Tensions between NATO and Russia - two nuclear-armed powers - are reaching alarming proportions. We call for an end to this confrontation: if it doesn’t end, everyone will lose. Ukraine is already paying a heavy economic and human price as a result of these hostilities, unnecessarily stirred up internationally and nationally. Following this politics of confrontation to its logical conclusion means that many people will die.
Europe needs a genuine security policy based on cooperation, mutual respect and trust. Currently, NATO’s own security policy threatens to drag Europe into a devastating war because it refuses to take Russian security interests into account. NATO’s expansionary policy refuses to rule out membership for Ukraine. This crosses a red line for Russia which sees this as a serious breach of its own security interests. Dialogue is essential to resolve these issues – war is not the answer.
Meanwhile the people of Ukraine are suffering, Despite the Minsk agreements, the violent clashes in eastern Ukraine - which emerged in the wake of the violent coup in Kiev - continue. NATO and Russia are adding fuel to the fire through arms deliveries, troop deployments and military exercises. These provocations and preparation for war have to stop.
The hostility between the US/NATO and Russia has repercussions for other regional and international challenges that require cooperation. This new Cold War with its expensive and dangerous new arms race is diverting resources from working together to solve the climate catastrophe and other major problems.
We urge all parties involved to stop pursuing a military path and to work towards a new security policy for Europe based on the following principles:
- A new security architecture based on the concept of the principles of "common security" in the spirit of the principles of the Helsinki Final Act 1975, as reaffirmed in the Paris Charter of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (1990). This states that security is indivisible and that the security of one state is linked to the security of all others.
- Further NATO enlargements are a provocative breach of the principle of 'common security' and must be stopped. Ukraine should be given the status of a neutral state with accompanying security guarantees.
- The Russian proposals for an agreement with NATO and a treaty with the US should be taken seriously and can serve as a basis for building a new European security architecture with mutually agreed security measures and guarantees. This means, among other things, that no new weapon systems or troops will be deployed in the border zone between NATO and Russia, not even on a so-called rotational basis.
- The principle of disarmament must once again be central. This applies in particular to nuclear disarmament with the objective of a nuclear-weapon-free zone for the whole of Europe.
- The conflict in Ukraine should not be further fuelled by arms transfers, manoeuvres and the provocative deployment of troops. The parties in Ukraine should be urged to respect the Minsk II agreements such as the ceasefire, secure access for humanitarian aid, withdrawal of all foreign troops and military equipment, constitutional reform with decentralization as a central element and respect for minority rights and a political process in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. In addition, a plan is needed for the economic reconstruction of the country and the strengthening of democracy and institutions.
Our demands are clear:
Dissolution of NATO – for "common security", solidarity, sustainability and disarmament.
Vrede is an active member of the Internationale Coordination Committee of the No-to-War No-to-Nato network
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