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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE: Raise Awareness at Top Political level for Need of a Solution to key Political Crisis on Russia

CoE: Raise Awareness at Top Political level for Need of a Solution to key Political Crisis on Russia

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 07 November 2018

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- PanEuropean, 47 Member Countries-strong, CoE's Highest Political body: its Committee of Ministers, replying, through its President-in-office, the Croatian vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Marija Pejcinovic-Buric, (comp. other Buric's + Croatian Prime Minister Ploenkovic's Statements to "Eurofora" f.ex. at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeminoritiesprotection20yearsafter.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/primeministerplenkoviconeucoecoop.html, etc), to Questions raised by 2 MEPs at CLRAE's Plenary Session (6-8 November 2018), earlier Today in Strasbourg, stressed that the current Problem concerning Russian Delegation's prolonged Absence from CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, following Sanctions it took (paradoxically with a Minority of MEPs !) after the controversial Ukranian Conflict of 2014, (See, among many others, also, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeminorityamendmentpushesrussianmepsout.html, etc), which resulted also in a recent Suspension of Moscow's annual Financial Contribution to the CoE, that might soon be exploited by those who seek to Push Russia Out of Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation, (Comp., among others, also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeandrussiaukrainerow.html, etc),

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=> stressed that this is an "Important Political Crisis", which "requires for a Political Solution", and Urged to "Raise Awareness at the Highest Political Level", during the Short period of Time currently available, (particularly before a Key meeting of CoE Assembly's Committee on Rules, scheduled for December 10, 2018, due to Finalise a relevant Report),

as she said, practically at the Eve of an exceptional International Summit in Paris, with about +80 Heads of  State/Government, next Sunday, at the Initiative of President Emmanuel Macron of France, (which takes soon CoE's Preidency, from May 2019), on the occasion of the Centenary Anniversary of the 1st World War's Armistice (1918 - 2018), placed under the overall Aim to create (in the presence of UNO's Secretary General, Antonio Guterres),  a Paris' "Forum pour la Paix".

 
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- The vice-President of CLRAE's biggest Political Group : that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Alexander Drozdenko, from Russia, noted that "a Legal Opinion", recently prepared "at the Initiative of (CoE's) Secretary General (Thornbjorn Jagland, a former Prime Minister of Norway), and the  Chairmanship (of COE's Committee of Ministers by Croatia), found that the "the Deprivation of Powers" of any MEPs, including the Russians, (f.ex. to Vote, Speak, Participate, etc), "Contradict CoE's Statute", the European Convention for Human Rights, and International Law in general".

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- But, in the Meantime, an "Institutional Crisis is Mounting within the COE" in this regard, he reminded, Denouncing, inter alia, also the Fact that Other COE's Bodies (including, f.ex., also the CLRAE, etc), have practically become "Hostage" of this Problem, which "Affects their Budgetary, Program and Staffing issues", while they remain as "Unique and efficient Platforms for Cooperation ... from 47 Member States at the COE", (including Russia, but also Ukraine, Turkey, etc, while USA a.o. have a Special Oberver Status).


=> Therefore, in a Question Tabled to the CoE's Highest Political body : its Committee of Ministers, (which is always in the Agenda of CLRAE's Plenary Sessions), he Asked "What further Measures" is taking "the Croatian Chairmanship", "before the end of its term", (May-November 2018), "in order to Overcome the Crisis ?"

 

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


+ In Addition, Brittish MEP Andrew Boff, (vice-President of the Conservative Group in CLRAE), reminded that the Latest CoE's Parliamentary Assembly's Plenary, on October 2018, "did Not produce any Solutions", in that Crisis, and, pointing at what he called "Contradicting Statements of Leading Russian Politicians, concerning the Role of their Country in the CoE", Asked whether it has "any Signals ...about Whether Russia Wants to Stay in the Organisation, ...or ...Wants to Leave ?"

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- In the 1st Case, Boff urged Russia "to honour its Commitments, in Time, (including the Financial ones)", and invited the COE's Committee of Ministers to take "Measures" "in order to Find a Way Out of this Major Political and Institutional Crisis".


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


- Before these Topical Questions, raised in Public Today Afternoon, Marija Pejcinovic-Buric had Simply mentioned, (by Reading the General, collective Report on behalf of CoE's Committee of Ministers), that among the various "Political Difficulties" that CoE currently Faces, are "also Russia"'s issues.


- "One of them is the decision by Russia to Suspend its Financial Contribution to the Budget" of the CoE, that we "Regret", But "Continue to Hope", particularly that Moscow "will Revise that Decision", finding a solution.


  - This is "Not Only in order to Safeguard all its (Russia's) Role inside the CoE, and for the Organisation to be able to function normaly". +"But also, and mainly, in order to enable Many Millions of (Russian a.o.) People to still be Protected", particularly by the ECHR (and other Rights provided by CoE's Legal Conventions : F.ex. against Torture, Corruption, Terrorism, and for Justice's Efficiency, Minorities' Protection, Cultural Heritage, etc).


 - "However, we (CoE), Must be Prepared for Any Eventual Outcome", she had Warned, then.


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


+  Afterwards, Buric went Further Ahead, in her Replies to the above-mentioned MEPs' Questions, where the President in office of CoE's Committee of Ministers started by observing the Fact that "COE is very much Affected by that Political and Financial Crisis".


- But, even if it really has also "Important Financial implications", (since Russia was led to Suspend its Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE, after Years of Obstacles for its MEPs to participate in CoE's Parliamentary Assembly without too Hard Sanctions, (Comp. Supra), in fact, "it's First and foremost a Political problem, which Requires a Political Solution !", she stressed.


- However, despite several and various relevant Meetings, (with COE's Secretary General, its Parliamentary Assembly, its Committee of Ministers, etc), during which, the Croatian Presidency of he CoE, "Tried to Find a Way out of the current Impasse", and which had, Recently, created some positive "Expectations", as Buric reminded,
nevertheless, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, last Month (October 2018), "Send the (relevant) Report Back to Committee", declining to adopt it now, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeandrussiaukrainerow.html, etc). Therefore, "the Process is Still On-Going".


>>> So that "Now, we have to see What it will Lead to", (particularly at a Key Next Meeting of CoE Assembly's Committee on Rules, scheduled for December 10, 2018 : I.e. just Before the Next CoE Assembly's Plenary : on January 2019, which will be Decisive for the Annual Participation of Russian MEPs during 2019, under the current rules, almost Immediately Followed by possible Threats against Russia in general, as long as it's pushed to maintain its decision to Suspend its Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE : Comp., f.ex. : ..., etc).


=> In the Present context, "from a Political point of view, I believe that it's Important to have a Greater Awareness of the current Crisis, ... at the Highest Political Level, also in the Capitals !", urged Today in Conclusion CoE's President-in-office.


+ At any case, as far as Russia's own Wish is concerned, nonobstant some previous "Contradictory" claims by one or another Politician, (as Brittish MEP Boff had pointed out, Comp. Supra),


-  "I Recently saw a Report from a Telephone conversation between CoE's Secretary General (Thornbjorn Jagland, from Norway) and the Russian Foreign Minister" (Sergei Lavrov), vice-Prime Minister Marija Buric revealed Today, on behalf of the Croatian Presidency of the COE.


>>> There "he (Lavrov) is reported as telling Jagland that Russia Wants to Stay in the CoE !", she stressed. I.e. Supporting also a Similar Information, earlier cited by Alexander Drozdenko, in his Oral presentation of his above-mentioned Question, (Comp. Supra), that Lavrov would have clearly "Confirmed that Russia Wants to Stay in the CoE", (also in Statements made during a Visit to Spain, yesterday).

 

As if in order to Mark that even better, Russian Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Ivan Soltanovsky, has just Signed CoE's reNovated Convention for the Protection of Personal Data, of big importance in Modern Digital Technologies, (see: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coenewdataprotectionhasglobalaim.html), and is due to sign also, this week, CoE's Convention for the protection of the European Cultural Heritage, (Partly UPDATED)...


+ Thus, Russia "would Only Leave (from the CoE) IF Other Countries make a Move to Expell it", Buric added.


=> In consequence, "so, the CoE is (currently) Looking for a Solution to the Crisis", she concluded, Underlying the Fact that, Now, this is done "at the Highest Political Level", (Comp. Supra).


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


Indeed, in this regard, it's Interesting to note also the Fact that, already, at the Beginning of this Week, the Future CoE's President for May - November 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron, during his Recent Visit to Strasbourg, together with the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Last Sunday, 4 November 2018, (See f.ex., "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the spot, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eupeacemoveatstakeinuselection.html + ..., etc), had an occasion to Meet and Exchange here also with COE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, (former Norway Prime Minister, and Top Member of Oslo Committee for NOBEL "Peace" Prize), as well as with the New President of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, Mrs Liliane Maury-Pasquier, a mainstream Swiss MEP former Head of the Socialist Group, (Comp. Pasquier's Replies to various "Eurofora"'s Questions, f.ex., at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newpacepresidentpasquier.html + ..., etc), as well as Other CoE's Top Officials, including ECHR's President, Guido Raimondi, from Italy, particularly during an Evening Reception at Rohan's Castle.   


+ Moreover, before the End of this Week, next Saturday and Sunday around Paris (10 + 11 November 28), several Top Key Protagonists of this COE's Affair between Moscow and Strasbourg, are due to Meet during the forthcoming Summit for the 100th Anniversary since the End of the 1st World War and a New "Paris Forum for Peace", organized by French President Emmanuel Macron, including, f.ex. among others also the Russian President Vladimir Putin, USA's President Don Trump, German Chancellor Angie Merkel, Ukranian President Pedro Poroshenko, and much more, (f.ex. from EU's point of view). Will be added, at least Next Monday, November 12, also CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, invited to Speak also at an International Forum on the Web, (while the "Forum for Peace" would Continue, in parallel, during 2 more Days), etc.


So that, even if the Main USA - Russia Top Meeting, between Trump and Putin, may take place particularly, Later-on, during the forthcoming "G20" Summi in Argentina, on November 30 - December 1st, nevertheless, almost All the Other potentially influential Top Meetings around the CoE- Russia Issue, could, at least in Theory, start already Nowadays in Paris.


I.e. in Time for the Key CoE Assembly's (PACE) Rules Committee meeting of December 10, (due to Review a Crucial Report, affecting also Russian MEP's Future Participation), which is one of the Last collective relevant PanEuropean Gatherings (besides PACE's Standing Committee's meeting at Helsinki, on November 23, under Finland's rotating Chairmnship of the CoE, for 11/2018 - 5/2019), before a Decisive Yearly Rendez-vous at PACE's next Plenary in Strasbourg, on January 2019, (Comp.: ..., etc).


After that, in Fact, "Time becomes too Short", as various Experienced CoE's observers have recently noted, in this PanEuropean affair..., (Even if, "Nothing is Impossible", as some Others, mysteriously claimed, howeever always Adding a big "IF" !).


+ Meanwhile, it's also Imporant to note also the Fact that such Developments around Russia, Obviously of Crucial Importance for the Present and Future of CoE's "PanEuropean" GeoPolitical and Legal role, unfold almost at the Same Period that the Latest COE's Top Foreign Ministerial Summit, of last May 2018 in Denmark, decided to Launch a Series of Reforms, aiming also to reach a Joint Vision of CoE's Future, and Reflect on its main Mission and the "Essentials" of its "New Horizon", (concerning Policies, Governance, Relations to Other Intenational Organisations, f.ex. EU, etc), as Buric has just Highlighted in her Report to the CLRAE, (Comp. Supra)


So that it may not just be a simple "Coincidence", for the PanEuropean dimension of Strasbourg's Organisation, the fact that the above-mentioned, latest Annual CoE's Foreign Ministerial Summit, symbolically took place at the World Famous "Elsinor" Castle, where Shakespeare's Hamlet notoriously pronounced this Key Dillema : - "To be, or Not to be : That's the Question !"...

 

(../..)

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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

***

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