04 August 2022, The Tablet

The need for a rational dialogue about the war in Ukraine

The diplomacy of dialogue – why it is now time to talk.

The need for a rational dialogue about the war in Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian delegates in Istanbul negotiate a deal to export grain from Ukrainian ports
Photo: alamy/REUTERS, Umit Bektas


In his Angelus message last Sunday, Pope Francis prayed that the suffering and battered Ukrainian people might be freed from the scourge of war, adding “The only reasonable thing to do [is] to stop and negotiate.” A former Irish diplomat considers what concrete steps could be taken towards peace

Can there be an opening to what I would call a “rational dialogue” about the war in Ukraine? I realise that many would hesitate to answer, arguing that our first obligation is to distinguish between perpetrator and victim and to align ourselves with the victim. I understand that perspective. However, there are many different actors in a situation like this and many forces in play. A rational dialogue is the opposite of a sundering of all relationships.

I recall Pope Francis, when he addressed the Council of Europe in 2014, saying: “If [conflict] paralyses us, we lose perspective, our horizons shrink, and we grasp only a part of reality. When we fail to move forward in a situation of conflict, we lose our sense of the profound unity of reality, we halt history …”


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