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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE invites Pope Francis while PanEuropean Christian leaders push Dialogue on Ukraine Reforms

CoE invites Pope Francis while PanEuropean Christian leaders push Dialogue on Ukraine Reforms

Written by ACM
Sunday, 22 June 2014



*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- It's at a very Crucial moment for Human Rights, Peace and BioEthical Values throughout all Europe, that the PanEuropean Conference of Bishops (based at nearby Switzerland), by organizing an exceptional  3 Days-long PanEuropean Conference of all its 39 Member States' Secretary Generals in Strasbourg, including at the CoE, offered a Timely opportunity to CoE Parliamentary Assembly's new President, Anne Brasseur from Luxembourg, (former President of the Liberal Group of MEPs), to re-launch anew an official Invitation for new Pope Francis to address the PanEuropean MEPs' forum in the coming period, which seems to be decisive for Europe's Future and well beyond.

While the most Urgent Question of immediate Peace or War in Ukraine, (where too many People, including a recently growing number of Civilians, even defenselessz Women, Elders, Children, etc., have started to be Killed during Kiev's Military Attacks , added to a muich Wider impact of many Destructions, even of Family Homes, Water and/or Electricity Supply Networks, Hospitals, etc., until Today included, notoriously provoking both many Sufferings to the local Populations, and dangerous Risks for Destabilisation and further Conflict also accross the rest of Europe), will have to be Decided during this Week, according to the terms of a brief Cease-Fire declared yesterday by the new Ukranian President Poroshenko in the context of a Plan for a comprehensive "Settlement" of the South-Eastern Ukraine issue, who added a Time Deadline until next Friday 10 a.m., (i.e. right in the middle of the forthcoming EU Brussels' Summit, and just 1 Day after his venue to CoE's PanEuropean Assembly, expected on Thursday, 26 June), by a strange coincidence, it's also during these almost Same Days that the ECHR has just started and/or is due to start examining and/or deciding on various "Hot" Bio-Ethical issues' related affairs, mainly linked to Dangerous for all Humankind risks of Technocratic Interferences vis a vis Natural Births of Human beings,  going from Genetic Manipulations of Human Embryo and/or pre-Natal "Screening", up to "Surrogate Mothers", etc...

Already, late Pope John-Paul II, recently sanctified on April 2014, had been invited to visit in Strasbourg both EU Parliament and CoE's Assembly, as he had done in the Past only on  1988, during what tragically become his last year of life, when he had been engaged in a Hard Fight for BioEthical Values and mainly for the Need to Protect the Human Embryo and the Human Being in general,n not only from simple "Cloning", but also from the so-called "Therapeutic Cloning", etc., back on 2004-2005, just before he Suddenly Died. His long-time close collaborator, and successor, current Pope Emeritus Benedict, had also been repeatedly invited to Strasbourg, including by former CoE Assembly's President Jean-Claude Mignon from France, but didn't find the time and/or the opportunity to do so, (except from his own Press Spokesman, farther Frederico Lombardi, on the occasion of a PanEuropean Ecumenical meeting at the CoE), particularly between his 2008 visit to France, during former President Sarkozy's EU Chairmanship, as well as officially in Germany, back on 2011, to which had been added also the 2005 World Youth Days at Koeln, (initially scheduled by John-Paul II), his 2010 trip to Cyprus, focused on Middle-Eastern Christians, particularly in need of protection recently, but also in the UK, etc. But for New Pope Francis, after his 2013 World Youth Days' overseas trip to Rio (Brazil), and his recent visit to Israel/Middle East, closely followed also by a related special, interconfessional Peace event, Arab and Israeli representatives both included,  back at Rome earlier this June 2014, in the Vatican, (etc), which followed his May/June 2013 events/statements on BioEthics, as well as several 2013-2014 calls for Peace in Syria, Ukraine, etc., CoE Assembly successive Presidents' Mignon and Brasseur's renewed Invitations to visit and speak in Strasbourg's PanEuropean Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law Organisation might offer a good and timely occasion in the forseable Future, particularly given the exceptionaly Big Challenges ahead, both on War/Peace and BioEthical issues, probably just after an imminent renewal of CoE's and EU's political leadership during the next Weeks/Months, for the next 5 Years (2015-2019).


-  Significantly, it's already at the beginning of June 2014, that Pope Francis reportedly "Prayed for the Victims... in some Regions of Ukraine", "with a very Sad Heart".

=> In consequence, Pope Francis called for "Dialogue" and "Reconciliation", among "All Parties involved", by "overcoming MisUnderstandings", as he reportedly stressed already since June 2, i.e. in the middle of some  very Tragic Days particularly for the Civilian Population at the Dissident regions of Eastern Ukraine, (comp., f.ex. : ......).
This latest move by the New Pope came after several earlier calls for "Peace" in Ukraine, Syria and the Middle-East, and, if extended also into the latest relevant developments (Comp. Supra), it might hopefuly helpto avoid a Dangerous Division and Conflict  in Europe, after almost 70 Years of Peace, which could even have a Negative impact even elsewhere in the World (through USA - Russia tension, f.ex.), as, f.ex.. it had, mutatis-mutandis, been previously attempted succesfully, back on August 2008, also by his predecessor, current Pope emeritus Benedict, via a call launched during an "Angelus" from a small Italian village near the Alpes mountains (cllose to German Chancelor Merkel's Summer Holiday resorrt) : Brixen-Bressanone, in order to Urgently Stop a risky Russian troops advance towards the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, as a retaliation of former Georgian President Shaklasvili's controversial Military Attack against Secessionist Regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, (another off-spring of the notoriously doubtful concrete conditions in which had been suddenly imposed the "implosion" of the former USSR, since the 1990ies), which had found a real Echo at former French President Sarkozy, then Chairman of the EU, who immediately flew to Moscow and Tbilisi to personaly meet with both the Russian and the Georgian leaders and broker a Peace Deal which, even if imperfect, at least succeeded to Stop Bloodshed and Destructions, while also still standing until Today, 7 Years later (2008-2014 : practically coinciding even with "EuroFora"s own life-time, since our ERFRA NewsReports practicaly Started with that, exceptionaly Moving and Crucial August 2008 Appeal to urgently prevent War in Europe, and give Peace a Chance).

    As for now, when the most Crucial point Today obviously is to find a way to Start real "Negotiations" and Dialogue among all parties involved in the Deadly and Destructive Ukranian Conflict, it's naturally Interesting to note the fact that, (as CCEE's Press Spokesman Thierry Bonaventura told "EuroFora" Friday at the CoE), during their meeting earlier with CoE's "Venice" Commission's Director, Thomas Markert, the SG's of the PanEuropean Bishops' Conference, (where bothy Ukraine and Russia are full Members), asked for a well-known Ecumenical Group which gathers Together all various Christian Communities' reprfesentatives since the beginning of the "Maidan" demonstrations, back on November 2013, until now, to be included among all those who shall be Consulted before CoE's watchdog on Constittutional Law concludes its Report on the forthcoming Draft Amendments for Ukraine's Constitutional Reform, (Comp. f.ex. : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/kievpostponesconstitutionreformcoecheckforoctober.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/venicecomissiontocheckukraineconstitutionreformonjune.html). Markert reportedly appeared "open" on such a possibility, which could naturally be a useful Step towards a much-needed, wider and real "Dialogue" between all the main Parties really involved in that Conflict, according also to the April 17, EU-USA-Russia MFA's  Geneva Deal.

>>> It's obvious, furthermore, that, since the most Important point for a Peaceful Solution on the Ukranian Conflict notoriously is a possible Federalisation and/or DeCentralisation Reform, then, if anyone in Kiev might eventually Refuse to Negociate Directly with the South-Eastern Regions' Dissidents, then, at least, CoE's "Venice" Committee might include such a necessary pluralist Debate, between All Parties involved, perhaps through an adequate use of Consultation procedures during the preparation of its Report on the forthcoming Ukraine's Constitutional Reforms...
Meanwhile, last Friday afternoon, "EuroFora" was surprised to briefly meet CCEE's Secretary General, the young Mgr. Duarte da Cuhna, inside CoE's corridors, during an exceptionaly busy day, mainly around the Ukranian Tragic Conflict, shortly before the conclusion of its one Day-long session entirely dedicated into meeting and discussing with several key CoE's Top Officials, in a Room dedicated to Gasperi, where he guided us, before attending also his subsequent speech at a special "Mass for Europe", this Sunday morning, in Strasbourg's Cathedral.

Da Cuhna succeeded since 2008 to Aldo Giordano, an experienced long-time CCEE Secretary General, who has been sent then to Strasbourg as Vatican's Permanent Representative to the CoE, and was recently appointed (at the End of 2013) as ArchiBishop of Paraguay, in Latin America, new Pope Francis' initial continental workplace, by a coincidence there from where has recently arrived the new "Prime Minister" of the Vatican, in Rome. The new CCEE's  SG  was recently re-elected for 5 more Years (2013-2018).

In his Strasbourg Cathedral's speech, Today, Mgr. Da Cuhna, among others, mainly focused at a Timely call, for committed Christians throughout Europe to get actively and fully involved in the contemporary Social and Political Life, and, instead of getting out of this World, on the contrary, to strive to be present right in the middle of it and follow God's example : work for values which "embrace all the World". - "If" this becomes a full reality, then, Europe could become really able to accomplish several very great tasks, he concluded in substance.

Curiously, however, even if the CCEE  had just participated in the latest Christian Catholic - Orthofdox Ecumenical Forumm at Minsk,  welcomed by Belarussian President Lukashenko, on June 2 to 6, when fresh Appeals for Peace in Ukraine were jointly launched, together with CCEE's President, Cardinal Péter Erdő from Hungary, (an experienced, Key-personality also for the currently on-going BioEthical "Hot" issues about Natural Family, that Pope Francis has reportedly scheduled to conclude on 2015), nevertheless, many observers were rather astonished from the unexpected fact that Today, Da Cunha's speech in Strasbourg's Cathedral apparently didn't include any more mention or appeal to definitively Stop Destructive and Deadly Violence at Ukraine, at all...

A lack that was shortly met by Strasbourg's ArchiBishop Jean-Pierre Grallet, also an eminent Member of COMECE: the EU-related Bishops' Committee, who rushed to add also an obviously Topical call for "Unity and Peace" among all Christians in Europe, in his last opportunity to address that issue Timely, before the next Friday's 10 a.m. concluding Ceasefire Deadline...

    Another, different, but maybe not unrelated surprise, was to hear, afterwards, a visible mention of the Strange Fact that, at the same time that CCEE's Secretary General, Mgr. Da Cunha, confirmed in his earlier Speech, the PanEuropean Christian Organisation's declared ambition, to help Europe becom conscious of "its Christian roots", and not forget them, on the contrary, it was anounced that, paradoxicaly, "Turkey was a (full) Member" Today of that "European" Conference of Bishops, even if, (due to its notoriouysly Oppressive regime), the Ankara-controllled Turkish State of this Century notoriously didn't have, anymore, but ...Less than 1% (one per cent) of Christians left among its 99% "Muslim" population, (i.e. even Less than Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, or Iraq !)...

    EU Citizens' massive Votes during both the 2009 and the 2014 EU Parliament's Elections weren't enough in order to remind such crystal-clear Facts ?...






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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.



2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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