By SILUMESI MALUMO
VOTING in favour of the resolution at the United Nations General Assembly against Russia was the right thing to do, and is consistent with the principles of Zambia’s foreign policy which was formally codified in 1969, New Hope MMD president, Nevers Mumba, said.
Dr Mumba said the action by Russia has breached some of these principles including the inviolability of national borders, the respect for sovereignty & territorial integrity of States.
The MMD president said Russia also breached principles about non use of force, or threat of force, in the settlement of disputes, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, non-support for unilateral declaration of independence or illegal cessation of territory; amongst others.
“These principles are enshrined in the UN Charter and the Constitutive Act of the African Union.
The UN has established mechanisms for addressing disputes, including that of security concerns, which Russia could have utilized, rather than to take unilateral direct action, as it did.
“It’s only by standing on principle, and not on whether one is friend or foe, that we can justify the positions we should take during such votes. This is what gives us the moral high ground to support the Palestinians or Western Sahara, or the Malvinas,” Dr Mumba said.
There are many missteps done by Ukraine and Western countries, he said, and plenty of history that may give sympathy to Russia’s grievances, but not to the point of justifying the invasion.
Indeed, other big countries have done similar things, to different degrees. All of these are unacceptable.
Dr Mumba who is UPND alliance partner, said the war is unacceptable and it should be made a crime against humanity.
He said, “The argument by some that Zambia has changed her foreign policy by this vote is misplaced. It is important to note that the policy of non aligned status existed during the time of the cold war. It is not our permanent foreign policy.”
He said what is permanent is the policy of promoting peace both at home and abroad.
“This decision however does not imply that we have turned our backs against our all weather friend, Russia. We have only rejected the proposition of war. We have voted against war and not Russia.
I am sure Russia would vote the same way if Zambia unilaterally invaded Malawi without exhausting all the available mechanisms at our disposal. We have opportunities to resolve such conflicts at Bilateral, Regional (SADC), Continental (AU) and finally at International levels (UN),” Dr Mumba said.
Dr Mumba said the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution demanding that Russia immediately end its military operations in Ukraine which Zambia supported.