08:45 GMT09 August 2020
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    Writing in the Irish Times, former diplomat Dr. Niall Holohan called for the West to work together with Russia to solve the urgent problems facing the world, which include militant Jihadism and the potential break-up of Syria.

    The sanctions war between the West and Russia needs to stop so that both sides can work together on solving the world's pressing problems, writes a former Irish diplomat in the Irish Times on Wednesday, who also drew parallels between the Ukraine crisis and those faced in Ireland during the twentieth century. 

    "It is time to remove these sanctions before they do further damage," writes Dr. Holohan, who calls for an international agreement to endorse Crimea's status as a part of the Russian Federation, and an agreement to guarantee the rights of the Russian-speaking minority in a non-partitioned Ukraine in order to resolve the constitutional crises facing the country.

    "If only the constitutional issue on the island of Ireland could be resolved as easily," comments the diplomat, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen and Iraq.

    Highlighting the pressing problems of jihadist Islam, and the potential break-up of Syria and other countries in the Middle East, Holohan writes that: "Now is not the time, therefore, for the West to be picking a fight with Russia over Ukraine."

    Russians, "like all countries," are ready to defend their national self-interest, he writes.

    "In this they would seem to be no different from the British in relation to Ireland or the Americans in relation to Cuba. It follows that it was foolhardy for the EU and the US to support the overthrow of the Yanukovych government last year. The position taken by the EU on that occasion was clearly anti-Russian and failed to take into account that a portion of the Ukrainian opposition to Yanukovych consisted of extreme right-wing elements, some with neo-Nazi credentials."

    "Furthermore, increasing damage is being inflicted by a series of economic sanctions imposed by both sides. Among these is the blanket ban on the import of EU agricultural products to Russia, which has adversely affected Irish farmers by causing a drop in the international price of milk and other foodstuffs."

    The sanctions war, warns Holohan, is one that all sides will lose. To be "picking a fight with Russia over Ukraine," he remarks, is an approach that will hurt all sides, at a time when the world is in need of united and decisive action to resolve its urgent problems. 


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