The Malta Independent 26 September 2023, Tuesday
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TMID Editorial: An important speech at the UN

Saturday, 24 September 2022, 09:38 Last update: about 13 months ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela delivered an important message while addressing the United Nations general assembly on Thursday, pushing for peace.

“Today, peace is threatened by what Secretary General Guterres rightly referred to as the ‘cauldron of crises’ we find ourselves in. And unless we come together to work for global order and world peace, we stand no chance. For no single state can do it alone!”

He spoke about the thousands of civilians who have been killed and said that millions are suffering devastating losses. “Close to 12.8 million people are estimated to have been displaced in Ukraine, which is a third of the nation’s population. The largest human displacement crisis in the world today,” he said.

“Sustained support from the international community is urgently required to address these humanitarian needs and put an end to the devastation. To end the suffering of innocent civilians,” he said. “Let us not underestimate the effects of this war. Failure to act will also mean that instability will spill-over to neighbouring regions, with all its negative consequences – mass migration - human trafficking - and terrorism.”

The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is indeed terrifying. So many families have lost loved ones since Putin launched an invasion. Soldiers on both sides lost their lives, but as did many Ukrainian civilians. The international community has welcomed civilians fleeing Ukraine with open arms, and rightly so. But this war doesn’t look like it will have an end soon. Ukraine cannot just surrender its sovereignty, and has seen military successes recently.

Such a devastating war will not be forgotten. It will be hard for the international community to forget what has happened. It will be impossible for Ukrainians to forget. So many displaced, so many dead, so many families ripped apart.

The world has become so very connected. The war is affecting world economies, causing rising energy prices. Even here, in Malta, inflation is rising.

Speaking about the effect of wars in general, Abela said that the continuous rise in the rate of inflation on food products, and food scarcity, is a major cause for concern and should be at the top of our agenda.

If prices keep rising, more and more people will enter poverty. More people will struggle to cope.

There are things countries can do to try and minimise the impacts. Malta’s energy subsidies is one such example. But we need to do more. The world must push for more use of renewable energy.

We must diversify our food production and make sure that countries become more self-sufficient in that regard.

“If we do not support our people until the situation betters, we will have failed them. We cannot leave our people alone to carry the burdens,” Abela said in his speech.

Countries must ensure that their people can overcome the challenges being brought about by inflation. People cannot be left to fend for themselves in such crises.

Later in his speech, Abela returned to the topic of peace.

“Solutions in the 21st century are not found through the use of force and weapons. We can only prevent further deterioration of this situation if we manage to resolve war through dialogue, and meaningful negotiating efforts. The 21st century should not be an era of war. The search for peace requires that all the players in this war put the best interests and priorities of all peoples first. We all know what the best interests of the people are. Our absolute priority should be to re-establish peace and order. To end war.”

Working towards peace is something admirable, and the Prime Minister advocating for it is a good thing. Malta is right to, and should continue to advocate for peace in all wars. However, one must keep in mind that a country that has been invaded cannot just opt for peace by giving in. The situation in the region is too delicate for that to happen. While we must push for peace, we must also push to ensure that instigators of war are not allowed to bully others.

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