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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).


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


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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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?
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CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...

tomllinson

Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..

woldsteth

"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock

hancock

"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"

curtis

PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.

vries

Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...

Polls

2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?

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