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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
new_russian_ambassador_to_the_coe_ivan_soltanovsky__eurofora_400

*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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 sarko_merkel_mieux

The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.


- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".

sarko

 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.

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- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.


    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".
        

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