Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 March 2022:
Sierra Leone’s President Dr Julius Maada Bio spoke yesterday at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey, where he said that global dialogue promotes international understanding, peace and security, and more importantly offers nations the opportunity to engage constructively with one another.
Speaking at a panel discussion on “regional and global pathways to peace and prosperity” alongside the President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, President Bio emphasised that prosperity is possible only when there is peace.
“Peaceful countries do not exist in complete isolation. A nation is not at peace if its neighbourhood is embroiled in violent conflict or if that neighbourhood faces internal or external threats to their peace.
“Sovereign nations are not insulated from the impact of what obtains in their neighbourhoods, whether it be security threats, transnational crime, pandemics, forced or illegal migrations, the impact of climate change, and other such economic threats,” he said.
President Bio also told the Forum, which brought together participants from 75 countries, including 17 Heads of State and Government, 80 Ministers, 39 international organisation representatives, that threats to peace and security are often transnational and permeate national borders, noting that conflict contagion in a sub-region has the potential to threaten the peace and stability of its people.
“We cannot assert total national sovereignty when that very sovereignty is threatened by destabilising transnational forces either across the borders or within the subregion. Often, a sovereign nation may have very little or no control over those destabilising forces within the subregion.
“Central to this framework for collective peace and security is to address and overcome the causes of deep-rooted mistrust among neighbours. Part of that is to maintain and sustain communication and open dialogues. The aim is to emphasise what is in their mutual best interests. That to my mind is not surrendering sovereignty; it is about assuring sovereignty, peace, and security,” he concluded.
Earlier in a video message to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said that diplomacy is the essence and spirit of the UN Charter, a document with one overarching goal to save generations from the scourge of war.
“The drafters of the Charter had witnessed the unspeakable damage caused by the Second World War. To prevent it from happening again, they built a collective security system based on the fundamental idea that diplomacy should always come first.
He added: “’Recoding diplomacy’, the subject for this year’s Forum, means first looking back in order to understand and build on the foundations that make diplomatic work possible. Those foundations are clear: respect for international law, sovereignty, and equality among States”.