Archive for September 23rd, 2013


Yes 2013 – Most interesting statement was………

September 23, 2013

As the 10th Yes conference closed in Yalta, after some very entertaining exchanges, speeches, addresses and debates – in fact probably the most entertaining Yes gathering in its history – I am left looking for what, amongst the enormous amount live-streamed and reported dialogue, really framed the immediate core issue facing Ukraine – through a slightly different lens.

Not for the first time – the most interesting statement of them all was short, almost terse, and yet surgically accurate – and it came from Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski who stated:

“President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko know what to do in the next few days.”

Important because whilst all expect movement from President Yanukovych, and indeed he has the lead role to play here – Ms Tymoshenko must play her part in any negotiated solution – and agree to it.

The statement also clearly infers both know what they need to do and have been told as much by EU negotiators in clear terms.

Thus either President Yanukovych or Yulia Tymoshenko can still kill any Ukrainian hopes of EU signatures at the Vilnius Summit by simple belligerence or overreaching their respective positions when it comes to finding and accepting a solution.

As both have a history of belligerence and overreaching to the national detriment – whomever, and one supposes it will be Messrs Cox and Kwaśniewski – do manage to negotiate and implement a deal, then Nobel Peace Prize nominations should not come far behind.  That maybe somewhat sarcastic but it does underscore the difficulty they will have faced.

One also has to question what the EU’s position will be if it becomes clear President Yanukovych will go – or does go –  the minimum distance required and allow Ms Tymoshenko to be released to go abroad for treatment for “humanitarian” or even “national interest” reasons – and she then refuse to go, wanting “more” from any deal.

The question for both protagonists is whether Ukraine’s immediate future means more to either of them than any longer term personal ambitions (and retributions) they may have.

Though the answer would normally be “doubtful” – in both cases – lest there be those who foolishly consider Ms Tymoshenko a beacon of democracy in an otherwise dark place – (for that glimmer of hope we need look elsewhere) – such is the attraction to their egos of a place in Ukrainian and European history –  I do dare to hope.

But – Does the EU have a position should President Yanukovych offer Ms Tymoshenko a way out of jail as per the EU demand – for her to then refuse to go?

Would it still refuse to sign under such circumstances?

As the very astute  Radek Sikorski  makes clear – both of these Kuchma era hangovers can still screw things up for Ukraine……..again.

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