Ukrainian Foreign Minister to «Al-Sabah»: Iraq is able to find a balance between Kiev and MoscowIraq 04/19/2023
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The visit of the Ukrainian foreign minister to the capital, Baghdad, represented an attempt to revive the relationship between Baghdad and Kiev, as it ended an 11-year era since the last visit by a Ukrainian foreign minister to Baghdad in 2014, and in an exclusive interview with "Al-Sabah"Minister Dmytro Kuleba confirmed that his visit seeks to open the door for cooperation and communication for the rest of the ministers in the Ukrainian government with their counterparts in Iraq. While the minister discussed the reality of the initiative launched by the League of Arab States to stop the war in Ukraine, he outlined the Kiev criteria for accepting commitment to any initiative. The dialogue also touched on To the possibility of achieving a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, or not, and while the Ukrainian Foreign Minister revealed his country's full commitment to the decision of the United Nations General Assembly in this regard, Kuleba called for a review of the mechanisms and means of achieving international peace pursued by the Security Council. The dialogue also touched on To the relations of the two countries and urgent issues in the international arena.
● What role does Ukraine want from Iraq?
Iraq, as a country that has gone through devastating wars, is aware of what Ukraine is currently going through, and can turn its eyes away from the war, and this is exactly what the Iraqi government is doing, so how do you see political support from Baghdad, as we note that the Iraqi government is aware of the importance of the Ukrainian territorial integrity. We also believe that the Iraqi government is able to achieve a balance that secures a good relationship with both Ukraine and Russia, while supporting the exit of Russian forces from our lands.
What are the prospects for cooperation between Baghdad and Kiev?
A: Certainly there are many areas, as you know that my visit to the capital, Baghdad, came as a follow-up to the phone calls between the Iraqi Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani, and the Ukrainian President, Vladimir Zelensky, and this visit took place to open the door for the rest of the ministers in the Ukrainian government, as well as Ukrainian companies, to re-establish Relations with their Iraqi counterparts, launching joint projects in the fields of trade, food security, as well as in the field of technology, education, and any other field in which we can cooperate. I am the first Ukrainian foreign minister to visit Iraq since 2012, eleven years is a long time. We need to revive the relationship between the two countries, and there are no obstacles to achieving this goal.
● The League of Arab States put forward a peace initiative in Ukraine. What is its fate?
A: I do not think it is effective, because while Ukraine wants peace, Russia wants war, and if you follow the situation on the military fronts in Ukraine, you will find that Russia is the aggressor. The Arabs are not making any progress, but they are trying, and we agree that the other side does not want peace, even if Peace was their goal, so why did they send more tanks and soldiers into battle?
Secondly, I believe that it is necessary for the League of Arab States to call things by their proper names, and to build its efforts on a clear understanding that Russia represents the aggressor side, and that it is the party that has violated the rules of international law, while Ukraine exercises its right to self-defence, and its right to regain all of its lands. To invite the two parties to do something is unfair, you can discuss it politically, because we are not the aggressor in this war, Russia is the one who represents the guilty side and this is clear, and any initiative that does not include that will be contrary to the truth and reality.
Nevertheless, it is good for the League of Arab States to continue its initiatives to end the war, and these are good endeavors, but they will only be effective if they include two main points. The first is to name each party by its name, as Russia bears the guilt of the war by choosing it, and the second is that Ukraine has the right to regain all of its lands. If the initiative is based on these two foundations, results can be reached.
● How many international initiatives are working to end this war?
The ten-point initiative announced by President Zelensky represents a road plan because it includes a series of steps that must be taken to end the war, while China's plan is a way to position itself and its interests in this war, and therefore there is a big difference between these two initiatives.
We hear from time to time leaders from Africa and Latin America, talking about their vision of how to establish security, but they do not come up with specific steps, so we believe that the best initiative is the one put forward by the United Nations General Assembly that was voted on February 23 during the current year, Which is very close to the road map put forward by President Zelensky, as it was voted for by 141 votes for countries from Africa, Europe, and Asia, and the countries of the world must meet to investigate what is written within that initiative, instead of creating new initiatives, we must all To stand united with the initiative undertaken by the United Nations General Assembly.
Why is Ukraine so interested in joining NATO?
In the year 2014, Ukraine was not asking to join NATO, we had a law stating that Ukraine is a country that does not join any of the military blocs and alliances, and it was the same year that Russia invaded Ukraine, and illegally occupied the Crimea peninsula, and part of it From our lands east of the country.
The lesson here is that when Ukraine had no intention of joining NATO, Russia invaded our lands. When Russia argues that they launched the current war because of our request to join the alliance, this is a lie. In 2014 we were not heading towards NATO, and that did not prevent Russia from waging war against Ukraine.
The reason that prompted us to request joining NATO is that this will prevent Russia from launching a new aggression, because in NATO, if an aggression takes place against one of its members, the rest of the members must defend it. We cannot join NATO now, but we will join in the future, after To win the war, and this will be the strongest barrier for Russia to launch a new aggression against Ukraine.
● How do you comment on the leaking of documents from the Pentagon indicating espionage on the Ukrainian president and the scarcity of anti-aircraft weapons that your country possesses?
A: I do not think that anyone is spying on President Zelensky. Officials cannot discuss leaks, because we live in a world where information is not only subject to leakage, but also to distortion in one way or another.
The beneficiaries can distort the information, but when you look at the amount of US aid to Ukraine in this war, you will know that it is the first country to support in this war.
As for the scarcity of missiles, we do not need any leaks, to tell you officially, that we constantly need anti-aircraft missiles, military equipment, and our list of needs in the war with a country like Russia.
We need anti-aircraft guns because Russia is bombing our safe cities, while the Russian side claims that it is bombing our military forces. This is not true, as the Russian forces are targeting our vital facilities.
Ukraine before the war was the first source of energy to Europe, but after targeting and destroying these facilities, we now need to import energy from abroad. So it is certain that more anti-aircraft assistance hinders the effectiveness of Russian air strikes.
● We are witnessing many conflict areas in the world. Do you think there is a real need to reconsider the work mechanism of the United Nations and the Security Council?
A: When I was a university student, we used to discuss and study the structure and feasibility of the United Nations means in building global peace, and today, when I became foreign minister, we are still discussing the same topic. Yes, there are many conflict areas in the world, and every war sends a message that the international peacekeeping mechanism is in place. Ineffective, because if it were, the war would not have broken out. Of course, we need to recalibrate and correct these mechanisms used in maintaining world peace.
For example, the veto system must be reconsidered, as any decision the Security Council seeks to take in the Ukrainian war is rejected by Russia, relying on the right of veto as a permanent member of the Security Council.
● What about your meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Mr. Lavrov?
We have already met in Antalya during the month of April last year. Mr. Lavrov is one of the main partners of Mr. Putin, and what he is doing is not diplomatic in any way, rather it is more like falsifying facts in favor of Mr. Putin.
If I had to sit down with him to end the war, I certainly would, and the best case scenario for doing so would be for us to come together to sign the surrender of the Russian forces in Ukraine.
Do you think that will be soon?
Yes, it is possible, but more than that, this will happen, as Russia has already lost the war, and the Russian side believes that it can control the entire Ukrainian territory in just a few days, but unfortunately the war lasted for more than a year, and what Russia is currently doing Is trying to take more time.
And that the moment of controlling all our lands will be achieved not only because of our steadfastness, but also as a result of our diplomatic efforts.
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