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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

German diplomacy headed “stubborn Rhino”

Few people remember that the outgoing head of the German foreign Ministry Steinmeier three years ago became the guarantor of the agreement Yanukovich and the Maidan, that Maidan on the same day broke, seized power. In those days, the West welcomed the seizure of power, regardless of the objections of Moscow. Now, after leaving his post, Steinmeier admitted that Russia in the world “is perceived as a major military and political player”.

German President Joachim gauck on Friday was fired from the post of Minister of foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, appointed in the place of the Vice-Chancellor and former Minister of economy and energy Sigmar Gabriel. Both politicians – the social Democrats, head of the foreign Ministry refers to “quota” of the party within the ruling coalition.

“Merkel takes it very painful, does not allow in addition to make any contacts at the highest level. But Gabriel is quite independent. It is sometimes called a stubborn Rhino.

Gabrielle has made a speech in his new capacity and urged to maintain cooperation with the United States. “Whatever the tone or take US to our address, for us it must remain a landmark,” said Gabriel at the private reception at the foreign Ministry on the occasion of his appointment. He noted that the hand of Berlin “should remain outstretched”.

As reported by the newspaper Handelsblatt, citing government sources, Gabriel next week is flying to USA for a visit. In particular, planned meetings with the Vice-President of the United States, Mike Pence, and Rex Tillerson, who is expected soon to become the American counterpart of Gabriel. By the way, Gabriel will be returning from the States, not directly, but through France, where he will meet with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Earlier it became known that on Saturday, Merkel can hold a phone conversation with US President Donald trump – “to discuss Russia and Ukraine”. And on Monday – obviously, prior to departure of Gabriel over the ocean – he could hold the first in the new role of negotiations in Berlin will visit the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. Will discuss the situation in the Donbas region, the fate of the Association Agreement EU – Ukraine and the prospects of visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens.

Recall that in the Ukrainian press, the outgoing Minister has earned a reputation as “Pro-Russian” policy. It is also known as a longtime friend of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who is one of the main Russian lobbyists in the West. The new Minister Gabriel and Steinmeier, has also repeatedly urged to establish relations with Moscow, then to act together in Syria.

The Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Andrei Klimov connects changes in Germany scheduled for September elections. “It’s not so much a message to the world, as the message of the electorate. There’s a lot made no such moves, as in chess, based principally on the German voter,” said Klimov newspaper VIEW.

At the same time, the Senator did not rule out that the appointment of the new head of the foreign Ministry and was partly a response to the change of government in the United States. “Despite the importance for the Germans of Russian-German history, German-American story for them is much more important,” – said Klimov.

What to Steinmeier, he wanted to go down in history as a peacemaker, says the Senator. He admitted that he heard from “knowledgeable people” that the Minister almost expected to receive the Nobel peace prize – perhaps the resolution of the crisis around the Maidan in Kiev three years ago. As you know, Steinmeier was one of the guarantors of the agreement by Yanukovych and the opposition on 21 February 2014. “What came out of it, we also know. There was the Maidan, the opposition has violated the agreement with Yanukovych, which were given under the guarantee of the European States. And instead of peace, there began a civil war,” reminded the Senator.

In the struggle with the immigration crisis Steinmeier also failed to achieve the “tangible positive results”. Next was the story of Brexit, Greece, and “these stories were more involved in economic positions, but still, he was here too, that is, associated. Here there are many explanations of what happened.”

According to Klimova, if you compare the rhetoric of Steinmeier and his colleagues in the government, many of his statements “was more reasonable, without fanaticism, and Russophobic statements do not sound”. “It hints that it will be possible to break the deadlock, has inspired some hope, although they have not been implemented, and if they were somehow implemented, then quietly,” – said Klimov.

“Political children” by Egon Bar

Chief editor of the Internet newspaper World Economy (Berlin) Alexander Sosnovsky reminds that Steinmeier, Gabriel and the same shredder is the “political children” of one of the patriarchs of German diplomacy Egon Bar, they have raised the “normal” attitude to Russia. “In recent years, and Steinmeier and Gabriel have played a little bit of a percentage of voters due to the fact that the Christian Democrats, led by “mother Merkel”, as it is called here, are very counterproductive policy towards Russia. Steinmeier was trying to help and our, and your,” Sosnowski said the newspaper VIEW.

Steinmeier managed to become popular, but primarily because of their personal human qualities. “It will be remembered not as a leader of the social Democrats and not as a Minister but as a policy of management at the time, donated a kidney to his wife when she was sick. As a politician, he has not achieved anything special. Just tried all the time to pursue a policy of moderation toward Russia. Tried to choose an expression to soften the situation, since the events in Georgia in 2008, and then – especially after the Crimea”, – said the expert.

However, according to him, when Merkel as Minister of foreign Affairs had lost its importance as the chief diplomat said all dictation of the Chancellor. But now the times have changed and the new Minister will be able to achieve results, suggests Sosnowski. “Gabriel will put pressure on Merkel to somehow mitigate sanctions. In any case, he will try to establish close personal relations at the highest level, try to go for President Putin. He will interfere, Merkel takes it very painful, does not allow in addition to make any contacts at the highest level. But Gabriel is quite independent. It is sometimes called a stubborn Rhino. Therefore, it is hoped that this relationship will soften, begin to return to the strategic partnership that existed during the first years of Merkel,” – predicts expert.

Suddenly he spoke frankly

Meanwhile Steinmeier on Friday suddenly subjected to a sharp reprimand and the United States, and neighboring France. The occasion was the war in Syria. According to the outgoing Minister, instead of cooperating with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the countries chose to turn Damascus into a “part of the axis of evil.” Funny that, being on a post of the chief German diplomat, he also allowed himself such remarks in public. On the contrary, all NATO summits, he approved the policy of the former authorities of the States in the middle East.

Now Steinmeier calling the war in Syria, “a chronicle of missed chances and a proof of the incompetence of the Western allies”. According to him, one of the reasons for the beginning of the Russian operation in Syria was Moscow’s desire “to challenge provoking the US position, which took Russia to the regional forces”, reports RIA “Novosti”. “At least from the Russian point of view they do seem to succeed, Russia is perceived as a major military and political player,” he said. Steinmeier suggested that “many in Russia is a short-term happy,” but called on Moscow to avoid “self-deception”: “No turning back, to the days of Yalta.” He urged Russians to find partners in the “political means” to gain significant influence in the world.

Recall, Steinmeier, representing the social Democrats, had previously been nominated by the ruling coalition (CDU/CSU and SPD) for the post of President of Germany. Elections will be held on February 12.


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