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Home arrow newsitems arrow PACE President Brasseur to EuroFora on Ukraine, after Pope Francis urged CoE to act for Peace +

PACE President Brasseur to EuroFora on Ukraine, after Pope Francis urged CoE to act for Peace +

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking to "EuroFora" shortly after Pope Francis' speech at the PanEuropean Organisation of Strasbourg, who focused on urging CoE to act for Peace, mainly via its action on Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law, the President of CoE's Assembly (PACE), Anne Brasseur from Luxembourg, who had welcomed the Holy Father, earlier this afternoon, on behalf of all the Organization, was adamant, and crystal clear :

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Agreeing with "EuroFora" on the fact that Pope Francis repeatedly asked from the CoE to play a key role in the preservation and/or re-establishment of Peace throughout its 47 Member States, (which include Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, and even Turkey, etc, as well as "Partners" as Morocco, etc, and "Observers" as the USA, Japan, even Mexico, etc), and, therefore, pointed at the Responsibility particularly of PACE, as the only Political Body of the COE which can move on General Issues of that magnitude without prior State authorisation, and able to host Pluralist Debates and Views, Brasseur sharply reacted by replying that - "I've never shyed away from my Responsibilities ! ", as she told us, smiling, but determined.


Significantly, she said that almost 1 Month before the expected Return of the Russian Delegation to CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, on January 2015, for the first time since it was striped not only from its Voting Rights (as PACE's "Monitoring" Committee had initially proposed), but even of its right to Participate in PACE's Leading organs, back on April 2014, by a Minority-pushed, additional last-minute Amendment which curiously found its way into a Recommendation voted in the absence of Russian and other MEPs, (Comp. : .......). This had as a result to make all Russian MEPs exceptionaly abstain from any individual or collective participation to PACE's activities.
Most regretably, this occured all over the most Crucial Period of the still on-going Deadly Conflict at Eastern Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk Autonomist Regions, which notoriously faced fierce, Deadly and Destructive Military Attacks from Kiev's Army, even with Heavy Weapons, (such as Missiles, Tanks, Military Helicopters, Bombing Airplanes, etc), killing too many innocent Civilian People, (including Elders, Women, and even Children), and/or almost systematicaly Destroying  vital Infrastructures, such as Water, Electricity and/or Telecommunications Networks, Administrative Buildings, many Schools, even Hospitals, etc, in addition to numerous Family Homes, resulting in an important flow of Refugees/IDPs and threatening to provoke a Humanitarian Catastrophe.  I.e. precisely when CoE Assembly's possible Peace-maker role, or at least helpful to broker some partial Compromises, and/or to respect certain basic Principles, (f.ex. protection of Human Lives, of Journalists, etc), was badly needed...                       


=> This gave an even more than initially expected Opportunity to Vienna-based Trans-Atlantic OSCE Organisation, strong of 57 Member States, including both Russia and the USA, etc), artfuly guided by an active Swiss Chairmanship led by Foreign Minister Switzerland's President Didier Burkhalter during 2014, to start playing a more and more Important role in Peace-making and Peace-keeping related Operations on the spot, going all the way long from Borders-Monitoring, Prisoners-exchanges, etc., up to Cease-Fire Keeping Operations, which culminated recently, with a September 2014 Agreement for Sustainable Cease-Fire and a partial road-map towards beginning a negotiating  Peace Process, to which was later added also an October 2014 more detailed "Protocol", etc.) at Minsk.


Only by discreetly and slowly Supervising any "Investigations" on certain particularly Serious Human Rights Violations, including, especially, the non-elucidated yet Deadly incident of "Snipers" reportedly Killing both Demonstrators and Policemen, by bullets shot at their Heads, at the Maidan square, back on 21 February 2014, which notoriously provoked a Violent and Bloody Clash that Toppled an Agreement signed by then President Yanukovich and all the Opposition Leaders, under the auspices of 2 EU Countries Foreign Ministers from France, Germany and Poland, resulting in what the Russian-speaking Minority of the country and others denounced as a "Putch", as well as the Horrible, May 2, Odessa Massacre of some 50 pro-Russian Demonstrators, who were Brutaly Aggressed, obliged to flee, and atrociously Burned Alive, by unpunished yet, Massive Attacks of Para-Military Groups by pro-Kiev Extremists, (as several Videos and Photos clearly attest), an International High-Level Panel, established by COE's Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland, reportedly still tries to bring, even with long Delays, some necessary Light on some among the most Grave Ukraine incidents against Civilian People, which played a Crucial Role on the Conflict, (the 1st by Excluding a Peaceful, Comromise Agreement, able to keep the Unity of the Country, and the 2nd by inevitably giving the Impression to the Russian-culture Minority that any Peaceful protests would be brutaly crushed with unpunished Deadly Aggressions, as in Odessa, unless they seek to defend themselves and their own Cities with arms - precisely as they were pushed to do, after a May 11 Popular Referendum for Autonomy)...


In the Mean-time, it was, indeed, at least frustrating, from the viewpoint of Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, to see even several Journalists being Arrested, brutaly Humiliated even in front of Cameras, and/or Shot and Wounded or even Killed at Eastern Ukraine, without any immediate reaction by the CoE, contrary to OSCE's and some International Human Rights' NGO's vibrant protests and/or condemnations from Vienna, London or New York and elsewhere...


It's true that, at least, COE's PanEuropean Commissioner on Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, visited and inspected mainly internaly Displaced Persons from the Bloody Conflict in Eastern Ukraine, (Comp. f.ex. Muiznieks' Statements to "EuroFora", already as early as since End June 2014 : .... ), while also CoE's "Venice" Commission finaly managed to check, even with Delay, the crucial Draft Constitutional Reforms promised by Ukranian President Poroshenko as a key-element in his "Peaceful Plan" for a proposed Solution, at last on October 2014 in Rome, and that even CoE Assembly President Brasseur, hershelf, tried to have some Top-level Contacts, particularly with Russian Duma's President Naryshkin, initially in Paris, on September 2014, and recently in Moscow, on November 2014, while a PACE's Repporteur on the Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern Ukraine managed to visit recenty, but without having a real possibility to fully use PACE's mechanisms for substantial Politica Dialogue, nor real attempts for Compromise brokering, at least as long as that exceptionaly prolonged Absence of all Russian MEPs persisted until now..


- "If some believe that they might settle any important issue (particularly on Ukraine) without Russia, let them try !..", had already Warned "EuroFora", with a Bitter Smile, the Head of the Russian Delegation to CoE's Assembly, President of Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, Aleksay Pyshkov, while sadly saluting and collectively leaving away from the CoE, immediately after that Controversial Vote on Heavier than initially expected Sanctions against all Russian MEPs, back on April 2014, (i.e. just a few Days before, at first some Armed Extremists, and afterwords all Kiev's Military, started Deadly Attacks against the Autonomist Regions of Lugansk/Luhansk, where the number of People Killed, including many Civilians, risks now to overcome, according to UN data, the 4.500 Dead).
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    - However, despite, or, may be, on the contrary, because of these Tragic recent Developments, Pope Francis chose, Today, to hail the CoE, from the outset of his Speech, for his "Contribution to Peace in Europe through the promotion of Democracy, Human rights and the rule of Law", while also reminding that, "10 Years before the Treaty instituting the CoE was signed in London" , back on 1949, "there broke out the Most Lethal and Destructive Conflict in the Memory of these lands", (the 2nd WW), atter which, "the Divisions it created long Continued, as the so-called "Iron Curtain" split the continent into 2, from the Baltic Sea to the Gulf of Trieste".


    - "The Dream of the Founders", i.e. "to rebuild Europe in a spirit of Mutual Service",   "Today too, ... Must be the Cornerstone of COE's Mission on behalf of Peace, Freedom and Human Dignity", he stressed, while also noting that "the royal Road to Peace – and to Avoiding a repetition of what occurred in the 2 World Wars of the last century – is to see Others Not as Enemies to be Opposed, but as Brothers and sisters to be Embraced", as he said.


    - "This entails an Ongoing Process which may never be considered fully completed. .. Peace ...must Continually be attained, ...(and) calls for Constant Vigilance. ...Wars arise from the effort to Occupy spaces, to Crystallize ongoing processes, and to attempt to Halt them. Instead, ... Peace, ...can be achieved only when we are Constantly Open to Initiating Processes and carrying them Forward". Indeed, "Building Peace calls ...to ...Generate New Processes in Society and engage other persons and groups, ...to the point where they bear Fruit in Significant Historical Events", he highlighted. "That is why the Founders established this body (CoE) as a Permanent Institution, a,d "Pope Paul VI, several years later,.... observed that “the Institutions which ...in International Society have the Task ...of proclaiming and preserving Peace, will attain their lofty goal only if they remain Continually Active, if they are capable of Creating Peace, making peace, at Every Moment”, without any Interruption.


    - "It is true that Conflict cannot be ignored or concealed; it has to be Faced. But if it Paralyzes us, we Lose perspective, our horizons shrink and ....when we fail to move forward in a situation of conflict, ....we become Enmeshed in Useless Disputes". - "Tragically, Peace continues all too often to be Violated. This is the case in so many parts of the World, where Conflicts of various sorts Continue to fester", he Warned


    >>> -  But, still Today, "It is also the case here in Europe, where Tensions continue to exist. How great a toll of Suffering and Death is still being exacted on This Continent (Europe), which ....so easily Falls Back into the temptations of the Past ! That is why the Efforts of the CoE to seek a Political Solution to current Crises is so Significant", Pope Francis pointed out, (obviously making a reference to the Eastern Ukraine Crisis).
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    + Moreover, "what is called for, is a Constant work of Humanization, for “it is Not Enough to Contain Wars, to Suspend Conflicts… An Imposed Peace, a utilitarian and Provisional Peace, is Not Enough. Progress must be made towards a Peace which is Loved, Free and Fraternal, founded... on a Reconciliation of Hearts”", Pope Francis added, asking for "Clear Convictions and tenacity".


    - Because, "Peace is Not merely the Absence of War, conflicts and tensions. In the Christian vision, peace is at once a Gift of God, and the Fruit of free and reasonable human Acts aimed at pursuing the Common Good in Truth and Love. “...a conscientious Decision ...to Seek Harmony, ... with respect for Justice for everyone”, he stressed, (obviously condemning Impunity of serious Crimes).


    -  "How then do we pursue the ambitious Goal of Peace? The Path chosen by the CoE is, above all, that of promoting Human Rights, together with the growth of Democracy and the rule of Law. This is a particularly Valuable undertaking, with significant Ethical and Social Implications", Pope Francis stressed.


    - In other words, "in order to Progress towards the Future, we Need the Past, we need Profound Roots. We also need the Courage not to flee from the Present and its Challenges. We need Memory, Courage, a sound and Humane Utopian Vision", as he characteristicaly said. - "The Roots are nourished by Truth, which is the sustenance, the vital lymph, of any Society which would be truly Free, Human and Fraternal. On the other hand, Truth appeals to Conscience, which ... gives rise to Fundamental Decisions guided by the pursuit of the Good, ...it is itself the locus of Responsible Freedom".


    - But, "the concept of Human Rights" should have "an ...Universal import", and Not "be replaced by an Individualistic" or "Subjectivistic conception of Rights", which "leads to a .. Lack of Concern for Others and favours ...Indifference born of Selfishness, .. a man Incapable of embracing the Truth, and living an Authentic Social dimension. This kind of Individualism leads to human Impoverishment and cultural Aridity, since it ...Cuts off the nourishing Roots on which the Tree Grows. Indifferent individualism leads to the cult of Opulence reflected in the Throwaway Culture", with "a surfeit of Unnecessary things, but ...No longer have the Capacity to build Authentic Human Relationships marked by Truth and mutual Respect", he denounced.


    - In this regard, "we can put the Question to Europe : “...Where is that Idealism, which inspired and ennobled your History? .....Where is your Thirst for Truth...? The Future of the continent will Depend on the Answer to these questions. ...., a trunk without roots can continue to have the appearance of life, even as it grows hollow within and eventually die"; Therefore, "Europe should reflect on whether its immense (Human, artistic, technical, social, political, economic and religious) Patrimony,  is simply an artefact of the Past,  or whether it is Still capable of Inspiring ?".


    - "In providing an Answer to this question, the COE ...has a role of primary Importance" : => - "I think particularly of the role of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which ... represents the Conscience of Europe with regard to those Rights. I ...hope that this Conscience will Continue to mature, ...as the result of Efforts to Build on those "Deep Roots" which were the Bases (for) the Founders of contemporary Europe. These Roots need to be Sought, Found and Maintained,...for they represent the genetic Patrimony of Europe", as he said.

 

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    + "At the same time, there are Present Challenges facing the continent. These summon us to ....Creativity, in ensuring that the roots Continue to bear Fruit Today, and in the realization of our Vision for the Future", as Pope Francis went on to add for the PanEuropean CoE, with 47 Member States, including Turkey, Azerbaijan, and with "Observers" as the USA, Japan, Canada and even Mexico, etc., recently starting to seek permanent "Partners" among various Neighbouring Countries going from Morroco, up to Kirghistan, etc., i.e. ambitioning to cover a so Vast Space area, that "Multi-Polarity" and "Dialogue" among various Cultures, are a must, as he stressed afterwards.

 

 (../..)

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 slovenian__croatian_presidents_at_coe_400

    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

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Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

***

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