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G7 summit - from Ukraine to Syria

June 05, 2014, 17:28 UTC+3 Dubrovin Denis
© EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

BRUSSELS, June 05. /ITAR-TASS/. Leaders of the seven major industrial countries at a summit in Brussels unanimously backed the military operation pursued by the government in Kiev but strictly condemned Damascus’s fight against radical Islamists and the armed groups of the moderate secular opposition. G7 welcomed the presidential election in Ukraine that took place amid the ongoing bloodshed with no participation of the eastern regions but branded the presidential election in Syria amid the military actions and even shelling of the capital as illegitimate. All this is laid out on the two pages of the final communique, literally in the neighboring passages.

Participants of the high-level meeting have pledged support for Ukraine and called on Russia to promote stabilization in the neighboring country. The statement sums up what the West had repeatedly said before and does not offer any new provisions. Neither has the summit decided on any sanctions against Russia.

In other words, the statement would be routine if not the stark contrast between the assessments of the Ukrainian crisis and the war in Syria.

G7 leaders confirmed full support for Ukraine’s actions and described the ongoing military operation in the country’s east with use of artillery and heavy equipment as balanced actions in an operation aimed to restore law and order.

Further on, they strongly denounced the actions of Bashar Assad’s regime which, the statement goes, fomented the conflict that killed 160,000 and faced 9.3 million with a need for humanitarian aid. G7 leaders described the presidential election on June 3 as counterfeit despite the 73.42% turnout, with more than 88% supporting the incumbent. Without giving any reason, Brussels refused to recognize the results and came to a conclusion that Assad has no future in Syria. Speaking of Syria, the summit preferred to remain silent about the need to respect a nation’s sovereign choice in determining its future.

The election in Ukraine on May 25 with the 60.29% turnout received an opposite assessment. The summit welcomed its “successful conduct under difficult circumstances”. High turnout figures demonstrate, the statement says, the Ukrainians’ wish to determine their own future.

The leaders also approved of the already-introduced unilateral limitations against some Russian companies and individuals and confirmed readiness to introduce new sanctions if required in the future, without going into much detail. As the German Chancellor Angela Merkel evasively said, this issue requires additional discussion and analysis of the results of talks with the Russian president to decide what to do next.

The summit condemned Moscow’s policy in relation to Crimea as well as Ukraine and again urged Russia to immediately stop these actions. G7 leaders called on Russia to cooperate with the Ukrainian government for a stable peace, recognize the election results, complete the withdrawal of troops from the border with Ukraine, cease the flow of weapons and volunteers across the border and use its influence in the dialogue with federalization supporters to make them surrender and lay down arms.

The statement advocates disarmament of all illegal groups and recommends that Kiev continues with constitutional reform and guarantees rights of language and ethnic minorities.

G7 welcomed the start of an austerity program in Ukraine, which is a precondition for the $17 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and supported efforts to diversify gas supplies to Ukraine, primarily reverse supplies of Russian gas from Europe.

Against the background of these cliches, one of the document’s last sections devoted to the Libyan issue looks like a surrealist masterpiece.

The summit declared support for “a free, prosperous and democratic Libya which will play its role in promoting regional stability”. Meanwhile, in the last 2.5 years, this country has been plunged into chaos, with the government in Tripoli barely in control of the situation all over the country after it was split into control zones of tribal armed groups fighting a smoldering civil war.

The once-flourishing country slid into the abyss after the NATO air campaign under the excuse of supporting the rebels against the national leader Muammar Gaddafi in Benghazi. In 2011, the alliance was bombing Gaddafi’s forces over nine months, making from 30 to 150 assault flights a day, according to the daily NATO reports. The operation was wound up almost immediately after the rebels had killed the leader. But no triumph of secular democracy followed this “victory”. As for Libya’s positive role in promoting security in the region, the country has now turned into the main supplier of weapons that have crept across the whole of North Africa from its ransacked military depots. Much of it ended up in Syria, by the way.

 

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