SP-senator Kox: 'Give Ukraine ceasefire a serious chance’

3 September 2014

SP-senator Kox: 'Give Ukraine ceasefire a serious chance’

The international community must give a ceasefire in Ukraine the chance to remain intact. This goes for Russia, the European Union and NATO, all of which have over the last few months, instead of showing restraint, added fuel to the fire. If the government of the civil war-plagued land manages to negotiate a ceasefire with the rebels in eastern Ukraine, the country must be helped by all possible means to arrive at a political solution to the crisis. SP Senator Tiny Kox made these points during a speech in Paris, where the Council of Europe is meeting this week, a meeting attended  by Kox in his role as president of the Left Group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the organisation, of which every European country is a member.

'I hope that the aggressive drumrolls will end, whether they’re from President Putin, boasting about how quickly he could be in Kiev, or from NATO chief Rasmussen’s whose stated opinion is that Ukraine must give up its neutral status and switch to his military alliance,’ said Senator Kox. ‘Neither should there be discussion at this time of Ukraine joining the European Union.  Of much greater  importance are the talks between Ukraine, the EU and Russia around the question of how Ukraine can cooperate on an economic level with both the EU and Russia. Recent pressure put on Ukraine to choose between one and the other has to a large extent been responsible for the situation in Ukraine running out of control.’ Continually imposing new sanctions also makes no sense, Kox argued. ‘Instead of sabotaging each other’s economies, we need to look at how we could integrate them better. Sound cooperation would reduce the chance of conflicts.’

Kox hopes that a truce in Ukraine will also help to improve relations between Russia and the rest of Europe. Together with his fellow political group leaders, he met this week with the president of the Russian Parliament, Sergey Naryshkin. As a result of the annexation of the Crimea by Russia earlier in the year, the Russian delegation to the Council of Europe has had its voting rights suspended until the end of 2014.  In response the Russians ceased all activities in the Assembly. Kox visited Russia twice last summer to look with the Russian Parliament into how this situation could be resolved. ‘The meeting in Paris was sufficiently positive to allow the consultation to continue shortly in Moscow, in order to see whether from January onwards we can resume normal cooperation. I think it’s better if parliamentarians can listen to each other rather than cutting each other off, which leads nowhere.’  
The Council of Europe will now conduct an investigation into the political and humanitarian consequences of the crisis in Ukraine.

Photo: The Praesidium of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe with the president of the Duma, Russia’s parliament.

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