Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Novorussian ceasefire agreement + open thread

Dear friends,

I had seen the Russian text on the OSCE page, and now Gleb Bazov sent me his translation.  To say that I am under-impressed by this text would be an understatement.  I would also note that many well informed sources spoke of a 14 points plan.  Are two more points held in secret? What is certain is that this documents is imprecise, nebulous, ambiguous and otherwise vague to such a degree that I would argue that it is basically impossible to implement.  Knowing the degree to which Russian diplomats are normally maniacally fastidious and pedantic with words, I can only conclude that they have deliberately sabotaged this agreement and that it's sole use what to deflate the bellicose mood of the NATO summit.  But as a basis for a real ceasefire it is useless, nevermind a real negotiation for a final status agreement or peace treaty.

The first rule for any kind of ceasefire is to provide a painstakingly accurate timetime for the implementation of unambiguously defined and verifiable de-escalation measures followed by a precise schedule for confidence building measures subject to mutual verification.  There is nothing like that here.  Points 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 mean absolutely nothing, the rest are vague and ambiguous at best.  This is one of the worst ceasefire agreements I have ever seen.

Either way, numerous reports seem to indicate that the cease-fire has already been violated in many locations.  Some kind of deal will eventually be made, and maybe this symbolic first step is, at best, a way to get the process going.  But in itself, this document is useless.

The Saker

PS: I will  be gone all day tomorrow.  I leave you with an open thread.


on the results of consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group
with respect to the joint steps aimed at
the implementation of the Peace Plan
of the President of Ukraine, P. Poroshenko,
and the initiatives of the President of Russia, V. Putin

Upon consideration and discussion of the proposals put forward by the participants of the consultations in Minsk on September 1, 2014, the Trilateral Contact Group, consisting of the representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe [OSCE], reached an understanding with respect to the need to implement the following steps:

  1. Ensure the immediate bilateral cessation of the use of weapons.
  2. Ensure monitoring and verification by the OSCE of the regime of non-use of weapons.
  3. Implement decentralization of power, including by means of enacting the Law of Ukraine “With respect to the temporary status of local self-government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions” (Law on Special Status).
  4. Ensure permanent monitoring on the Ukrainian-Russian state border and verification by the OSCE, together with the creation of a security area in the border regions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
  5. Immediately release all hostages and unlawfully detained persons.
  6. Enact a law prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that took place in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions of Ukraine.
  7. Conduct an inclusive national dialogue.
  8. Adopt measures aimed at improving the humanitarian situation in Donbass.
  9. Ensure the holding of early local elections in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “With respect to the temporary status of local self-government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions” (Law on Special Status).
  10. Remove unlawful military formations, military hardware, as well as militants and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.
  11. Adopt a program for the economic revival of Donbass and the recovery of economic activity in the region.
  12. Provide personal security guarantees for the participants of the consultations.
Participants of the Trilateral Contact Group:

Ambassador Heidi Talyavini (signed)
Second President of Ukraine, L.D. Kuchma (signed)
Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, M.Y. Zurabov (signed)
A.V. Zakharchenko (signed)
I.V. Plotnitskiy (signed)