Being pro-peace and dialogue is not the equivalent of being pro-Russia!

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May, 2024 at 9:47 am by Andre Camilleri

Last week, the newspaper of the Nationalist Party, il-Mument, misconstrued an article that featured on the Times of Malta. It relates to some of the comments I passed during a debate organised by the Broadcasting Authority. These are established debates that are organised by the BA to provide a relative fair political media coverage. Let’s leave Ivan Grech Mintoff’s eggs for a while. 

What I said on the day, is that I would have loved to see Dr Roberta Metsola participating in the debate. It is only obvious that after the kerfuffle pushed by the European Parliament office in Malta, we ask for her presence in such debates. Hitherto, I cannot understand the logic. The European Parliament office in Malta lodged a complaint with the Broadcasting Authority. They stated that the implementation of the BA directive, that of limiting the reporting of Roberta Metsola just to current affairs of news value, ought to hamper the flow of information of the EP’s work to the electorate. At the same time, the president of the European Parliament seems to be declining all the requests that are landing on her desk to participate in debates. If the reason was truly the concern of shackling the flow of information of the EP’s work to the electorate, then it is only logic to accept the invitations for a debate. If anything, to promote the work of the European Parliament.

Till now, the president of the European Parliament refused to participate in one of the debates. Recently, President Roberta Metsola said that she is also an MEP candidate for the European Parliament elections on the Nationalist Party’s ticket. Indeed, that is why we need Dr Metsola to participate in a debate. We need to know more about her work and that of the EP when it comes to CFSP. From my end, I have an important document that I must show to the president of the European Parliament, if we ever cross paths in a debate. And the Nationalist Party’s propagandistic machine, must know, and must know well that I am not pro-Russia. I am pro-peace and dialogue. I am against investments in the production of armaments, while we bankers are obliged to exclude companies that produce armament, as part of our ESG commitments. Being pro-peace is not the equivalent of being pro-Russia. With the same logic, Roberta Metsola is pro-Azerbaijan because she never spoke of Ilham Aliyev and hardly, if ever, condemned the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh. I do not recall Roberta Metsola’s pleas to supply fighter jets, long range missiles, or other military support to help Armenians resisting Aliyev’s regime and the appalling arms aggression that ensued. It is indeed an à la carte system of how gratifying it is to advance in their careers.  

Also, I said that president Metsola’s latest visit to Ukraine is not a show of solidarity. Au contraire, it is only a show for the advancement of Roberta Metsola’s career. The current president is trying to snatch perhaps the HRVP’s post given that the EPP is about to rescind the seat to the S&D. True, the EPP and the S&D can always agree with the former to serve another term, and then the latter retains the seat for a full 5-year term. We already witnessed a precedence, so it is a possibility. However, the president of the European Parliament requires a mitigation plan. Equally, the visits to Ukraine are not intended to express solidarity with Ukrainians but to provoke additional escalations. The visits are only intended to garner support from the eastern bloc. Roberta Metsola requires internal support from the eastern bloc, as well as other member states to bless her for another post. The aim is to grab one of those seats. Nothing more and nothing less. If they truly believe in peace, they would have done like me an propose a solution. During the debate, I proposed the acceleration of Ukraine’s accession in the EU to integrate its security under Article 42.7 of the Treaty.

Hitherto, they never proposed any peace solutions. On the other hand, if Roberta Metsola has an abundant supply of emotions to spare with the rest of the world in the form of solidarity, then we certainly need to know her position on the latest possible arrest warrants issued by the ICC against PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Roberta Metsola and Ursula von der Leyen are responsible for the gross political mistake and rushed actions taken last October when they visited Israel. It resulted in a humanitarian mess. They indirectly blessed PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s disproportionate actions. Thousands of innocent people in Gaza were brutally murdered, in its worst form ever. As much as the leader of Hamas must be served with the arrest warrants, and we need justice to prevail for the families of the innocent Israeli nationals that were brutally murdered while enjoying a party, the disproportionate retaliation of PM Benjamin Netanyahu cannot be approved.

Another show of solidarity that Roberta Metsola can consider, is the possibility to visit Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenians that were literally swept out of Nagorno-Karabakh are still waiting for justice. Have you ever heard them uttering a word about the 120,000 Armenians that lost their land and home through arms aggression? And what about the gas being supplied by Ilham Aliyev to the EU? Isn’t the EU funding Aliyev’s war against Armenians? It is indeed a travesty of democracy. It shows inexperience in how to deal with CFSP.

When I tell you that I am not impressed with Roberta Metsola’s visits to Ukraine, is simply because when I served as Ambassador of Malta to the Political Security Committee, we too had the opportunity to visit warzone countries, inter alia the Central African Republic, Bangui, as well as Ukraine, Kyiv. We had other scheduled visits including Burkina-Faso, Niger, and Mali. But that is now past. So, when I see Roberta Metsola trying to impress the media, by taking an entire entourage with her to Kyiv, including the Times of Malta, I cringe in my seat. When I watched the moments of the air-raid siren pounding Kyiv, it occurred to me that it is all about marketing.

Please, do us all a favour and start behaving like proper diplomats in the interest of Europe and in the interest of peace. You all have an important role in the EU Institutions. Do not try to manipulate others. The Nationalist Party’s media tactics will not stop me from writing and publishing additional information, especially on my blog. And I wrote this article for Politico journalists to pick it up.

To conclude, when they tell you that you are pro-Russia because of being vocal about peace and dialogue, just tell them that it is a false equivalence. Peace can only be achieved through proper dialogue and not through provocation.

Good luck Roberta and Ursula.  

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