by Stephen Lendman
On April 17, Russian, US, EU and Ukrainian foreign ministers met in Geneva. Discussion focused on deescalating Ukrainian crisis conditions.
A joint document was agreed on. It's not worth the paper it's written on. Washington's word isn't its bond. Its history reflects one broken promise after another.
Don't expect this time to be different. Ukraine's crisis may escalate. Perhaps the worst of all possible outcomes will follow. The fullness of time will tell.
Following discussions Sergei Lavrov explained an agreement reached, saying:
All parties must refrain from "violence, intimidation, or provocative actions."
"Participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism."
Agreement "calls for an immediate commencement of a broad national dialogue which must be inclusive, transparent and accountable."
It must be "within the framework of the constitutional process, which must be inclusive and accountable."
It "must be resolved by the Ukrainians themselves concerning an end to the conflict."
Real constitutional reform is vital. Without it, legitimate May elections are impossible.
Illegal armed groups must be disarmed. Seized buildings throughout Ukraine must be freed.
"The measures we have stated concern all regions of Ukraine without exception and all problematic questions without exception," said Lavrov.
"An amnesty for all the protesters must take place, except for those who committed grave crimes.
"Those who took power in Kiev as a result of a coup - if they consider themselves as representing the interests of all the Ukrainians - must show the initiative, extend a friendly hand to the regions, listen to their concerns, and sit down with them at the negotiation table."
All Ukrainians must agree on decisions reached. They "must be mutually acceptable...as this is a guarantee of stability of the Ukrainian state with due regard for the linguistic peculiarities of different regions of the country."
Russia supports OSCE monitoring. It endorses constructive dialogue among all sides.
"We urge the special monitoring mission of the OSCE to play a leading role, in accordance with its mandate, in assisting Ukrainians and the Kiev authorities in carrying out measures to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine."
"We will support the work of this mission to foster dialogue between the sides in order to unblock the situation step by step."
"We have agreed to meet in different formats" by way of followup.
Agreement terms exclude specific guidelines for a future political system.
"We did not use any terms," said Lavrov. "There are federations where the rights of the regions are limited, and there are unitary states in name only where the regions have broad authority."
Lavrov said Ukrainians are responsible for their own stability. They must ensure "each region can protect its history and language."
"Only then will Ukraine be a strong state, a proverbial bridge between the East and the West."
Lavrov provided his US, EU and Ukrainian counterparts with documents Eastern Ukrainians prepared.
They call for "a through vision of how their interests should be reflected in the new (Ukrainian) constitution."
Washington has "decisive influence" over Kiev putschists, said Lavrov. He wants it used responsibly to resolve crisis conditions.
He knows how America operates. It takes a giant leap of faith to believe it supports doing the right thing.
He said Russia "does not want to send any troops to Ukraine." Doing so runs against "the fundamental interests of the Russian federation," he added.
His chief concern is protecting the rights of all Ukrainians, including Russian nationals. He wants them respected.
He called undermining Ukraine's non-aligned status unacceptable.
"The fact that Ukraine has chosen non-aligned status and enshrined it in its law must be respected by all and there should not be any attempts to doubt it or to erode its meaning," he stressed.
He categorically rejected allegations of Moscow instigating Eastern resistance.
The New York Times reported agreement terms its way. It "calls for armed pro-Russian bands to give up the government buildings they have seized in eastern Ukraine and outlines other steps to de-escalate the crisis," it said.
It "does not specifically require Russia to remove the approximately 40,000 troops it has on Ukraine's border, as President Obama has demanded."
It can't remove what's not there. No Russian hoards threaten Ukraine. No invasion is planned. No aggression. No seizure of Ukrainian land.
Russia isn't committed "to holding direct talks with the interim Ukrainian government, which has been another American demand," said the Times.
Putin was clear and unequivocal. He rejects Kiev putschists. He called them "illegitimate." Ukrainians deserve real democracy, he said.
Viktor Yanukovych remains Ukraine's legitimate president. Claiming otherwise is false.
Don't expect The Times to explain. It supports putschist governance. It said US officials want Ukraine given time for its May elections "without more extensive Russian interference."
None whatever exists. Russia respects national sovereignty. Washington ignores it. Ousting democratic governments is Exhibit A. So is assassinating foreign leaders.
High crimes too grave to ignore reflect longstanding US policy. It bears repeating. Don't expect The Times to explain.
Agreement terms excludes Crimean/Russian reunification. Washington and rogue EU partners falsely accused Moscow of orchestrating Eastern Ukrainian resistance.
John Kerry wants all government seized buildings vacated. He holds Russia responsible for assuring it. Local activists acted on their own volition.
"If there is no progress in these next days, then there will be additional sanctions, additional costs," said Kerry.
Unresolved is whether federalizing Ukraine will follow. Growing numbers of Eastern Ukrainians demand local autonomy.
They reject fascist rule. It remains to be seen how they'll react. Their demands are fundamental. Expect likely resistance if they're not met.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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