Steinmeier Formula: Solution to Donbas conflict should be acceptable for Ukraine

Author : Olexiy Buriachenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

This plan / formula provides for the simultaneous implementation of both the control and the political part of the Minsk agreements, that is, not first the peace and control of Ukraine over its territories (borders), and then a separate status and elections, but all at once
22:43, 7 October 2019

The Steinmeier Formula is not just a document, it is rather a vision of a solution to the Donbas conflict, which Mr. Steinmeier has publicly shared and which, since 2016, has been lying on the "diplomatic table" of Normandy format participants.

It was proposed by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, now the President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier as a roadmap, or a step-by-step plan for resolving the conflict in Donbas.

This plan / formula provides for the simultaneous implementation of both the control and the political part of the Minsk agreements, that is, not first the peace and control of Ukraine over its territories (borders), and then a separate status and elections, but all at once.

Kyiv ignored the Steinmeier formula and called it imperfect and dangerous, insisting that the control over the borders should take place first, and only then we will see elections and a special order of local self-government in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are now under the control of the co-called republics.

The time passed, the previous government did not have votes in parliament for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, namely, to consolidate the "separate status of Donbas", because amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine were needed (300 votes). Therefore, the question of the algorithm, the roadmap, or the execution order of Minsk-2 was objectively postponed, but actually frozen until the end of the early elections to Verkhovna Rada.

Let’s look at the today’s situation. President of Ukraine has an almost constitutional majority in the Verkhovna Rada and the long-awaited exchange of prisoners of war has taken place. What’s next?

Now, let us recall the communication between Putin and Macron on September 8 and try to predict further consequences.

So, Vladimir Putin needs to show the dynamics of the Minsk process, and preferably in the algorithm of Steinmeier’s formula - this is “muddy water” that will allow to end the conflict in Donbas under the conditions of the Russian Federation and transfer it as quickly as possible in a completely different format, in which Russia will no longer appear.

Let me remind you that on October 2, Sergey Lavrov (Russian Foreign Minister) stated that the Steinmeier formula is already a concession for official Kyiv and it is a compromise compared to the original text of the Minsk agreements approved by the UN Security Council.

Related: Expert Q&A: Will the Steinmeier Formula bring peace to Ukraine?

The original text provided: first, "the law on the special status of Donbas and its fixation in the Constitution, and then the holding of elections."

Emmanuel Macron, as the "new leader of a united Europe," needs a political and economic rapprochement with the Russian Federation, which he has repeatedly publicly emphasized lately.

Perhaps the opposition of Macron and Trump over spheres of influence, Britain’s weak position in connection with the protracted Brexit, and absolutely inert Germany have already been mentioned by all self-respecting media, and I will not repeat them.

Given the above, it is clear that the positions of Putin and Macron are now as close and constructive as possible. And so, the political issue of the maximum “whitening” of the Russian Federation for Macron is a tactical priority for today.

To do this, it is necessary to implement the plan / formula as soon as possible to end the Donbas conflict. But unfortunately, today there are no other plans / formulas on the "diplomatic table".

Consequently, it can be reasonably assumed that the parties concerned decided to implement the so-called "Steinmeier formula" and sign it at the next meeting ...

Recent news on a letter signed by Leonid Kuchma to the OSCE representative in the Tripartite Contact Group Martin Sajdik and an urgent briefing of president Zelensky raised the degree of possible “political betrayal” to its maximum, as indeed many questions remained unanswered.

And the most important of them is why they did not publish the full text for the implementation of the so-called "Steinmeier formula" in the legislation of Ukraine, which was officially agreed upon by the diplomatic adviser to the President of Ukraine and other parties in the Tripartite Contact Group?

The answer is obvious, if the full text of the Steinmeier formula is agreed by all parties to the negotiations, then it certainly exists, but for some reason it is not published.

At the same time, from the speech of Volodymyr Zelensky it became clear that the bill, which will contain the so-called "Steinmeier formula", will be developed further and the maximum number of interested parties will be involved in its development.

So, is there an agreed-upon text of the Steinmeier formula that needs to be implemented in the legislation of Ukraine, or not? If so, then what kind of broad discussion is there in writing the bill? And if not, what was agreed upon in the Trilateral Contact Group and what agreements did Leonid Kuchma write in his letter?

Thanks to the coordination of the so-called "Steinmeier formula", at the moment it has been possible to unblock the Minsk process and give a legal basis and an essential impetus for the next stage of Normandy format negotiations.

But we need to approach this stage as professionally and responsibly as possible, since it is obvious that Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin, and Angela Merkel (with their irresistible desire to open Nord Stream 2) will accelerate as much as possible the date of the next meeting in order to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine.

Each side of the Normandy format has its own obvious and not so obvious reasons for the quick solution to such a protracted conflict in Ukraine.

But the most important thing is that this decision algorithm should be acceptable for Ukraine itself and this is a very serious and responsible task, not only for Zelensky team, but for the entire Ukrainian society, which should not be indifferent and help the team of the President to accept conscious and, without exaggeration historical decisions, because "we are all presidents"!

Right now, it’s time not only for assessing and analyzing risks and red lines, but even for the possible forecasting of consequences of any results of negotiations...

Related: Kyiv protests against Steinmeier formula held without offenses, - police

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