As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council, Vienna | October 30, 2014
Several points have already been made by our distinguished Ukrainian colleague, but I would just note that the distinguished Russian ambassador began his intervention today by saying that “the Minsk agreement remains the basis for resolving the conflict,” and I think on that we can all agree. What doesn’t make sense, then, is that, if that’s the Russian position, why is the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation taking a public position that is directly in contradiction with the text of the Minsk agreement? If the Minsk agreement remains the basis for resolving the conflict, and the Minsk agreement calls for local elections in line with the Special Status Law of Ukraine, then it seems to me that the Russian ambassador has not only just exposed the fact that the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation has supported violation of the Minsk agreement, but also, by implication, that the Foreign Minister does not want to resolve the conflict
I think we all need to be very clear that what is threatened to happen this weekend in certain parts of Donetsk and Luhansk are not elections. This is an act of political theater that is produced and directed from Moscow. And because of this, it’s incumbent on Moscow to do the responsible thing to help de-escalate, to take the choice, to suggest to the separatists – however they want to do it, publically, privately – that waiting for the opportunity to have lawful elections in December is well worth the wait for anyone who is genuinely interested in resolving the conflict. Again, I agree with the Russian ambassador’s statement that “the Minsk agreement remains the basis for resolving the conflict.”
Thank you, Mr. Chair.