Coventry Association for International Friendship was founded in 1962 as the Coventry Committee for International Understanding with a mission to promote international friendship and understanding and to create closer ties between the citizens of Coventry and the people of its twinned and linked towns.
For some 60 years we have worked to foster international goodwill in pursuit of our city’s historic commitment to peace and reconciliation.
In the week ending 27 February we have been shaken to the core by the decision of the Russian Government to impose its will on a neighbouring country, Ukraine, by the deployment of a mass of military might.
Those who use force to achieve their objectives seem always to operate on the basis of the absolute correctness of their position, seeing the world as black and white, good and bad, dark and light, but we, the members of CAIF, refuse to accept that one nation – in pursuit of a geo-political objective – has an unchallengeable right to attack and seize the very fundamentals of another nation inflicting incalculable hurt and damage on its citizens. As advocates of the efficacy of civic diplomacy, we expect that conflict should be resolved through negotiation.
CAIF’s connections with Russia have always been predicated on mutual trust and respect and an unshakeable belief in the need to work with our friends to strive for peace in a world which is increasingly unstable and fragile. It should not be necessary to learn again the lesson of the past – that when military conflict begins, in one way or another, everyone loses.
CAIF must express, therefore, its disapproval of what is happening today in Ukraine and appeal to Russia and the international community to take all necessary steps to prevent further violence and bring this conflict to a peaceful end.