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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Assembly SG Sawicki to EF: Russia Deal legally possible during 1st Half of 2019+

CoE Assembly SG Sawicki to EF: Russia Deal legally possible during 1st Half of 2019+

Written by ACM
Friday, 18 January 2019
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Despite current Claims that Latest Developments would inevitably Exclude Russian MEPs from CoE's PanEuropean Assembly (PACE), on pretext of the Ukranian éConflict, also during All the Year 2019, (See Infra), on the contrary, PACE's Experienced Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, replying to "Eurofora"s questions, confirmed that it is still Legally Possible to strike a Deal during 2019, and particularly at its 1st Half.


This clearly results from what he told us Today, during a CoE's Press Briefing with Strasbourg's European Journalists on the forthcoming Winter Plenary Session of the PACE Next Week in Strasbourg, (21-25 January 2019), as well as on Earlier occasions, but also from relevant Expectations of other interested sources, concerning probable Political Developmens inside Ukraine itself, which is notoriously preparing National Presidential and Parliamentary Elections on March and Autumn 2019, respectively, (See Infra).


A Last-Minute Top Meeting, at nearby Geneva, last Monday, between PACE's new President, Swiss  MEP Liliane Maury Pasquier, and Russian Duma's deputy Speaker,
Pyotr Tolstoi, and Council's Foreign Affairs Committees' President, Constantin Kosachev (Comp.:..., etc), following the Limits of a Controversial Procedure and Draft Report by Belgian MEP Petra de Sutter on making Relevant Changes to PACE's Rules, (Comp.: ...., etc), did Not manage to mark yet any real Breakthrough, agreeing, nevertheless, to keep going at least a Dialogue also in the foreseable Future.


An UnPrecedented 3,5 Years total Absense of any Russian MEP inside the Paneuropean PACE (2/2014-1/2019), provoked by a Controversial, Last Minute Amendment, Tabled and voted by a Minority of MEPs who smashed a Deal prepared by PACE's Political and Monitoring Committees' Presidents then, was Followed by Moscow's subsequent Decision to Freeze, (initially a Part, and Afterwards the whole), of its Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE, so that Now, the PanEuropean Organisation is reportedly preparing to Cut its Budget and Staff for - 11%, while Measures as Suspension, etc., are expected vis a vis Russia from June 2019, unless a Solution is found beforehand.


Meanwhile, already, Moscow's recent Decisions, reportedly anounced just Yesterday (Thursday), to Continue to withhold its MEPs from coming to Strasbourg on Monday, at the Beginning of PACE's 1st Plenary Session for 2019, as long as PACE has Not yet Guaranteed the inviolability of all MEPs' Democratic Rights to Vote, Speak and Participate, etc., (even from Other CoE's Member Countries, as a matter of General Principle, applicable to all), apparently Risk to have far-reaching consequences.


Indeed, given the established Fact that, until now, the Ratification of MEPs' Credenials is routinely done at the Beginning of the Session of January, for the entire Year to come, almost all commentators concluded  that, if the Russian MEPs really don't come to Strasbourg on Monday, then, they would be practically Excluded from PACE for the whole Year of 2019... And as that conditions Moscow's Payment, or not, of its Annual Contribution (Comp. Supra), then, a probable Non-Payment until June, would give to CoE's Committee of Ministers an opportunity to "Suspend" Russia's Membership to the CoE. In that case, the Foreign Minister Lavrov and others have already said that Russia would definitively Withdraw from the CoE...


--------------------------------------


But, is Now, this "Catastrophe" Scenario really so Inevitable and Fatal, as most Medias and Observers claim ?


- "Eurofora" raised Today anew the Question of eventually possible Alternative Solutions to PACE's Experienced Secretary General, and he Confirmed that, at least in Theory, it is still Legally Feasible, "if a Political Will exists", as he underlined:


>>> To put it in a nutshell, an Important Possibility corresponds to a practical Suggestion initially done by "Eurofora", already more than a Year ago, that Sawicki has already Acknowledged to be Possible : I.e., instead of Examining the Credentials of National Delegations Only Once per Year, (on January), the PACE should become able to do so at the beginning of Any Plenary Session, i.e. at least 4 Times per Year : January, April, June and October, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coereformtoeaserussiasolution.html , etc).


PACE's Secretary General clearly Confirmed Today, in Reply to a fresh Question by "Eurofora" that this was, indeed, Possible, if CoE's Assembly and Committee of Ministers agreed to UpDate the Rules of Procedure (for the 1st) and CoE's Statute (for the 2nd) on a Key-Point of PACE's Plenary Sessions, in the Same way, and Fast enouph, in Parallel, (See for concrete Details : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/russiaandpacecrisismayberesolved.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coereformtoeaserussiasolution.html , etc).


- This is "Easy" to do "Fast" enough, if PACE and CM Agree on the precise Text that they want, since, in that case, there is No Need for Ratification Procedures inside Each one among CoE's 47 Member Countries, and all can be done here, in Strasbourg, he clearly reiterated.


- But this naturally implies the existence of a clear "Political Will", among COE's Member States, Sawicki underlined anew :


=> Something that Now, Obviously points mainly at an Important, forthcoming Presidential Election in Ukraine, at the End of March 2019, where former Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko (Comp. several Timoshenko statements to "Eurofora", as well as or her Daughter and Lawyer [currently MEP] during ECHR's proceedings against her Imprisonment, f.ex. at: ..., ...., ..., ..., etc) and/or various Other Candidates bypass or match the Out-going President Pedro Poroshenko's ratings in many Polls, in a way which apparently indicates that Ukranian People mighty have had enough of the still on-going, Deadly and Destructive Division of the Country up to War since 2014, Corruption and Economic Slowdown, etc., so that a Positive Change might have, hopefully, become Possible, closer towards Peace in the forseable Future.

- But, when "Eurofora" asked further Sawicki "Until When" does PACE have the Time to eventually Decide to do as advised (Comp. Supra), his Reply was that it must be done, at the latest, "on April" 2019, i.e. at the Next Plenary, of Spring 2019 : Something which practically Excludes the 2nd and Final Round of those Ukranian Presidential Elections, since next PACE it's scheduled towards the Beginning of April, while that Election's 2nd and Decisive Round is scheduled for Later-on, towards the End of April... This leaves Only the June 2019 PACE Plenary for all those required actions : F.ex., Decision to make a Peace Deal, Changes of CoE Statute and PACE's Rules of Procedure, Effective and Adequate Use of such New Possibilities, etc.


Certainly, as Sawicki also observed, CoE's current Rules do Not Oblige its Committee of Ministers to effectively "Suspend" a Member Country's participation, if it doesn't pay its Annual Financial Contribution during 2 Years until next June, but it Simply says that it "MAY" do so, whenever it believes fit, after that point, (i.e., f.ex. on July, September, October, etc).


Nevertheless, the Fact that on June 2019 PACE notoriously has also to Elect the New CoE's Secretary General, for the Next 5 Years (2020-2024), etc., (while Both a CoE Committee of Ministers' Legal Expertise, and PACE's Committee on Rules of Procedure have recently found that All CoE's Member States must Participate and Vote in a so Important Choice), pleads for a Deal preferably brokered Earlier : F.ex. on May.


=> Could it be done, perhaps at the May 2019 "Standing" Committee (may be in Paris) ?


Or, rather, by ...Adding anOther, 5th, "Exceptional" PACE's Plenary Session, precisely on May 2019, giving even anOther such Possibility to Gain precious Time : Indeed, as Sawicki has told us previously it could have one More Opportunity to Deal with the Issue of Russian MEPs' Credentials, and/or Change its own Rules, in this regard.

- Such a Move is Legally Possible, since, currently, PACE's Rules of Procedure provide for "up to 30 Days" for PACE's Full Meetings during Each Year, while, until now, "we don't use but only 20 such Days, Yearly", (i.e. 4 regular Plenaries X 5 Days each = 20, leaving +10 More Days, theoretically Free to be used whenever PACE might like to do so), as he had told us earlier, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/russiaandpacecrisismayberesolved.html ).


In such case, Ukranian Presidential Elections would have also completely finished, (Comp. Supra), and, probably, a New Political Context created by the Ukranian Voters, Hopefully more Favorable to Peace-making.


+ A priori, it's not excluded that it might even include a Fair Trial and/or Liberation from Prison for the Famous former Popular Ukranian Heroine, Nadiya Savchenko : The World-known Army Airplane Pilot, who served at Iraq and volunteered in Donbas (Eastern Ukraine), before being Jailed for 2 Years in Russia, (accused of Complicity to Murders), struggling in jail with Hunger Strikes, etc., but afterwards Freed (by Russian President Vladimir Putin's "pardon" and an exchange with 2 Russian Prisoners jailed in Ukraine), after an International Campain for her release, and triomphally returned back to Kiev, Welcomed by President Poroshenko, Julia Tymoshenko, and many People, Elected new MP at the 1st rank of her Party's List, appointed at the Ukranian Delegation to CoE's Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, (etc).


Curiously, Savchenko, after being personaly engaged in efforts to Liberate Prisoners and find "Missing" People from Both Sides at Eastern Ukraine, while also Criticizing Government Corruption, focused on Seeking to Help Peace and Stop that Bloody War, (which has already Killed about 10.000 People, mostly innocent Civilians), became a Critic of Out-going President Poroshenko, accused him and otherts to have Betrayed Maidan's Popular Movement's Values, and Called for Direct Peace Talks between the 2 Sides of Ukranians : Kiev Government and Donetsk-Luhansk pro-Autonomy Regions, (considering the Crimea peninsula a comparatively secondary matter). This made her Opponents from the current Establishment slander her, and Exclude her from the Ukranian Delegation at the CoE in Strasbourg, and even Strip her from her Elected MP Status.


At that juncture, when she reacted also by Accusing a High-Standing Kiev Politician, (engaged at a Key role at Maidan's muscled uprising, then as Top Security Counselor to the 1st acting President of the Kiev regime issued from Bloody Street Clashes on 2014 : Turchynov, including in Kiev's Deadly Military Attacks on the Russian-speaking, pro-Autonomous Historic City of Slavyansk, etc), to have personaly and directly Backed severtak of those Armed "Snipers" who notoriously Targetted and Killed, at Maidan Square, Both Demonstrators and Policemen, provoking Massive Bloody Violent Clashes which Topped the 1st Peace Agreement on Ukraine, that had been Signed Both by the elected but controversial, mainly pro-Russian President Yanukovich, and All the Leaders of the Maidan Demonstrators, under the Auspices of the EU, represented at Kiev on February 2014 by 3 Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Poland : Fabius, Steinmeier and Sikorski, as well as Ratified by the Ukranian Parliament by 35 v. 2, providing for General Amnesty, Government of National Unity, Presidential Elections that same Year, etc, that was afterwards Rejected by those same Demonstrators' Leaders),

Suddenly, Nadiya Savchenko was immediately Accused, by Kiev's Prosecutor, to plan a ...Bloody Putsch against the current Regime, including Bombing of the Parliament and Murdering President Poroshenko, etc, through Weapons smuggled from the pro-Autonomy Regions, etc., and Shortly afterwards Arrested and Jailed, on February 2018 !


Since then, (i.e. during almost 1 Year now), the former Top Heroine of Maidan's Ukraine, has been Continuously Kept Closed in Prison, (with several "Extensions" of her Detention, despite many Hunger Strikes, and Initial Courts' Judgements asking to let her Free and refusing to block her properties, soon overun), at least until the End of December 2018 included, (with astonishingly Few Informations published on her current short in English, to the point that it's Not easy to clearly find what happens to her Nowadays)...


According to Recent available Press News, she would have been Operated in a Prison's Hospital, and her Health would have reportedly Suffered  from her Latest Hunger Strike, to the point to Exceptionally Hinder her even to be Present at a Court's Hearing, while doing desperate efforts to access her personal Bank Account in order to be officialy Registered among the numerous Candidates to the forthcoming, Mars 2019 Presidential Election, (Comp. Supra).


Indeed, Nadiya Savshenko was among the First to Positively reply to Press Questions about her wish to run for next President in Ukraine, exposing her Political Views for a Peaceful Solution of the Conflict, as Early as already since 2016, and, Afterwards, she reportedly Confirmed that even more clearly, during 2017-2018.


Julia Tymoshenko, while having Dissociated herself from most Savshenko's controversial attempts for Direct Contacts and Talks between Kiev and the pro-Autonomy Regions, etc., (Comp. Supra), and having accepted also her late expulsion from her Party, nevertheless, has Not yet denounced Nadiya Savshenko's personaly, and would have said that she does Not Regret to have selected her in order to run at the 1st Place of her Party's List, back in the Latest 2014 Parliamentary Elections.


>>> Meanwhile, CoE's High Level Panel on Ukraine, set up by Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland, and composed by former ECHR President Sir Nicolas Bratza from the UK, as well as by 2 Ukranian Senior Officials, in order to Supervise Investigations on the Bloody "Maidan" Events of February 2014, (Comp. Supra), and afterwards also on the Tragic Deaths of Civilians, critical to the subsequent Government, most Burned Alive during other Violent Clashes at Odessa on May 2014, has notoriously Concluded that Kiev regime's Authorities blatantly Failed on their Duty to Investigate that Key Issue of those Mysterious Deadly "Snipers" who reportedly pushed to Drop a 1st Peace Agreement and provoked Bloody Clashes (Comp. Supra).


So that it would obviously be Interesting to know what Nadiya Sevchenko may really have to say on those Mysterious Kiev's "Snipers", if and when, the forthcoming Political Developments inside Ukraine, might, eventually, allow her also to find anew at least her Freedom of Speech.


(../..)
 

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send, Earlier, to "Eurofora"'s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).


***
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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.

    ***

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