Maltese President George Vella has urged the international community to be more determined to eradicate arms sales and flow due to the fuelling effects they have on regional conflicts and larger wars.
The Oxford Union is a prestigious debating society with a tradition of hosting internationally prominent figures across politics, academia, and popular culture.
Vella was present to discuss the state of international affairs and he spoke about the flow and sale of armaments and ammunition, not only saying that it sustains and exacerbates conflicts but showing concern at the “exorbitant expenditure” on instruments of war and destruction, especially when comparing it with what is invested in food and energy security, the preservation of the global environment, and actions to combat climate change.
Vella went on to praise Malta for the UN Security Council resolution that it drafted regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict that has wreaked total destruction on Gaza.
“Against a paralysing impasse, Malta took it upon itself to propose a text that would unblock a devastating humanitarian scenario. It took five whole weeks for the Security Council to take action by adopting Resolution 2712 to address daily horrors that unfolded since 7th October.”
He further criticised the international for its delay in reaction to the atrocities, highlighting that it took over a month.
Nowadays, Vella said, no one even wants to mention peace. On the contrary, “those who do are branded as wishful thinkers, weak, and, worse, as naïve.”
The President noted that despite all the good intentions, the international community has learned very little from past wars and conflicts, especially in the art of peacemaking and peacekeeping.
“We are back with a war on European soil, a devastating conflict in the Middle East, and a multilateral system that is constantly being put to the test. We have a disastrous situation of coups and civil wars in the Sahel region, not forgetting the recent war in Yemen and Syria.”
The President emphasised that the solutions lie in diplomacy and negotiations, which are the basic tenants of any functioning multilateral system.
He even said that the international community has “failed over and over again to recognise the urgency of tensions in the Mediterranean”.
Prior to a fireside chat with the President of the Oxford Union and a Q&A session with its members, the President urged the students to stand up for what they believe is fair, even if this means rowing against the current.
“Do not dilute your convictions in what is right or wrong and invest your youth, your enthusiasm, your brains, and your freedom to improving lives and addressing challenges, present, and future.”
Do you agree with Vella?