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Zenon Kowal addresses Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie session

#UWC news
November 9,2023 541
Zenon Kowal addresses Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie session

Zenon Kowal, a UWC Board of Directors member, a Political Advisor to the Association of Ukrainians in Belgium, and a Special Advisor to the Embassy of Ukraine in Belgium (1992-1995), delivered a speech in a session of the European section of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie held at the Greek Parliament in Athens.

The event, attended by over a hundred participants and representing twenty-four European parliaments, focused on the central theme of “War in the Heart of Europe and the Creation of a New World Order.” During the session on November 6, Mr. Kowal addressed the gathering with his presentation titled “War in Ukraine, European War? Intersecting Conflict and Obsession – Ukraine-Europe-Russia.”

“It is worth noting that Ukraine was the central topic of the debates, at a time when most media are focused on the war between HAMAS and Israel. And our debates took place in Greece, the cradle of democracy,” said Zenon Kowal.

At the summit’s conclusion, participants adopted a joint Declaration, which, among other things, declares unwavering support for Ukraine and emphasizes its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders.

The Declaration “calls for an immediate cessation of all military actions leading to thousands of innocent victims and significant displacement of the population.” The document discusses civilian casualties, millions of displaced persons, massive destruction, and the economic challenges of war.

Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie expressed deep concern about the consequences of the war, emphasizing the need for an immediate resolution of migration challenges based on principles of solidarity and equal responsibility distribution, as stated in the declaration. The Assembly calls for dialogue and respect for international law to “pave the way for peace, reconciliation, and stability in the region.”

“The accession of Ukraine to the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie is a great victory and a very positive step. The PAF includes many countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Participation in this organization allows Ukraine to expand its influence over a wide network of parliaments of Francophone countries, all of which have a voice in the United Nations and other international organizations. This is an additional opportunity for Ukraine to work with the Global South,” Kowal emphasized.

Thanks to the mediation of Zenon Kowal, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine became an observer member of the PAF in July 2023. At the current event in Athens, two Ukrainian parliamentarians, Lesia Vasylenko, and Aliona Shkrum, represented Ukraine for the first time and participated in the debates.

The Francophone Belgian Parliament, which chaired the session, also, on Zenon Kowal’s advice, invited Tetyana Ogarkova from the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, who presented issues related to women and children, victims of war. The speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, addressed the participants of the parliamentary session in a video message.

The Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie (PAF) is a consultative assembly of the International Organization of La Francophonie. It comprises 88 members (parliaments or parliamentary organizations), including 56 full members, 18 associate members, and 18 observers.

In addition to its consultative function, the PAF actively promotes democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. It conducts debates, adopts resolutions, and fosters cooperation between parliaments.

Apart from the PAF, the International Organization of La Francophonie has other active networks, including the University Association of La Francophonie, the International Association of Francophone Mayors, and the television network TV5.

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