The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council meeting was held in Kiev on December 5-6. Actually it was to be a kind of wrap-up session devoted to summing up the results of Ukraine’s leadership in 2013. But the Euromaidan inserted its corrections.
As far back as December 3, it became known that US State Secretary John Kerry would skip the visit to Kiev changing the route for Chisinau instead. The US State Department put it plainly that it was a demarche related to the Ukraine’s refusal to sigh the Association Agreement with the European Union, «We wanted to send a very strong signal of support for those countries that have moved forward with the EU because of what it means to their commitment to reform», a senior US State Department official told reporters.
The same day Steven Pifer, former US ambassador to Ukraine, called for boycott of the meeting, «When police assault peaceful demonstrations, Kiev is hardly natural for a meeting of Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe» he said citing what Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski tweeted on November 30.
Some answered the call. David Lidington, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Minister for Europe, went to Kiev instead of Foreign Secretary William Hague. His French counterpart Laurent Fabius was not there too. But Germany, Poland and Sweden ignored the Pifer’s call sending ministers of foreign affairs to Ukraine. Looks like the drawn-out crisis in the relations between the European Union and the United States starts to make European capitals less attentive to Washington’s wishes.
The meeting was filled with reproaches and claims to Kiev. The participants got carried away to the extent that the formal agenda (global security) was tackled only by representatives of post-Soviet states. The speech by Russian Minister Sergey Lavrov was really pithy. He addressed the key problems the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe will have to tackle soon: working out principles of crises prevention and crises management, some thoughts on the issue of establishing rules for the use of Internet, expanding the authority of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the continuation of the Helsinki Plus 40 process.
But the Western diplomats fell the «smell of blood» coming from Ukraine, they hardly wanted to discuss anything else but the events in Euromaidan rebuking Kiev for human rights violations even if the protesters attack police with metal bars, toss Molotov cocktails and try to ride an excavator to press police ranks.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland challenged Ukrainian authorities to meet the protests constructively. «This is Ukraine's moment to meet the aspirations of its people or disappoint them», she told the OSCE meeting. «Democratic norms and the rule of law must be upheld».
David Lidington said with passion, «The eyes of the world are on Ukraine now, and that will continue to be the case after the close of this Ministerial meeting». The Sweden’s Foreign Chief Carl Bildt was more radical than others, «There have been unacceptable instances of violence and provocation surrounding these protests. The violence on the part of the police last Saturday was a breach of OSCE values and principles – principles that all of us have agreed to uphold. I therefore call on the President, the Government and the authorities of Ukraine to ensure freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and to stay true to the fundamentals of the OSCE. I call on each and every one to avoid any violence».
Mainly the addresses delivered by Western representatives were far from sticking to diplomatic language. The supremacy of law was also seemed to be a thing of the past. Without even waiting for first results of the recent events’ investigation, Western diplomats put the blame on Ukrainian authorities for provoking the escalation of violence. The accusations were related to the Ukraine’s refusal to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union.
The words of Lavrov sounded as a sobering warning when he highly appreciated the Ukraine’s work as the OSCE chairman in 2013. According to him, the European Union’s response to the fact that Ukraine used its sovereign right to decide which international agreements it wanted to sign or not looks more like a hysteric action.
An interesting intrigue took place related to the position of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation. On December 5 the three Ukrainian opposition leaders called on the Organization for Security and Co-operation to condemn President Yanukovych and express the support for the protesters… ««Peaceful protests are an important tool of public expression», the OSCE PA President Ranko Krivokapic said. «Protests, initially, helped lay the foundation for democracy in Ukraine – and the right to assemble publicly and peacefully must remain completely protected. Dialogue between political factions through democratically elected institutions and adherence to the rule of law are essential in the process of democracy-building», he added. On December 5 it became known there would be no meeting between the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation and Ukrainian opposition leaders who found the OSCE PA’s position was not radical enough. The opposition wanted total criticism, instead the OSCE PA called for a comprehensive dialogue with the authorities. Later, asked about the idea of holding three-parties talks between the European Union, Ukraine and Russia, Ranko Krivokapic said that the tripartite talks between the EU, Russia and Ukraine could be of use for the settlement of crisis in Ukraine. «As for the EU, Russia, and Ukraine – these are three international entities and it depends on them. Any such meeting or any model could be of use for the settlement and overcoming conflicts», he said at a press conference during the OSCE Ministerial Council in Kiev. He happened to be a European the Ukrainian opposition leaders had nothing to talk about.
A new tendency in the OSCE policy towards Ukraine became visible during the December 5-6 meeting: the goal is to internationalize the events, make the Euromaidan their symbol and then step in as a «peacemaker». OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannie said the Organization for Security and Co-operation could step in as a mediator to facilitate finding a way out of the crisis that hit Ukraine. The Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament (the parliament’s top governing body) made public the decision to urgently send the Koks – Kvasnevsky mission to Kiev. Ukraine was not asked if it needed the mission –it was simply presented with a fait accompli…
T. Yaglend, the head of Council of Europe, proposed to form an expert’s group to monitor and investigate the events in Kiev comprising three members – one member from opposition, one from the government and one representing the international community. He knows who to nominate from the European Union.
According to unconfirmed reports, Washington joined the process of imposing the decisions of «international community» upon Ukraine. Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, proposed to form a «peace cabinet» including the persons acceptable for the both conflicting parties. Of course, the United States will help to create such a cabinet.
According to the proposals, Ukraine should not consider itself a sovereign state able to solve its own internal problems anymore. This is the first attempt to introduce the regime of external governance… The European Union is confidently introducing its experts and politicians into the sphere of decision making process in Ukraine, something the Ukrainian authorities do not actively oppose. If it continues this way, then a transition period from «soft» to «hard» external governance will not take long.