Sunday, November 16, 2014
Notable Quotes from G20
I was opposed to Vladimir Putin’s presence at the G20 summit in Australia because imperialists, warmongers, invaders and global bullies should not associate with democratic leaders of the free world. I still am against Putin’s participation in any global event but fortunately, at the G20, the encounters turned out better than expected due to the indignation of the most ardent supporters of Ukraine and opponents of Russia’s invasion and bullying of Ukraine and the world.
The public tongue lashing that Putin endured kept Ukraine and historical Russian imperialism in the forefront of global events, newspapers and pundits. Here is a collection of some of the memorable quotes:
“Well I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.”
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
“I am very frank when I meet with him [Putin] that the things that Russia has done in Ukraine are unacceptable.”
“Russia is being much more assertive now than it has been for a very long time. Interestingly, Russia’s economy is declining even as Russia’s assertiveness is increasing.”
“Russian action in Ukraine is unacceptable. We have to be clear about what we are dealing with. It is a large state bullying a smaller state in Europe. We have seen the consequences of that in the past and we should learn the lessons of history and make sure we don't let it happen again.”
“If Russia takes a positive approach toward Ukraine’s freedom and responsibility, we could see those sanctions removed, if Russia continues to make matters worse then we could see those sanctions increased, it’s as simple as that.”
“It’s important to warn of the dangers if Russia continues to head in the other direction.”
“There’s a real choice here, there’s a different and better way for Russia to behave that could lead to an easing of relations, but at the moment he’s not taking that path.”
“If that path continues and if that destabilization gets worse, the rest of the world, Europe, America, Britain, will have no choice but to take further action in terms of sanctions.”
“I would still hope that the Russians will see sense and recognize that they should allow Ukraine to develop as an independent and free country, free to make its choices.”
“There is a more incipient, creeping threat to our values that I want to mention. It comes from those who say that [traditional Western democracies] will be out-competed and outgunned by countries that believe there is a shortcut to success—a new model of authoritarian capitalism that is unencumbered by the values and restrictions that we place upon ourselves. We should have the confidence to reject this view and stay true to our values.”
“If he continues to destabilize Ukraine, there’ll be further sanctions, further measures, and there will be a completely different relationship between European countries and America on the one hand, and Russia on the other.”
David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain
“I am going to be saying to Mr. Putin: Australians were murdered. They were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian-supplied equipment. We are very unhappy about this.”
“Let’s not forget that Russia has been much more militarily assertive in recent times. We’re seeing, regrettably, a great deal of Russian assertiveness right now in Ukraine.”
“Russia would be so much more attractive if it was aspiring to be a superpower for peace and freedom and prosperity, instead of trying to recreate the lost glories of tsarism or the old Soviet Union.”
“There is a heavy responsibility on Russia to come clean and atone” adding that Moscow’s bullying of Kiev was part of a “regrettable pattern” that included the stationing of a naval fleet in the South Pacific.
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia
“We are also very firm on the need to uphold core international principles. And one of those principles is that you don't invade other countries or finance proxies and support them in ways that break up a country that has mechanisms for democratic elections.”
“At this point the sanctions we have in place are biting plenty good. We retain the capability, and we have our teams constantly looking at mechanisms in which to turn up additional pressure as necessary.”
The United States was at the forefront of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17.”
“What is concerning me quite more is that the territorial integrity of Ukraine is being violated and that the agreement of Minsk is not followed.”
“If he continues down the path that he is on -- violating international law; providing heavy arms to the separatists in Ukraine; violating an agreement that he agreed to just a few weeks ago, the Minsk Agreement, that would have lowered the temperature and the killing in the disputed areas and make providing us a pathway for a diplomatic resolution – then the isolation that Russia is currently experiencing will continue.”
Barack Obama, President of the USA
We oppose “Russia's purported annexation of Crimea and its actions to destabilize eastern Ukraine,” and were committed to “bringing to justice those responsible for the downing of Flight MH17.”
President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
“It’s clear that these geopolitical tensions, including relations with Russia, are not really conducive to promoting growth. We are all striving to do everything diplomatically possible to see improvements.”
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
“Russia has still the opportunity to fulfil its Minsk commitments to choose the path of de-escalation, which could allow sanctions to be rolled back. If it does not, however, we are ready to consider additional actions. We will continue to use all the diplomatic tools, including sanctions, at our disposal … the EU foreign ministers will on Monday assess the situation on the ground and discuss possible further steps.”
Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Union
“The current situation is not sustainable for world peace and the economy.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
“(Putin) won’t stop at Ukraine, he wants to re-form the Soviet Union. He is an evil man, a murderer not welcome in Australia.’’
Irene Stawiski, Ukrainian Australian, part of group that staged an anti-Putin protest, wearing headbands reading “Putin, Killer.”
“While Ukraine has not sought ‘boots on the ground’ from the West, it does deserve the material support of G20 leaders who are recognizing that it is the place where the major threat to international peace and prosperity is most apparent. As a buffer to Putin, it does deserve greater political and economic engagement, where countries like Australia can continue its leadership.
“Ukraine’s fight is the world’s fight – and the world needs to invest in defending itself from Putin’s neo-imperial ambitions and aggression.”
Stefan Romaniw, President of Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations
Putin replied coldly and aloofly as the KGB taught him that he cannot withdraw from Ukraine because Russia is not in Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine is an internal one. Russia is not an aggressor. So far, world leaders have rejected Putin’s lies but, oddly, accepted him.
Despite these visible, undiplomatic but welcome expressions of condemnation, the photo-ops of the G20 showed a different picture. In reality, there were strong words, handshakes and smiles. Putin and Abbott even glowed while posing together with koalas in their arms. I guess these cuddly animals could melt animosity, Russian imperialism and gross violations of international order. USA Today picked up on this point in a story headlined “Good Cheer Masks Ukraine Tension at G-20 Summit.”
“Throughout the day, summit participants exuded good cheer and camaraderie. Despite Australia having lobbied for Vladimir Putin to be dis-invited, the Russian leader was greeted warmly. He chatted amiably with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and exchanged pleasantries with Abbott,” the newspaper wrote.
We can only hope that the words of censure, pressure to withdraw from Ukraine, threats of more sanctions and indignation will survive beyond the good cheer and smiles displayed in the photos.