Forty figures from social, scientific and cultural life from both Slovakia and the Czech Republic have today signed an appeal to the governments and heads of state of both countries to exert maximum pressure for diplomatic solution to the conflict instead of sending weapons, prolonging the war and further bloodshed. They emphasize that the start of negotiations is not a justification for war crimes. “Negotiations do not mean dictating Ukraine’s surrender. And negotiation does not mean ignoring the wishes of the parties. Negotiations are a necessary means to achieve a ceasefire, to prevent further suffering and the spread of conflict. Every additional day of war means hundreds more victims dying for goals that are less and less realistic… Europe’s first concern must be to restore peace on the continent, and to do this it must elaborate a strategy to bring the war to an end as soon as possible. Continuing the war is not and must not be the solution to the problem,” the statement said.
The signatories of the call point out that the 2021 National Values Survey ranked in the first place namely peace as the most important desired value. They also recall that just a year ago, Pope Francis in Bratislava called on Slovakia to become “a message of peace at the heart of Europe”, but our politicians have done nothing to fulfil this vision. Therefore, they should start acting on behalf of the citizens and take diplomatic action to stop the bloodshed and promote peace.
The peace call “Peace First!” was initiated by Eduard Chmelár, President of the civic association United for Peace. Its signatories are, among others, the former President of the UN General Assembly and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic – Jan Kavan, former President of the Slovak Republic – Ivan Gašparovič, former President of the Slovak Parliament and Ambassador to Ukraine and Belarus – Jozef Migaš, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic – Petr Drulák, , actresses – Mária Kráľovičová and Božidara Turzonová, writers – Jozef Banáš, Etela Farkašová and Anton Hykisch, composer – Vladimír Godár, film director – Eduard Grečner, artist – Ivan Popovič and musician – Marián Greksa.
The call is an invitation to the peace march for peace in Ukraine through diplomatic channels, which will take place on World Peace Day, Wednesday 21 September 2022, starting at 5 p.m. at Hodžovo Square in Bratislava.