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Home arrow newsitems arrow New Russian Ambassador Soltanovsky to EF on CoE Entry 20th Anniversary: Renew Trust via Culture+?

New Russian Ambassador Soltanovsky to EF on CoE Entry 20th Anniversary: Renew Trust via Culture+?

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/-  Can "Dialogue" and "Culture" help restore much needed "Trust" at the PanEuropean area through CoE, as New Russian Ambassador/Permanent Representative Ivan Soltanovsky told "Eurofora" that he hoped to help develop in Strasbourg ?

 

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He  said that after opening, earlier Today, together with CoE's Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland,  a landmark Exhibition resuming 20 Years of PanEuropean dimension for the CoE, since the Historic accessionn of Russia, back on 1996, (to which "Eurofora"s co-Founder had the chance to assist : See relevant Publications at "TCWeekly" from those unfprgetable events, including a brief but topical statement that gave us the f. Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov, etc).

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On this occasion, official letters exchanged between Jagland and the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, were made public, in which CoE's re-elected Chief, a former Prime Minister of Norway and Nobel Peace prize Committee Chair, stressed Russia's role as "an Indispensable member" of the "Pan-European Community" for "Dialogue and Cooperation", as well as the "Vital role" it played "over the years" "in shaping CoE's responses to New Realities on the Continent"., since its accession, which "was an important milestone in the Pan-European  reach of our organisation", (and "not just a Romantic" but also a Real-Politic issue, as he added, smiling).

 

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Lavrov reminded from the outset that CoE's enlargement to Russia "eliminated Dividing Lines inherited from the "Cold War" era",  and expressed the "Hope" that, "in the present Challenging situation of our Continent", CoE's role could be "Strengthened", as "one of the Pillars of European Architecture", also in view of "creating a Common Economic and Humanitarian space, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean", with "Equal and Integral Security". In particular, CoE's activities are demanded mainly in 3 Fields: "Human Rights, including Protection of National Minorities and eradication of statelessness" ; "Countering Extremism, Aggressive Nationalism, Racial and Religious Intolerance" ; and "developpment of Youth Cooperation, InterCultural Dialogue", as well as "preservin the Identity of European Civilisation".


Both didn't elude critical points for discussion : F.ex. Jagland mentioned "NGO Legislation", while Lavrov pointed at "double standards and selective attitudes that undermine (CoE's) ...principles".


In this context, the experienced New Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Russia, who served for several years also as Head of the Foreign Ministry department for European/International Organisations, (including, f.ex., OSCE, etc), stressed to "Eurofora" that his main aim in coming tp serve at the CoE in Strasbourg is, most of all, to contribute into "Restoring Trust".


In parallel, Ivan Soltanovsky would also like to "Open a Dialogue", including "with the ECHR",  including both Human Rights and other CoE's key issues Today.


At another, differend point, he didn't shy away from an "Eurofora"s question about the current prospects for an eventual rapprochment or cooperation of PanEuropean CoE also with China, at least in certain areas of common interest, (which is the only UNO Security Council's permanent member without an official Status at the CoE, while, on the contrary, both USA and Canada, etc. have been granted a Special Status, precisely, since Russia's Accession, already as early as since back on 1995-1996). In this regard, "I know that I have to pay an official visit", as New Ambassador, "also to the Japanese representation", he observed, and smled surprized when "Eurofora" reminded him that he should also do the same about Mexico...


But, perhaps one among the most Important Factors for the Saint-Petersbourg born, European-minded Russian diplomat, was, Today, "Culture", (as also his Wife enthousiasticaly agreed).

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Indeed, already, it's 2 superb Musical pieces of Piano (one from a Western and another from a Russian compositor), played by the Young Galina Zhukova, a Professor of Music at Saint Petersburg, whch opened the official Inauguration of the Exhibition for the 20th Anniversary of Russia's accession to the CoE, (after a weekly tour of concerts that she was invited to hold mainly in France).

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And it's a beautiful, Modern Painting picturing a cosy Moscow square full of Lights and Trees, where People could feel good to meet and exchange after daily work, as it was pointed out, that Russia gave as a Gift to the CoE.

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Obviously, all this Fits well with Lavrov's above mentioned, concluding reference on CoE's particularly "demanded" potential, also about "Preserving the Identity of the European Civilisation".


(+UPDATED:) A move which was, later-on, spectacularly boosted also by the subsequent Liberation of Palmyra, a key UNESCO's World Cultural Treasure, from the Extremist Islamist Terrorist of ISIL's atrocious BeHeaders, even of Defenseless and innocent Civilian People, which was notoriousy obtained by Syria with the Help of Russian special forces. Evenmore when the Restoration of the (partly Destroyed by Explosions) Historic Monuments of Palmyra is due to be realized by the World-Famous Saint Petersburg "Hermitage" Museum Experts, as it was anounced shortly afterwards.


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Meanwhile, the 1996-2016 Exhibition opened Today at CoE's Committee of Ministers' anti-chamber, added, in parallel, a spectacular Historic overview of Key Events and Political Personalities who marked, in one way or another, the End of the 20th and the Beginning of the 21st Century by developing a real and fully-fledged Pan-European Dimension through the CoE:


Artfuly associating Authentic Documents, Texts and Original Photos (from Press Agency "Tass" or CoE's Archives) on Historic Pan-European events, with High-Tech "3D" Digital Representations of nowadays Russia, this Exhibition on the "20th Anniversary" of what was probably the Longest ever Accession process in CoE's History, topicaly revives Memories of Hopes for Stable Peace, really fruitful Cooperation (including on High-Tech, Air-Space, Education or other Strategic areas), and a Strong "Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals" Mountains, as former long-time French President De Gaulle notoriously used to say.

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From Grobatchev's dreams about the creation of "a Common European House", together with the then CoE's Secretary General Catherine Lalumiere, (with whom "Eurofora"s co-Founder started to work at the PanEuropean Press Sector), to former Foreign Minister Primakov's sober but sharp figure during and after Russia's Accession into the CoE, (which brought us also the USA, with a Special Status : Comp. Supra), through Yeltsin's jokes with Chirac and Kohl, particularly at the 2nd Heads of State/Government Summit back on 1997 in Strasbourg, which eyed the creation of a "Trilateral" Top Link between Franco-German and Russian Leaders, (both accompagnied by Lenni Fischer's Presidency of CoE's influential Parliamentary Assembly : Comp. various Fischer's INTW to "Eurofora"s co-Founder, published then mainly at "TCWeekly"), followed, long afterwards, up to the 1st ever Presidency of the CoE by Russia on 2006-2007, with the unforgetable Ambassador Alexander Orlov, and Foreign Minister Lavrov in full diplomatic action, from Strasbourg to Moscow and vice-versa, as well as to the 2008-2009 etc. cooperation of so Differend Political Personalities such as CoE's former Secretary General Terry Davis (a Socialist) and CoE Assembly's President Réné Van der Linden (a ChristianDemocrat) with Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed by his notorious Friend Dmitry Medvedev after the beginning of the Jagland era at the Head of the CoE, (including on 2011, etc), which extended until now to various Jagland - Putin meetings (f.ex. on 2013, etc) until recently, (with the omni-present Vladimir Loukine, inter alia also Human Rights' representative of Russia, almost always strolling around several key events, from Strasbourg - both at the CoE and EU Parliament- to Paris, Moscow or Kiev, etc: Comp. various Loukine statements to "Eurofora"s co-founder through the years), without forgetting Dumas' President Naryshkin's 2015 Hommage to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the Liberation from NAZIsm on 2015, which was celebrated both in Moscow and at the CoE in Strasbourg, (Comp. Naryshkin replies to "Eurofora" Questions at another occasion and NewsReport on the 2015 Liberation Anniversary event here), etc.

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However, the most unforgetable Human figure for us is that of someone that we were positively surprized to find among the 20th Anniversary Exhibition's Photos :  The 1st Ambassador/permanent Representative of Russia to the CoE, Yevgeny Prokhorov, who had been atrociously killed in an ill-elucidated crash of his car against a Tree in his way Home after several CoE and Embassy meetings, including one with the then Secretary General Daniel Tarschys from Sweden, to which we had participated, together with a few other Journalists, and where Prokhorov was so kind that he had even offered us his own chair, that we obviously declined, thanking him. Prochorov was a hard nut to crack and start speaking to, before mutual Trust could be established, but after that, he was a Wonderful and Efficient Diplomat for useful Press Contacts, with a good Human personality, and he had just been elected as future ECHR Judge for the next 9 Years.

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But, back on 1998, in the middle of the so-called "S300" Defensive Sol-Air Missiles' Crisis between Cyprus and Turkey, (particularly disliked by the Turkish Military for their Long range Radar capacities, able to cover all Cyprus, without being Hindered by the continuing illegal Occupation of part of its Territories by Ankara's Foreign Invasion Army since 1974), which had been bought from Russia by the long-time former Cypriot President Clerides, (an experienced ChristianDemocrat who promoted the island's Accession into the EU and afterwards  supported a "Yes" Vote for a controversial Plan attributed to former UN SG Koffi Annan, but in fact prepared by others in teh aftermath of 9/11, even if it was rejected by a 2/3 Majority at a Popular Referendum), i.e. in an exceptional Context of Tension, when even CoE's Officers asked us, (as simple Journalist in Strasbourg !) if we knew how Cyprus planned to Import the S300 Defense Missiles, while turkish Warships were Blocking Transports, at the same moment that a Turkish collegue from Strasbourg, visiting the Island had just published that Nicosia would try  to bring those Machines in small pieces due to be re-assembled afterwards, (etc), the Russian Ambassador was burn alive in strange circumstances.


It was a unique and unprecedented incident, without anything similar ever happening neither in Strasbourg, nor in Brussels or in Geneva, etc. We knew well the Road where he was killed : It was just a very Quiet and Safe pathway, to the point that, in the Past, we had used it in order to show to our Small Child how to drive a Bicycle ! But it was also quite Isolated, and, overNight may be a bit spooky. What is important were the many interesting and accurate Facts about the concrete circumstances in which the deadly car incident really took place, which were described to us, in an exclusive INTW, by the only known then 1st Hand key Witness : the Chief of the FireFighters' team which arrived on the spot to erase the Fire and try to get the Driver out of the Burning Car which had, for Unknown yet reasons, crashed on a Tree at the side of the road, curiously without even leaving any traces of attempts to put a Brake in order to avoid that, (something which, nrmaly, was easy and natural). Most of this INTW (which took place even Before any Official Investigation from the local Authorities starts, the Firefighters' Chief having told us that we were the 1st person to whom they spoke on that incident) was published at the Press Agency MPA.


But what wasn't yet ever published at all, was a Strange Event which followed, shortly afterwards : Suddenly, in the Biggest Local Newspaper of Strasbourg, the "DNA", was published a Short mention of that Tragic Incident, exceptionaly, not by one of its own Journalists, but signed by a former Collegue, a Free Lance Journalist from Bulgaria, who was sometimes covering the CoE here, sometimes working in Brussels or elsewhere, either for the Press or in the Translation business. Astonishingly, that small Article claimed, (without any known proof), that the Victim would have been too "drunk", clearly insinuating that  this might explain everything. However, when we had seen Ambassador Prokhorov, some Hours before, he was absolutely sober and efficient-looking. Moreover, when we asked the Writer of that Strange Article how she knew whether the Victim has been "drunk" as she claimed, or not, she revealed us that, in fact, she personaly didn't know, neither had ever seen anything of that kind, but, that, on the contrary, she had been told that by a former Director of CoE's protocol, who was, then, the most High-graded CoE Official from ...Turkey !


I.e. the Country whose regime was, then, notoriously ready to do Anything in order to Hinder that Russia - Cyprus cooperation on the Defensive Missiles "S300", including in Strasbourg or anywhere else, (Comp. Supra): An obvious Contradiction of Interests, (a "Crisis" at that moment), which obviously makes the Lobby which spread such Rumors against the Victim, particularly Untrustworthy and even Suspect.


Naturaly, we don't know art  all whether any key information related to that "S300" Defensive Missiles' Crisis of 1998 might have arrived, or not, in Strasbourg, but these Strange Facts (which have not been published before), deserve to be known by the Public and all those interested in that exceptional Tragic and ill-elucidated affair, do that it was our Duty not to conceal them.

(../..)
 

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("DraftNews", as already send to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version might be Published asap).


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New Plan revealed during EU Parliament's session and while Strasbourg's Unified University was inaugurated, (biggest in France, aiming at EU links).

 
EuroDistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau's dynamics were boosted by a key Franco-German meeting during EU Parliament's session here, which anounced a swift towards ambitious European aims : To become a showcase for concrete achievements of European Cooperation that benefit Citizens' everyday life and Economy, while also developing a Culture able to serve and stimulate European Organizations' political activities.

With measures to be taken in 2009, Strasbourg-Ortenau's EuroDistrict should become EU's new "Metropolitan area" in the Decade 2010-2020, at the heart of Europe in the performant "OberRhein" region, a Franco-German Expert's Report anounced.

- "Defend European Institutions, and in particular EU Parliament" is a key point of the 2009 Report's threefold focus on "Infrastructures"' economy and quality, "Citizens' everyday life", and "Cultural and Political influence".

According to a Draft Statute, France and Germany agree that "an undeniable element of EuroDistrict's image" should be "Strasbourg's status, as Capital of a Democratic and Parliamentarian Europe".

    After parallel and joint meetings at EU Parliament, French and German Ministers for EU affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE and Gunter GLOSER, started working with representatives of Local and Regional Authorities from both sides at Strasbourg's Historic Town Hall, Place Broglie, for the 2009 Monitoring of EuroDistrict "Strasbourg-Ortenau, during which was published an important Experts' Strategic Study with proposals on how to develop it in the Decade 2010-2020.
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    Introducing the 1st Experts' Report on "EuroDistrict" at a moment when it needs "New Ideas" as food for thought, Strasbourg's Mayor, Senator Roland RIES said that "a special Status" should allow "Citizens to share Infrastructures and a common European project", in agreement with his collegue, Mayor of Kehl and German spokesperson for EuroDisctrict, Dr. Gunther PETRY, who focused mainly on the useful role of "Local" authorities in "concrete" achievements.

    - Together with "facilitating Citizens' everyday life", "our countries have also a Political aim", which needs to find "New Forms of Cooperation", said German Minister for EU affairs, Gunter GLOSER. According to a "Subsidiarity principle", which starts from a smaller level, leaving to a bigger entity what it cannot achieve alone, EuroDistict should be the "1st level" in a "Concentric" schema, he added.

    - In fact, "it's a question of Europe's credibility : EuroDistrict must prove that Franco-German cooperation gives results", with "concrete achievements", said the new French Minister for EU affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE. Now, we "must advance further" : There is both "Local and National support" to make of Strasbourg-Ortenau's EuroDistrict "an example on what Europe must do in the Future if it wants to be credible in Citizens' eyes".

    - "Our Mission was to find the region's Potential of the region, "and search adequate Measures to use and develop it"; said German Expert Dr. Erwin VETTER. A main proposal is to "create a New Center for EU Competences", where everything should be concentrated : EuroDistrict, EuroCorps, EuroBest, etc : All in one area, while also linking Airports and other means of Transport, Culture, Education, Science and Research, etc. in order "to create 1 Metropolitan area" before 2020, he anounced.

    - With imagination and organisation "we tried to marry the French and German spirit", added French Expert Bernard COTTIN. He underlined "two points" :  - "In their Everyday Life, Citizens should feel that they are living in One Common Area", (fex. on Phones, Hospitals, Retirement, etc). But EuroDistrict should have also a "Cultural Dimension" : "Strasbourg, had been a little-bit left behind by both countries in the past, but must now find a New dynamic Momentum, at the Heart of Europe, strengthening its Cultural atous and becoming Multi-Cultural, in order to attain a European Dimension and develop the European Institutions", he concluded.

    Symbolically, both Mayors of Strasbourg and Kehl, Ries and Petry, gave to Ministers Gloser and Le Maire as a Gift two Books on Rhine River : Stylicised by both Logos chosen for "EuroDistrict" (as body of a flower), and for Strasbourg's new, Unified University, "UniStra", (as a long "S"), Rhine river came at the focus this week in Strasbourg, headquarters also of the oldest European Organisation : The Committee on Rhine's Navigation.. Meanwhile, Le Maire switched over from German (that he speaks fluently) to French, echoed, the other way round, by Gloser, who also understands French...
---------------------------------
The 2009 REPORT :
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Experts' proposals for EuroDistrict's Legal status is to start in 2009 with a "European Group for Transborder Cooperation", and "replace it, when possible, .. with an Original Form" of a new legal entity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Citizens' oriented measures include to facilitate "acces to Health", "Mobile Phones", "Transborder Workers"', "School exchanges", etc., and other measures interesting Citizens, as f.ex. the creation of "Common Hospitals or Rescue centers", etc. Already, an agreement on "Urgent Medical Care" will be signed on February 10.

As "Economic Capital" of one of EU's most performant areas, known as "Ober-Rhein Metropolitan Region" ("superior Rhine" area), Strasbourg-Ortenau's EuroDistrict "should also develop its role of European Cultural and Political Capital, Symbol of Franco-German entente and of a Democratic Europe", Experts' Report concludes.

This goes well beyond developping Bi-linguism, transbrorder Training and "systematic" rapprochment of both Cultures (in Cinema, Theater, Music, etc).

It adds a progressive transfert in EuroDistrict of "elements of the Franco-German Brigade", close to "EuroCorps" Headquarters, and culminates with the promotion of European institutions (see above).

The Report also proposes to launch an "initiative" for "EU Parliament's unique Headquarters", developing Strasbourg's attractiveness vis-a-vis MEPs and staff.

It also includes the development of "a Research and Higher Education pole", among French, German and Swiss partners, "linked with Strabourg's new; Unified University" and "Ortenau's HochSchulen"

It's not a coincidence that this same week was inaugurated Strasbourg's Unified University : - "UniStra" becomes the Biggest in France, (with more than 42.000 students, 5.200 staff, a brand new "European Doctoral College", some 100 Research centers, and a Capital of more than 400 million €  from the State), aiming to create closer links with nearby German and Swiss Universities, fex. Karlsruhe, Fribourg, Stutgard, Bale, etc, as French Minister for Scientific Research and Higher Education, Valerie PECRESSE advised.

(See other, related News, already sent to interested "EuroFora"s subscribers and donors, which will be also posted at the Website asap).

Last but not least :  Non-believers should meditate on the fact that all this was symbolically made in the same Strasbourg Historic Town Hall's room where even the establishement of Council of Europe was decided, 60 years back in 1949...

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