Why in the news?

The Swiss government recently announced that it will host a two-day high-level conference in June to achieve peace in Ukraine. However, Russia has clarified that it will not participate in the initiative. The top Swiss diplomat said more than 100 countries would be invited to the gathering.

Switzerland said in January it would host a peace summit at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Since then, it has held talks with the EU, G7 member states, and countries such as China and India to gauge their interest in participating.

Backgrounds of the Swiss Neutrality: 

Swiss neutrality refers to Switzerland’s long-standing policy of neutrality in international conflicts. This policy has been a cornerstone of Swiss foreign policy for centuries, dating back to the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which recognized Switzerland as a neutral territory during the Thirty Years’ War.

Switzerland has the oldest policy of military neutrality in the world. It has not participated in a foreign war since the Treaty of Paris in 1815 established its neutrality, although the country did have a civil war in 1847. Switzerland’s commitment to neutrality is enshrined in its constitution, and the country has not been involved in any military conflict since the early 19th century. This neutrality has allowed Switzerland to avoid entanglement in the wars that have plagued Europe, even during the World Wars.

The objective of the Swiss Neutrality:

It will “provide a platform for a high-level dialogue on achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace for Ukraine based on international law and the UN Charter”. The conference will aim to “create a common understanding of the framework conducive to this goal and a concrete roadmap for the peace process”. Some more objectives are:

  • Protecting Swiss sovereignty: Neutrality helps safeguard Switzerland’s independence and sovereignty by avoiding entanglement in foreign conflicts. This allows Switzerland to pursue its interests and policies without being influenced by the agendas of other nations. 
  • Preserving peace: Switzerland contributes to preserving peace regionally and globally by remaining neutral. Its stance reduces the risk of being drawn into conflicts and helps mitigate tensions between conflicting parties.
  • Facilitating diplomacy and mediation: Switzerland’s neutral status enables it to act as a mediator and facilitator in international disputes. Its reputation for impartiality and trustworthiness makes it a preferred location for diplomatic negotiations and peace talks. 
  • Promoting humanitarianism: Swiss neutrality aligns with the country’s tradition of humanitarianism. Switzerland has a long history of providing aid and assistance to victims of conflict and natural disasters, and its neutral status enhances its ability to do so effectively. 

About Russi-Ukraine Conflicts:

    • The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a deeply complex and multifaceted issue with historical, political, ethnic, and territorial dimensions. Any attempt to resolve this conflict requires a comprehensive understanding of its root causes and all parties’ interests.
    • Tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalated in late 2013 over a landmark political and trade deal with the European Union.
    • In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, claiming to protect its interests and Russian-speaking citizens.
    • In 2014, pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared independence, forming the Donetsk People’s Republic, which Russia recognized in February 2022.
    • In February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine in a televised address.
    • Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine’s mainland across a broad front, significantly escalating the conflict that resulted in Ukraine stopping all formal diplomatic ties with Russia.
    • The United States, The European Union, and other nations have imposed economic sanctions on Russia.

Suggestions for Resolving the issues:

  1. Diplomatic Dialogue: Encourage both sides to engage in direct, open, and constructive dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict. This can involve formal negotiations mediated by a neutral third party or informal talks facilitated by diplomatic channels. 
  2. Conflict Resolution Mechanisms: Advocate for the establishment or strengthening of international conflict resolution mechanisms, such as mediation, arbitration, or peacekeeping initiatives, to help facilitate peaceful resolutions to disputes.
  3. Humanitarian Assistance: Provide humanitarian assistance to mitigate the impact of the conflict on civilians and alleviate humanitarian suffering. This can help build goodwill and create opportunities for trust-building between conflicting parties.
  4. Incentives for Peace: Offer incentives for peace, such as economic aid, trade agreements, security guarantees, or diplomatic recognition, to encourage both sides to compromise and commit to peaceful resolutions.
  5. Minsk Agreements: Supporting the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which were brokered in 2014 and 2015 to facilitate a ceasefire and a political resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, remains an important diplomatic framework for addressing the crisis.
  6. Dialogue with Separatist Groups: Exploring avenues for dialogue with separatist groups in eastern Ukraine while upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity could be necessary for achieving a lasting political settlement to the conflict.
  7. International Law and Norms: Emphasizing the importance of respecting international law and norms, including Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as recognized by the international community, is essential for any resolution efforts. 

Prelims Practice Question:

Q. Which of the following countries does NOT share boundaries with Ukraine?

  1.  Poland
  2.  Slovakia
  3. Hungary
  4. Romania
  5. Moldova

How many of the above statements are correct? 

A. Only two

B. Only three

C. Only four

D. All five



Q. War is not the solution to every problem. It leads to all kinds of crises. Critically examine.

Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 15th April 2024


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