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News, 4/14/2014

Minister Tuomioja: Let us save undivided Ukraine

There are ingredients for major bloodshed and a long conflict in Ukraine. Whatever happens, this conflict, like any other, will at one point end with an agreement, writes Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja in his blog.

Translation of Minister Tuomioja’s blog post (originally published on Sunday 13th April in Finnish on his personal blog):

“Tomorrow, the EU foreign ministers will convene in Luxembourg once again. Had this meeting not been already scheduled in our calendars, it would surely have been convened on the basis of the situation in Ukraine. There are ingredients for major bloodshed and a long conflict. Whatever happens, this conflict, like any other, will at one point end with an agreement. The question is how many unnecessary losses, suffering and human victims will be recorded before that is reached.

The elements for a settlement already exist in the agreement that ended the Maidan protests on 21 February. On this basis, where applicable, it is possible to continue building the kind of Ukraine where all Ukrainians – regardless of their language or background – can live in security in an undivided country that lives in peace with its neighbours. In a country that is also the kind of corruption-free democratic country governed by the rule of law that none of the previous leaders of Ukraine have offered to their citizens so far. 

If the Geneva meeting between the representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the EU takes place on Thursday, and everyone comes to the meeting genuinely committed to seeking a solution, an agreement is possible. It must be based on Ukraine’s right to choose its own path and arrange its relations with the EU and its neighbouring countries in the way it wishes. One starting point for the EU must be that the EU does not want to a Ukraine as a neighbour that is in continuous conflict with Russia, or anyone else for that matter. Nor does the EU want a situation that would mean denying the historical connection of the country’s Russian-speaking population with Russia by any new commercial division lines either.

I am writing this well aware of the fact that all these wishes could be shattered soon.”

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Updated 4/14/2014

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