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Initiative taken to seek consensus on dousing fire of conflict in Ukraine: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-02-29 20:43

Ukrainian national flags flutter in front of a heavily damaged apartment building in the frontline town of Orikhiv, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine Feb 28, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

There has been little sign of the conflict in Ukraine coming to an end. It has now entered its third year and some Western governments are seemingly intent on prolonging it for as long as possible, even though the belligerent parties are locked in a bloody war of attrition in which neither side is gaining a significant advantage. There are also signs of growing public discontent at the money being spent by the United States and its European allies to support Ukraine's military capabilities as the money could be better used at home to support livelihoods and well-being.

French President Emmanuel Macron warned of the possibility of putting Western boots on the ground in Ukraine in order to prevent a Russian victory at a meeting of European leaders in Paris on Monday, putting the spotlight on how some Western leaders have been intent on reinforcing Kyiv's resolve to fight rather than seeking ways to bring an end to the conflict. With both the battlefields in Ukraine and Western aid to the country now gridlocked, Macron's words should help focus minds on now being the time to give peace a chance.

China certainly thinks it is an opportune moment to make renewed efforts to end the conflict. On Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning announced that starting from March 2, Li Hui, China's special envoy on Eurasian affairs, will travel to Russia, the European Union headquarters, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France on a diplomatic mission to push for a political settlement to the Ukraine crisis. This new diplomatic initiative demonstrates China's commitment to in-depth communications among the key stakeholders involved to resolve the conflict.

China is not party to the Ukraine conflict; it is impartial, having friendly relations with both the belligerents. It issued a position paper on Feb 24 last year, making clear its stance and elaborating on the political pathway it proposed to reach a settlement to the crisis. It also sent a special envoy to Europe to conduct the first round of shuttle diplomacy last May to solicit the views of different parties to see if there was any common ground on which a foothold could be found for a negotiated end to the conflict.

The Ukraine crisis has caused a huge loss of life and much suffering. It has also had wider ramifications, doing incalculable damage to the European economy, disrupting international supply chains, and has threatened the very fabric of regional peace and stability.

The most pressing priority is to stop the hostilities, launch peace talks and restore stability on the continent. Countries should give China's diplomatic initiative their full support. The death toll in Ukraine should trouble the conscience of all with any vestige of humanity. De-escalation of the fighting should be the primary goal to save lives and create favorable conditions for meaningful negotiations.

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