Crazy concessions to Putin? One detail makes experts doubt the UN letter

The return to the Swift agreement, insurance of Russian ships against Ukraine attacks, return of confiscated Russian money and the permission for Russian ships to dock in Germany and the EU.

António Guterres is said to have offered all of this to Russia in a letter if the grain agreement with Ukraine is resumed. At least that’s what “Bild” reports, which is supposed to have the letter.

This report was picked up internationally; it would be a sensation, after all, the international community would go a long way toward accommodating Russia’s ruler and warmonger Putin. According to Bild, Ukrainian government circles say that the Guterres proposals are “an unbelievable affront” and a “reward for aggressive Russian behavior” on the part of the United Nations.

“I can’t imagine that the letter has this content”

But experts are not convinced that this letter from the UN Secretary General even exists in this form. “I can’t imagine that the letter has this content,” explains Gerhard Mangott, professor of political science in Innsbruck and Russia expert. “Because Guterres can promise whatever he wants, but he needs the OK from the Western states, which Russia “It’s hard to imagine that the West would meet these conditions. Especially not the release of confiscated assets, which Russia hasn’t even asked for.”

It is almost impossible that Guterres has the consent of the West. From the UN’s point of view, it makes no sense to send such a letter without Western consent: “Why should you promise Russia something that you have no competence for?”

The decision-making power lies with the West, not with the UN

Alexander Libman, a political scientist with a focus on Eastern Europe at the Free University of Berlin, also points out that the decision-making power on such issues does not lie with the UN: “I have doubts that the UN’s proposals would actually be accepted by the European Union. The sanctions against Russia were not decided by the United Nations, but by the EU and other Western countries.”

Libmann continued: “Only these countries could lift the sanctions again and in the case of the EU this would happen in a process that would be visible to all citizens of the European Union.”

Even if the concessions actually exist as proposals, this is not a scandal: “I can well imagine that the UN is preparing compromise proposals so that the grain deal can come about. That is the job of the United Nations. There are no sinister plans here. It’s completely normal in diplomacy to make different proposals.”

Points partially confirmed by EU

However, according to the “Bild” report, some points of the agreement appear to have already been approved by the EU. Regarding the Swift claim, a spokesman is said to have confirmed when asked that “the EU has expressed to Russia, through the UN, its openness to finding a more permanent, constructive solution through a designated subsidiary of the Russian Agrarian Bank, which would be consistent with Swift payments the EU sanctions for agricultural and food transactions”.

Russian ships should also be able to return to EU ports. The Guterres letter apparently states that “discussions have already been held with the European Commission and selected port authorities”. In addition, the EU Commission speaks of “targeted exceptions to allow Russian ships access to EU ports if this is necessary for the purchase, import or transport of agricultural products and food, including wheat and fertilizers”.

Jean Harris

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