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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Ukraine Debates with Poroshenko to help bring parties in conflict to Dialogue on Peace Reforms ?

CoE Ukraine Debates with Poroshenko to help bring parties in conflict to Dialogue on Peace Reforms ?

Written by ACM
Sunday, 22 June 2014

*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- A probable 1st European Public Debate on the Ukranian Humanitarian and Geo-Political Crisis, since a Plan presented by President Poroshenko, (who will participate next week in Strasbourg to CoE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly's Plenary Session, during which will be also elected the Secretary General of the Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law for the period 2014-2019, shortly before Brussels' EU Summit is due to choose its Candidate for New EU Commission's President, and discuss with the Ukranian President the outcome of a short CeaseFire Time Deadline that he set for Friday, 10 a.m.), might, hopefully, help the "Peaceful Plan" for "a Settlement" of the Eastern Ukraine conflict, avoid any "Ultimatum" trap (Comp. Infra), and succesfuly evolve into a fully-fledged, Democratic Dialogue and Negotiation on the planned Constitutional Reforms, due to be examined by CoE's "Venice" Commission asap.

A "Peaceful" Plan of the President of Ukraine, on the Settlement of the situation in Eastern Regions" of the Country, (i.e. Donetsk and Luhansk), as are officially called the proposals unveiled by Poroshenko Friday Evening, after last-minute Consultations and Changes, except from a much needed, but brief Suspension of Kiev's Military Attacks against the Dissident Regions for a Week, (20 - 27 June 2014), contains, mainly, 3 other series of particular points :

- It asks from the Dissidents to unilateraly "Disarm" themselves, to leave all Local Public Administration Buildings, to Return all Power back to pre-existing Local Governments, to Restore Kiev's Central Radio-TV, to let establish a 10 km BufferZone cutting off their regions from the Ukranian - Russian Borders; (etc).

- In exchange, it promisses "Amnesty" for "those who didn't commit serious Crimes", and a "Corridor for the Escape of Russian and Ukrania Mercenaries", (as it calls them) ; followed by "Coordination.. with (undisclosed)Representatives of the Donbas" area on future "Candidates Governors" to be appointed at the Head of Regions by Kiev's National Authorities, as well as a "DeCentralisation of Power", "through the Election of Executive Committees, Protection of Russian Language", and (not determined yet, but relevant) Draft Amendments to the Constitution".

- Finally, this is due to be accompagnied by "Early Local and Parliamentary Elections", on the Political field, as well as by a "Program to create Jobs in the region", and the "Restoration of Industrial objects and Social Infrastructure", damaged by Kiev Military's attacks.

+ As a last-minute Change, that Pan added also a point promissing "Security Guarantees for all the Participants of Negotiations", but without explaining who might participate, and who not.

An uncertain indication was only given by the Presidential Spokeswoman Irina Herashenko, who spoke only about some meetings of Poroshenko's intention to "meet" with "Intellectuals and Journalists",  as well as to "expand .. Dialogue with (undetermined Representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk Regio,ns", (without mentioning at all the Leaders of the Dissidents who organized the pro-"Autonomy" Popular Referenda of May 11, 2014, and a Resistance to Kiev's Military Attacks since mid-April 2014).

Dissidents who might Refuse to Disarm themselves before the Friday 27 June, 10 a.m. Time Deadline, would be reportefly "Eliminated", according to some Press Reports, (which are not, however, published at the official website of President Poroshenko).

=> The 1st Public Reaction from the Federalists Dissident Regions, reportedly was self-declared Lugansk Republic's head, Valeri Bolotov's statement that "nobody will lay down his arms, as long as there is no full Withdrawal of the (Kiev's) Army from our territory", while at Donetsk, Militants, supported by Thousands of Civilian People, reportedly demonstrated by taking an "Oath" to never abandon unilateraly the defense of their Home regions.

However, shortly afterwards, all the Dissident Regions' Leadership clearly promissed to fully Respect the Ceasefire, at least until the Deadline set by Poroshenko (on June 27 : Comp. Supra), addi,ng also a promisse to Stop any Troops' Movements, during the ceasefire. But they accused Kiev's Military to Disrespect, in fact, the Ceasefire, by reportedly persisting to launch Mortar a.o. Attacks against at least 3 differend areas.

Most importantly, Dissidents reportedly denounced from the outset mainly the fact that "there is No Negociating Point" with them in Poroshenko's Plan, as it stands for the moment.

An immediate comment by the Russian Foreign Ministry, (after denouncing also a Kiev's Military Fire even at the Russian Borderline, which reportedly "Destroyed a Building" and wounded a Rusian Customs officer), strongly Critcized the fact that "Unfortunately, the initial analysis shows that this is Not a proposal for Peace or Negotiations, but rather an Ultimatum to militia groups in southeast Ukraine, to Lay Down their Arms".

Because, "so far, the Key component is Missing – that is the proposal to commence Negotiations", as it pointed out.

- Indeed, most provisions in Poroshenko's Plan "look like an Ultimatum", explicitly denounced the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov :  - "The point is that, all those who Disagree with the present (Kiev's) authorities, and the way they came to power (back on February 21, 2014, just after the Deadly "Snipers" provoked Violent Clashes), have only several days, a Week, to Lay Down their Arms. Otherwise, Leave Ukraine, and, then, we may take a look to see whether you have committed grave crimes or not, and if not, then you May be Amnestied,” he reportedly observed.

- "The plan Lacks the Key thing - a proposal to start Dialogue. This is a drastic departure from the Geneva statement of April 17, which is still supported by all of our Western partners, the USA, the EU and the Ukrainian authorities or at least they say so". Lavrov reminded that “the Ukrainian authorities have subscribed to this (Geneva, April 17) Statement which makes it quite clear that, apart from stopping the violence and all forms of extremism, it is necessary to Start an Inclusive Dialogue, that should embrace All Regions and All Political Forces, in order to come to Agreement on the Constitution Reform”.

=> “It calls for ‘immediately’ starting the CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM THROUGH such DIALOGUE", he underlined. "Enough Time has passed since April 17, when it was adopted, for the new Ukrainian authorities to state concrete proposals on how such a Dialogue, (the commencement of which was demanded by the parties to the Geneva statement), can be organised. We haven’t seen anything like that happening yet,” Lavrov denunced.

+ However, Russian President Vladimir Putin's 1st official reaction, diplomatically was to express his "support" to "the decision by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on Ceasefire in East Ukraine, as well as his intent to take a number of specific Measures to reach a Peaceful Settlement", but, "at the same time", he "noted that the proposed plan will Not be Viable or realistic; IF no practical steps are taken to commence Negotiation process"

Therefore, "the peace plan proposed by President Poroshenko should Not take the Form of an Ultimatum to militia groups. The Opportunity that opens up with the end of hostilities should be used to Start Constructive Negotiations and to reach a political Compromise between the parties to the conflict in southeast Ukraine.

The President of Russia calls on all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities and sit down at the negotiating table.

=> OSCE's Chairman-in-office, Swiss President Didier BurkHalter, reportedly found "an important Chance" towards a sustainable Desescalation of Tension in Ukraine, and expressed the "Hope that it would Open a Window of Opportunity for DIALOGUE", as the experienced also Foreign Minister stressed in conclusion, (obviously referring to the famous April 17, 2014, Geneva Agreement on Ukraine by EU-Russia-USA Foreign Ministers).

Even Pope Francis, has recently launched, at the beginning of June 2014, a vibrant Call 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. : ......), when he reportedly "Prayed for the Victims... in some Regions of Ukraine", "with a very Sad Heart".

    Speaking on Saturday, June 21, German Chancellor Angie Merkel reportedly welcomed the Ceasefire, and stressed that ""the Suffering of the People in the SouthEastern Ukraine must come to an End"/

- For that purpose, Merkel "is convinced that it is now time to find a Political Solution", for which,  "the proposal submitted by the Ukrainian president's peace plan, forms a very good Basis".

CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, welcomed "an Important Step towards Lasting Peace and stability in Ukraine", and expressed the "Hope" that "this will Enable the Necessary  Negociations to take place, as Soon as possible".
"What is Essential Now, is that all sides Refrain from Violence, and respect Human rights and the rule of Law", he urged for the moment.

++ Reacting at least to the initial Comments, Ukranian President Poroshenko, added, inter alia, that "Immediate (i.e. in less than a Week) fulfillment of the peaceful Plan will Open the Path to the political Dialogue", (but without explaining how this would be done in real practice).

=> In this regard, he "Invite(d)" not only the previous, "legally elected representatives of local government, civic organizations", etc., but also "Everyone else to this Dialogue", as he said for the 1st time.

 - In particular, "diametrically Different Views will not be a barrier to Participation in the Negotiations", he promissed, as a matter of principle. Therefore, "I am ready to Talk with those who have Erred, who Mistakenly stood in the position of Separatism", as he said on the most Crucial point, (as if he Opened ...Half of a Window of Opportunity for real Peace, since it obviously remains still to clarify whether all those Dissident People who don't think that they "erred", or that they made only "Mistakes", will be allowed to participate to Peace Talks, or not...
+ Apparently Excluding just those "who were involved in the acts of terrorism, murder or torture", as he said, (without explaining, however, if by "Terrorism" he meant all those Dissidents who were obliged to take arms just in order to Defend their Home Towns from Kiev's Destructive and Deadly Military Attacks, or, on the contrary, only those who might have abused of Violence in order to attack innocent Civilians at their workplace in an attempt to provoke Fear, Destructions, etc. in order to Submit them under their Power)...  

- "I guarantee Safety for All Participants of the Negotiations", i.e. "for Anyone who wants to speak the language of Arguments, instead of the language of Weapons", at last Poroshenko added, more Positively, apparently excluding only those who, from both sides, might eventualy insist to abuse of Violence, Army, and Mlitary Weapons, instead of Political Dialogue...

 - Naturally, for him, "the issue of territorial integrity of Ukraine is out of discussion!"; as well as "the issues of unity, territorial structure, language and GeoPolitical Orientation", as he added for the Ukranian State.

 - Instead, "the Way Out of this situation ...is in a Broad DeCentralization of Power", Poroshenko suggested, (i.e. apparently Excluding Federalism).

=> In particular, "I will convey Part of my Powers to Local Authorities and territorial Communities", while the long-awaited, crucial "respective Amendments to the Constitution can be adopted in a few Weeks", so that "We can count on final Adoption already in September", he promised, (almost reaching the Time Period qu' "EuroFora" had guessed recenty, (Comp. ...)

+ Afterwards, "Under the New Constitution, we will hold the Elections to Local (but "Not Regional".. ) Councils. The Councils will form ... executive committees and Elect their Heads. And (for the 1st time in Ukraine's History), it will be they, Not Appointees from Kyiv, who will Rule the Regions and manage local Budgets", which "will be substantially Increased", since "Part of Taxes will be redistributed for the benefit of communities, cities, districts and regions", he promissed, (i.e. practically eyeing to bring Ukraine's Local/Regional Authorities close to CoE's general Standards throughout Europe for ordinary Local/Regional Democracy, according to CLRAE's principles).

++ Moreover, in the particular case of Ukraine, "Decentralization provides for the extension of the rights of Regions in matters of Historical Memory, Cultural Traditions and Language policy", he promissed : Thus, "Local communities of Donbas will have a right to freely use Russian Language (only for Local use), along with the State Language (due to remain Ukranian for all National level uses, according to Poroshenko's initial offer). And "Communities will determine themselves to what Monuments they should lay Flowers. What they should Celebrate, and what Songs they should sing at the Holiday table. ...in which Churches to pray", he added, (obviously citting, except from ...Chrysanhemes, also some among the Symbolic but Important for the People, Cultural and Historic Identity issues).

 - On Economy, "Donbas" area will have "Help" from "Ukraine"'s State and "also the EU", because it "will Not be able to deal with its problems Alone", "in  conditions of Decentralization", he estimated.

=> Thus, "We (i.e. the National, Ukranian State) will Help to Restore the Infrastructure Destroyed", and "at the cost of the (National) State, we will Restore Housing Destroyed during Combat Actions (as he called Kiev's Military Attacks since alreadu long Before Poroshenko's Election : since April and May 2014, but notoriousy Intensified afterwards), we will Restore Workspaces", so that Donbas residents" (who were notoriously obliged to massively transfrom themselves into IDPs/Refugees since Kiev's Military Attacks) will have a place to Return, to live and to work", as he promissed.

But, naturally, "for the Investors in the Economy of Donbas", (as well as, more or less, all Ukraine, Nation-wide..), "It is clear that there will be no Investments, unless there will be Peace", the experienced former Businessman Poroshenko acknowledged.

+ Moreover, any really "Peaceful Plan canot be implemented without a Broad Support of Residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions", he also admitted, (inevitably touching upon Political Compromise and Agreement matters).

 However, "I understand that not all People are ready to perceive or even hear the <<peaceful Plan>> under the roar of Cannon Fire", he acknowledged, indirectly but surely pointing at the necessary, but short Ceasefire of 1 week only.

Nevertheless, he prefered to "think that even those (Civilian People : mainly Women, unarmed Elders, etc) who had Sacrificed their bodies and souls to create Shields (f.ex. right in front of Kiev Military's Tanks, as many emotional Videos and Photos attest in several Villages of the Dissident areas) a few Months ago, have ..Changed their mind today", as he speculated.. And he called for "Pressure", "both from Kyiv and local residents" upon Dissident "Militants", while accusing only those that he called "Gangs of Mercenaries", or even mere .. "Terrorists", to be alone responsible for having "Paralyzed normal life and left people without means of living", (after many Months of notorious and systematic Kiev Military's Attacks, with many Tanks, Army AirPlanes, Helicopters, Mortars, etc, in addition to Water, Electricity, Transports, Mobile Phones, Medical Drugs, Banks and Social Revenues, even Hospitals' Destructions and/or Cuts,  by recent Military a.o. Bombings...., Comp., f.ex. : ...)

 - Otherwise, i.e. "to Solve the Problem by (Military) Force, is Not an Easy task, (as 3 Months of mostly vain Kiev's Military Attacks have largely shown, from April and May 2014, until now June 2014...) - Because "It means to sacrifice new and Numerous Casualties, consciously and forcedly. To pay much Bigger Human Price, than the losses we (Dissident Regions' Civilian Population of Donetsk and Luhansk, at Eastern Ukraine) have Unfortunately already Suffered today", Poroshenko admitted.

- Nevertheless, "I will not let Donbas (Eastern Ukraine's areas) transform into something similar to Transnistria", (a "self-declared Republic", mainly with Rusian-speaking population, legaly part of Moldova, both former parts of USSR, but now living de facto peacefuly side by side, however in Difficult conditions), he declared.
- "We (Kiev's rulers) still have a choice and a chance to Resolve the Problem Peacefully, or by Force..... We foresee Various Scenarios", among which, the "Peaceful Scenario is the Main. It is our Plan A"

"But", if it doesn' work, then,  "we (Kiev's Government) have a detailed plan B" also, Poroshenko Warned in conclusion, saying that he prefered "Peace" as "Better Option".

 - On Sunday, June 22, German Chancellor Angie MERKEL, speaking by Phone both with French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin, reportedly "stressed the need for All Sides to respect the CEASEFIRE, and to SET IN MOTION a Political DIALOGUE PROCESS", officially anounced her Spokesman, Steffen Siebert from Berlin.

According to a parallel communiqué by Hollande, (who had previously spoken also with USA President Obama), ensure a full control over the Russo-Ukranian Border was also part of the talks.

- Almost in response, Russian President Vladimir Putin, reportedly declared on Sunday, that "the fact that (Ukranian) President Poroshenko has declared a Ceasefire is without question an Important Step towards reaching a final settlement, and perhaps is one of the most important conditions for this to happen. Russia will certainly Support these plans", he promised.

 - "But ultimately, it is the Political process that is Most important", he stressed. Therefore, "It is important that this ceasefire Open the Way to a DIALOGUE between All of the Parties to the Combat, so as to find solutions that will be acceptable to all sides, in order to ensure that People in SouthEast Ukraine have no doubt that they are an integral part of the country, have the Same Rights as all other citizens, and know that these rights are Guaranteed, including by Ukraine’s Constitution. This requires a Substantial and Detailed Dialogue. This is the Key to Success", Putin concluded.

>>> At any case, during the forhcoming CoE Assembly's Debates on Ukraine, and President Poroshenko's 1st visit to Strasbourg, next Thursday, among various other possibilities, It's obvious, 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, more or less Refuse to Negociate Directly with the South-Eastern Regions' Dissidents, then, at least, f.ex. 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 this Summer and/or Autumn...





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Speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", the New EU Parliament's President, former Polish Prime Minister, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Jerzy Busek, welcomed proposals by EuroFora about innovative ways for EU Citizens to attend EU debates before important final decisions which affect people's lives.

- "We (EU Parliament) must be transparent", Buzek stressed from the outset.  "We must have clear answers also for delicate questions. If we don't touch a problem, you must know why, and when shall we decide in the nearest future".. "Because "we (EU) must think about Europeans, first of all : They don't understand well what is going on in the EU. So, it's our duty to inform them, to make discussions here more interesting".

"EuroFora" congratulated President Buzek for the anouncement he made, from the 1st day of his election in Strasbourg (on Tuesday, 14 July 2009), on his intention to make  transparent debates, exchanges of views, etc. before the final adoption of decisions in EU Parliament's Plenary, when issues are evolving inside Committees, (See earlier publication).

And we reminded, in this regard, that "EuroFora" has been advocating a project for EU Citizens' active involvement in pluralist EU debates before important EU decisions, since more than a Decade : 1997-2007+

- "Thank you. We (EU Parliament), indeed, have exciting debates", Buzek replied. But, in practice, "without a possibility for our Citizens to see them, not even by the Press, the Radio or TV, etc., because it is in Committees", he regreted.

- "But, they (i.e. Media, Citizens, etc) might interact with you, with MEPs, etc, May be we can imagine something", "EuroFora" proposed.

- "Yes, (but) it needs, a quite new idea", Buzed observed.

- "Why not through some innovations ?", "EuroFora" suggested.

- "Innovation ? That's it. Fantastic  New Information Technologies !", Buzek realized.

- "Precisely, "EuroFora" has such a project, since more than a Decade (1997-2009), to use new technologies for public debates before major EU decisions are taken", we reminded.

- "If you have such proposals, please come to us, come to us. We must" do something, agreed the new EU Parliamen's President.


    This fits with Buzek's main stance, expressed at EU Parliament's plenary earlier this week in Strasbourg, that the European Union must succeed to overcome a "Crisis of Trust" vis a vis EU Citizens. (See previous EuroFora publication).

    For that purpose, obviously information and debates are valuable, but purely instrumental, procedural means which can help focus on, and highlight a substantial content, attractive to EU Citizens, which needs to be determined by other, political, and not mediatic factors.  

    Buzek spoke about the urgent need to overcome the Global Economic Crisis,  the struggle for Human and Civic Rights, Democracy, etc., the Eastern Partnership, links with Russia, strategic partnership with USA and emerging countries, etc.

    But he also used (while speaking both to "EuroFora" and other Media) the expression : "The Europeans", for EU Citizens. This points right towards what several important EU leaders (including French President Sarkozy, German Chancellor Merkel, etc) have started to highlight particularly during the recent years : That there is a vital need, and an historic opportunity, for the development of a European Conscience, to stimulate e renaissance of a European Identity able to attract Popular support, for the EU to become a strong player in a Multopolar World : In other words, the revitalisation of a project for a "Political Europe".

    By a coincidence, this was indirectly but surely reminded, earlier in Strasbourg, by another ... Busek (this time with a "s") : 


    Speaking to more than 650 participants from CoE's member countries, at the conclusion of the 2009 Summer University of its Political Schools, Erhard Busek, (with an "s"), former vice-Chancellor of Austria and EU Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, pointed at the current need to revitalize Europe's "Identity", forged by Greek philosophy and Roman Law, Christian values and Enlightment's ideas, etc. through the ages.     

- "We have almost the same name with Jerzy Buzek (EU Parliament's new President, who is a former Polish Prime Minister), because both our Families come ...from  the same village, located at the Heart of Europe, which was often shared between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. But my family emmigrated a long time ago to Austria, while Jerzy Buzek's family remained in Poland", explained f. vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek to "EuroFora".   

 An astonishingly concrete and simple example of European Integration from the grassroots : Starting by EU Citizens, i.e. those "Europeans", that EU Parliament's new President, Jerzy Buzek (this time with a "z"), wants to bring alongside MEP's decision-making proces, (according to "EuroFora"'s main idea : Comp. supra)...



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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