Egypt urges quick political solution to Russia-Ukraine crisis, rejects unilateral economic sanctions

Amr Kandil , Wednesday 2 Mar 2022

Egypt called on Wednesday for a quick political solution to the Russia-Ukraine crisis through peaceful means, warning of the crisis’s impact on the already-suffering global economy.

Egypt
Egypt s Permanent Representative to the UN Osama Abdel-Khalek delivers a speech at a rare emergency special session of the UNGA on Russia s invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday. United Nations

However, Egypt warned against economic sanctions that are not based on the mechanisms of the multilateral international system.

“Seeking a political solution to the crisis using dialogue and peaceful means and through active diplomacy should remain in the sights of all of us to deal with the current crisis,” Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the UN Osama Abdel-Khalek said.

Abdel-Khalek made the remarks during a speech at a rare emergency special session of the 193-member UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

His speech came shortly after 141 countries, including Egypt, voted for a UN resolution calling for a halt to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from its western neighbour.

“Egypt’s vote for the decision is based on [the country’s] firm belief in the rules of international law and the principles and goals of the Charter of the United Nations,” Abdel-Khalek said.

Five of the UNGA’s 193 member states, namely Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Syria, and Russia, voted against the resolution, and 35 nations abstained.

The UNGA’s resolutions are not legally-binding, unlike UN Security Council’s (UNSC) resolutions.

Russia has drawn global condemnation and was slapped by western sanctions after it launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has claimed the lives of scores and forced hundreds of thousands to flee from the country.

“Egypt rejects the approach of employing economic sanctions outside the framework of the mechanisms of the multilateral international system,” Abdel-Khalek said.

He warned that similar sanctions in the past had caused “severe negative humanitarian effects” and resulted in the exacerbation of the suffering of millions of people over the past decades

“Egypt reiterates its warning against economic and social effects of the current crisis on the entire global economy, which is still suffering from the pandemic’s repercussions,” Abdel-Khalek said, adding that the growing disruption in supply chains and international air traffic is proof of this.

Abdel-Khalek warned against ignoring the need to remove the roots of the Russia-Ukraine crisis to achieve security and stability and defuse the crisis.

He also called for all parties to shoulder the responsibility of allowing the flow of humanitarian aid to all needy people as well as the crossing of foreign residents across borders without discrimination, as some discriminatory treatment has been reported in this regard.

Abdel-Khalek also called for resolving the current crisis within fixed standards that go in line with the UN Charter.

“The effectiveness and credibility of the multilateral international action mechanisms’ ability to confront successive challenges and crises depends on dealing with all international crises in accordance with the same and consistent criteria that is in line with the principles and goals of the [UN] Charter,” Abdel-Khalek said.

He added that this should be applied before “decades pass during which the reality and human suffering are perpetuated.”

The UNGA vote on Wednesday comes after Russia vetoed a UNSC resolution on Friday that deplored the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As 11 members of the 15-member council voted in favour of the resolution, the resolution was allowed to be taken to the UNGA. China, India, and the UAE abstained from the vote.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Egypt has called for upholding dialogue and diplomatic means of resolving the crisis.

Egypt has also worked on facilitating the crossing of Egyptian expats in Ukraine, mostly students, to neighbouring European countries.

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