FLASH MAY 13, 2015 | publicatii - Politica La Est

FLASH MAY 13, 2015

V-Day , the celebration of the victory over Nazi Germany during the World War II won by surrender of Wehrmacht’s leaders on May 8, 1945, was an occasion to be evidence for  the rift between the West and Russia . The Ukrainian crisis already more than one year old , the annexation of Crimea last year in March and the presence of the Russian troops in Eastern Ukraine, where were self- proclaimed two independent republics ( Luhansk and Donetsk ) are among the  signs of this recent rift which opposes the West to Russia. Add to these highlights the fact that the West are applying economic sanctions to Russia ( and Russia reciprocated )for the blatant breaks of the international rules of conduct among the nations and you would get the image of the unstable security landscape in Europe today. 
         The invitations extended by Russia to the heads of states and governments of the West to attend the military parade in Moscow were declined and the argument put forward for doing it is the best summarized by Donald Tusk, the president  of the European Council, when he declared: “A presence at the military parade, hand-in-hand with today’s aggressors and a person using weapons against civilians in eastern Ukraine? For me, delicately speaking, it’s too ambiguous.” Other heads of states and governments of the Western countries took another way : they didn’t attend the military parad, but the have visited Moscow or Russia day/s after the V-day and also expressed their  gratitude to the Russian deads during the last global war, but nevertheless also expressed their dissatisfaction with the Russian behavior on the international stage. It’s an example , in that regard, what chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel did, when she has visited Moscow the day after V-Day and place a wreath at the Kremlin’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the presence of Russian  President  V. Putin . But also during the visit , Merkel has asserted that the annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014, said , acording to the ‚Wall Street Journal ‚ “the criminal and illegal annexation of Crimea and the warfare in eastern Ukraine has led to a serious setback for this cooperation.” . If Merkel visited Russia and had talks with president Putin, on Wednesday it was US State secretary , John Kerry, who visited Russia and had meetings in Sochi resort , in the Caucasus , close to Crimea, president Putin and his Russian homologue, Serghei Lavrov. Both visits, of German chancellor , and of US State Secretary are undoubtedly signs of the new page in the evolution of the Ukrainian crisis between Russia and the West. Especially, the visit of Mr. Kerry is significant , being clear that the Russian and American dignitaries have discussed a lot of issues of significant importance for the international relations today. As former American Ambassador in Russia, Michael McFaul  wrote several hours ago on his twitter:  “Kerry spent over 4 hours with Putin today. Why did Putin have so much to say to someone not his equal? Missing the Americans?”. Do not miss what another knowledgeable diplomat and politician, Carl Bildt, former PM and foreign minster of Sweden wrote on May 11, after Merkel met Putin and according to the press Russian President spoke positively about Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of August 1939 : “When Putin says 1939 pact with Hitler necessary for Soviet Union security it doesn't go down too well in Warsaw, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius. “
         Press release about the meetings in Sochi of the US State Secretary are  available today, including the transcript of the press conference of both heads US and Russia’s diplomacies. S. Lavrov began his statement during the press conference saying : Let me tell you straight ahead that our meeting has taken place during the days of celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Second World War. And we started our today’s events with the common ceremony of laying the wreath to the war memorial. That war memorial was built in honor and in memory of the victims of the World War II, and I believe that all the people of Sochi highly appreciated that Secretary Kerry visited the war memorial.” So we should note that it was the same ceremony as one of Merkel’s in Moscow , which has the symbolic  historical  significance . Concerning the discussion it is worthy to note that Lavrov said that both interlocutors have the same view regarding the solution of Ukrainaian crisis: „One of the key issues in our discussion was the crisis in the Ukraine. There are certain contradiction and divergences between Russia and the U.S., as related to the origins of the crisis and our contemporary assessments of the way it is developing. But we definitely shared a view that it is only possible to resolve the issue through peaceful ways – through a comprehensive and full implementation of the Minsk agreements. And of course, it requires to launch a full-fledged dialogue between Kyiv on the one hand and Donetsk and Luhansk on the other hand.„ On the same issues US State Secretary, John Kerry, said during the same conference: „/.../we did spend time on Ukraine, as Sergey has mentioned. I reiterated America’s view that the Minsk agreements are absolutely, in our judgment, by far the best path, the principal path, to peace, and those agreements must be fully implemented, the sooner the better.I must say we found a fair amount of agreement even as Sergey has accurately disclosed that we continue to disagree on certain components of the walkup to it or certain facts, but we are both in significant agreement on the most important issue of all, which is it will be resolved by the full implementation of Minsk, and we both – all of us and other friends and allies – have responsibilities to undertake in order to effect that implementation. If and when Minsk is fully implemented, it is clear the U.S. and EU sanctions can begin to be rolled back.” But also Kerry mentioned that during the discussion it were approached also other issues of the international security which is telling regarding the common agenda in the future: „we discussed Iran, where Russia and the United States and our other P5+1 partners are working very hard through the nuclear negotiations with Iran. We are now coming into the last six weeks of those negotiations. /.../We also discussed today the real and present danger of Daesh – ISIL, as many call it – and while Russia is not a formal member of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, Russia is a very important partner in the global effort against violent extremism. And countering violent extremism is a first-order priority for both Russia and the United States./.../And we are in unity with respect to our commitment to continue to push back against Daesh, and ultimately, to drive Daesh out of Iraq, out of Syria, and to eliminate it as a threat to any of us.From the Geneva communique to the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons, I would emphasize that we have seen what happens when Russia and the United States work together. It is clearly possible to make real progress and make important things happen. And Sergey just referenced that in his comments. /.../And as we’ve said many times, the United States believes that Syria will never be at peace until there is a political solution, a political transition in Syria. What we need is that political outcome, and negotiated by and for Syrians, and supported and facilitated by key external powers.So today, we discussed at some length how the United States and Russia might work together on this in the days ahead, and Foreign Minister Lavrov and I agreed to examine specific concepts, but more importantly, to continue that conversation in the coming weeks with increased focus and purpose.We also discussed other regional issues – Libya, Yemen, and President Obama’s upcoming summit with the GCC countries.”
            You can read the transcript of this important press conference of the heads of foreign policy of both USA and Russia after their meeting yesterday , including a very interesting Q and A session,  here: Press Availability With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Remarks John Kerry, Secretary of State , Sochi , Russia, May 12, 2015, http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/05/242214.htm?goMobile=0
Mihail E. Ionescu


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