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Communiqué of the Executive Committee of the World Peace Council

,Damascus 27-28 October 2018

The meeting of the Executive Committee (EC) of the WPC took place successfully in the capital of the Syrian Arab Republic, Damascus, from October 27-28, hosted by the Syrian National Movement of Peace Partisans. The EC Meeting was attended by 56 delegates representing 29 organisations from 28 countries.

By holding our EC in the capital of Syria, Damascus, we express our deep respect and solidarity to the Syrian people, who have been facing an unprecedented and coordinated aggression by the USA, NATO, the EU and its regional allies for more than seven years, having the various armed mercenary terrorist groups as tools for their plans to control the area, its natural resources and transport routes, along with the aim to install a client regime by violent action. The EC expresses its satisfaction for the defeat of ISIS and other fundamentalist groups by the Syrian people and its army and leadership. However, we express our concern about the situation in the territories in the Northern part of the country occupied by Turkey and the heavy military presence of the USA and troops from NATO countries, as well as the continued presence of terrorist groups in the Syrian province of Idlib. We condemn the Israeli attacks on Syria, using Lebanese air space, which put Lebanon in danger of a wider war. We express our sympathy with the families of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have lost their lives, and for many more who were forced to run away for their lives or were displaced as a result of the actions of the armed terrorist gangs. The WPC supports the territorial integrity and unity of Syria, and is against any attempt to divide or dismember the country and denounces the ongoing imperialist interference in Syrian domestic affairs.

The Executive Committee made the assessment that humanity is passing through critical moments for the peace and security of the peoples and nations. The aggressiveness of imperialism is increasing almost everywhere in the world. The aggravation of the capitalist crisis is intensifying imperialist aggressiveness against the peoples. In a world where 0,7 percent of the population owns 46 percent of the wealth of the planet and the poorest 70 percent of the population owns a mere 2,7 percent, the inequalities are widening. Almost three and a half billion people (half of the world population) live in poverty; 821 million live in hunger and 758 million do not have access to clean drinking water. At the same time, according to SIPRI,world military expenditures rose to USD 1,7 trillion in 2017, a 1,1 percent increase compared to 2016. The USA alone had spent USD 610 billion and the NATO member states together more than USD 900 billion. A small percentage of the above would be enough to combat and eliminate hunger and curable diseases in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

The USA, NATO and the EU, in their drive for world domination, are the greatest threat against peace and the peoples of the world. They are responsible for the exponential increase in military expenditure, and the race for new, more sophisticated and destructive weapons, namely, nuclear weapons. The escalation of interference, threats, provocations and destabilization operations, intensify the danger of unleashing an escalation of conflicts that would lead to great and unimaginable consequences for humanity, including the use of nuclear weapons – that can and must be prevented.

The international scenario remains full of tensions and threats, which are becoming more dangerous as the crisis deepens due to the contradictions of an unequal political, economic and social system. These tendencies are continuing despite the faint signs of growth in the world economy, which do not rule out the possibility of a new new cycle of economic crisis, with a more intensive and synchronized character. On the one hand, we face the offensive of the imperialist powers that are competing to dominate the world and take over the peoples’ and nations’ resources. In this offensive, the imperialists and their willing allies act with ferocity. On the other hand, there are many indications of the potential for the resistance and struggles of the peoples, organisations, movements, countries and forces of peace and social progress. The WPC will strive for the broadest possible alliance and joint actions that would embrace all these struggles for common objectives. At the same time, specific efforts should be made to uncover the root causes of wars and their consequences such as poverty, misery and inequality. The WPC will continue to promote and strengthen the progressive and anti-imperialist forces and their actions.

The situation in the Middle East is of deep concern for all of us. The core obstacle to peace in the Middle East continues to be the Palestinian issue. We strongly denounce and condemn the murderous actions of the Israeli regime and its army in Gaza and in the occupied West Bank, which, in the past few months, have resulted in hundreds ofPalestinian victims, most of whom were brutally killed or injured during peaceful protests against Israel’s actions and policies. The WPC strongly opposes and condemns the US administration’s irresponsible and illegal decision to move its embassyfrom Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a city with a clearly defined multi-ethnic and multi-religious character and status as specified in UN resolution 181. The efforts for judaization of Jerusalem and the ‘Basic Law – “Israel the Nation-State of the Jewish People” – adopted by the Israeli Parliament constitute an attempt to establish a de jure apartheid state with the oppression of all non-Jewish citizens.

The WPC reiterates its solidarity with the Palestinian people for their inalienable right to an independent State within the borders of pre-June 4th, 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital. We demand an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory by the Settlements on the West Bank and in Jerusalem, as well as of the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Shebaa farms. We further demand the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and the right of return of the Refugees to their homes according to UN resolution 194. We demand the recognition of Palestine as a full Member of the UN and its respective recognition by all states. We salute the struggle of our friends from the peace-loving forces inside Israel who face the reactionary regime and its policies while struggling side by side with the Palestinian people to end of the occupation and for social, political and people’s rights in Israel.

We especially express our solidarity with and deep concern for the suffering people of Yemen, who are under heavy attack from the Saudi-led coalition with the full support of the USA, a criminal act of aggression which we strongly condemn. The WPC denounces the military presence of US troops in Iraq and demands their complete withdrawal, as well as the withdrawal of all foreign troops and armies from Libya, a country and people which have been suffering for more than seven years from imperialist aggression and the actions of armed religious extremist groups who have torn the country into pieces. We are seriously concerned about the dangers that this situation in Libya can affect the neighbour countries Tunisia and Egypt. We denounce the growing religious fundamentalist and terrorist trends in Jordan.

We express our serious concern about the escalation of threats by the US administration and Israel against Iran, along with the deteriorating relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. We condemn the unilateral withdrawal of the US administration from the JCPOA (“Iran Nuclear Deal”) as a dangerous move that escalates tensions in the region, and lays the basis for possible aggression against Iran. We reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Iran and their peace-loving forces against any foreign interference, and in support of their struggle for social, political and people’s rights in all spheres.

The WPC reiterates its firm position against NATO as an instrument of imperialist domination and the armed wing of US and EU imperialists. NATO expansion to the East and to the North, its encirclement of the Russian Federation along its borders, with the deployment of troops from the Baltic Sea to Bulgaria and the installation of the “Missile Defense Shield” in Poland and Romania, is aggressively and deliberately escalating tensions. The ratification, at the recent Brussels Summit, of 2 percent of GDP of each member State for military expenses will lead to additional USD 250 billion in military spending by Canada and the European NATO States by 2024. NATO, the armed tool of imperialism, also decided unanimously to build by 2020: 30 mechanized battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels ready to deploy within 30 days or less. NATO is modernizing and increasing its arsenal aiming for a nuclear first-strike capacity against its opponents. We demand and struggle for the dissolution of NATO while supporting the struggle of the peoples in each member state to disengage from it. The WPC strongly opposes the further militarization of the European Union as an instrument for the interests of the big capital and monopolies, and denounces plans through the Permanent Structural Cooperation (PESCO) and the “European Interventions’ Initiative” that constitutes dangerous tools for foreign intervention and imperialist aggression in many parts of the world. The European Union, alone and/or with NATO, is acting against its peoples.

The WPC expresses its opposition to the plans for the enlargement of NATO in the Balkans and the creation of new military bases of the USA and NATO in the region, along with the increased deployment of their troops. The Executive Committee does not accept the indirect recognition of the independence of the US/NATO protectorate of Kosovo which is a result of the criminal bombing by NATO against the peoples of Yugoslavia in 1999.

The WPC Executive Committee welcomes the formation of the new Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases, and supports the International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases, to be held on November 16-18, 2018 in Dublin Ireland.

The WPC reaffirms its principled position on the abolition of all Nuclear Weapons and its opposition to the testing of any nuclear armaments.The Stockholm Appeal, a major historical initiative of the WPC, signed by hundreds of millions of people concerned with the threat of use of these weapons, remains timely and continues to be a guideline for our action. The WPC denounces the recent announcement made by Donald Trump about US withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), which bans ground-launched nuclear missiles with ranges from 500km to 5,500km. This constitutes a further escalation of imperialist aggressiveness and of its plans for the militarization of outer space. The WPC supports the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as a step toward their total elimination.

The “Pivot to Asia” policy and the “Indian-Pacific Initiative” of the US for shifting 60 percent of its military power to the Asia-Pacific region is being carried through by the new US President. This includes US Navy’s powerful 7th Pacific Fleet, the more than 200 US military bases in the region, including Japan and South Korea, and new bilateral US military US troops into various countries in the region. The particular interest of the US and its allies in the region is about the geostrategical control of the whole area, its sea routes and natural resources. But it also aims to contain the emerging People’s Republic of China.

The WPC is following with concern the developments in the South China Sea, particularly the territorial disputes between several neighbouring countries. We support the peaceful settlement of differences bilaterally and multilaterally between all parties involved. We call upon all sides to refrain from unilateral actions which may further complicate the situation. We reaffirm our principled position for the respect and implementation of International law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which guarantees the sovereign rights of all countries. We are strongly against the militarization of the region as well as the military presence and actions of non-regional powers, notably the US, which has clearly its own motives and interests. We demand its withdrawal from the region and call upon all sides to de-escalate the military situation.

We denounce the attacks against the Rohingya people in Myanmar, who are facing a huge humanitarian crisis and who have been escaped in fear of their lives with serious charges of ethnic cleansing. We demand that the Myanmar government ensure the safety of the civilians and take immediate steps to end the violence in order to restore normal socio-economic conditions, including the return of the refugees to their homes.

The WPC Executive Committee expresses its serious concern about the growing religious strife and fundamentalism in South Asia which are used to divide the peoples’ struggles. We call upon social organizations to be vigilant about this explosive situation and to mobilize against such a divisive agenda.

The situation in and around the Korean peninsula has entered into a phase of dialogue between the Korean states and the beginning of normalization of the DPRK-US relations.Three inter-Korean summitshave been held, and the Panmunjom Declaration and theSeptember Pyongyang Joint Declarationadopted, which together have opened up the path of dialogue and negotiation on the way to peace and reunification of the KoreanPeninsula.The WPC salutes the de-escalation of tensions between the DPRK and the US, and more importantly, the Inter-Korean summits which reflect the desire of all Koreans for peace and unity. The WPC however remains cautious towards the positions of the US and its President, and the fact that the sanctions are not being lifted, nor any commitment given for the removal of the 28,000 US troops and the dismantlement of the THAAD. The WPC demands the replacement of the 1953 Armistice agreement with a permanent and comprehensive Peace Treaty.

We also follow with concern the persecution of anti-imperialist peace forces in Turkey, particularly the member of the WPC, the Peace Association of Turkey, which was banned in 2016 by the government in the aftermath of the attempted coup. We demand its immediate reinstatement. Turkey’s government is allied with US and European imperialism in the region and promotes a reactionary, conservative and aggressive agenda against its own people and its neighbors. As a historical and strategic member of NATO, Turkey harbors US nuclear warheads and directly supports extremist forces and terrorists who are fighting in Syria.

For over 44 years, 37 percent of Cyprus territory has been under illegal Turkish occupation in violation of UN resolutions. The WPC reaffirms its solidarity with the Cypriot people in their struggle for a just, viable and sustainable solution for Greek-Cypriots, Turkish-Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins, with the withdrawal of all occupation forces and closure of all military bases. The WPC supports the effort for a reunited Cyprus and people, land and economy, in a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation with one sovereignty, one citizenship and one international personality, as it is provided for in UN resolutions and high level agreements – a Cyprus free from custodians and guardians.

We condemn the actions of the Greek government, which while renewing the US-Greece military agreement on the Base of Souda (Crete), is offering six more military bases and facilities for the deployment of US and NATO military helicopters, drones and possibly nuclear weapons on Greek soil.

We note with great concern that numerous military exercises are taking place in Norway, Sweden and Finland, such as the “Arctic Challenge”, “Cold Response”, “Nordic Air Meet” and “Trident Juncture”, linked with the US Strategic Command (StratCom).

Only four years ago, the regional context raised hopes for the consolidation of a Zone of Peace in Latin America and the Caribbean (by CELAC). But today, we face the propagation of reactionary, putschist and growing fascist forces, as well as the interference and threats of military intervention against sovereign countries by the USA, the EU and their allies, including the attempt to use the Organization of American States (OAS).

We express our serious concern with the attempts at a “coup d’état” in Nicaragua, where violent demonstrations have been promoted in favor of destabilization, with the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN).

We denounce with indignation the threats of military intervention advanced by the US President and the OAS Secretary-General against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. We salute the people of Venezuela for bravely resisting the attempts at overthrowing their legitimate government and the infringement of their national sovereignty. We denounce the US and EU for imposing coercive, unilateral and illegal sanctions and financial blockade on the country and its people, who in such adverse conditions seek to deepen the transformations in the interests of the vast majority of the Venezuelan people.

We express our solidarity with the Colombian people in their desire to achieve a just peace and to live with dignity after the signing of the peace accords. However, inColombia, former guerrilla members and peace activists continue to be pursued, imprisoned and murdered. The Peace agreement is being manipulated by the new extreme anti-peace, rightwing government that has prepared the ground for Colombia’s affiliation with NATO. At the same time, we firmly denounce the cowardly murder of peasants, FARC members and leaders of the Colombian social movement which is taking place in contravention to the accords. The WPC, while denouncing the policies of the Colombian government, is demanding the implementation of the peace accords.

We reiterate our solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico, the colony of the US in the Caribbean, in their struggle for the right to self-determination and against the multi-faceted oppression of its citizens.

In Brazil, beyond the illegitimate overthrow of the President Dilma Rousseff in 2016, the harassment and attack against all left forces and social movements takes new dimensions. The imprisonment of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the 7th of April this year was yet another affront to the democratic rule of law with a purely political purpose. The Presidential elections (second round) were held on October 28, 2018 in an environment of extreme persecution and social, economic and institutional crisis, in which the reactionary and conservative forces, and those of a fascist character, have flourished. We express our solidarity with the Brazilian people who continue their struggle for democracy and social justice and for peoples’ and workers’ rights.

The WPC reaffirms its unconditional demand for the immediate and permanent closure of the US Guantanamo Base and the return of the territory, which is occupied against the will of the Cuban people. We vehemently condemn the inhuman existence of a torture center in the usurped territory. We declare our sincere and unwavering solidarity with Cuba and the Cuban people who will commemorate the 60th anniversary of their Revolution, and who are defending its achievements and demanding the end of the criminal US blockade and all other attempts at destabilizing interference. The WPC is calling upon its members and friends to support and participate in the Sixth International Seminar against Foreign Military Bases in May 2019 in Guantanamo, Cuba.

The African continent continues to experience varying degrees of instability as a direct result of imperialist intervention in pursuit of an agenda to exploit the resources of the continent. The continent continues to be marked by both internal and external problems as a result of the machinations of both local and multinational big capital and transnational corporations that have dragged the continent into wars, political instability and outright interference by imperialism. Keeping in view the rich mineral resources of the continent, we observe that Turkey, India, Russia and other countries are also intensifying their links with Africa, which is being treated as single entity.

The US, apart from its strategic African Command (AFRICOM), has built a huge military base in Djibouti, which is the major revenue source for the country in terms of taxes and other related matters. Likewise the EU is increasing its interference in Africa.

China’s enormous economic presence in the region has alsointensified. In order to protect its investments in Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan, it has built up a huge military base in Djibouti – its first in Africa.

The WPC reiterates its position against Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and its unwillingness to grant the people of Western Sahara the right to self-determination. We express our solidarity to the just cause of the Saharawi people for the end of the occupation and for their right to freely and solely decide own their destiny.

The World Peace Council is about to commemorate its 70th anniversary in 2019/2020.Its history reflects a legacy of bravery and dedication by peace fighters and militants, who seven decades ago sought to rebuild the world with democracy, national sovereignty, social progress and peace following the catastrophe of war and devastation and the unprecedented suffering imposed on so many peoples. By invoking our history, we think of the challenges we must face ahead. To resist and fight against the warmongering designs of the imperialist powers, to defend peace, justice, and the peoples’ rights, with the unitary spirit needed to mobilize the maximum number of forces for the success of our cause.

The strengthening of the struggle against imperialist wars and militarism, for peace and disarmament and for solidarity with the peoples victimized by foreign interference and aggression by imperialism, presents itself as one of the most urgent tasks of our time. It is to this struggle that the WPC remains deeply committed, with all those who defend the cause of peace and the solidarity with the peoples, in a broad anti-imperialist movement.

From Damascus, the capital of the heroic people of Syria, we send out the message that the enemies of peace are not invincible, no matter how strong they might appear. This has been proved many times in human history and is being underlined by the Syrian example.

October 28, 2018

Damascus, Syria

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