Friday, February 21, 2014

Europe's Foreign Ministers Get a Truce Done in Ukraine

Foreign Ministers Fabius (France), Sikorski (Poland, and Stanmeir (Germany) all played key roles in bringing about a very promising agreement for cessation of hostilities, amnesty for most protesters, and a call for early elections in 2014, along with a curtailment of Presidential powers and a freeing of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.  It's hard to believe that so much seems to have been agreed upon so fast.  Kudos to the foreign ministers for breaking through official Europe's apathy and indecision in wake of what could have become a global crisis very quickly.  That could still happen, but this is great news.

Ukrainian politician Vitali Klitschko is said to have used his personal charisma in Germany as a world champion boxer to invite German Foreign Minister Stanmeir to visit Ukraine, where he got involved in brokering the truce. Bravo, Champ.

Ukraine is in no position to take upon itself the costly procedures for entering the EU, and the political costs in terms of enmity with Russian President Putin are not worth the dubious economic gains from membership.
European leaders will have to continue with their economic creativity to increase direct investment in Ukraine for logistics and transportation infrastructure products which would yield benefits for grain production and higher potential exports.

Getting to the 2014 elections with a continuing peace, with both sides subduing their extreme elements, will be the next challenge for the President, the opposition, and for all Ukrainians who want their country to prosper.

It was a little noticed fact that yesterday's Europa League play off game between Dynamo Kiev and Valencia  had to be moved to Nicosia (Cyprus) because of the violence; it was played in an empty stadium instead of DK's home stadium, just off the Maidan.  The local population could have used a respite from the months of tension and violence. Maybe that respite has begun.

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