Wagenknecht calls for new peace policy instead of NATO’s ‘aggressive game’; press release on sending Bundeswehr troops to the Russian border

From Fort Russ

Die LINKE [The Left Party]
April 29, 2016
Translated from German by Tom Winter April 30, 2016

New peace policy instead of NATO aggression

“Chancellor Angela Merkel is committing an irresponsible provocation, when, 75 years after the attack on the Soviet Union, she is sending the Bundeswehr to the Russian border,” said Sahra Wagenknecht, Chairman of DIE LINKE.

Wagenknecht further: “The federal government is playing with fire if they blindly support NATO’s aggressive game. A permanent presence of NATO combat troops on the Russian border is contrary to the existing agreements with Russia.

EU eastward expansion and the NATO troop parades are poison for peace and stability in Europe. The deployment of combat units of the Bundeswehr to the Russian border threatens the vital interests of the German population. The German Bundestag must debate it.”
_____________________________
On the same subject, click “Forgetting History”

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/04/wagenknecht-press-release-on-sending.html

U.S. will station 20 nuclear bombs in Germany against Russia

Global Research, September 22, 2015

Germany’s ZDF public television network headlines on Tuesday September 22nd, “New U.S. Atomic Weapons to Be Stationed in Germany,” and reports that the U.S. will bring into Germany 20 new nuclear bombs, each being four times the destructive power of the one that was used on Hiroshima. Hans Kristensen, the Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, says, “With the new bombs the boundaries blur between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.” 

A former Parliamentary State Secretary in Germany’s Defense Ministry, Willy Wimmer, of Chancellor Merkel’s own conservative party, the Christian Democratic Union, warns that these “new attack options against Russia” constitute “a conscious provocation of our Russian neighbors.”

German Economic News also reports on Chancellor Merkel’s decision to allow these terror-weapons against Russia:

The Bundestag decided in 2009, expressing the will of most Germans, that the US should withdraw its nuclear weapons from Germany. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel did nothing.”

And now she okays the U.S. to increase America’s German-based nuclear arsenal against Russia.

Maria Zakharova, of the Russian Foreign Ministry, says: “This is an infringement of Articles 1 and 2 of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” which is the treaty that provides non-nuclear states the assurance that the existing nuclear powers will not try to use their nuclear status so as to take over the world.

German Economic News says:

“The federal government had demanded the exact opposite: The Bundestag decided in March 2010 by a large majority, that the federal government should ‘press for the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Germany.’ Even the coalition agreement between the CDU and FDP, the German government in 2009 had promised the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Büchel. But instead there will be these new bombs.”

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Offener Brief von Sahra Wagenknecht an die Bundeskanzlerin: ändern Sie Ihre Politik. Bevor es zu spät ist.

Bild, 10.07.2015

English: http://www.sahra-wagenknecht.de/en/article/2163.madam-chancellor-change-your-policy-before-it-is-too-late.html

»Hören Sie auf, immer neues Steuergeld zu verbrennen!
BILD veröffentlicht das vollständige Schreiben an Angela Merkel

Von FRANZ SOLMS-LAUBACH

Die Griechen haben geliefert, jetzt ist die EU dran…

Griechenland hat eine neue Reform-Liste vorgelegt und bittet um ein Hilfspaket in Höhe von mehr als 53 Milliarden Euro bis Ende 2018. Die Entscheidung darüber soll jetzt schnell gefällt werden – spätestens bis zum Sonntagabend.

Dadurch wächst auch der Druck auf Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (60, CDU), sich für den Grexit oder für ein Hilfsprogramm für Athen zu entscheiden.

In diese Debatte mischt sich jetzt die stellvertretende Fraktionsvorsitzende der Linkspartei, Sahra Wagenknecht (45), ein.

Sie ergreift in einem offenen Brief an die Bundeskanzlerin, der BILD exklusiv vorliegt, Partei für die griechische Schwesterpartei der Linken und für Syriza-Chef Alexis Tsipras (40).

In ihrem Brandbrief wirft Wagenknecht Kanzlerin Merkel einen eklatanten Rechtsbruch bei der Schulden-Haftung für Griechenland vor.

BILD veröffentlicht das vollständige Schreiben an die Bundeskanzlerin:

„Sehr geehrte Frau Bundeskanzlerin,

Europa ist in schlechter Verfassung. Überall zahlen die fleißigen Normalverdiener die meisten Steuern und die wirklich Reichen drücken sich. Viele Arbeitnehmer können von ihrem Job nicht mehr gut leben. Auch in Deutschland. Nach einem harten Arbeitsleben droht oft eine dürftige Rente. Aber die Vermögen der Millionäre sind hoch wie nie. In ganz Europa haben die Staaten hohe Schulden, weil sie verantwortungslosen Bankern und Spekulanten die Verluste abgenommen haben.

Besonders hoch sind die Schulden des griechischen Staates. Eine korrupte politische Klasse hat sich hier gemeinsam mit griechischen Oligarchen und den internationalen Banken über viele Jahre schamlos bereichert. Besonders seit Einführung des Euro wurde Party gefeiert. Viele kleinere und mittlere Unternehmen dagegen hat die neue Währung, die für Griechenland viel zu hart war, vom Markt gefegt.

2010 war Griechenland pleite. Es war schon damals klar, dass es seine Schulden nicht zurückzahlen kann. Trotzdem haben Sie, Frau Bundeskanzlerin, 2010 die Weichen dafür gestellt, dass Deutschland und die anderen Euroländer die Haftung für die griechischen Schulden übernommen haben. Sie haben damit Banken und Hedge Fonds vor Milliardenverlusten bewahrt. Für die europäischen Steuerzahler dagegen, die nie gefragt wurden, war diese Entscheidung ein fataler Fehler. Es war von vornherein klar, dass ein großer Teil unseres Geldes verloren sein wird. Zusammen mit anderen Abgeordneten der Linken habe ich Sie damals im Bundestag darauf hingewiesen. Sie wollten das nicht hören.

Mittlerweile hat Deutschland in Griechenland über 60 Milliarden Euro im Feuer. Weil Sie, Frau Bundeskanzlerin, ihren Fehler nicht eingestehen wollten, wurden immer neue Kredite vergeben, um Griechenland zu ermöglichen, damit alte Schulden zu bezahlen. So wurde der Schein der Zahlungsfähigkeit aufrechterhalten. Bei einem Unternehmen würde man so etwas Konkursverschleppung nennen. Verbunden wurden die Kredite mit Auflagen, die Griechenland noch tiefer in die Krise geführt haben. Die kleinen Leute haben gelitten, die griechischen Oligarchen wurden noch reicher.

Heute wird in Griechenland 25 Prozent weniger produziert als im Jahr 2010. Es wird nicht mehr investiert, die junge Generation hat keine Perspektive. Obwohl der griechische Staat seine Ausgaben um fast ein Viertel gekürzt hat, mehr als jedes andere europäische Land, sind die Schulden nicht gesunken. Sie sind höher denn je.

Trotzdem wollten Sie, Frau Bundeskanzlerin, vor dem griechischen Referendum noch einmal 15 Milliarden Euro europäischer Steuergelder dafür einsetzen, dass Athen alte Schulden bezahlen kann. Mit neuen Schulden. Ihre einzige Auflage war, dass die griechische Regierung sich verpflichtet, die Politik der letzten Jahre fortzusetzen.

Auch die Steuerzahler in Deutschland können den Griechen dankbar sein, dass sie diesen Vorschlag mit ihrem souveränen „Nein“ vom Tisch gefegt haben. Es ist an der Zeit, dass Sie den Menschen reinen Wein einschenken. Hören Sie auf, immer neues Steuergeld zu verbrennen, um zu verschleiern, dass ein Großteil unseres bereits ausgegebenen Geldes weg ist. Irgendwann kommt die Wahrheit doch auf den Tisch. Je später, desto teurer wird es für uns alle.

Griechenland braucht kein neues „Hilfspaket“, um wieder nur alte Schulden mit neuen Schulden zu bezahlen. Griechenland braucht einen Schuldenschnitt. Es muss zumindest für die nächsten drei bis fünf Jahre von dem Druck befreit werden, Zinsen und Tilgungen zu bezahlen, die es aus eigener Kraft ohnehin nicht zahlen kann. Griechenland braucht auch nicht noch mehr soziale Einschnitte, sondern Investitionen und eine kräftige Vermögensabgabe zulasten seiner Oligarchen. Notwendig ist eine Entflechtung der griechischen Wirtschaft, in der heute etwa 800 steinreiche Familienclans über handfeste Monopole verfügen und die Preise diktieren. Das wären Reformen, die das Land voranbringen würden, aber nicht weitere Rentenkürzungen, Mehrwertsteuererhöhungen und Privatisierungen.

Sie sollten sich erinnern: auch der deutsche Wiederaufbau wurde durch einen großzügigen Schuldenschnitt ermöglicht. Nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg wurden Deutschland zwei Drittel seiner alten Schulden erlassen. Erst dadurch konnte das Wirtschaftswunder durchstarten. Auch bei den Griechen hatten wir damals Schulden, die nie zurückgezahlt wurden.

Frau Bundeskanzlerin, ändern Sie Ihre Politik. Bevor es zu spät ist.

Sahra Wagenknecht“

http://www.bild.de/politik/inland/sahra-wagenknecht/fordert-merkel-auf-ihre-griechenland-politik-zu-aendern-41716000.bild.html

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

Sahra Wagenknecht to Angela Merkel: “Madam Chancellor, change your policy. Before it is too late.”

Open letter by Sahra Wagenknecht to Angela Merkel, published in BILD on 10 July 2015

Deutsch http://www.bild.de/politik/inland/sahra-wagenknecht/fordert-merkel-auf-ihre-griechenland-politik-zu-aendern-41716000.bild.html

Madam Chancellor,

Europe is in a bad condition. All over Europe it is the hard-working people with ordinary wages who pay most taxes while the rich people duck away. Many wage-earners are not able to live off their job income. Also in Germany. After a life of hard work, often enough, a miserable pension looms. The wealth of millionaires, however, has reached new peaks. In all of Europe the states are highly indebted because they have taken over the losses of irresponsible bankers and speculators. Greece´s debt is particularly high. Here, a corrupt political class together with Greek oligarchs and the international banks has shamelessly accumulated wealth for years and years. Since the introduction of the Euro especially, the party was on. Many small and medium-sized enterprises on the other hand were swept from the market by the new currency which was way too hard for Greece.

In the year 2010 Greece was bankrupt. It was clear already then that it would not be able to repay its debt. Yet despite that, Madam Chancellor, in 2010 you set the course for Germany and the other Euro countries to accept the liability for the Greek debt. By so doing you protected banks and hedge funds from losses in the billions. For the European tax payer who was never asked, however, this decision was a fatal error. It was clear from the beginning that a high amount of our money would be lost. Together with other parliamentarians of the Left I pointed this out to you in the Bundestag. You would not listen to it.

In the meantime Germany has more than 60 billion Euros at stake in Greece. Ever more credits were handed out in order to enable Greece to pay old debts – only because you, Madam Chancellor, did not want to acknowledge your mistake. That way the illusion of Greek solvency was upheld. In an enterprise this would be called delaying bankruptcy. The credits were given on conditions that led Greece even deeper into the crisis. The small people suffered, the Greek oligarchs became even richer. Today production in Greece is 25 per cent less as compared to 2010. There are no investments, the young generation has no perspective. Even though the Greek state has cut its expenses by almost a quarter which is more than any other European country has done, the debt has not shrunk. It is higher than it ever was. Still, Madam Chancellor, before the Greek referendum you wanted to spend another 15 billion Euro of European taxpayers´ money to have Athens pay for old debt. By taking on a new debt. The only condition you had was to oblige the Greek government to continue with the policy of the last years. The taxpayers in Germany, too, can be grateful to the Greek people that this proposal was swept from the table by their sovereign “No”.

It is time to come clean with the people. Stop burning more and more taxpayers´ money in order to disguise that a major part of the money we have already spent is gone. One day the truth will come out. The later it is the more expensive it is going to be for all of us.

Greece does not need a new “aid package” only in order to pay off old debt with new debt. Greece needs a haircut. It must be relieved, at least for three to five years, from the pressure to pay interest and repayment which it cannot shoulder by its own means anyway. Greece also does not need more social cuts but investments and a hefty levy on wealth at the expense of its oligarchs. What is necessary is an unbundling of the Greek economy in which today roundabout 800 immensely rich family clans hold solid monopolies and dictate the prices. Those are the reforms that would set the country on track, and not more pension cuts, VAT increase and privatizations.

You ought to remember: also the German reconstruction became possible by means of a generous debt haircut. After the Second World War Germany was granted a reduction of two thirds of its old debt. Only that way the economic miracle could have a full start. At that time we were indebted also to the Greeks, a debt that was never repaid. Madam Chancellor, change your policy. Before it is too late.

Sahra Wagenknecht

http://www.sahra-wagenknecht.de/en/article/2163.madam-chancellor-change-your-policy-before-it-is-too-late.html

Angela Merkel’s affront to Russia and the gulf in German-Russian relations

By John Helmer
Posted on Naked Capitalism, May 19, 2015

How Angela Merkel Has Been Abandoned By John Kerry, Victoria Nuland, And Vladimir Putin

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, would do almost anything to get and keep power. That, in the opinion of powerful German bankers, includes making herself look ready for war with Russia in order to make her political rival, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the coalition Foreign Minister and opposition leader in Berlin, look too weak to be electable when the German poll must be called by 2017. So, sources close to the Chancellery say, Merkel insulted President Vladimir Putin and all Russians to their faces last week. This week Victoria Nuland, the junior State Department official who told the chancellor to get fucked a year ago, was in Moscow, replacing Merkel with a settlement of the Ukraine conflict the Kremlin prefers.

“We are ready for this,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last Thursday after meeting Secretary of State John Kerry. Referring to Nuland, Lavrov added: “we were not those who had suspended relations. Those, who had done it, should reconsider their stance….But, as usual, the devil is in the details.” Lavrov meant not one, but two devils, who have sabotaged every move towards a settlement of the Ukraine conflict since the start of 2014 – Nuland and Merkel.

Merkel’s Kaput! moment came on May 10, when she went to Moscow to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Deutsche Welle, the state German press agency, called it Merkel’s “compromise after she stayed away from a Russian military parade the day before.”

At the following press conference with Putin, Merkel said: “We have sought more and more cooperation in recent years. The criminal and illegal annexation of Crimea and the military hostilities in eastern Ukraine has led to a serious setback for this cooperation.” German sources say the word Merkel said, “verbrecherische” has rarely been used by her before; it carries the connotation in colloquial German of gangsterism — and of Nazism. “Merkel doesn’t seem to care what she says any longer,” a high-level German source says. “She exhibits more and more emotion these days, more irritation, and less care for what she says, and where. Putin understood exactly what she meant, and on the occasion she said it. He acted with unusual generosity not to react.”

The Kremlin transcript omitted Merkel’s remarks altogether. The Moscow newspapers ignored Merkel’s word and emphasized the positive Putin ones. “Our country fought not against Germany,” Putin replied to Merkel, “but against Nazi Germany. We never fought Germany, which itself became the Nazi regime’s first victim. We always had many friends and supporters there.”

US state radio followed with an attempt to endorse Merkel’s “verbrecherische”, and castigate the Kremlin for ignoring it. “An official interpreter at a Kremlin press conference has omitted a top Western leader’s stinging criticism of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region”, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on May 12.

Reporter Carl Schreck claimed he “is unclear whether the interpreter made a conscious call to soft-pedal Merkel’s rebuke, or simply missed the word…One person who certainly would have understood the German word for ‘criminal’ used by Merkel – ‘verbrecherisch’ — is Putin himself. The Russian leader, who was stationed in Dresden with the Soviet KGB in the 1980s, is a fluent German speaker and in the past has spoken with Merkel in her native language. Whether he heard the word might depend on what ear Putin was listening with. He sported an earpiece on his left ear, presumably to listen to the Russian-language interpreter. His right ear — the one closest to Merkel — was free of electronic accoutrements.”

Schreck – the word in German means fright or scare — was a reporter for the Moscow Times for several years before moving to Prague for the US government. On his own website he doesn’t explain his German background, or whether his Washington state upbringing included the German language. Compared to Putin, Schreck is a soft touch for the oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov. For him Schreck’s most sensitive question has been: “What do you look for in a woman?”

Verbrecherische isn’t the first instance of Merkel’s loose lips sinking her own ship. Last November she picked more aggressive German for impromptu remarks than were set down in the chancellery’s script. But that was in Australia, and Putin had already left the country. Merkel isn’t the only politician to say things in Australia which don’t count in the rest of the world.

The irony of Merkel’s May 10 attack on Putin is that Kremlin sources believe Putin has been the last of the officials on the Security Council to give Merkel the benefit of their strategic doubt. Yevgeny Primakov, Putin’s most experienced strategic advisor, has been telling him privately for months there is no prospect of salvaging the German-Russian entente while Merkel is chancellor, and no hope for the German opposition to break her grip in the short run.

In public, on January 15, Primakov said: “External changes that would favor Russia should not be expected anytime soon. It is doubtful that the sanctions will be cancelled in the near future. Betting on some politicians and European businessmen who speak against the sanctions is not realistic.” Primakov omitted the adjective German out of politeness. He and the Russian intelligence services regard Merkel as Washington’s patsy.

Two days after Merkel’s trip to Moscow, on May 12, Kerry met with Putin and Lavrov in Sochi. The Kremlin communique was minimal, acknowledging that “special focus” had been given to the Ukraine conflict. “The Russian side gave its assessments of the reasons behind the Ukrainian crisis, stating the key points of Russia’s position. It was stressed during the meeting that Russia strives to implement the Minsk Agreements in full and will do its utmost to support this process.”

By “reasons behind”, Putin and Lavrov meant Nuland and the Washington war party. Ahead of the Sochi meeting, the State Department spokesman had tried to play up Kerry, and downplay Nuland. “You can’t deal with diplomatic issues if you don’t do diplomacy,” the spokesman declared on May 11. On May 13, the spokesman was asked if “United States is ready to put pressure on Ukraine to fully implement Minsk II agreements”, and ducked the question.

On the next day, by the time Nuland was in Kiev meeting Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk and President Petro Poroshenko, the spokesman claimed the “United States’ full and unbreakable support for Ukraine’s government, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.”

Whatever devil can be read in these details, US Government statements indicate something new — there are now only two pairs of shoulders, Merkel’s having been shouldered aside. If there’s to be a settlement of the Ukraine conflict, it will be trilateral, according to the US, one between the US, Russia, and Ukraine. From the Russian point of view, it’s plain this means a deal between Russia and the US, with Nuland to keep the Ukrainian government in line.

Nuland has insisted that she was right beside Kerry in his meetings in Sochi. The press photographs have excluded her. The Kremlin, Lavrov and Kerry have spoken as if Nuland wasn’t there.

In Sochi Kerry also went to the trouble of showing Merkel how to behave in front of a memorial to the Russian dead in the war against Germany.

According to Kerry, “the war memorial here in Sochi [is] where more than 4,000 of the millions of courageous then-Soviets who died in World War II are buried. And it’s a very beautiful memorial and I was very moved by the young children who were there taking part in the ceremony. And I think Sergey and I both came away from this ceremony with a very powerful reminder of the sacrifices that we shared to bring about a safer world, and of what our nations can accomplish when our peoples are working together towards the same goal.”

Kerry also gave the regime in Kiev a warning of what not to interpret from anything Nuland may be saying. “If… President Poroshenko is advocating an engagement in a forceful effort at this time,” Kerry said in Sochi, “we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in that kind of activity, that that would put Minsk in serious jeopardy. And we would be very, very concerned about what the consequences of that kind of action at this time may be.”

http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2015/05/242214.htm

Now that Nuland has been excluded from the decision-making of the big boys, her job was to go to Kiev to tell the smaller boys what the new US line is. Yatseniuk’s version of their talks – minus the customary photo opportunity – was that “the key topics of the talks were questions of overcoming Russian aggression and the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the implementation of economic reforms and the fight against corruption, as well as the assistance from the United States in these processes. Yatsenyuk and Nuland discussed the status of implementation of the program of cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, as well as the preparation for a free trade zone between Ukraine and the European Union from January 1, 2016.”

Poroshenko stuck to pledging allegiance: “coordination of our actions with the U.S. is vitally important,” is the only quote the presidential website posted from the meeting. Photo opportunities were also curtailed.

Nuland’s version, according to the US Embassy transcript, was to emphasize just how “eager [we are] to deepen our involvement in helping the parties achieve full implementation—everything from complete ceasefire and pullback on the line of control, to the political pieces, to the border pieces.” By “political pieces” Nuland meant the constitutional changes for eastern Ukraine Putin insists on and Kerry mentioned, while Nuland bit her tongue.

Nuland has also ignored Yatseniuk’s requests for more money because Washington will neither declare it’s in favour of a Ukrainian default on its US-held sovereign bonds at the end of this month, nor provide any money to stop it.

Instead, the US Treasury rolled out its former Secretary, Lawrence Summers, to announce that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “has done as much as can reasonably be asked”. Summers, on the receiving end of Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk’s treasury (right), is this week omitting to call for fresh European Union money or contributions from the Ukrainian oligarchs.

Summers says he is also opposed to an offer of new American taxpayer money. Instead, his US Treasury plan is that “Ukraine’s creditors — led by the investment firm Franklin Templeton, but also with the support of a number of major US fund managers, who are sufficiently embarrassed by their selfish and unconstructive position that they avoid public identification — are playing hardball and refusing any write-offs. Understandably, if there are a substantial group of such free riders, other debt holders including the Russians will not accept writedowns… The IMF and national authorities should call out the recalcitrant creditors on their irresponsible behaviour.”

In Kiev Nuland put Merkel in her place, relegating her and the French to a single mention in last place in the process to decide the outcome of the Ukraine settlement. The US, she said in Kiev, is “in lockstep with our European allies and partners”. Lockstep means chain-gang — Germany must follow where the US leads. The Merkel Kaput! has been followed by the Merkel kibosh!

Dictionary note: Kaput started in French, when it meant losing in cards, and passed into English via the German kaputt during World War 1. Kibosh, disposed of in English, is derived from the Irish caidhp bháis, meaning death cap — the hood put on someone before execution, or the black cap worn by English judges when pronouncing the death sentence.

 

John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/05/john-helmer-how-angela-merkel-has-been-abandoned-by-john-kerry-victoria-nuland-and-vladimir-putin.html

 

Rede von Sahra Wagenknecht in der Debatte des Bundestages: “Die Konfrontation mit Russland hat die Ukraine zerstört. Sie schadet ganz Europa”

English translation at https://freeukrainenow.org/2015/04/10/bundestag-speech-by-mp-sahra-wagenknecht-eu-policy-has-destroyed-ukraine-and-damaged-Europe/

From Sahra Wagenknecht.de
19.03.2015

“Holen Sie sich unser Geld bei den Banken und der griechischen Oberschicht zurück!”
Rede von Sahra Wagenknecht in der Debatte des Bundestages am 19.03.2015 zur Regierungserklärung zum Europäischen Rat am 19./20.03.2015

Zum Video der Rede

Dr. Sahra Wagenknecht (DIE LINKE):

Herr Präsident! Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren! Frau Bundeskanzlerin! Zu ihren besten Zeiten hatte die deutsche Außenpolitik zwei Prioritäten. Das waren die europäische Einigung und eine Politik der guten Nachbarschaft gegenüber Russland. Es sollte Ihnen schon zu denken geben, Frau Merkel – wenn Sie bitte zuhören könnten -,

(Volker Kauder (CDU/CSU): Das ist eine Frechheit!)

dass Nationalismus und Zwietracht in Europa, knapp zehn Jahre nachdem Sie das Kanzleramt übernommen haben, wieder gedeihen wie lange nicht mehr und im Verhältnis zu Russland die Entspannungspolitik einem neuen Kalten Krieg gewichen ist.

(Beifall bei Abgeordneten der LINKEN)

Die spezifischen US-Interessen in Europa hat vor kurzem der Chef des einflussreichen Thinktanks Stratfor in einer Pressekonferenz in eindrucksvoller Offenheit erläutert: Hauptinteresse der Vereinigten Staaten sei es, ein Bündnis zwischen Deutschland und Russland zu verhindern, denn – so wörtlich – „vereint sind sie die einzige Macht, die uns”, also die USA, „bedrohen kann”.

Diese vermeintliche Bedrohung von US-Interessen wurde auf absehbare Zeit erfolgreich erledigt. Das begann eben damit, dass die EU im Rahmen der Östlichen Partnerschaft versucht hat, die betreffenden Länder aus der wirtschaftlichen und politischen Kooperation mit Russland herauszubrechen.

(Claudia Roth (Augsburg) (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN): Das ist aberwitzig!)

Frau Merkel, natürlich war das gegen Russland gerichtet; aber es war eben auch nicht im Interesse der betreffenden Länder. Sie haben denen das Entweder-oder aufgezwungen, nicht Russland.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Im Ergebnis hat die Ukraine einen Großteil ihrer Industrie verloren. Heute ist dieses Land ein bankrotter Staat, in dem Menschen hungern und frieren und die Löhne niedriger sind als im afrikanischen Ghana.

Aber die Konfrontation mit Russland hat nicht nur die Ukraine zerstört. Sie schadet ganz Europa. Es ist doch ein offenes Geheimnis, dass die Vereinigten Staaten den Konflikt mit Russland auch aus wirtschaftlichen Gründen schüren. Wenn US-Regierungen von Menschenrechten reden, dann geht es in der Regel um Bohrrechte oder um Schürfrechte. Gerade in der Ukraine ist angesichts der großen Schiefergasvorkommen verdammt viel zu schürfen.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Wenn jetzt im Rahmen der Energieunion von neuen Pipelinerouten und einer zunehmenden Unabhängigkeit vom russischen Gas geredet wird, dann sollten Sie den Leuten ehrlicherweise sagen, was das bedeutet: wachsende Abhängigkeit vom wesentlich teureren und ökologisch verheerenden US-Frackinggas. Ich halte das nicht für eine verantwortungsvolle Perspektive.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Die Liste der ehemaligen deutschen Spitzenpolitiker, die Ihre Russlandpolitik kritisiert haben, Frau Merkel, ist lang. Da finden Sie die Namen Ihrer Vorgänger Gerhard Schröder, Helmut Kohl, Helmut Schmidt und ebenso Hans-Dietrich Genscher. Vielleicht hat das ja auch zu Ihrem Einlenken beigetragen. Auf jeden Fall war es richtig, dass Sie gemeinsam mit dem französischen Präsidenten Hollande die Initiative zu neuen Verhandlungen ergriffen haben. Minsk II hat immerhin dazu geführt, dass in der betreffenden Region seit Wochen deutlich weniger Menschen sterben als in den Wochen und Monaten davor und dass die Tür zu einer friedlichen Lösung geöffnet wurde.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Natürlich ist das ein wichtiges Ergebnis. Sie, Frau Bundeskanzlerin, und der französische Präsident verdienen dafür Anerkennung.

(Tino Sorge (CDU/CSU): Dann sagen Sie das doch auch mal!)

Wem aber an Frieden und Sicherheit in Europa liegt, der muss den Weg von Minsk II jetzt auch mit Konsequenz und Rückgrat weitergehen. Da ist es natürlich ein Problem, dass Konsequenz und Rückgrat nicht gerade zu Ihren hervorstechenden Eigenschaften gehören.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN – Widerspruch bei der CDU/CSU)

Laut OECD haben beide Seiten den Waffenstillstand wiederholt gebrochen. Sie, Frau Merkel, haben gerade wieder gefordert, dass die Sanktionen gegen Russland erst aufgehoben werden, wenn Minsk II umgesetzt ist.

(Beifall des Abg. Volker Kauder (CDU/CSU))

Natürlich ist es inakzeptabel, wenn aus den Reihen der Aufständischen immer noch geschossen wird.

(Tino Sorge (CDU/CSU): Inakzeptabel!)

Aber wenn ukrainische Truppen oder die auf ihrer Seite kämpfenden Nazi-Bataillone weiter schießen, dann ist das doch mindestens genauso inakzeptabel. Dazu hört man von Ihnen kein kritisches Wort.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Wieso melden Sie sich auch nicht mit Kritik zu Wort, wenn die ukrainische Regierung trotz drohenden Staatsbankrotts in diesem Jahr viermal so viel Geld für neue Waffen ausgeben möchte als im letzten Jahr?

(Dr. Diether Dehm (DIE LINKE): So ist es!)

Das spricht nicht gerade dafür, dass der Weg des Friedens in der ukrainischen Regierung besonders engagierte Unterstützer hat.

Ebenso können die Entsendung von Militärberatern und die Waffenlieferungen durch die Vereinigten Staaten und Großbritannien eher als Torpedierung denn als Unterstützung des Friedensprozesses gewertet werden. Aber wollen Sie jetzt auch gegen die USA und Großbritannien Sanktionen verhängen? Ich glaube, es wäre besser, einzusehen, dass diese ganze unsägliche Sanktionspolitik ein einziger großer Fehler war, mit dem sich Europa ins eigene Knie geschossen hat. Deswegen sollten die Sanktionen nicht verlängert werden.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Wir brauchen auch keine zusätzlichen Panzer. Wir brauchen auch keine 3 000 Mann starke NATO-Interventionstruppe in Osteuropa, die niemanden schützt, sondern den Frieden in ganz Europa nur noch mehr gefährdet.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Helmut Schmidt hatte doch recht, als er schon 2007 gewarnt hat, dass für den Frieden der Welt von Russland heute viel weniger Gefahr ausgeht als etwa von Amerika

(Lachen der Abg. Claudia Roth (Augsburg) (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN))

und dass die NATO nur noch ein Instrument US-amerikanischer Hegemoniebestrebungen sei. Wenn das stimmt, dann lässt das doch nur einen vernünftigen Schluss zu: dass Europa endlich eine eigenständige und von den USA unabhängige Politik machen muss.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Herr Juncker hat nun die These aufgestellt, wir bräuchten eine europäische Armee, um zu zeigen, dass es uns mit der Verteidigung europäischer Werte gegenüber Russland ernst ist. Ich glaube, dieser Vorschlag zeigt vor allem eins: wie weit sich Europa von dem entfernt hat, was einst die Gründerväter der europäischen Einigung wollten.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Damals ging es ‑ Frau Merkel, Sie haben es eben selber angesprochen ‑ um Frieden, um Demokratie und um Solidarität.

(Manuel Sarrazin (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN): Und den bösen Kapitalismus!)

Nie wieder sollten Nationalismus und Völkerhass die europäischen Länder entzweien. Aber um solche Werte zu verteidigen, dafür brauchen Sie wahrlich keine bewaffneten Bataillone.

 

Wenn Sie die Demokratie verteidigen wollen, Frau Merkel, dann setzen Sie sich doch dafür ein, dass die europäischen Länder endlich wieder von ihren gewählten Regierungen und nicht von Finanzmärkten, nicht von dem ehemaligen Investmentbanker Mario Draghi und, bitte schön, auch nicht von Ihnen, Frau Merkel, regiert werden.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN ‑ Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Distanzieren Sie sich einmal von der Gewalt gestern! Das wäre ein wichtiger Schritt!)

Wenn Sie Demokratie wollen, dann stoppen Sie die sogenannten Freihandelsabkommen, dann stoppen Sie TTIP, in dessen Folge demokratische Wahlen endgültig zur bloßen Farce verkommen.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Das wäre eine Verteidigung europäischer Werte! Das wäre eine Verteidigung von Demokratie, diese unsäglichen Verhandlungen über TTIP und ähnliche Abkommen endlich auszusetzen!

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Wenn Sie ein einiges Europa wollen, dann hören Sie auf, andere Länder zu demütigen und ihnen Programme zu diktieren, die ihrer jungen Generation jede Perspektive nehmen.

(Manuel Sarrazin (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN): Sie haben doch zugestimmt bei Griechenland!)

Hören Sie auf, Europa sogenannte Strukturreformen vorzuschreiben, die nur auf wachsende Ungleichheit und einen immer größeren Niedriglohnsektor hinauslaufen!

(Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Wer koaliert denn mit den Rechten in Griechenland? Das ist doch Ihre Schwesterpartei!)

In Deutschland sind infolge dieser Politik mittlerweile 3 Millionen Menschen trotz Arbeit so arm, dass sie nicht ordentlich heizen, sich nicht anständig ernähren und schon gar nicht in den Urlaub fahren können. Statt diese Politik zum Exportschlager zu erklären, wäre es an der Zeit ‑ und übrigens sehr im europäischen Interesse ‑, sie endlich hier in Deutschland zu korrigieren; denn es ist nicht zuletzt das deutsche Lohndumping, das anderen Ländern der Währungsunion die Luft zum Atmen nimmt.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Finanzminister Schäuble hat kürzlich versucht, die griechische Regierung mit der Bemerkung vorzuführen: Tja, regieren sei halt immer ein Rendezvous mit der Realität.

(Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Richtig! ‑ Max Straubinger (CDU/CSU): So ist es!)

Da kann man nur sagen: Schön wär’s! Schön wäre es, wenn die deutsche Regierung ihr Rendezvous mit der Realität endlich auch einmal erleben würde.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN ‑ Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Das schreiben Sie sich auch einmal auf, bevor Sie eine Rede halten!)

Denn Realität ist jedenfalls, dass es nicht die Syriza, sondern die griechischen Schwesterparteien von CDU/CSU und SPD waren, die über Jahrzehnte einen riesigen Schuldenberg aufgetürmt haben, um sich und der Oberschicht die Taschen vollzustopfen.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Realität ist auch, dass Griechenland bereits 2010 hoffnungslos überschuldet war und dass es eine verantwortungslose Veruntreuung von deutschem Steuergeld war, mit diesem Geld die Schulden der Griechen bei den Banken zu bezahlen. Wir haben deswegen damals nicht zugestimmt. Wir haben damals schon einen Schuldenschnitt gefordert.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

Wer einem Überschuldeten Kredit gibt, der wird sein Geld mutmaßlich nie wiedersehen. Aber die Verantwortung dafür liegt bei Ihnen, Frau Merkel und Herr Schäuble, und nicht bei der neuen griechischen Regierung, die noch nicht einmal zwei Monate im Amt ist.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN ‑ Widerspruch bei der CDU/CSU)

Realität ist auch, dass unter dem Protektorat der von Ihnen immer noch hochgeschätzten Troika, über deren kriminelle Machenschaften man sich in dem hervorragenden Dokumentarfilm von Harald Schumann informieren kann, die griechischen Schulden noch weiter gewachsen und die griechischen Milliardäre noch reicher geworden sind.

(Dr. Diether Dehm (DIE LINKE): So ist es!)

Und das wollen Sie fortsetzen? Da kann ich nur sagen: Gute Nacht!

Wenn Sie unser Geld zurückholen wollen, dann holen Sie es bei denen, die es bekommen haben,

(Beifall bei der LINKEN)

und das waren nicht griechische Rentner und griechische Krankenschwestern, sondern die internationalen Banken und die griechische Oberschicht. An dieser Stelle können Sie der griechischen Regierung helfen, das Geld wieder einzutreiben.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN – Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Sagen Sie das doch einmal Herrn Tsipras! Wer regiert denn in Griechenland?)

Zu der ganzen Debatte um mögliche Reparationszahlungen möchte ich nur sagen:

(Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Die ist zu Ende!)

Egal, wie man diese Forderungen juristisch bewertet, das Mindeste, was man von Vertretern des deutschen Staates erwarten kann, ist ein Mindestmaß an Sensibilität im Umgang mit diesem Thema.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN – Lachen bei Abgeordneten der CDU/CSU)

‑ Ich muss sagen, dass Sie jetzt auch noch lachen, ist wirklich traurig.

(Dr. Diether Dehm (DIE LINKE): Unsensibel!)

Angesichts dessen, wie die deutschen Besatzer in Griechenland gewütet haben, und der Tatsache, dass eine Million Griechinnen und Griechen in diesem finsteren Kapitel deutscher Geschichte ihr Leben verloren haben, finde ich die schnoddrigen Äußerungen von Ihnen, Herr Schäuble, und von Ihnen, Herr Kauder, einfach nur respektlos, und ich schäme mich dafür.

(Beifall bei der LINKEN sowie des Abg. Jürgen Trittin (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN) ‑ Zurufe von der CDU/CSU: Oh!)

Um daran zu erinnern, dass Umgang mit Geschichte auch anders geht, möchte ich zum Schluss aus der Rede Richard von Weizsäckers aus Anlass des 40. Jahrestages der Befreiung zitieren; ich komme gleich zum Schluss, Herr Präsident. Sie bezog sich damals vor allem auf Russland und Osteuropa, aber sie gilt natürlich auch für Griechenland:

(Michael Grosse-Brömer (CDU/CSU): Was Sie alles wissen!)

“Wenn wir daran denken, was unsere östlichen Nachbarn im Kriege erleiden mussten, werden wir besser verstehen, dass der Ausgleich, die Entspannung und die friedliche Nachbarschaft mit diesen Ländern zentrale Aufgaben der deutschen Außenpolitik bleiben. Es gilt, dass beide Seiten sich erinnern und beide Seiten einander achten.”

Ja, nur wenn wir uns erinnern und nur wenn wir einander achten, nur dann finden wir zu einer Politik der guten Nachbarschaft zurück, sowohl innerhalb der EU als auch gegenüber Russland.

(Anhaltender Beifall bei der LINKEN)

http://www.sahra-wagenknecht.de/de/article/2090.holen-sie-sich-unser-geld-bei-den-banken-und-der-griechischen-oberschicht-zurueck.html

 

Bundestag speech by MP Sahra Wagenknecht: EU policy has destroyed Ukraine and damaged Europe

Posted on Fort Russ

March 19, 2015
April 9, 2015
Translated from German by Tom Winter

Mr President, honored ladies and gentlemen, Frau Chancellor.

At your best times, German foreign policy had two priorities: Unity for Europe and a good neighbor policy with Russia. It should give you food for thought, Frau Merkel, if you would listen,

[Volker Kauder: That’s rude!]

that nationalism and strife in Europe, during your ten years in office, are thriving like never before, and as regards Russia, a policy of outreach has given way to a new Cold War.

[Applause from the Left]

Not long ago, the head of the influential think-tank Stratfor, with striking bluntness, explained the US interest in Europe: The chief interest of the United States is to prevent coordination between Germany and Russia, since, literally “united they are the only power that can threaten us,” i.e. threaten the US.

This perceived threat to US interests has been achieved successfully for the foreseeable future. That started as the EU tried to get countries out of their economic and political cooperation with Russia in the framework of the Eastern Partnership.

[Claudia Roth, Greens: That’s absurd!]

Frau Merkel, naturally this was aimed at Russia, but it was also contrary to the interests of the countries involved. You, not Russia, pushed them to the either-or.

[Applause from the Left]

Resultantly Ukraine has lost the great part of its industry. Today, the country is a bankrupt state, where people go hungry, shiver, and have salaries lower than people have in Ghana.

But the confrontation with Russia has not only destroyed Ukraine, it has damaged all of Europe. It is, in fact, an open secret that the United States is stirring the conflict with Russia on economic grounds. When the US administration talks about Human Rights, they’re actually meaning drilling rights or mining rights. Right now in Ukraine there is in view a hell of a lot of shale gas to frack.

[Applause from the Left]

If now, in the framework of the Energy Union of other pipeline routes, we’re talking increasing independence from Russian gas, then you should tell the people in honesty what that means: increasing dependence on much more expensive and ecologically devastating US fracked gas. I do not consider that a responsible view.

[Applause from the Left]

The list is long, Frau Merkel, of earlier chief politicians who criticise your Russia policy. In that list we find the names of your predecessors Gerhard Schroeder, Helmut Kohl, Helmut Schmidt, and even Hans-Dietrich Genscher. Perhaps this is what led to your backing off. In any case, it is correct, that you, with French President Hollande, took the initiative: Minsk II has really led to significantly fewer deaths there in recent weeks than in the weeks and months preceding; the door to a peaceful solution has been opened.

[Applause from the Left]

This is naturally an important new situation, and you, Frau Bundeskanzlerin, and the French President deserve recognition.

[Tino Sorge, CDU/CSU: Then say so from time to time!]

However, the person that the peace and security in Europe depend on must now go forward, with follow-through, and with backbone. This is naturally a problem, since follow-through and backbone haven’t exactly been your strong suit.

[Applause from the Left; grumblings from CDU/CSU]

Of course, it is not acceptable, when the shooting persists from the ranks of the insurgents,

[Tino Sorge: Not acceptable!]

but when Ukrainian troops — or the Nazi battalions fighting for them — keep right on shooting, then it is quite less unacceptable, and no critical word from you is heard.

[Applause from the Left]

Why do you not come forward with words of censure when the Ukrainian regime, notwithstanding its foreseeable bankruptcy, budgets four times as much for arms as it did last year? This doesn’t assure us that the road to peace has any actual support in the Ukrainian regime!

Furthermore, the US and Britain sending military advisors and delivering weapons is not a matter of supporting the peace process, but of torpedoing it. But do you now envision sanctions against the US and Britain? I believe that this whole business of sanctions was a huge mistake through which Europe shot itself in the foot. The sanctions should not be extended.

[Applause from the Left]

We do not need any more tanks. We do not need a 3,000-man NATO intervention troop in Eastern Europe, that protects nobody, but instead puts all Europe further at risk.

[Applause from the Left]

Helmut Schmidt got it right when he warned already in 2007, that, when it comes to world peace, there is far less risk from Russia than from America, and that NATO is only a tool for maintaining US/American hegemony. And if that is correct, then we are left with one set conclusion: that Europe must finally make policy separate from, and independent of, the United States.

[Applause from the Left]

Mr Juncker has put forward the thesis, that we need a European Army to show that we are in earnest about defending European values against Russia. This shows just one thing, how very far we have come from what the founding fathers of European Union wanted.

[Applause from the Left]

Back then it was all about — as you yourself have often said — peace, democracy, and solidarity. Never again should nationalism and hatred separate the lands of Europe. But to defend these values, no armed battalions are needed!

If you want to defend democracy, Frau Merkel, then see to it that the lands of Europe are at last ruled by elected governments rather than financial markets, not by the one-time investment banker Mario Draghi, and, further, not by you.

[Applause from the left; interjection from Michael Grosse-Bromer: Disassociate yourself from the violence right now. That would be a big step!]

If you want democracy, then stop the so-called Free Trade Agreements, stop the TTIP that would make elected governments just a farce.

[Applause from the Left]

That would be the defending of European values! That would be a defence of democracy, exposing these unspeakable TTIP negotiations and comparable dealings.

If you want to see a unified Europe, then stop humiliating other countries and imposing programs that rob the young generations of their future.

[Manuel Sarrazin, Greens, “You’re right with Greece!”]

Stop prescribing so-called structural reforms in Europe, that only lead to growing inequality and an ever growing low-wage sector.

Here in Germany meanwhile, in consequence of these policies, three million people, in spite of having a job, are so poor they can’t stay warm, haven’t enough to eat — let alone afford going on a vacation! Instead of trying to explain this export-bashing policy, it is high time — and very much in Europe’s interest — to correct it. And it is not least the German wage-dumping that is stifling the other countries of the monetary union.

[Applause from the Left]

Finance Minister Schaeuble has recently instructed the Greek government: “Yeah, governing is always just a rendezvous with reality.”

[Michael Grosse-Broemer (CDU/CSU): Right! Max Straubinger (CDU/CSU): And so it is!]

So one can only say “That would be good” well, that would be a good thing when the German government could only experience its own rendezvous with reality. Because it was not Syriza, but instead, the sister parties to the CDU/CSU and SPD that over the decades stacked up the huge deficits, so that they and the upper crust could stuff their pockets.

[Applause from the Left]

The reality is also that under the protectorate of the troika that you still treasure so much, whose criminal activities you can see in the documentary by Harald Schuman, the Greek debt just got bigger and the Greek billionaires got richer.

And you want to keep it up? Then I can only say “Good night!”

And if you want our money back, get it from those that took it, and that was not the nurses, nor the Greeks on pensions: it was the international banks and the Greek Upper Crust. It’s from these you could help the Greek government recover its money.

Who advances credit to one already overloaded with debt will never see his money again, but the responsibility is on you, Frau Merkel, and you, Mr. Schaeuble, and not on the new Greek government which is now hardly two months in office.

As for the whole debate over possible reparations, I can only say that, no matter how the question gets juridically evaluated, the least one should expect from the German State is some minimum of sensibility in dealing with the issue.

[Applause, Left; laughter, CDU/CSU]

I must say, you still laugh. That is sad. In view of how German occupiers ravaged Greece, and that a million Greek men and women lost their lives in this dark chapter of German history, I find the flip remarks from you, Mr. Schaeuble, and from you, Mr. Kauder, simply disrespectful, and I am ashamed.

[Applause from the Left as well as from Juergen Tritten, cries from CDU/CSU: Oh!]

In order to recall that the unrolling of history also goes the other way, may I, in closing, quote from the speech of Richard von Weizsaecker on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Liberation — I am just finishing, Mr. President — the speech concerned principally Russia and Eastern Europe, but it naturally also holds good for Greece:

“When we think about what our eastern neighbors had to suffer during the war, we understand better that balance, easing up, and a peaceful neighborhood with these lands abide as the central given of German foreign policy. What matters, is that both sides remember, and that both sides have respect for the other.”

Yes, only when we remember, and only when we respect each other — only then will we get back a policy of being good neighbors, both inside the EU, and with Russia.

[Sustained applause from the Left]

http://www.fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/04/wagenknecht-eu-policy-has-destroyed.html

http://www.sahra-wagenknecht.de/de/article/2090.holen-sie-sich-unser-geld-bei-den-banken-und-der-griechischen-oberschicht-zurueck.html

 

Vladimir Putin’s remarks following adoption of declaration on Ukraine, February 12

“Kiev authorities still refuse to have direct contacts with representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Even though they have not been recognised, we have to proceed from the realities of life and if everyone wishes to achieve an agreement on establishing long-term relations, direct contacts are essential.”

From The Kremlin, February 12, 2015

Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Petro Poroshenko took part in the talks on a settlement to the situation in Ukraine. At the final stage, they were joined by Heidi Tagliavini, OSCE Special Representative to the Trilateral Contact Group on the Ukrainian Settlement.

Participants from the Russian side included Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Karasin, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.

Following the Normandy format talks, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany adopted a declaration in support of the Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements adopted on February 12 by the Contact Group on the Ukrainian Settlement.

Vladimir Putin also made a statement for the press.

* * *

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good morning,

This was not the best night of my life, but the morning, I believe, is good. This is because, despite the difficult negotiations, we finally managed to agree on the key issues.

Incidentally, you might wonder why the negotiations took so long. In my opinion, this was because unfortunately the Kiev authorities still refuse to have direct contacts with representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Even though they have not been recognised, we have to proceed from the realities of life and if everyone wishes to achieve an agreement on establishing long-term relations, direct contacts are essential.

We operated under the existing conditions and, in my view, have managed to agree on many things. The first is that we agreed on a ceasefire to begin at midnight on February 15. The second item that I find extremely important is the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the current line of confrontation for Ukrainian troops and from the line established on September 19, 2014 in Minsk for the Donbass self-defence forces.

Then comes a set of matters dealing with a long-term political settlement. This includes several items, the first being a constitutional reform that should take into consideration the lawful interests of the people residing on the territory of Donbass.

This is followed by matters dealing with a solution to border issues upon agreement with the Donbass militia, humanitarian issues, and the implementation of the earlier adopted law on the special status of the Donetsk and Lugansk territories.

Finally, there is a set of economic and humanitarian items.

We proceed from the notion that all the parties will show restraint until the complete ceasefire. The problem here was that representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics claimed that in response to the aggressive actions of the Kiev authorities they not only held back the Kiev forces but also managed to mount an offensive and surrounded a group of 6,000 to 8,000 servicemen. They, of course, proceed from the idea that this group will lay down arms and stop its resistance.

We nevertheless call on both sides to show restraint and in order to avoid unnecessary excessive bloodshed and casualties they should do everything possible to ensure that the separation of forces, mainly the heavy equipment, is conducted without unnecessary bloodshed.

Representatives of the Ukrainian authorities believe their troops have not been surrounded and therefore think this process will go sufficiently smoothly. I had some initial doubts that I can share with you. If the troops really had been surrounded, then, logically, they will try to break free, while those who are on the outside will try to arrange for a corridor for their trapped servicemen.

Eventually, we agreed with President Poroshenko that we will instruct our experts – I am ready to do so – to establish what is actually going on there. In addition, I will repeat, we will try to develop a set of measures to verify the implementation of our decisions by both sides.

I would like to call on both conflicting parties once again to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible and proceed to a truly political process of a long-term settlement.

Thank you for your attention.

<…>

(Answering a question from a Russian journalist.)

One document has just been signed by the Minsk Contact Group, it is called Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements.

The other document does not require signing: it is a statement by the President of France, the President of Ukraine, yours truly and the Federal Chancellor of Germany to the effect that we support the process.

Thank you.

 

http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/23594

Obama refuses to rule out arming Kiev following talks with Merkel

The volume increases on the war talk. What will happen in Minsk? Who will pressure Obama to take lethal weapons off his options list, and to admit there has been no Russian invasion of Ukraine?

The White House phone number for making comments is 1-202-456-1111.

From World Socialist Web Site
by Patrick Martin and Barry Grey, February 10, 2015

At a joint White House press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, President Barack Obama made clear he was considering authorizing the dispatch of advanced weapons to the US- and NATO-backed regime in Kiev, to be used against pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.

Obama indicated that he would wait to see the results of talks set for Wednesday in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President François Hollande and Merkel before making a decision on sending US arms to Kiev. The talks are aimed at brokering a new cease-fire agreement between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists following the collapse of an agreement reached last September.

At the press conference following talks with Merkel, Obama said:

“If, in fact, diplomacy fails, what I’ve asked my team to do is to look at all options. What other means can we put in place to change Mr. Putin’s calculus? And the possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options being examined.”

Obama then added, “I want to emphasize that a decision has not yet been made.”

The US president left open the sending of weapons such as antitank missiles and armored vehicles to the Kiev regime, which has lost territory in the east of the country to rebel forces in recent weeks, despite warnings from prominent officials and some newspapers internationally that doing so could dramatically escalate the conflict and trigger a military conflict between NATO and Russia, with the possibility of a nuclear Third World War.

Merkel and the leaders of Britain and France have made clear in recent days that they oppose a US move to directly arm Kiev. Instead, they call for tougher economic sanctions combined with increased NATO military forces in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe to compel Moscow to accept the transformation of Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, into a staging ground for US and European imperialist moves to reduce Russia to a semicolonial status.

In her remarks, Merkel indicated her opposition to the dispatch of American weapons to Ukraine, saying, “I don’t see a military solution to this conflict.” But she stressed that Europe and the US were united in backing the Ukrainian regime, which came to power last February in a US- and German-backed coup led by fascist militias, and forcing Russia to end its support for pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, Luhansk and other Russian-speaking regions.

“On certain issues we may not always agree,” she said, suggesting that Germany would continue to back the US-led offensive against Russia even if Washington decided to arm the Kiev government.

Obama, for his part, seemed to echo Merkel, saying there “may be some areas where there are tactical differences” while the US and Europe remained united in basic strategy and goals.

US military and civilian officials, including some within the Obama administration, are pushing for a decision to begin sending heavy arms to Kiev. At the Munich Security Conference last Saturday, US Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, NATO’s military commander, said sending weapons to help Ukrainian forces crush the separatists should not be ruled out.

At a Senate confirmation hearing last week, Obama’s choice to become the next defense secretary, Ashton Carter, said he would be inclined to back Ukraine with American arms.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko triggered the latest crisis in eastern Ukraine by ordering an offensive by Ukrainian military forces, including some battalions of neofascist “volunteers.” It is inconceivable that he would have done so without Washington’s approval.

The Russian-backed forces routed the invaders around the Donetsk airport and have pressed a counterattack, taking control of an additional 500 square kilometers of territory and threatening the town of Debaltseve, which sits on the main road between Luhansk and Donetsk. As many as 3,000 Ukrainian troops are trapped in the town and could be forced to surrender.

Washington, NATO, the European Union and the media have portrayed the fighting in eastern Ukraine as a Russian invasion, although the vast majority of combatants are drawn from the Donbass region, where most people are Russian speakers and the government in Kiev is widely hated.

Obama repeated the claims of “Russian aggression” at the onset of his joint press conference with Merkel, saying that “Russian forces continue to operate” in Ukraine, “training separatists and helping to coordinate attacks.”

Last week’s sudden trip by Hollande and Merkel to Kiev and Moscow, setting the stage for Wednesday’s summit in Minsk, appeared to be driven by concern that a US decision to provide billions in weapons to Ukraine was imminent and could escalate the crisis enormously.

A top official of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe told journalists at the Munich conference that he feared weapons deliveries would turn the crisis into an “existential conflict for Russia against NATO.”

Similar concerns were expressed in the American media, albeit by a small minority in the US national security establishment. The New York Times published an op-ed Monday by Professor John Mearsheimer under the headline “Don’t Arm Ukraine,” which asked rhetorically whether the United States would accept Canada or Mexico joining a hostile military alliance.

Even the rabid anti-Russian publicist Anne Applebaum, a Washington Post columnist, expressed concern about “a new World War” emerging from the Ukraine crisis, although she offered the lesser evil of “a new Cold War” in which NATO would “build a Berlin Wall around Donetsk in the form of a demilitarized zone and treat the rest of Ukraine like West Germany.”

 

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/02/10/merk-f10.html

http://www.globalresearch.ca/obama-refuses-to-rule-out-arming-kiev-following-talks-with-merkel/5430577

Alexander Mercouris: Diplomatic talks in Moscow — a two-part analysis

Posted on Vineyard of the Saker, February 6, 2015

Talks in Moscow – a two-part analysis
by Alexander Mercouris

Part one (On 6th February 2015)
They have apparently continued for 5 hours and are still not finished though it seems some sort of document is being prepared for tomorrow.

Three comments:

1. If negotiations go on for 5 hours that does not suggest a smooth and conflict free discussion.

2. One of the most interesting things about the Moscow talks is that they mainly happened without the presence of aides and officials i.e. Putin, Hollande and Merkel were by themselves save for interpreters and stenographers. Putin and Merkel are known to be masters of detail and given his background as an enarque I presume Hollande also is. However the German and French officials will be very unhappy about this. The Russians less so because since the meeting is taking place in the Kremlin they are listening in to the discussions via hidden microphones.

One wonders why this is happening? Even if the Russian officials are not listening in Merkel and Hollande will assume they are. The fact that Russian officials were not present is therefore less significant than that German and French officials have been barred from the meeting by their respective chiefs, suggesting that Merkel and Hollande do not entirely trust them.

There has been an extraordinary degree of secrecy about this whole episode and it rather looks as if Merkel and Hollande were anxious to stop leaks and to prevent information about the talks from getting out. Presumably this is why their officials were barred from the meeting. From whom one wonders do Merkel and Hollande want to keep details of the meeting secret? From the media? From other members of their own governments? From the Americans? What do they need to keep so secret? The frustration and worry on the part of all these groups must be intense.

3. The fact that the British are excluded from the talks is going down very badly with many people here in London. It has not escaped people’s notice that this is the first major negotiation to settle a big crisis in Europe in which Britain is not involved since the one that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Of course it is largely the fault of the inept diplomacy of Cameron, who has taken such an extreme pro-Ukrainian position that Moscow simply doesn’t see him as someone worth talking to. Also one suspects Merkel and Hollande do not trust Cameron not to leak the whole discussion to whomever they want to keep it from. Having said that it is difficult to see this as anything other than further evidence of Britain’s decline into complete irrelevance. I cannot imagine Thatcher being excluded in this way. If the United Kingdom is indeed in the process of breaking up (and as I suspected the Scottish referendum settled nothing with polls indicating that the SNP may make an almost clean sweep of all the seats in Scotland in the election in May) then the slide into irrelevance still has a long way to go.

Part two (On 7th February 2015)
I am coming increasingly round to the view of Alastair Newman that Merkel and Hollande came with no plan to Moscow but with the purpose of having what diplomats call “a full and frank discussion” in private with Putin looking at all the issues in the one place in Europe – the Kremlin – where they can be confident the Americans are not spying on them. That must be why they sent their officials away.

It is also clear that Merkel’s and Hollande’s visit to Kiev before their flight to Moscow was just for show.

Poroshenko’s officials are insisting that the question of federalisation was not discussed during Poroshenko’s meeting with Hollande and Merkel. Hollande has however now come out publicly to support “autonomy” for the eastern regions i.e. federalisation, which makes it a virtual certainty that in the meeting in Moscow it was discussed. The point is that Merkel and Hollande did not want to discuss federalisation with Poroshenko because they know the junta adamantly opposes the idea and did not want him to veto it before the meeting in Moscow had even begun.

The problem is that since everyone pretends that federalisation is an internal Ukrainian issue to be agreed freely between the two Ukrainian sides, its terms will only be thrashed out once constitutional negotiations between the two Ukrainian sides begin. Since the junta will never willingly agree to federalisation, in reality its form will have to be hammered out in private by Moscow after consultations with the NAF and with Berlin and Paris and then imposed on the junta in the negotiations.

Saying this shows how fraught with difficulty this whole process is going to be.

Not only are there plenty of people in the Donbass who now oppose federalisation (and some in Moscow too I suspect) but this whole process if it is to work would somehow have to get round the roadblock of the Washington hardliners, who will undoubtedly give their full support to the junta as it tries to obstruct a process over which it has a theoretical veto. Frankly, I wonder whether it can be done.

If the process is to have any chance of success then Merkel and Hollande must screw up the courage to do what they failed to do last spring and summer, which is publicly stand up to the hardliners in Washington and Kiev and impose their will upon them. Are they really willing to do that? Given how entrenched attitudes have become over the last few months and given the false position Merkel and Hollande put themselves in by so strongly supporting Kiev, the chances of them pulling this off look much weaker than they did last spring.

I would add a few more points;

1. There is one major difference between the situation now and in the Spring, which might offer some hope of movement.

Anyone reading the Western media now cannot fail but see that there is a growing sense of defeat. Sanctions have failed to work, the Ukrainian economy is disintegrating and the junta’s military is being defeated.

That was not the case last spring, when many in the West had convinced themselves that the junta would win the military struggle with the NAF. The confrontation strategy Merkel opted for in July based on that belief has totally and visibly failed. It is not therefore surprising if she is now looking for a way-out by reviving some of the ideas that were being floated by the Russians in the spring. She now has a political imperative to look for a solution in order to avoid the appearance of defeat, which would leave her position both in Germany and Europe badly weakened. That political imperative was not there in the spring. It is now. In a sense the pressure is now on her.

2. I should stress that it is Merkel who is Putin’s key interlocutor. The reason Hollande is there and appears to be taking the lead is to provide Merkel with cover. The one thing Merkel cannot afford politically is the appearance of a Moscow-Berlin stitch-up that the hardliners in Washington, Kiev, London, Warsaw and the Baltic States will claim is a new Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to divide Europe into German and Russian spheres of influence. Whether we like it or not in Germany the shadow of Hitler still hangs heavy and exposes Berlin to endless moral blackmail whenever it tries to pursue with Moscow an independent course. That is why Merkel needs Hollande present when she meets Putin for talks of the sort she’s just had in Moscow.

3. One other possible sign of hope is that there is some evidence that a sea-change in European and especially German opinion may be underway.

Whatever the purpose of the ongoing debate in Washington about sending weapons to the junta, whether it is a serious proposal or an attempt to secure diplomatic leverage or a combination of the two, it has horrified opinion in Europe, bringing home to many people there how fundamentally nihilistic US policy has become.

All the talk in the Western media yesterday and this morning is of a split between Europe and the US. That is going much too far. However for the first time there is public disagreement in Europe with Washington on the Ukrainian question. Whether that crystallises into an actual break with Washington leading to a serious and sustained European attempt to reach a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis against Washington’s wishes is an altogether different question. I have to say that for the moment I very much doubt it.

4. I remain deeply pessimistic about this whole process. The best opportunity to settle this conflict diplomatically was last spring. I cannot help but feel that as Peter Lavelle said on the Crosstalk in which I appeared yesterday, the train has now left the station.

A peaceful solution to the Ukrainian conflict ultimately depends on European resolve to face down the hardliners in Washington and Kiev. It is going to be much harder to do this now than it was last year.

Moreover, despite the bad news on the economy and on the front line in Debaltsevo, the hardliners in Kiev are bound to have been emboldened by all the talk in Washington about sending them arms, which is going to make the effort to bring them round even harder than it already is.

The besetting problem of this whole crisis is that the Europeans have never shown either the resolve or the realism to face the hardliners down though it is certainly within their power to do so. In Merkel’s case one has to wonder whether her heart is in it anyway. My view remains that this situation will only be resolved by war, and that the negotiations in Moscow will prove just another footnote to that.

5. If I am wrong and some autonomy really is granted to the Donbass, then I make one confident prediction. This is that the Ukraine will in that case disintegrate even more rapidly than it would have done if federalisation had been agreed upon last spring or summer.

Following such a terrible war, I cannot see people in the Donbass accepting federalisation as anything other than a stepping stone to eventual secession and union with Russia. If the Donbass secures autonomy, I cannot see people in places like Odessa and Kharkov failing to press for an at least equivalent degree of autonomy to that granted to the Donbass. If the Europeans are prepared to see the Donbass achieve autonomy, by what logic can they deny it to the people of Odessa and Kharkov?

More to the point, the November elections showed the emergence of what looks like an increasingly strong potential autonomy or even independence movement in Galicia.

Given that a terrible war has been fought and lost in the east to defeat “separatism” in the Donbass, and given the widespread disillusion with the junta in Kiev, it is difficult to see how many people in Galicia will not feel betrayed if the grant of federalisation to the Donbass is now imposed on them after so many of their men died to prevent it. If in reaction Galicia presses for the same sort of autonomy as the Donbass – which it could well do – then the Ukraine is finished. I doubt it would hold together for more than a few months. If federalisation had been granted last spring or summer before the war began then it is possible – likely even – that the Ukraine could have been held together in a sort of state of suspended animation at least for a while. I don’t think there’s much chance of that now.

 

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2015/02/talks-in-moscow-two-part-analysis.html