SP Senator Kox: ‘A hundred years after the First World War: no new war in Europe!’

3 October 2014

SP Senator Kox: ‘A hundred years after the First World War: no new war in Europe!’

‘I want us now to do everything we can to maintain the cease-fire in Ukraine. Our message to Russia, America and the European Union must be: don’t any longer provoke conflicts in Europe, but try to avoid them or stop them.’ This was the call from SP Senator Tiny Kox as the Ukraine ceasefire began to look shaky. Kox issued his call from the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe, of which Russia and Ukraine, in common with all other European countries, are members.

‘In the midst of all the bad news, good news arrived in the form of a ceasefire, achieved through international mediation,’ said Senator Kox. ‘Now we need to investigate how this crisis could have begun and what consequences attach to it, political and humanitarian. Investigations by the Council of Europe have my total support. They won’t bring back the people who died in Kiev, in Odessa, or in eastern Ukraine, nor the near-three hundred victims of Flight MH17 or the people found in mass graves in the country’s east. We can only remember them as victims of a war which never should have been; but we must know the causes and results if we are to come to a durable solution to this crisis.’

The SP Senator, who is president of the left group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), also wants an enquiry into the role of foreign powers in the Ukraine crisis. ‘Russia has brutally violated international law in annexing the Crimea and supporting the rebels in east Ukraine,’ he said. The US gave its support earlier to the rebels in west Ukraine and then to the Ukrainian army in its violent attack on rebels and civilians in Donetsk and Lugansk. And Russia and the EU fought an irresponsible struggle against each other to get Ukraine into their economic spheres of influence. Foreign powers first of all worked together to conclude the accords in Kiev and Geneva, only to shred them into pieces the next day. Such behaviour serves no rational purpose.’

Meanwhile there have been more than three thousand deaths to mourn, while hundreds of thousands of people have been put to flight or excluded from the most basic services. ‘The human rights commission of the Council of Europe is extremely concerned, with winter coming on’ Kox pointed out. ‘They are also concerned about human rights abuses in Russian-annexed Crimea, where in particular Crimean Tartars have had much to endure, as the commission ascertained on the recent visit. The Tartars’ freedom has been restricted in various ways.’

Later in the month Ukraine will elect a new parliament. Its task will be to restore the legitimacy of the government following the rapid approval of the removal of a president who a few days earlier had still had the support of a majority. Since then things have got completely out of hand. ‘These elections, which have been brought forward, are of major importance,’ Kox stressed. ‘The Council of Europe, together with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, will be sending observers to check that everything goes as it should. The better the conduct of the elections, the greater the legitimacy of the new parliament.’

Senator Kox himself will shortly travel to Moscow with his fellow group presidents in PACE for further discussions on how to reduce the tension in Europe and promote cooperation. Kox, who this summer spoke with both the President of Ukraine and the Chairman of the Russian Parliament, described the situation as ‘urgent’, adding that ‘one hundred years after the First World War we could be allowing a new Cold War to begin in Europe. In the end we will all have to take responsibility for this.’


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