Archive for April 7th, 2011

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Forget the President’s address to the nation…..well don’t but…….

April 7, 2011

Yes, yes dear readers, I know today President Yanukovych addresses the RADA and Ukraine with a “State of the Nation” style address…..and tomorrow you can read my thoughts on it if there is anything in it truly worthy of dissection.

Of course it is likely there will be, he leaves a script only slightly less than Ms Tymoshenko and to be honest, whoever writes either of their speeches are not really up to the mark if what comes out of their mouthes mirrors what is written down……but that’s a different topic of discussion.

Anyway, forget the President’s speech for now and think about what happens next month and the interesting situations that will generate……well…..think about it…..I know you astute people will not have forgotten!

Indeed, being the smart readers you are, in one month Ukraine takes over the presidency of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Maybe somewhat ironically, some of PACE’s major roles relate to rule of law, human rights, democracy/elections and the well-being of minority groups.  None of these areas are exactly where Ukraine excels at present.

Some people would actually cringe at the prospect of Ukraine taking this role on given the current domestic situation, however, yesterday, PACE Monitoring Committee Rapporteur on Ukraine, Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin, when chatting to the President said, “As for Ukraine’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, we are all looking forward to this day. We know that you have made many initiatives to help Ukraine fulfill the commitments it had taken.”

What commitments you may ask? – Well you aren’t the only ones.  It seems the President has ordered an inventory of all commitments Ukraine has entered into with PACE that currently remain unimplemented  “mainly because of political squabbles in the various branches of power”, as he put it.

Hmmm – A month to go prior to taking over a role that will provide a significant opportunity to put the Ukrainian government’s side of domestic events to foreign leaders and diplomats without the screeching of the opposition drowning out the government message…..and they are not really sure which commitments made to PACE have been kept and which haven’t? – Remember the Rule of P from a few blog entries ago?

In a statement that we can only hope is honestly held, the President stated “The areas that PACE views as priority for Ukraine are also a priority on my political agenda.” Those will be what they have consistently been then…..rule of law, democracy, human rights and minority protection.

So let’s see what comes of the 11 May – 7 November Ukrainian Presidency of PACE.  I have the gut feeling it will not be the unmitigated disaster many will expect…….despite all evidence to the contrary!

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Ukrainian the UN and Cote D’Ivoire……again

April 7, 2011

Well, Ukraine is not really known for its aggressive military posturing or getting involved in armed conflicts…..at least directly.

It can hardly be accused of blindly or belligerently following some form of Slavic equivalent to the Wilsonion policies.

However, Ukraine is a founding member of the UN and proud to be so.  Even during the hardest period of the financial crisis, Ukraine paid its annual UN membership fee on time.  It was in fact amongst the first 7 countries to do so that year.

The current Ukrainian government, and in particular President Yanukovych was heavily criticised by Ms Tymoshenko earlier in the year when Ukraine answered the UN call for more peace-keeping troops and equipment in Cote D’Ivoire when the inevitable plunge into civil war began to gather pace.

Ms Tymoshenko stated that the President had no business sending Ukrainian citizens into harms way. She in fact called it criminal.  Maybe she has a point regarding the safety of Ukrainians amongst the peace-keepers being sent, but when the UN asks its members for peace-keepers and equipment, much of which was being used to protect the UN recognised winner of a democratic election, you would expect Ms Tymoshenko to have the wider view that Ukraine should be seen to be supporting democracy and rule of law abroad…..despite a dubious record domestically.

Amongst the criticisms was why Ukraine was supplying attack helicopters of various models to a UN body which in its peace-keeping role is always neutral.  Before such criticism, maybe it would have been wiser to ask the UN why it was asking for such from Ukraine, but that rational thinking is not how politics work in Ukraine if there is an opportunity to jerk the knee in some quarters.

It seems that one of the Ukrainian attack helicopters, an Mi-24, was used by the UN to attack the presidential place a few days ago in response to 11 UN peace-keepers being injured by forces aligned to what the UN recognises as the ex-President.

This action has now been followed up by the UN helicopters monitoring from the air, the storming of the presidential palace, whilst this time not engaging in direct action according to reports from both side and the UN itself.  It would seem the UN is grateful to Ukraine for the 600 peace-keepers and the helicopters…..and so will the UN recognised President of Cote D’Ivoire if he eventually gets a chance to do his job.

Thus far no reports of any Ukrainian having died from the UN peace-keeping contingent and only one report of the attack helicopter being used.  How many of the UN helicopters used to monitor the storming of the presidential palace were Ukrainian has not been disclosed.

Regardless, it would seem, Ukraine has played a small part in not only protecting the international UN peace-keeping forces but also having brought about the overt supporting of democracy when the recognised winner gets to sit in his recognised chair.  That seems likely in the next few days.

One can expect this fact to be used by not only the current government when required but also the opposition parties who did not condemn the decision and supported Ukraine answering the UN call.

Quite why Ms Tymoshenko took the political line she did, and publicly took it, is difficult to understand considering she tries to portray herself as the protector of democracy and friend and ally to democratic institutions globally.  It maybe she felt she could afford to simply be contrary towards any government move, as it is her standard position, as she thought nothing would come of it……but that would show a considerable naivety…..as the UN asks for what it wants from its members based upon its risk assessments and contingencies on the ground.

If she ever becomes President, I wonder if she will refuse the UN requests in the future or whether she will act no differently to how the current President acted?

It still remains and incredibly mystifying stance for her to have taken to me.

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