is time to honor Isaiah’s words by ending these useless and destructive Wars, slashing military outlays and turning the savings into new investments in education, health care, renewable energy and social protection.
As an American I am proud that our greatest President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the visionary who oversaw the establishment of this great institution I firmly believe in the capacity of the United Nations and of this Security Council to keep the peace and to promote sustainable development. When all 193 UN member states or 194 with the membership of Palestine live up to the UN Charter we will have a new Global age of peace and sustainable development.
Åse Møller-Hansen has inscribed.