FOREIGN Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Stanley Kakubo says Zambia’s vote at the UN General Assembly plenary meeting on the situation in Ukraine was not against Russia but war and bloodshed.

And Kakubo has insisted that the vote does not in any way injure Zambia’s bilateral relations with Russia.

Responding to leader of opposition Brian Mundubile, who wanted to find out why Zambia did not abstain like other nations, Wednesday, Kakubo said non alignment did not mean indecision.

He responded in a ministerial statement on government’s position on the war.

“First of all, Madam Speaker, non-aligned of a country does not mean indecision. Our membership of the non-aligned movement is clear; the non-aligned movement does not support war and Zambia, being a member, also does not support war. Further to clarifying, Madam Speaker, our vote at the UN as clearly stipulated in the statement, is not against Russia, it is a vote against war, it is a vote against bloodshed. It is a principled vote because this country, Madam Speaker, has a very clear foreign policy and we stuck to our foreign policy obligations. We are also members of the UN, we are signatories to the charter, therefore, our vote was guided by principles,” Kakubo said.

Kakubo insisted that Zambia’s vote was guided by the UN charter to which it was a signatory.

“On 2nd March, 2022 Zambia voted to support the resolution of the 11th emergency special session of the UN General Assembly entitled aggression against Ukraine. I am sure that the honourable members of this House who have taken time to read the UN resolution will agree that the elements contained in the resolution are consistent with the UN Charter, other conventions and protocols which all member states, including Zambia, are party to. The adoption of the UN resolution was through a vote in which member states voted as follows: 141 members including Zambia supported the resolution, 5 voted against it and 35 abstained,” he said.

“The key issues that were agreed upon in the resolution includes among others; reaffirming commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. Extending to its territorial waters demand for all parties to allow for unhindered access to humanitarian assistance and respect of human rights, demand for all parties to fully comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, to spare the civilian population and civilian objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, respecting and protecting humanitarian personnel and consignments used for humanitarian relief operations, urged the immediate peaceful resolution of the conflict between the Russian federation and Ukraine through political dialogue, negotiations, mediation and other peaceful means.”

He said despite Zambia being geographically thousands of miles away from where the conflict was happening, the country was feeling its effects.

“In our case, despite being geographically thousands of miles away from where the conflict is happening, we are likely to feel its effects in some sectors of our economy including the destabilisation of our local currency. War breeds undesirable outcomes including the loss of lives, displacement of people and may worsen famine in other regions as resources are re-channelled towards the management of the conflict. I wish to conclude by emphasising that the position taken by Zambia at the emergency special session of the UN general assembly is consistent with Zambia’s foreign policy in line with Zambia’s national interests and most importantly in accordance with the charter of the United Nations,” Kakubo said.

Meanwhile, Kakubo insisted that the vote did not in any way injure Zambia’s bilateral relations with Russia.

“Madam Speaker, even at community level, if there is a conflict for instance, if your rich neighbour unfortunately breaks the law, the correct thing to do is that the law must apply to everyone. It must not apply to advantaged people in a different way, privileged people in a different way. And in this case, Zambia applies the principle. What we want is an end to war, we will not support war and we are not willing to move on that position. As we have stated as government that the issue to do with the war was not asking us to either belong to the East or to the West, the vote was about whether this war must exist, this war must come to cease fire,” stated Kakubo.

“The principles are very clear, we do not support war in any way as government. It does matter who has done it. We believe that the Russian Ambassador understands the principled approach to how we voted at the UN and our voting pattern at the UN. Madam Speaker, this is not a new phenomenon. Let me emphasise that the principles that we referred to were well established by our founding fathers. Even when the US attack certain countries in history, for instance in Iraq, you should check how we voted as Zambia, we voted against the US.”