WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Talks to bring peace to Ukraine appear to have stalled somewhat following the escalation of allegations and counter-allegations of war crimes in the region.
But as peace talks resume, what could the two sides really negotiate with? And what does it really feel like to be part of such discussions?
A man who knows better than most is the Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubbwho brokered the Georgia peace accord in 2008. Here he gives Stephen his perspective on what he thinks could be a long and difficult road to peace.
MEET THE EXPERT
Professor Alexander Stubb, former Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Trade and Europe of Finland. He was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2008 and of the national parliament from 2011 to 2017. Between 2017 and 2020 he was also Vice-President of the European Investment Bank.
Between 1995 and 2004, Stubb worked as an adviser to the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Helsinki and Brussels and in President Romano Prodi’s team at the European Commission, where he participated in the negotiation of the treaties of Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon.
In 2008, he was part of the negotiating team that contributed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Georgia.
Alexander Stubb is currently Director of the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute, based in Florence, Italy.
WHAT DOES STUBB SAY?
“Now I’ve met Putin a few times,” Stubb told Stephen: “What are the lessons? The lessons are very simple. He’s very well prepared. He’s very analytical. he’s irrational or he lost his marbles due to COVID isolation, I don’t think they know what they’re talking about.And to be honest, I think they have the wrong tree.
It only took Professor Stubb and his team a few days to come up with a peace plan for Georgia in 2008 – but he says it’s a much more complex situation and he’s not hoping for a breakthrough. so early: “You know, these things are usually incremental. You start with second-tier diplomats, then you start moving to first-tier diplomats, and then you might involve politicians. And the bigwigs say President Putin or President Zelensky only get involved if an agreement is really imminent. Therefore, I can only conclude that we are far from a ceasefire agreement at this particular stage.”
He goes on to examine what this conflict really means for global geopolitics: “We have to understand that it’s not just about Russia versus the West, it’s about the world order. And the way we should read the UN vote is to say yes, 141 states [voted] against Russia. Yes. Four for Russia. And then 35 abstained. But these 35 years, they represent about 50% of the world’s population. So I think a key state here is China, and we in the West need to understand that the international order was created in the image of the victors of World War II and in many ways the image of the West. So if anything comes out of this, we have to think about the world order, a new order and what that means and that will require cooperation between China and the West.”
ALSO ON THE PROGRAM:
– Senator of the Russian Federation, Konstantin Kosachev explains what Moscow now thinks needs to be done to bring peace to the region, and why despite increased Western sanctions, Russia does not feel isolated.
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