“You cannot jointly demand clarification whilst at the same time declaring that you know who the culprit is. That is a contradiction in itself. As you know I am a defense lawyer, and the principle of the presumption of innocence applies in Germany, as elsewhere. [...]
I have no better information, but neither has Heiko Maas any better information. The fact is that the identified poison was produced in the Soviet Union, but is not held only by the Soviet Union or not only by Russia. As a matter of fact, as stated, the organisation responsible for identifying where the poison cocktail was mixed is still investigating. And it is also a fact that the foreign ministers have said they demand clarification. Only: If the perpetrator is already known no-one needs clarification, because that is a contradiction in itself. I stay calm and cool and say: Let us wait another fortnight. Then we will have certainty. And once we have certainty, we can respond accordingly. [...]
The problem with the implementation of the Minsk II agreement is that our Ukrainian dialogue partners are not prepared to fulfill their obligations. The Ukrainian parliament has for example refused to establish a federal structure in Ukraine, similar to Germany, so that the areas of eastern Ukraine would have a certain degree of self-government. [...]
We need Russia within Europe, also in the form of a security partnership, which we agreed on with the Russians over 20 years ago.
And if we just stand facing each other and always pointing the finger at one another, saying you have to start, we will not get any further. My suggestion is for us to take a first step in the sanctions regime, such as sanctions in the agricultural sector, and wait and see how Russia reacts. If there is a reasonable response, then we can intensify the discussions; if there is no reasonable response, then we can stay with the sanction regime. But one has to start to get out of speechlessness.”
Source: www.deutschlandfunk.de from 22 March 2018
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