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Di Maio meets Guterres at UN headquarters, offers peace plan for Ukraine

NEW YORK, MAY 18 – In New York for talks at the United Nations, the Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, met today with the Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The crisis in Ukraine, but also Libya and food security were at the centre of the discussion.

Di Maio offered Guterres the full support of Italy to his good offices in order to obtain the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, the transit of humanitarian assistance and the export of foodstuffs locked after the Russian invasion and the blockade of ports. He also presented a peace plan in four steps, whose contents, anticipated by the daily “La Repubblica”, were later confirmed by his office in Rome.

“Our goal is a diplomatic solution to the conflict, leaving the channel open with Moscow for the de-escalation and obtain a ceasefire”, said then Di Maio meeting journalists at the headquarters of the Permanent Mission of Italy: “We spoke with Guterres about possible actions for peace starting with the evacuations and the release of the Ukrainian military from Azovstal. These are important steps to allow a local ceasefire in as little time as possible, then a stop to the conflict and finally a peace agreement”.

For what concerns the duration of the war, Di Maio has no illusions: “It could last over a year. There is no perception that it can end soon. But a lot depends on how much we as an international community and the EU, the gentle force of the world, engage. Italy has three fundamental objectives: peace, energy, food security“, explained the head of the Foreign Ministry: “On energy, the European Union must be brave, and impose a ceiling on the price of gas.

The peace plan, prepared by Italian diplomats in close coordination with the office of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, foresees a four-step path, under the supervision of an International Facilitation Group: first a ceasefire, the possible neutrality of Ukraine, territorial issues – in particular Crimea and Donbass – ending with a new European and international security pact.

According Di Maio, “if it is true that war is the failure of diplomacy, it is also true that diplomacy can put an end to wars. They all end sooner or later, and you have to be ready with plans for the post-war period,” reports “La Repubblica”. Every step of the way, the newspaper continues, the loyalty of the commitments made by the parties will have to be tested, so that we can proceed to the next step.

The first step of the plan consists in a ceasefire, to be negotiated while fighting. It should be accompanied by supervisory mechanisms and demilitarisation of the front line, in order to prepare the ground for a definitive cessation of hostilities. The second step revolves around multilateral negotiations on the future international status of Ukraine. The third point, the “hottest” from a diplomatic point of view, concerns the definition of the bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine on territorial issues, after international mediation. The fourth stage includes the proposal of a new multilateral agreement on peace and security in Europe, in the context of the OSCE and the European Union’s Neighbourhood Policy. (@OnuItalia)

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