In touch with India: France on UN draft resolution on Ukraine conflict

The UN General Assembly will vote this week on the draft resolution underscoring the urgency to find lasting peace in Ukraine, a year after Moscow invaded its neighbour

Press Trust of India New Delhi
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Ahead of the voting on the UN's draft resolution on Ukraine, the French diplomatic sources on Tuesday said they were in contact with political leaders in New Delhi but were not very hopeful that India will not abstain.

The UN General Assembly will vote this week on the draft resolution underscoring the urgency to find lasting peace in Ukraine, a year after Moscow invaded its neighbour.

On a question, if India would again abstain from voting in UNGA on the Ukraine-Russia conflict, they said India is not very likely to join one side or another but they are "working on it".

"It's always a question of balance...We do have contact with the political leaders of India. At this stage, we still don't know what will be the position of the government. Most likely it will be abstention but we are still working on it. We have a very candid discussion with them. There is no secret agenda or whatever. So then it's their decision," a French diplomatic source said.

India has mostly abstained on resolutions related to the Russia-Ukraine war in the UN, including in the Security Council, General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.

India has repeatedly called on Russia and Ukraine to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue and end their ongoing conflict.

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Calling India a major player in the Ukraine-Russia issue, they said France and India have a "very fruitful" partnership and a history of intense political dialogue, allowing a "very fruitful" partnership and history of intense political dialogue which allows them to discuss all issues, even the complex ones.

Noting that France and the EU and India were not on the "exact same position" on the Ukraine issue, the source said,"but you may also have noticed that there were some slight changes in the public statement made by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi about the world saying this is not the era of war."

"It was a very important statement by the Prime Minister...We are aligned that we all want to reduce the risk of escalation and we all want to try to find the way towards peace and on that, India is also very clear," the diplomatic source added.

The source said the ties between India and Russia can be used as a channel to work toward peace.

"And as you know, there is an important link between the Indian and Russian governments, and we ask the Indian government to use these links with the Russian counterparts to help us in a way towards peace. It's a long way. It's a long process," the source said.

"But yes, we do have this kind of discussion on a very frequent basis with India," the source said.

The source said it is also important to remember that for the EU, this war on Ukraine is not a way to lose focus on the Indo-Pacific issues.

"We still have an important Indo-Pacific agenda," the source said.

On the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the French diplomatic sources said France has made it very clear that Russia "cannot and must not win this war".

"So we are ready to face an extended conflict in Ukraine and we are prepared to support in the long run and as long as needed Ukraine in defending its own territory," the source said.

"This being said, we have always been very attentive to keep the channels open with Moscow," the source said.

"We have a peace plan on the table by President Zelensky. But that hasn't received a positive answer from Moscow. So we are at this moment supporting Ukraine in its defence of its own territory, but we also keep channels open for the moment for negotiation," the source said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Feb 21 2023 | 10:12 PM IST

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