A year after the renewed Russian invasion of Ukraine, China has come forward with a 12-point statement of its position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. That, at least, is what is called by both the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
But it is not a plan and China does not say it’s a plan – it’s a position according to the government and to CGTN, Beijing’s state-run English-language news channel (though, to be fair, CGTN joined the crowd and called it a plan on the second day of coverage). Further, it does not outline either what a peace settlement could consist of or a pathway for getting there. It is a statement of opinion that stays away from specifics about what its support for dialogue and negotiation could mean in practice.
And I think that in ramping up a statement of position into a peace plan that can then be criticised for lacking specifics, the news media are missing something.
Love or loathe the US election result, it feels like all bets are off. Once again, odds have been defied, opinion polls disproven, and what many people long thought was politically marginal and outside the realm of possibility has become mainstream and a fact. In a world already characterised by growing uncertainty, there is now more: primarily, does he really mean it in practice? Of a few things, we can be sure, however, and to them we must hold tight. Continue reading →
The ‘Arab Spring’ was triggered by the self-sacrifice of a Tunisian. Four years later Tunisia is the only country where the Spring’s early promise persists and, despite extreme pressures and many risks, political change is unfolding relatively peacefully. The new Nobel laureates, the National Dialogue Quartet, are an important part of the reason why. Here is some of the background. Continue reading →
Today, 21 September, is the UN International Day of Peace. It’s a day to think about how peace is achieved, safeguarded and built. It is, of course, not the work of a day. Think of Syria, and how much rebuilding of all kinds will be needed when the opportunity of peace arrives. Or think of Rwanda, 19 years on from the genocide, and how it is still recovering and building a peaceful society. Here’s a brief video of (some of) my thoughts about it.
Democratic Republic of Congo: In Kinshasa , the summit meeting of La Francophonie replete with heads of state, resounding speeches and ringing declarations; in the east, 2 million displaced people and rising tension as the M-23 rebels sit just 15 kilometres from Goma, capital of North Kivu province, held back only by an uncertain ceasefire; on TV, repeated statements that this is the 187/8/9th day of aggression by Rwanda.