Ending Ukraine war might need 'external peacemakers' like the Pope, says John McDonnell

21 May 2022, 11:29

By Tim Dodd

Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has told LBC that bringing peace to Ukraine "might need some external interventions" from "peacemakers" like Pope Francis, or from India and China .

It comes as the Foreign Secretary has revealed she wants to send weapons to Ukraine's neighbour Moldova to guard it against potential Russian aggression.

Liz Truss said the UK is discussing the prospect with its allies, given Vladimir Putin has been "clear about his ambitions to create a greater Russia", and added she wanted it to be "equipped to Nato standard".

In an interview with The Telegraph, the Foreign Secretary said the aim is to ensure Ukraine is "permanently able to defend itself", and this also applies to other "vulnerable states" such as Moldova, which is not a Nato member.

Matt Frei asked the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, John McDonnell: "You and your wing of the Labour party have had their issues with NATO in the past. Do you now believe that NATO is the best defence against Russia?"

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Mr McDonnell said: "Every Labour manifesto since Labour was established... has committed to maintaining membership of NATO, and under the last two general election manifestos of which, when I was Shadow Chancellor, that's exactly what we did.

"What we've got to do now is look to see how, and it might need some external interventions for this, how do we secure peace?

"I've been reading some of the statements by Pope Francis, and it's quite interesting, that I think sometimes you need [those] external peacemakers to come together to start that dialogue off, and you've seen that elsewhere."

"I never thought you'd be advocating the Pope as the secret weapon to bring about peace in Ukraine," Matt replied.

Mr McDonnell said: "All I'm saying is that Pope Francis has put forward some ideas about how you can start dialogue off.

"And it might be that we look at other world powers, like India and China and elsewhere, to start playing their role, because nobody wants the war, nobody wants this insecurity, and somehow we want to ensure that we have - at least coming out of this - security and peace for the Ukraine and democracy for the Ukraine to be respected."

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