Blueprint for Peace in Ukraine

Neutrality & federalism as basis for peaceful co-existence at international and domestic levels – International security guarantees under P5+ arrangement

11 March 2022

Following up on the statement of 12 February 20151 on Ukraine peace talks in Minsk, the President of the International Progress Organization yesterday issued the following tentative outline of principles for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine:

In the present state of armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, peaceful co-existence can only be restored, and sustained, on the basis of respect for international law and by way of political compromise between both parties. The former includes the non-use of force and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as affirmed by an overwhelming majority of United Nations member states in General Assembly resolution ES-11/1 of 2 March 2022, adopted under the provisions of the “Uniting for peace” resolution of 3 November 1950. The latter relates to previous understandings and agreements reached between the conflicting parties and to the consensus on a European security architecture since the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.
  The indivisibility of security in Europe, solemnly emphasized by the 1975 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) and reaffirmed in the Charter of Paris for a New Europe (1990), should be the guiding principle for the way forward. The Istanbul Document 1999  ("Charter for European Security”), adopted within the framework of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and signed by both conflicting parties, similarly confirmed, in Article 8, the “equal right to security” of all European states and stipulated that States “will not strengthen their security at the expense of the security of other States.”
  Taking into account that Ukraine is a multi-ethnic state, with ethnic Russians forming the largest minority, the following measures appear conducive to a peaceful settlement:

  • Full implementation of the Minsk agreements according to the “Package of Measures” agreed between both parties – in the framework of the “Trilateral Contact Group” including the OSCE – on 12 February 2015. This includes in particular the stipulation of Article 11 for constitutional reform in Ukraine to provide for decentralization and an autonomous status of Russian majority areas in the eastern region (Donetsk and Lugansk). The compromise (“Südtirol-Paket”) reached between Austria and Italy on autonomy of the province of South Tyrol, inhabited by a German-speaking majority, could serve as an example.
  • A popular referendum under the auspices of the United Nations and/or the OSCE in the area of the Crimean peninsula on the final status of the territory. 
  • Adoption by the Ukrainian Parliament of a constitutional law on the permanent neutrality of Ukraine in connection with international guarantees of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (similar to the arrangements in the cases of Austria, after World War II, and Switzerland, after the Napoleonic wars). As in the cases of Austria and Switzerland, Ukraine’s status should be one of armed neutrality so that the country will remain able to defend itself.
  • Ukraine’s commitment to a nuclear free status, enshrined in the Budapest Memorandum of 5 December 1994, should – in tandem with a future commitment to permanent neutrality – be accompanied by credible security guarantees (not mere “assurances”), with precise implementation mechanisms, on the part of the international community. In that regard, the Budapest Memorandum should be superseded by a new international agreement between Ukraine and the permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5) + Turkey, as regional mediating power, to be ratified by all signatory states.
  • Withdrawal of all foreign troops from Ukrainian territory must go in tandem with the total lifting of unilateral sanctions against Russia.

Hans Köchler,
Vienna, Austria, 10 March 2022

1 Statement by the President of the International Progress Organization on Ukraine peace talks in Minsk, 12 February 2015 (http://i-p-o.org/Koechler-UKRAINE-MINSK_Talks-Statement-12Feb2015.jpg)

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