Willy Wimmer was the spokesperson for the defense policy of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Parliament, the Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Ministry of Defense, and has been a CDU Member of Parliament for 33 years. From 1994 to 2000, during the period of the Yugoslav wars, he was Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. For many years he has criticized Western policy that no longer respects international law. In his new book, “Wiederkehr der Hasardeure: Schattenstrategen, Kriegstreiber, stille Profiteure 1914 und heute” (ISBN 978-3-943007-07-7) (Return of the gamblers: shadow strategists, warmongers, silent profiteers 1914 and today) he analyses together with the historian Wolfgang Effenberger the path leading to the First World War and its consequences for today. In our present time he sees a number of dangerous parallels with the former path to the disaster of the century. Wimmer does not elaborate this in an abstract and theoretical manner, but on the basis of a genuine treasure of foreign policy experience with exciting background reports about numerous journeys to the scenes of world politics. We asked Willy Wimmer about the negotiation results in the Belarus capital Minsk.
Current Concerns: After a long night of negotiations, the Presidents Hollande, Poroshenko, Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on a joint declaration in Minsk. Is it already possible to formulate a surface impression of this agreement and statement?
Willy Wimmer: The outcome of the negotiations is the necessary consequence of the actual situation in Ukraine and the events occurring since last year’s spring. The Eastern region of the country is the centre of economic power in the Ukraine, but it has no determining authority over the money that is earned there. Kiev spends the money that is earned in Donetsk. There is no country in Europe that would work under these circumstances. Since the events on the Maidan, those who have the power in Kiev, ignore the interests of those in the country who speak Russian. And they declared war against them, even though they are part of their own population. If the Kiev government wants to preserve the country’s territorial integrity, it must recognise this reality as well as the suffering it has caused.
Last year there have been several attempts to attain a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. What is now different?
So far, always experts or Foreign Ministers were mandated with such negotiations, who attempted to assume responsibility. But now the Presidents and the German Chancellor are responsible, and this gives some hope. Now Merkel, Putin, Poroshenko and Hollande are personally liable, this gives a complete new quality.
Since basically Hollande, Putin, Merkel and Poroshenko endorse the agreement now, it will be easier to reach an agreement on the important technical details. The regulation of these details and the practical implementation of the Minsk Agreements must be considered very carefully. Otherwise there is the danger that those players keep the upper hand in Kiev and Washington, who want to wage a next great war on European soil, 70 years after the Second World War.
This means that there is reason for hope, but also for vigilance.
One must realise that opposing forces continue to operate. On the one hand some are targeted at changing the political nature of Ukraine. On the other hand – that is the American idea – there are forces that want to use the Ukraine to do away with the political leadership in Moscow. Certainly both objectives are pursued, and therefore, the four leaders are challenged in a special way.
If the East is to remain part of Ukraine, Kiev must be induced to act with regard to the East of the country in the future. Pensions and wages for people in Eastern Ukraine must be paid, and the institutions there should work as is expected on site.
Prior to the meeting in Minsk, the Ukrainian President Poroshenko announced that he will declare martial law, in case the negotiations fail. What would this mean?
Of course, this means that the rights of Ukrainian citizens would have been reduced to zero. This statement clearly shows what has been unleashed in Ukraine, after starting the experiment on the Maidan a year ago, to modify the internal structure of the Ukraine in such a way that the Russian-speaking minority in this country should not have a future.
Why was a success possible now?
The success of Merkel and Hollande lies in the fact that they have broken the embargo on dialogue imposed by the United States. This meeting in Minsk made it clear that they want a dialogue in Europe. The heads of the self-proclaimed republics Donetsk and Lugansk had also arrived to the meeting of the Ukraine-contact group in the morning. The fact that even people participate in these discussions, whom nobody wanted to have there in the first place, or who should not have attended, is due to the negotiating progress.
The package of measures adopted in Minsk grants a greater role to the OSCE for the future. Is this to be welcomed?
International monitoring organisations have to be watched extremely carefully. These organisations have emerged as instruments of the United States in the past. Activities went on in the American interest.
The OSCE must revive their contractually fixed possibilities that have been stifled by the war of aggression against Yugoslavia by the US. The OSCE should not be abused again as a cover for clandestine operations, aiming at taking further steps towards a next war, this time against the Russian Federation.
Mr Wimmer, thank you very much for the time you granted us. •
(Interview Karl Müller)
The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel, reaffirm their full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
They firmly believe that there is no alternative to an exclusively peaceful settlement. They are fully committed to undertake all possible individual and joint measures to this end.
Against this background, leaders endorse the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements adopted and signed on February 12, 2015 by all signatories who also signed Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014 and Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014. Leaders will contribute to this process and will use their influence on relevant parties to facilitate the implementation of that Package of Measures.
Germany and France will provide technical expertise for the restoration of the segment of the banking system in the conflict affected areas, possibly through the establishment of an international mechanism to facilitate social transfers.
Leaders share the conviction that improved cooperation between the EU, Ukraine and Russia will be conducive to the crisis settlement. To this end, they endorse the continuation of trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia on energy issues in order to achieve follow-up stages to the gas winter package.
They also support trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia in order to achieve practical solutions to concerns raised by Russia with regards to the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and the EU.
Leaders remain committed to the vision of a joint humanitarian and economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific based upon full respect for international law and the OSCE principles.
Leaders will remain committed to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. To this end, they agree to establish an oversight mechanism in the Normandy format which will convene at regular intervals, in principle on the level of senior officials from the foreign ministries.
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