By Yankuba Jallow
Halifa Sallah, the National Assembly member for Serrekunda on Thursday briefed the media on his mission to France as head of the delegation for the Gambia at the African, Caribbean and Pacific joint parliament with the European Parliament.
The ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly was created to bring together the elected representatives of the European Union and the elected representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific states that have signed the Cotonou Agreement.
He convened the press conference to share his contribution before the joint session regarding the Ukraine-Russia War. He did map out a way forward that The Gambia and the World should take to address the war in Ukraine.
Sallah said a major crisis has engulfed the World – Ukraine-Russia War. He mentioned that in the past countries would claim to be superpowers, but the reality now does not.
He said there are two rights that exist that each country must recognize. He said one is the right to self-determination and independence leading to the establishment of sovereign States and Republics while the other is the right to self-determination and independence leading to the establishment of the sovereignty of the people.
“That nations have a right to sovereignty and people have a right to sovereignty. Those people and nations must be respected if we are to have peace in the World,” he said.
“The Word that we live in now does not recognize Super Powers. We do not recognize Super Powers. There are no Super Powers in the World today,” he said.
He cited two examples. One was the American War in Afghanistan in which they fought against the Talibans for many years but they ended up leaving the country in the hands of the Talibans to rule. He said many lives were lost, properties were destroyed and billions were spent in the War.
“Where is the Super Power [America]?” Sallah quizzed.
He cited the Syria War having President Assad. He said there is no process of development taking place in Syria.
“Where is the Super Power [Russia] that supported him in Syria?” Sallah asked.
He said it is very clear that conflicts in the World have shown new trends that we must understand.
“You can have war but you cannot dominate anyone,” Sallah said.
Sallah emphasized to the parliamentary assembly that the aim of war is to impose your will on your opponent.
“If you cannot impose your will on your opponent, then you cannot have victory in a war,” he said.
He said the reason for the two world wars was that once you defeat your opponent, you can take their colonies and repeat huge benefits to ensure your economic development. He told his colleagues that does not exists anymore. He said this is why anyone that you wage you lose and make no gain both for the vanquish and the victor.
“In that regard, war has become irrational even though irrational people would continue to execute it but they will not attain their objectives,” he said.
Sallah concluded by saying the war in Ukraine should stop and every effort should be made to stop it. He said as it stands, Russia cannot impose her will on Ukraine and [equally], Ukraine and NATO cannot impose their will on Russia.
The lawmaker said if there was distrust and fear that made Russia do what it is doing, then that fear has now become irrational because, after almost weeks of fighting, NATO has not intervened militarily in the war. Sallah said it is now clear that we have a World that which no nation or State can impose her will on the other.
He emphasized that where you cannot impose your will on another State on the basis of war, then you must move to a political settlement and diplomatic means. He said they should now move to diplomatic means, adding that there should be a political programme to guide the diplomatic action.
“Ukraine must indicate exactly what they want from Russia and Russia must indicate exactly what it wants from Ukraine,” he said.
He said those that would be engaged in the diplomatic negotiations will look at the terms and as long as they move towards the terms that will protect the sovereignty of the people and nations, then they will move towards a durable solution.
Sallah said the African Union must take a step by emphasizing to its European partners that we are no longer spheres of influence of any nations on earth – we own ourselves. Sallah added that we must be guided by conscience and international peace and security – the interest of the people of the Continent.
“As long as we adhere to that, we must raise our voices against any actions that threaten human life and property,” he said.
Sallah said all of us must continue to ask Russia to be rational in its engagement with Ukraine and for Ukraine to be independent in their judgment so that together they would ease the tension between them and move towards a political settlement that would respect the sovereignty of the people and nations.
The other two members of the Gambian delegation to the joint parliament were honourable Alagie Sowe and Momodou Ceesay.