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Henry M. Robert

The Macron formula

Will the initiatives of the French president be able to lead the Minsk process out of the impasse?
27 June, 2017 - 11:27
REUTERS photo

On June 26, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko visited France for the first time and held his first one-on-one meeting with the new French leader Emmanuel Macron. For Ukraine, it was very important to hear from the French president what he thought about the situation in the Donbas, whether he considered Russia the aggressor and, in general, how he saw the ways of leading the Minsk process out of its current impasse. And we can say that the negotiations between the Ukrainian leader and the French president give some reasons for optimism.

At a joint press briefing with the president of Ukraine, Macron stated: “Aggression comes from Russia, that is, Ukraine is not the aggressor. We also recognize that the annexation of Crimea is illegal, which means that we all know who started the war, who created this situation, and in what situation we are.”

Macron confirmed France’s readiness to continue efforts in the Normandy format, including through holding a new discussion within the framework of the Normandy format. “We are determined to continue the Minsk process... We support the idea of active cooperation in the Normandy format with the involvement of the OSCE.

This is what I suggested to all parties. We can, during our next meeting in the Normandy format, actually offer a whole series of terms so that all parties offer concrete solutions to find a way out of the crisis,” the French president added.

“POROSHENKO IS BEING RECEIVED QUITE WELL WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF HIS WORKING VISIT”

Galia ACKERMAN, head of the Russia department of the journal Politique Internationale, Paris:

“I got two impressions from the statements made by the presidents of France and Ukraine at a joint press conference. First, Emmanuel Macron wants to make some specific changes in the Normandy format. Up to now, we have been trying to get to grips with the Minsk process, which is at a total impasse. Macron, meanwhile, wants to get the OSCE report and make some specific decisions that will allow the parties to advance on some issues at least. Honestly, I think that this situation is totally deadlocked since there is a great reluctance on Russia’s part to change anything. On the other hand, Ukraine cannot fulfill the Minsk Agreements until it gets control of the border with Russia – which it will not get, most likely.

“I am afraid that Macron’s search for a new solution will not be easy. On the other hand, I see that Poroshenko is taken seriously in France. He talked with Macron for about an hour. After that, the Ukrainian president will meet with the president of the Senate and the prime minister. In other words, Poroshenko is being received quite well within the framework of his working visit, although without a big fanfare and without an official dinner. At least, it has been no worse than Poroshenko’s reception in the White House.

“Secondly, it is interesting that Macron will receive Secretary of the Academie Francaise Helene Carrere d’Encausse at 3 p.m. Paris time today, who is known for her steady and strong pro-Russian position. I think that even if it is a coincidence, it is significant. No doubt, some quite powerful French circles will try to exert influence on Macron, to persuade him to support Russia against Ukraine.”

“MACRON REFUTED PUTIN’S IDIOTIC STATEMENT THAT ANNE OF KIEV WAS A RUSSIAN QUEEN”

 We were pleased to hear from the French president that Anne of Kiev belonged to the shared history of France and Ukraine. Was this statement made by Macron at the press conference by accident?

“We know that Poroshenko will visit Anne of Kiev’s grave. Indeed, she belongs to the shared history to the same extent that Kyivan Rus’ belongs to the shared history. Macron refuted Putin’s idiotic statement during their bilateral meeting that Anne of Kiev was a Russian queen. Of course, she never was one. Meanwhile, Putin’s statements that since she gave birth to children who later turned into quite powerful European kings, she thus brought Russian blood to Europe – it was just an absolute nonsense, which is not worth commenting on. It is similar to Russia’s attempts to appropriate Volodymyr and Yaroslav the Wise and all the other princes of Kyivan Rus’. From a historical point of view, this is nonsense.

“The anti-Ukrainian incitement efforts continue. I turn on Vladimir Solovyov’s show from time to time, and in my opinion, not a single broadcast has appeared without them saying nasty things and a bunch of lies about Ukraine. This whole program of denigrating Ukraine in the Russian media continues. Accordingly, any real shift in the Donbas seems unlikely. To do this, they would have to stop talking about the Kyiv junta, about the fascists in power, leave Ukraine alone, and stop inflaming their public opinion.”

By Mykola SIRUK, The Day
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