The President of the WVF attended the Congress held by the International Advisory Committee of Organisations of Reserve Officers in conjunction with the 6th General Assembly of the Advisory Committee
At the invitation of the International Advisory Committee of Organisations of Reserve Officers, the WVF President took part in the congress: “Mission of Peace and Friendship – 100 Years of End of First World War: Lessons and Present” held on 22nd May 2019 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The committee now has over 5 million members from 22 countries. Other members of the WVF also participated. www.iacro.ru
REPORT FROM THE MEETING
The Secretariat of International Advisory Committee of the Organization of Reserve Officers (IAC) together with the “Union of Officers and Sergeants of Reserve and Retired of Bulgaria” and with assistance of the Ministry of Defense of Bulgaria, held the International Humanitarian Action “Mission of Peace and Friendship – 100 Years of End of First World War: Lessons and Present” and the 6th General Assembly of IАC.
Representatives and delegations from different countries took part: heads of organizations of reserve officers, retired and veterans belonging to the IAC, and invited guests, representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Bulgaria, Municipality of Sofia, a number of veterans and youth organizations of Bulgaria, diplomatic corps, President of the World Veterans Federation D-V. Bergtun (Norway), Deputy Director of the Department of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia A. Evstigneeva.
The forum participants received greetings from the Minister of Defense of Bulgaria K. Karakachanov and the Chief of Defense A. Botsev.
In the speech of the Chairman of the Union of Officers and Sergeants of the Reserve and Retired of Bulgaria, General Zlatan Stoykov at the opening of the Mission and in the main report of the President of the International Confederation of Generals, Admirals and Reserve Officers, Alexander Kanshin “The role of veteran organizations in preventing military conflicts, ensuring peace and security”, as well as speeches by other participants of the event from different countries sounded the need to actively use the experience and capabilities of veterans to counter modern threats to peace and security, to prevent wars and military conflicts.
The participants of the action adopted the Final Document entitled “Appeal to Heads of States, Governments, public, veteran, youth organizations, World Community”.
It focuses on the fact that today, in the context of global political instability in the world and the growing interdependence of states, the only reliable insurance against the threat to plunge regions and continents into large-scale conflicts is to take into account the interests of all countries, adherence to universal principles of equal and indivisible security of states the world.
The consolidated efforts of all states, society, including military veterans and youth are needed to effectively counter the challenges of terrorism and extremism, to provide reliable protection against them. Effective work can only be achieved with the central coordinating role of the United Nations.
The program of the action also included the presentation of the Third International Amateur Photography Competition “Planet Earth – our common home. Beauty will save the World” and the Second International Film Festival of documentary films and television programs “For a world without wars and military conflicts”.
The International humanitarian action “Mission of Peace and Friendship – 100 Years of End of First World War: Lessons and Present” in Sofia ended with a memorial event – a solemn ceremony of laying wreaths and flowers at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier (Eternal Flame) with the participation of the military orchestra and the Honorary guard, consisting of representatives of the three types of Bulgarian Armed Forces.
At the 6th General Assembly of the IAC in Sofia, the “International Advisory Committee of the organizations of reserve officers” (IAC) was renamed the “International Confederation of Generals, Admirals and Reserve Officers” (ICO).
The Secretariat of the International Confederation of Generals, Admirals and Reserve Officers (IСO) expressed its appreciation and gratitude to the Union of Officers and Sergeants of the Reserve and Retired of Bulgaria, and the leadership of the Bulgarian Defense Ministry and Sofia Municipality for constructive cooperation in preparing and holding the event.
They also thanked the participants of the event in Sofia and wished all members of the organizations they headed further success in work, health and well-being.
THE MISSION OF PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP CONTINUES
APPEAL TO HEADS OF STATES, GOVERNMENTS,
PUBLIC, VETERAN, YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS,
Veterans of War and military service, academics, historians, philosophers from more than 20 countries-participants of the international Humanitarian Action «Mission of Peace and Friendship-100 years of the end of the First World War: Lessons and the Present» organized by the International advisory Committee of organization of Reserve officers’ (IAC) together with the Union of Officers and Sergeants of reserve and stock of Bulgaria and with the assistance of the Ministry of Defense of Bulgaria, emphasize that the First World War which became a world tragedy has led to the multimillion of human casualties, immeasurable suffering and disastrous socio-economic consequences. It became a prologue to the even more terrible Second World War, followed by numerous local armed conflicts and civil wars that caused uncontrolled migratory processes and problems affecting progress.
We regard today’s growing international tension and the propagation of extremist ideology and radical violent practices in many regions of the world as the most dangerous threats and challenges to peace and stability to every country.
Participants of the action «Mission of Peace and Friendship» call the attention of Heads of States, Governments, public, veteran, youth organizations, the world community on the need to adopt urgent, coordinated measures to prevent further escalation of tensions in a world that has reached an alarming level and impedes the realization of the “UN Sustainable development goals for peace and all countries”. Lessons of the First and Second World wars, the evolving world situation obliges all peace-loving forces for the better future of children, youth and the elderly to work actively, with the coordinating role of the United Nations, to reduce Confrontation, to counteract violent extremism, to increase radicalization of the youth.
In the face of global political instability in the world and the growing interdependence of States, the only reliable insurance against the threat of plunging regions and continents into large-scale conflicts shall be respecting the interests of all countries, adherence to universal Principles of equal and indivisible security of States throughout the world.
The efforts of the world community should also focus on measures to eradicate poverty, increase economic growth and solve problems of education, health, migration, social protection and employment, as well as to combat Climate change and environmental protection.
We must do everything necessary to protect the world against any large-scale war in order to eliminate the possibility of repeating the horrors of the First and Second World wars.”
Sofia, May 22, 2019
WVF PRESIDENT’S SPEECH TO THE IAC CONGRESS
On 11 November 1918, after a war lasting for more than four years, representatives of the German Empire, France and Britain signed a peace agreement in a railway carriage in the forest of France. The longed-for end of the First World War, which cost the lives of an estimated 17 million soldiers and civilians and caused major suffering throughout Europe and the rest of the world, had finally arrived. But the Peace agreement and the Treaty of Versailles brought only a very weak peace. Many warned already in 1920 “the hate of former enemies remains” and “latent hostility and hate among the nations are increasing”. They had not succeeded in establishing a stable international order in Europe, and a little over twenty years later, the world found itself facing the next catastrophe, World War Two.
It was only after the Second World War, against a background of two wars, that it was possible to banish war in most areas of Europe. A genuine peace dawned and the nations of Europe, whose veterans, who had previously faced one another across the borders, grew ever closer into a mutual economic and cultural area. The World Veterans Federation has taken part in this process since 1946.
At that time the idea of European integration as a peace project was born: former enemies become close friends, as expressed in the exchange programmes and mutual agreements was established, many with good help of the WVF.
This peace, which has now lasted for decades, is often taken for granted by us, although numerous wars and conflicts rage even now throughout the world. There are ever fewer people still alive who experienced the last war in central Europe for themselves and can testify to the pain and suffering caused by armed conflict – suffering that far outstrips more or less all today’s problems and causes of discontent. So, what can we do? Remembrance of the end of the War warns us not to be lulled into a false sense of security, not to play down the effects of armed conflict and to ensure that peace is always accorded the high value it deserves. It is for precisely these reasons that we should conduct our current debates with careful thought and consideration. While modernisation processes such as modern warfare like cyber wars, propaganda, sanctions, and globalisation put pressure on people to generate fear and a general loss of trust in the democratic institutions seems to be spreading; nationalism and populism are now flaring up once again, the enthusiasm for the European project is waning, the language used is becoming harsher. In many aspects of today’s climate, peace is under threat once again today.
We, as veterans, need to constantly ensure that we achieve peace and preserve it; we need to stand up against exaggerated nationalism. This requires new thinking about what constitutes our way of living and our common good. It is only by prioritising the good of society as a whole over particular and special interests, by strengthening social solidarity, and by ensuring human dignity, justice and prosperity, that we can reinforce and maintain peace and security in the long term. Other major challenges such as climate change; migration and trade issues can also only be tackled with mutual cooperation. In the aftermath of the First World War, the World Veterans often intervened for peace and understanding. Today, too, we are faced on a daily basis with the task and opportunity of participating in the peace project in the world. This not only means campaigning for peace, but also preparing concrete ways for peace to exist. In times characterised by fear and despair, it is the task of the veterans to move forward with optimism and hope, and to speak up for peace and justice.
After all; “None can speak more eloquently for peace than those who have fought in war.”