Panel discusses "new Cold War" - and if it will remain cold

A panel discussion dubbed, “The West and Russia: A New Cold War?" was organized in New York by the CIRSD think-tank.

Source: B92

The Center for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (CIRSD) was founded and is led by former Serbian Foreign Minister and former UN General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic.

After Belgrade, the organization's magazine, Horizons, was also presented in New York on the occasion.

Among the participants in the panel were Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin and former German Defense Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg. They put forward different views about who is responsible for the one-year civil war in Ukraine.

The Cold War will hopefully "remain that in name only" and will not turn into a conflict between the West and Russia, the panelists who gathered at the Harvard Club agreed - but failed to see eye to eye on almost every other issue.

Churkin commented on Wednesday's initiative presented by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to have international peacekeepers deployed in Ukraine to say it was "unnecessary."

"I was surprised by this request, because five days ago a peace agreement was reached in Minsk in which there is no mention of UN peacekeeping forces or of the European Union police. Rather than present new ideas, what has been agreed a few days ago should be implemented," Churkin said.

Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg said that Ukraine has the right to choose for itself whether to join NATO, but recalled that his country did not in the past support the idea, and was not in favor of sending weapons to Kiev. He, however, stated that Russia was "responsible for what is happening now in Ukraine."

"Many say that the Minsk agreement is already dead, but I think it is not. It's now important that arms are no longer sent to the rebels from Russia. A number of EU states now want the situation to calm down and for talks to take place," said the former German minister.

Well-known American economist and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs had no words of praise for the foreign policy of his country. He said that the unipolar world that emerged during the first Bush administration continues to be a way of thinking in Washington.

"We attacked one country after another as soon as we were given the opportunity. We brought down Saddam, Gaddafi, supported the rebels against Assad in Syria. The entire Middle East is on fire today, all of North Africa," said Sachs.

Vuk Jeremic commented to say he thought the panel was "interesting for the American audience," and added that "there can be peace in Ukraine."

"The conclusion of today's debate is that the situation is difficult, but there is room for finding common denominators. I hope that our debate organized in New York made at least a minimum contribution to finding such a solution," Jeremic said.

Another participant was former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who pointed out that it was "a collective failure of the international foreign policy" that led to civil war in Ukraine.


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