In her opening speech of the summer plenary session, the PACE President has welcomed the recent proposals from the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, to establish a cease-fire, declare an amnesty and initiate constitutional reform, which all “give genuine cause for hope”.
“I am deeply convinced that we have a real opportunity to begin a process of normalisation in Ukraine, and in relations between Russia and Ukraine. It is therefore essential to implement the Ukrainian President’s initiatives as swiftly as possible, including in the field of political and institutional reform. The Ukrainian authorities can count on our support,” she said. Anne Brasseur stressed that she was however deeply alarmed by reports of the transfer to the rebels of heavy military equipment, including tanks which have apparently crossed the Ukrainian border from the Russian side.
She also recalled the importance of the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity “as one of our fundamental principles” of the Council of Europe. “Independence and secession of a regional territory from a state may only be achieved through a lawful and peaceful process; not in the wake of an armed conflict leading to the de facto annexation of such a territory by another state. In this context, I am concerned about calls made in the Georgian region of Abkhazia and the Moldovan region of Transnistria to join the Russian Federation. The annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation has created a dangerous precedent, but we must all join efforts in order to prevent this from happening again,” the PACE President concluded.