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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.


----------


 - 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.


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


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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  Ten Years of ECHR : 1998 - 2008 show need of Revival in 2009-2010 coinciding with 2009 EU Election
   

A threefold, coordinated move by new Top French Political actors in the 2009 EU Parliament Elections, expressed in Strasbourg a will to boost Europe's Political dimension close to Citizens' concerns, going from protection of Economy to defence of Human Rights.    

The move met an exceptional ECHR's call for a "revival" of Human Rights' protection mechanism', in a Mega-Conference, early 2010.   

Obviously focusing on June 2009 Elections to EU Parliament, it involved from the outset the recently nominated "dual" Head of French Governing Party (UMP)  Michel BARNIER and Rachida DATI :

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     - "As President Sarkozy has clearly said, we (France) are in favor of a Strong, Sovereign and Independent, Political Europe, which protects its Citizens, and not for a large Super-Market, nor for a Europe under influence",

    "This goes for everything, including Energy", added to "EuroFora" the experienced former EU Commissioner, Minister of Foreign affairs, currently of Agriculture and Sarkozy's new pick as Leader of the Governing party UMP to EU 2009 Election, Michel BARNIER                                              .                             

  - Human Rights are important because they are at the Heart of the Political Europe that we aspire for : I.e. a Europe able to act and protect its Citizens, stressed also the New French Minister for European affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE, while meeting Strasbourg's Journalists at his first visit to the CoE.   

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This is one of the main interests for CoE, which is also a natural place for cooperation between EU countries and Russia or Turkey, which was recently helpful at the Middle East crisis, he added.

The move gained momentum with French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati's main observations at ECHR's 5Oth Anniversary :   

- "While we are seeking Europe's Borders and Identity, you (ECHR) remind us also of its Values", Human Rights, Dati noted.   

Citizens seek more and more often ECHR's help, and the tempo accelerates, Europa awaits a symbol, while national legal orders are not freezed   

And she expressed "support" to ECHR President Jean-Paul Costa's call to satisfy the vital need to revigorate the PanEuropean Court by deciding big changes at a High-Level Conference open to a large audience, a kind of "Etats Generaux" of Human Rights, at the beginning of 2010.       

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It's not so much the recently growing number of applications for Russia or Ukraine etc, which seems to be Costa's main concern : In fact, the cases declared "admissible" are much fewer...    

But rather the persistent violations of Human Rights, sometimes very grave (ie. murders, torture, abritrary deprivation of liberty, oppression of freedom of speech, destructions of homes/properties, etc), despite numerous, repeated condemnations by ECHR. So that CoE's Ministers, due to "supervise execution" of ECHR's judgements, are overloaded.   

F.ex. most Media noted that Turkey still remains, even in 2008, the 1st among 47 CoE member States in the number of condemnations by ECHR :  257, compared to 233 for Russia, with a population more than the double..    

The problem is that it's not the 1st time at all : During all the last Decade 1998-2008, Turkey was condemned by ECHR much more than any other State, and for particularly grave violations :   

- 1.652 condemnations, compared to 605 for Russia, 548 for Poland, 494 for France, 476 for Ukraine, etc.   

Italy's second place with 1.394 condemnations is a misleading false appearance : In fact, most of them (999) concern mere "procedural delays" in national courts. Same for France.   

On the contrary, Turkey was condemned 180 times for Killings, 192 times for Torture or Inhuman/Degrading treatments, 340 times for arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, 528 times for "Unfair trial", and 169 times for oppression of Freedom of speech, (etc). And the latest, 2008 numbers, indicate no change in this trend, (See supra).   

The current Spanish CoE Presidency (November 2008 - May 2009) has made of the implementation of ECHR's judgements its 1st Priority.   

ECHR's President, Jean-Paul Costa, stressed in its 2009 Annual Press Conference, CoE Member States' obligation to implement the judgements, according to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.   

Moreover, if CoE's Committee of Ministers delays to ensure implementation, then, the repetition of violations in similar cases provokes a multiplication of complaints tabled to the Court, which overload the mecanism for the protection of Human Rights, denounced Costa.          

A series of Debates on "the situation of Human Rights in Europe", focusing on the "need to fight against Impunity" of perpetrators of grave crimes, is  currently prepared by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly for the session of June 2009.  

The final Timing comes shortly AFTER the EU Elections, but the main Reports should have been adopted before.

Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy and German Chancelor Merkel's recent call "for a Political Europe" in 2009 EU Elections (See earlier "correspondence from Paris, Elysee Palace), seems more and more endorsed also by other EU Countries' Top MEPs :

Thus, f.ex., EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, Greek MEP Mrs Rodi KRATSA, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed that 2009 EU Election would be a "naturally good" opportunity to debate what really interests EU Citizens : "The Future of a Political Europe, able to face the Economic Crisis, with a Culture and identity which attracts the People"

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(Photo taken earlier during Sarkozy's 1st visit at EU Parliament, in 2007 : Sarkozy and Merkel's Ideas for a Political Europe inspire also other EU politicians accross the continent)..
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