Our world has been severely impacted over the past two years by the devastating pandemic that has cost millions of lives and ravaged livelihoods and whole societies and economies. Through collective effort, we can bring it to an end.
Yet just as hopes were rising of reaching a post-pandemic state, our world was shocked again, on 24 February, when Russia's military began new moves across Ukraine's border. The implications are serious for all, particularly for those losing their lives on both sides and those fleeing across borders, and will impact on the global economy's capacity to recover from the pandemic.
We, as members of the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre (NGIC), headquartered in Baku, Azerbaijan, call for urgent dialogue between Russia and Ukraine with a view to ending the hostilities immediately. Time is of the essence every hour that is passing by the situation becomes worse and more people are losing their lives. Too many innocent lives are being lost and this situation cannot be allowed to continue.
We acknowledge and appreciate the call of the President of Azerbaijan to host both parties for peace discussions in Baku, Azerbaijan. Baku is a neutral venue for such discussions, having already been a platform for a meeting of top Russian and NATO generals for talks on preventing military incidents. We fervently hope that Baku can play an important role in solving this biggest security crisis which Europe has faced since the end of World War Two.