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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

PACE resolution gives space for dialog

Volodymyr OHRYZKO: “The European policy concerning the RF finally starts to show signs of sobriety”
4 February, 2014 - 10:27
Photo by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has held urgent debates and approved the resolution on the situation in Ukraine. The resolution is based on a severe document with a threat to implement diplomatic sanctions and criticism of Kyiv and Moscow. The decision was approved on January 28, 2014 at a closed session of PACE Monitoring Committee. Only one delegate voted against the document prepared by the co-rapporteurs on Ukraine Ms. Mailis Reps (Estonia) and Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin (Sweden) – RF representative Leonid Slutsky. According to the protocol, Ukrainian government does not take part in the voting concerning its country.

The Day asked former minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine Volodymyr OHRYZKO to comment on the PACE resolution.

“I would emphasize two moments. The first one is very rigid and unusually acute and refers to the stand of the Russian Federation. For many years I have been following what was going on in PACE. It seems to be this is one of the few examples of apparent evidence, for if we read this paragraph of the resolution, we will be able to see quite unusual words: ‘the decision not to sign the Association Agreement was heavily influenced by pressure from the Russian Federation, and especially the threat by Russia to close its borders to goods coming from Ukraine if the Association Agreement was signed.’ This is an interesting passage from the resolution. For threatening with sanctions, economic and political blackmailing with an aim to influence political decisions of a country runs contrary to the general diplomatic and democratic standards. The resolution says as well that the Assembly ‘wishes to remind the Russian Federation of its accession commitment ‘to denounce as wrong the concept of two different categories of foreign countries, whereby some are treated as zone of special influence called ‘the near abroad’ and refrain from promoting the geographical doctrine of zones of ‘privileged interest.’

“This is a very accurate characteristic of the foreign policy led by the Russian Federation. The fact that this paragraph was included in the resolution regarding Ukraine proves that the European policy concerning the Russian Federation starts to show the signs of sobriety.

“As for Ukraine and Ukrainian power, the text is absolutely frank as well. But it leaves a chance for dialog, because the final edition of the resolution says about the sanctions like suspending the voting rights of the Ukrainian delegation to the Assembly at the session in April 2014 will be considered if ‘grave human rights violations continue or if the Maidan protest were to be broken up by force.’ If the power refrains from this, there will correspondingly be no sanctions.

“In my opinion, this is a useful resolution to make the world community understand who is guilty for this crisis – the RF and the Ukrainian power, which has stepped over all lines allowed by the democratic legislation. At the same time it is a hope that this situation can be ridden out with the help of democratic instruments: negotiations and compromise.

“Will the sanctions have any influence on the government and the opposition? The sanctions against the highest leadership close the possibility for dialog; therefore they should hardly be applied to the highest leadership. But the sanctions against to the second echelon of power, like the MPs who vote for antidemocratic laws, would be a useful example for many.”

By Ihor SAMOKYSH, The Day