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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE: OSCE Chair, German MFA Steinmeier on Minsk Peace process for Ukraine eve of EU Summit on Russia

CoE: OSCE Chair, German MFA Steinmeier on Minsk Peace process for Ukraine eve of EU Summit on Russia

Written by ACM
Thursday, 13 October 2016
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/-  CoE has an Important Role to play, particularly on East-West Dialogue","including Parliamentarian", stressed on  occasion of Russia, German Foreign Minister, Günter SteinMeier, speaking in the Exceptional Absence of any Russian MEP, since Mosciw was incited to Leave CoE's PanEuropean Assembly, by a controversial Minority's manoeuvers, which exploited the Pretext of the notoriously Provoked Tragic Division of Ukranian People, back on 2014, (See :...).


However, he Dismissed Both the Views of those who Find that Europe is Dangerously Leaning Back to a Cold War Era of the Past, and of those, who, on the Contrary, might be Nostalgic of a Dissuasion-based Stability that partly existed when the whole World was Shared Between 2 SuperPowers, at Washington or Moscow.


Today's real Situation is Not the Same, he Warned, evoking, inter alia, some "Emerging" New Factors, (without Clarifying Explicitly if he meant, f.ex. China, perhaps Iran, or even the Differend, Atypical Risks of ISIS' spreading Islamic Terrorism, etc), and, therefore, he Urged to Keep "Chanels of Dialogue" with Russia always Open, Waiting also for the moment when the "Conditions for the Return" of Russian MEPs in the PACE would be met, as he said.


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+Speaking in his Double Identity, at the same time as OSCE Chairman in office for 2016,  Steinmeier, went concrete, Today, on the state of play for Minsk Agreement Implementation efforts.


He arrived shortly after French President Hollande's official visit, earlier this week in Strasbourg, during PanEuropean, 47 Member Countries strong, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly's plenary Autumn 2016 Session (10-14 October 2016), and just Before a possible, forthcoming, Trilateral or Quadrilateral, "Normandy 4" format (Germany, France, Russia, Ukraine) Summit in Berlin, eventualy for Thursday Next Week, (on 19/10/2016). I.e. Eve of a forthcoming EU Summit in Brussels, due to examine also relations with Russia, (20+21/10/2016).


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In fact, currently, -"We (Germany+ OSCE's rotating 2016 Chairmanship) are doing all we can to Ensure that the Vonflict in Eastern Ukraine does Not Escalate. We are doing all we can with a view to Finding Solutions, and I hope we will be supported in that", Steinmeier advanced, in one among a Series of Replies to various relevant Questions by MEPs.


- "There is No Alternative" to "the Minsk Agreement" (brokered by a Quadrilateral Summit in Bielorussia, on February 2015, which had dressed a Series of Concrete Targets, a RoadMap towards Peace, and even an Initial TimeLine in order to achieve them, up to a Comprehensive Settlement of the Ukranian crisis), he Repeatedly stressed.


In this regard, the German Government, stands as also several "Other Countries in Europe", which have, already, "roundly Condemned the Annexation of Crimea, and Russian Involvement in Eastern Ukraine", (as he desrcribed what Russia and others call, on the Contrary, as an overseas Teleguided "Coup" at Kiev, which Violently Reversed an Elected Government, slamed a Peace Deal which had just been Signed with the Opposition, in the presence also of 3 EU Foreign Ministers from Germany, France and Poland, launching afterwards Deadly and Destructive Military Attacks against the Population of Pro-Autonomy, Russian-Ethnic Regions of Donetsk/Luhansk, so that Crimeas People, who both Historicaly and Ethnicaly were almost always Russian, urged, with a Popular Referendum, their ReUification, Back to Russia, mutatis-mutandis almost as the former Eastern Germany had done with the Fall of Berlin Wall, back after 1989, by ReUniting Together with the former Western Germany, as Moscow Top Officials have repeatedly Claimed, even here at the CoE in Strasbourg).


-"But ...Politics is Not just about Statements – you have to Act", and, then, "it is Better and more Responsible to attempt to Appease the situation of Conflict in Eastern Ukraine, and attempt to find a Solution",  "and that is what we are doing", he explained.


- In fact, "We Need to ensure that All the Parties involved are brought around the Table" of Negotiations for Peace, the German Minister stressed, in this regard. Even "in our (Germany's 2016) Chairmanship of the OSCE (the most Engaged in Peace-Keeping efforts at Ukraine, nowadays), and ..(even)...when .... dialogue has been broken off, we have always striven to Ensure that Dialogue is maintained, in spite of the difficulties".


"In the context of our efforts to secure a peaceful solution to the Ukrainian conflict, I hope that we will be able to create ....the conditions for the Russian delegation to Return and take part in the meetings and work of (CoE's) Parliamentary Assembly", even if it might be done only "in the medium term", he estimated.


Because, concerning  "the conflict in Ukraine, ...Russia has a major contribution to make, not only to pacify the situation, but in the medium term to ensure a solution to the conflict".

In particular, "we are working through the Normandy format with France, Russia and Ukraine with a view to finding a Political Solution for East Ukraine, as laid down in the Minsk Agreements", Steinmeier pointed out.


At least, "I am doing my utmost to ensure that, despite the difficulties, we continue to try to ensure that the Individual Components of the Minsk agreement can be delivered".
In this regard :


- "a negotiated Cease-fire, ...has been Violated frequently, so we have to Stabilise it", the German MFA observed.


F.ex., "a couple of weeks ago, we managed to conclude a Disengagement agreement, initially in three Areas along the border. If that is fully implemented, we hope that it will take us a Step closer to a full cease-fire'.


- "Work on the Political strand of the agreement is more Difficult. It involves 3 different proposals for Legislation: the Amnesty law, the local Elections law, and the state of Emergency law".


"We are doing our utmost to bring together the different positions, although, so far, we have Not succeeded. We have to Continue working on this",


But, we "have already spent a great deal of time and effort on it", and, therefore, "I hope that we are Now in a position to do the Groundwork, which will enable us to move towards Agreement on legislation", he Optimisticaly estimated.


- "Once the legislation is agreed, we must then ensure the necessary Security conditions to allow Elections to proceed", Steinmeier added.


. "Again, that will require a great deal of work to convince the different parties to support it. For the time being", conditions are not in place, so we have to ensure that they are in the Finustre", he concluded.


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


Burt, Meanwhile, it's a "Fact that the Divide between the East and the West, in the case of Russia, has grown", Steinmeier acknowledeged.


- "Many people say that we are reverting to a Cold War, or that things are reminiscent of the Cold War period".


+ And, it might be true, that "Division of the World into 2 parts, with 2 capitals Dominating world events, can help to Pacify conflict".


- "But I do not think that that is correct" Nowadays, Steinmeier criticaly pointed out.
>>> - Because, "the World of Today is Not the Same as the world of the ’60s and ’70s", he stressed.


 - In fact, "the World has Changed" : - "We No longer live in a world in which countries are orientated in the direction of Either Moscow, or Washington".


>>> - "Instead, the Modern World has seen a number of Protagonists Emerging, which renders the situation far more Complex". And this goes, "certainly when we think of Syria", Steinmeier observed, probably referring to ISIS' Islamc Terrorism Dangerous Spread, from the Middle East to Africa, and around Europe, as well as, even overseas, recently in the US itself, etc.


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 - Therefore, "Against (such) a backdrop of Growing Tensions, the role of the (Strasbourg HeadQuartered) Council of Europe is more important than ever", he stressed, Pointing particularly at its potential "as a Long Standing Partner in Dialogue, between East and West".


- "I am profoundly convinced that, in Difficult Times, we should Not Cut off the channels of Communication. It is important that we keep all these channels Open, including Parliamentary", the German Foreign Minister underlined, but withOut revealing How this should be done, as things stand since 2014.


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However, Steinmeier, (who is in his 2nd Coalition Government in Berlin with ChristianDemocrat/EPP German Chancellor Angie Merkel, openly Agreed with French President Hollande's acceptance of a 4rth PanEuropean Summit of CoE's 47 Heads of State/Government in the forseable Future, (notoriously expected to turn around a concept of "Democratic Security" now, and which will be the First to come Since the 2005 landmark Summit in Warsaw, Poland, which had Focused on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, endorsing the ReUnification of Europe then: Comp. "Eurofora" co-Founder's NewsReports from Warsaw, then, ublished at "TCWeekly"+).


But, interestingly, he Advanced his proposed Date, from that "2019" Year (of French CoE rotating Chairmanship), to which had, surprisingly pointed Hollande, much more Near Today: on "2017", as Steinmeier said, apparently prefering a much more Imminent Move.

 

(../..)


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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

daul_in_press_file_400

    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

(../..)

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