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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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Former "Green-Red" German government's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's job at the controversial Turkish pipeline "Nabucco" was denounced as "not proper", "very bad", and "incompatible with Democracy", by the new President of EU Parliament's EuroLeft Group, German Lothar Bisky, replying to an "EuroFora" question.

For once, criticism of Joschka Fischer's doings with Turkey affecting Europe, didn't come only from the Center-Right of the political spectrum, but even from his Left side : The experienced Bisky, who has been chairing all over 1993-2009 the PDS - Die Linke party :  

- "Former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer got involved in dealings with oil-gaz business in a foreign country, Turkey, and its controversial Nabucco pipeline. This raises questions about Democracy, also because of the well known problems of Human Rights violations in that country. Do you thing that this might be abused in order to cover up and close EU's eyes on Human Rights violations ?", "EuroFora" asked Bisky.

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- "Nabucco pipeline is (only) at the planning stage". And "there are some difficulties",  he observed from the start. But "'I don't want to get into the details of Nabucco pipeline, because I don't think that there is any point for it at the moment".
 
At any case,  "we  (EU Parliament's EuroLeft Group) strongly believe that Politicians should not get involved in the Energy Business, and all these commercial transactions", President Bisky declared on the Joschka Fiischer's affair.

- "We feel that it's something that shouldn't be done. It's not proper !"           

- "We don't think that it's compatible with Democracy either, and it gets politics into a very Bad track", Bisky went on to denounce.
                                                                                                                                                                        
- "EuroLeft  and "Die Linke" always spoke against that, saying that politicians should not get directly into the arms of private enterprises"

- "It is pretty bad if a former Minister takes a job f.ex. in a major Energy producer. So, it's an issue if a Minister who may have seen excellent opportunities, subsequently gets personally grasp of them, in very serious parts of the economy, once he has given up his (Government) job."

- "It doesn't really make politics in general look any better'", Bisky concluded.

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Earlier, this week in Strasbourg, other Journalists had also raised critical questions on former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's involvement in the conroversial Turkish Nabucco pipeline to the President of his own EuroParty : Kohn-Bendit of the "Greens", who, contrary to Bisky, tried to find excuses for Fischer, while criticizing his long-time partner, Schroeder for having done a similar move :

- "Shroeder was chancellor", and he "negociated" with "Russians", who gave him a job only "3 Months" after he resigned from the Government. While "Joschka Fischer", on the contrary, got a job with the controversial Turkish Nabucco pipeline only "4 Years after" he left the Government. "He didn't negociate Nabucco", so I have "no objection", Kohn Bendit claimed.

But, many Facts indicate the contrary :

Joschka Fischer was Foreign Minister in Germany from 1999 up to 2005 : I.e. from the year that EU took the controversial decision to give Turkey a "Candidate" status, until he year it started controversial "accession negotiations, (later declared "open-ended" after Sarkozy-Merkel's arrival from 2005-2007).

During that period was prepared the controversial so-called "Annan" Plan (in fact, drafted by others and attributed afterwards to the former UN SG) on Cyprus, which failed after a Popular Referendum said "No" on 2004 with a large Majoriy of 3/4 : 75%. Mainly because it was criticized for making too much concessions to the Turkish side :  Particularly by restricting Greek Cypriot Refugees' Human Right to return to their ancestral Land and/or get restitution of their Familiy Homes and private properties, usurpated by Ankara's Army since the 1974 militay invasion and continuing occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. And by weakening the Central Government, leaving to 2 "constituent States" so much powers and separate interests that more conflicts appeared inevitable, provoking the danger of a break-down in the foreseable future, with more crisis, troubles, perhaps bloodshed, etc., instead of creating an harmoniously integrated, really one federal State.

The controversial Plan was finalized on March-April 2004 at Burgenstock (Switzerland), curiously in the presence of an Envoy by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, then governed by Joschka Fischer, but in the absence of a French and not even an European Union's Envoy, contrary to what was usually practiced on similar occasions in Switzerland (fex. in 1997 at Montreux, in 2000 at Geneva, etc).

Turkey notoriously exploited the failure of the "Annan" Plan in order to convince the EU to decide to start accession Negotiations on December 2004. This provoked an unprecedented series of Institutional Crisis inside the EU, shortly afterwards, when French and Dutch People rejected, 2 popular EuroReferenda by a majority "'No" vote to the EU Constitutional Treaty on 2005, aggraveted in 2004 a Majority Abstention to EU Elections, etc., followed by the recent Irish "No", etc.

"Nabucco" Gas pipeline was notoriously planned since ..2002. It follows an even earlier idea, for an Oil pipeline Baku-Ceyhun, which started to be prepared on 1999-2001 and was meanwhile recently completed.  

So, facts indicate that what is now at stake is based on decisions made during Joschka Fischer's term as former Foreign Minister, closely interested in Turkey's controversial EU-bid.

To the point that he now practically ...switched jobs with a poliician from Turkey, (the State which pays today openly Joschka Fischer), Mr. Ozdemir, who came earlier in Germany, got fast the nationality, and became EiuroMP in a few years, continuing now as head of the "Greens" in Germany, i.e. in Joschka's former job !...

Such astonishing facts risk, unfotunately, to give to German politician Lothar Bisky's criticism of  representative Democracy a topical meaning :

 - "We (EuroLeft Group) think that what is really at stake is Democracy. It's not only about Gas Pipelines or Energy sources", President Lothar Bisky went on to add in his reply to "EuroFora"'s question on Joscka Fischer's personal interests in the controversial Turkish "Nabuco" pipeline.

Such facts, "make People get more distance from Politics. ...People had had enough, and they are fed up !".

- "That's why we (EuroParliament's "EuroLeft" Group) want to strengthen Direct Democracy in Europe. Citizens should be involved in the (EU) Decision-making. In the end of the day, it's not going to help anyone if Politicians are always taking decisions, without involving Citizens. We want to give a voice to the People of Europe. They've got to have their say in the decisions that are taken. That's one of our absolutely fixed and steadfast views. We want more Direct Democracy in Europe. That's how it can become more effective and stronger", he concluded.

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