By Elisabeth Hellenbroich
August 30 2023
The following appeal was published August 25th in a special edition of the Swiss Newspaper “Zeitgeschehen im Fokus” (“Current events in focus” ) https://zeitgeschehen-im-fokus.ch/de/newspaper-ausgabe/sonderausgabe-vom-28-august-2023.html under title “Ending the war with a negotiated peace – Legitimate self-defense and the pursuit for a just and lasting peace are not contradictory.” The appeal got signed by Prof. Dr. Peter Brandt, Historian, (son of former German Chancellor Willy Brandt, SPD, who is known as the architect of the German Ostpolitik); by Prof. Dr. Hajo Funke, Political Scientist em. at the Otto- Suhr Institute, Free University Berlin; by former air force General Harald Kujat, former chief of staff of the German Federal Armed Forces as well member of the NATO military Committee until his retirement 17. June 2005; by Prof. h.c. Dr. Horst Teltschik, former advisor to Chancellor Helmut Kohl and chairman of the Munich Security Conference (1999- 2008).
The appeal, aside the peace efforts made by China, Brazil, Africa and the Vatican, represents a comprehensive and strategic in- depth proposal from German eminent personalities for a ceasefire agreement followed by peace negotiations and in the long run the establishment of a European security and peace order – a security architecture in which Ukraine’s geostrategic position no longer plays a key role in the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and Russia. In a period where the war in Ukraine risks to get out of control and escalate into a potential nuclear war, the appeal should be taken into strategic account by the US and European responsible leaders, as well leaders from the Global South and considered as a chance to open negotiations for a ceasefire and peace agreement in the near future.
In the following we publish some key excerpt from the appeal :
Ending the war with a negotiated peace
Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression on February 24, 2022, Ukraine has been fighting a legitimate defensive war, which is about its survival as a state, its national independence and security. This is true regardless of the quality of democracy and the rule of law and the constitutional reality, and also regardless of the much more complicated history and the equally more complicated global political context of the war.
March 2, 2022, a few days after the start of the Russian attack, Ukraine agreed to a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations that would have “peaceful settlement of the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine through political dialogue, mediation and other peaceful means.” On February 23, 2023, a further UN resolution called on member states and international organizations, to “redouble their support of diplomatic efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine.” This commitment also applies to the Ukrainian government, which continues to reject negotiations with Russia.
No one can win this war
It has been clear for some time that neither Russia nor Ukraine can win this war, because neither of them can achieve the political goals for which they are waging this war. Ukraine cannot defeat Russia military even with western support in the form of arms and ammunitions supplies and the training of Ukrainian soldiers. Even the delivery of “miracle weapons”, which has been demanded by laymen time and again, is not the hoped-for “game-changer” that could change the strategic situation in Ukraine’s favor. At the same time, however, there is an increasing risk that the escalation will continue to the “extreme” – a military conflict between NATO and Russia, with the real danger of a nuclear war limited to the European continent, although the USA and Russia want to avoid it.
This development should not be waited for. It would be in Ukraine’s interest to seek a ceasefire as soon as possible, which would open the door for peace negotiations. It is also in the interest of the European states, which support Ukraine unconditionally but without recognizable strategy. The risk that the war in Ukraine will escalate into a European war over Ukraine is growing.
The task is to find a way
Imperial rivalries, national arrogance and ignorance triggered the First World War, which has been called the primordial catastrophe of the 20th century. The Ukraine war must not become the primordial catastrophe of the 21th century! The increasing Europeanization of the conflict threatens to lead to a major war between Russia and NATO, which neither side wants, n o r can want in view of the acute threat of nuclear catastrophe in such case. It is therefore urgently necessary to stop the escalation before it develops a dynamic of its own that can no longer be controlled politically.
Now it is time for the European States and the European Union, whose world political weight is constantly being reduced in and by war, to direct all efforts toward the restoration of a stable peace on the continent and thus prevent a great European war. Averting it will require the commitment of European leaders, notably the French President and the German Chancellor in a joint effort and in coordination with the U.S. and Turkish Presidents, while there is still time. The “Point of no Return”, to which Jürgen Habermas has impressively referred, has not yet been passed.
Under the headline: Peace is possible- a way out of danger the authors of the appeal underline that the Chinese position paper offers a reasonable approach in order to return to the “resumption of peace talks” (…) and resumption of negotiations at the level reached in Istanbul.”(….) The U.S. has an important role to play in bringing about negotiations. The U.S. would have to press the Ukraine president to negotiate. In addition, it and NATO must be prepared to engage in arms control negotiations including confidence building military measures. “
Phase I -Ceasefire
1. The UN Security Council
* Adopts in accordance with Article 24(1) of the Charter of the United Nations a timetable and schedule for a cease- fire and for negotiations to end the Ukrainian war and restore pace, consistent with the primary responsibility assigned to it by its members for the maintenance of international peace and security.
*decides with effect from one Day X to a general ceasefire between the warring parties Russia and Ukraine”…
Phase II- Negotiations
1. Peace negotiations will begin on Day X+15 under the Chairmanship of the UN Secretary and / or the UN High Commissioner for Peace and Security in Ukraine at UN headquarters in Geneva.
2. Both parties to the conflict reaffirm their determination to conduct the negotiations with the firm intention of ending the war and seeking a lasting, peaceful settlement of all issues in dispute. They intend to take into account Russia’s letters to the United States and NATO of December 17, 2021, insofar as they are relevant to the bilateral negotiations, and Ukraine’s position paper for the negotiations of March 29, 2022, and to build on the results of the Istanbul negotiations.
3. Elements of a negotiated settlement:
a.) The parties to the conflict
*do not regard each other as adversaries in the future
and undertake to return to the principle of equal
and indivisible security,
*undertake to refrain from the threat and use of force,
*undertake not to take measures in preparation for war
against the contracting party,
*commit themselves to transparency in their military planning and exercises and
to greater predictability in their military and political actions,
*accept the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force on Ukrainian territory
in a zone 50 kilometers wide up to the Russian border, including the
Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions within
their administrative boundaries,
*undertake to resolve all disputes without the use of force through the mediation of the
United Nations High Commissioner or, if necessary
through the guarantor States. Ukraine’s right to individual and
collective self- defense in accordance with Art 51 of the UN Charter is
i) The treaty will enter into force as soon as both parties and five guarantor states have signed the treaty and to the extent necessary, the parliaments of these states have signed the treaty and, to the extent necessary, the parliaments of these states have approved it, and Ukraine has codified its status as a neutral, independent and non- aligned state (without the goal of NATO membership) by amending its constitution.)
Phase III – A European Security and Peace Order
In the long term, only a European security and peace order can guarantee Ukraine’s security and freedom, in which Ukraine and Russia have their place. A European security architecture in which Ukraine’s geostrategic position no longer plays a key role in the geopolitical rivalry between the United States and Russia. The way to achieve this is through a conference in the CSCE format that builds on the major advances of the “Charter of Paris” and develops them further, taking into account the current security policy and strategic framework.” (25.August 2023)