After an expected two-hour meeting stretched to six hours, foreign ministers of Russia, the U.S., the EU, and the illegitimate government of Ukraine agreed on the following statement.
“The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.
“All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.
“All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.
“Amnesty will be granted to protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.
“It was agreed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days. The U.S., E.U. and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors.
“The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.
“The participants underlined the importance of economic and financial stability in Ukraine and would be ready to discuss additional support as the above steps are implemented.”
To be noted: lying British-controlled press, led by the New York Slimes, insert “in southeastern Ukraine” repeatedly into the first three paragraphs above. But they are not limited to southeast Ukraine. They mean equally that the illegal Maidan occupation must be ended, as Lavrov noted afterwards, and of course that the neo-Nazis in Kiev and everywhere in Ukraine must surrender their illegal arms.
Thus, Lyndon LaRouche’s immediate reaction was that the Ukraine right-wingers won’t be able to live with these terms.
Agreement Means Right Sector Must Be Disarmed
While President Barack Obama and coup-installed Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatsenyuk both made it sound as if Thursday’s Geneva Statement put all the burden on Russia to “call back” forces from eastern Ukraine and force “terrorists and separatists” in the southeast to disarm, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed the obvious: that the agreement “covers” the speedy disarming of Right Sector. The latter is the neo-fascist paramilitary organization, which was thanked by Euromaidan organizers for the violent attacks on police that made the Feb. 22 coup in Kiev possible, and has recently been taking up police (and mafia-style protection) functions in various cities.
Lavrov spoke at a press conference after release of the Geneva Statement by himself, Secretary of State John Kerrey, the EU’s British foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya from the coup-installed government. Asked about a clause in the statement regarding the disarming of illegal paramilitary groups, which Obama, Yatsenyuk, and the western press have discussed strictly in terms of anti-coup protesters in the southeast, Lavrov said: “You know, back in the Feb. 21 agreement [between President Victor Yanukovych and the Parliamentary opposition, just before the coup], there was a point on disarming illegal groups. Little has been done since then. Far from all of them were disarmed. Right Sector continues to function, refusing to give up its arms, and arrogantly states that it will carry out the function of the Ukrainian Army in the event the latter is dysfunctional. All of these aggressive manifestations are ‘covered’ by our Statement.”
“It is impossible to solve the problem of illegally seized buildings in one region of Ukraine when the illegally seized buildings are not freed in another,” Lavrov said. “Those who took power in Kiev as a result of a coup — if they consider themselves as representing the interests of all the Ukrainians — must show the initiative, extend a friendly hand to the regions, listen to their concerns, and sit down with them at the negotiation table.”
Lavrov emphasized the call, in the Statement, “to begin a broad national dialogue in the framework of the constitutional process, which must be inclusive, transparent, and have accountability.” He regretted that Ukrainian opposition representatives from the southeast were not present in Geneva, but reported that he had “presented and distributed documents adopted by the Presidium of the Party of Regions, the Luhansk Regional Council, and the new movement South-East Ukraine [of Oleh Tsaryov].” Their topics included, “measures to de-escalate the situation, bar the use of force or the threat of force for solving various disputes, and, most important, a vision of the South-East of provisions that should definitely be included in the new constitution: above all, those are decentralization, a substantial expansion of the powers of the regions, including the right to elect their own legislative and executive bodies, and a proper role for the Russian language in Ukrainian society.”
Asked about Ukraine’s military neutrality, Lavrov said that it is already enshrined in Ukrainian law, and criticized the recent statements of NATO officials Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Alexander Vershbow, pointing towards pulling Ukraine closer to NATO.
Lavrov returned to the matter of extremists within the coup coalition, in responding to a question about potential Russian intervention in Ukraine. While stressing that Russia has no desire to send forces, Lavrov also alluded to the radical anti-Russian racism of the Svoboda Party, a member of the coup-government coalition: “Without question,” he said, “we are extremely concerned about the discrimination by the current authorities against the Russian and Russian-speaking population, the Russian language and culture. In Parliament one can hear absolutely disgusting statements, such as members of the ruling coalition publicly referring to Russian-speakers as “creatures” and stating that all those who speak Russian should be liquidated. [This refers to Iryna Farion of Svoboda.] … We have not heard any statements by leaders of the coalition, refuting or condemning such statements. Therefore, my assumption is that we shall all help to change this situation. Constitutional reform will take place in any event; of that I have no doubt. We have been assured of this by our American partners, who have the decisive influence on the current leaders in Kiev. We have an understanding that the reform process will be brought to a conclusion, and that the rights of all regions, ethnic groups, and linguistic minorities will be fully protected in its framework.”
Yatsenyuk, addressing a late-evening cabinet meeting after the Geneva Statement was issued, again referred to the southeast protesters as “extremists and terrorists,” boasting that “Russia has been forced to condemn extremism and to sign off on disarming all armed gangs and removing them from these premises.” He added, “Come out! Your time is up.” In Ukrainian wire reports of the speech, there was no mention of Right Sector or of parts of the country other than the southeast.