Emmanuel Macron calls for security guarantees for Ukraine
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday (May 31st) called for the granting of "tangible and credible" security guarantees to Ukraine, pending its accession to NATO, and pleaded for a more powerful European defence within the Alliance, despite the reservations of many Central and Eastern European countries.
French President Emmanuel Macron in Bratislava, May 31, 2023. © MICHAL CIZEK / AFP
Text by: RFI Follow
"If we want to ... If we want to be credible vis-à-vis the Ukrainians, we must give Ukraine the means to prevent further [Russian] aggression and include it in [a] credible security architecture. " insisted the French head of state Emmanuel Macron, during a speech at the 18th Globsec Regional Security Forum in Bratislava, organized by a think tank of the same name. "That is why I am in favour, and this will be the subject of collective discussions in the coming weeks, between now and the Vilnius summit, to give tangible and credible security guarantees to Ukraine," he insisted.
NATO heads of state and government are due to reaffirm their political and military support for Ukraine on 11th and 12th July in Vilnius, which has been in the grip of a Russian offensive for fifteen months which is also worrying neighbouring countries resulting from the Soviet glacis. These guarantees can be granted by the various NATO member states, pending Ukraine's entry into the Alliance, which will remain very distant as long as it is at war with Russia. They can involve the delivery of weapons and technologies as well as the training of military personnel, including fighter pilots, likely to bring it closer to NATO standards as quickly as possible.
We must build something between the security provided to Israel [by the United States, NLDR] and full membership" to NATO, Macron stressed, judging unlikely a consensus on Vilnius membership.
In the East, there are fears that insufficient engagement by Ukraine's allies could lead to freezing the current front line and consolidating Russia's territorial gains without bringing peace. "A frozen conflict will only give Russia a respite to prepare for another aggression," said Slawomir Debski, director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM).
Emmanuel Macron, whose diplomatic initiatives since the beginning of the Russian offensive have often left his partners in the East doubtful, if not suspicious, also wanted to be reassuring on this point. "Peace cannot be a ceasefire that enshrines a state of affairs and amounts to creating a frozen conflict," he said. "We must put ourselves in a position to support Ukraine in a long-term and high- and medium-intensity conflict," he said.
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The Head of State also launched into a long plea in favour of European sovereignty, notably on the military level, perceived with great circumspection in Eastern Europe. "We must not let Europe be kidnapped a second time," he said in reference to the Cold War between Americans and Soviets of which the Old Continent was largely the theater.
A "Europe of defense", "European pillar within NATO", is "essential to be credible in the long term", he said, calling on Europeans to equip themselves with a "deep strike capability" and to buy European weapons.
Clashes in Kosovo also mentioned
During this Forum, the French President also denounced the responsibility of the Kosovar authorities in the crisis shaking the north of the country. Hundreds of Serb demonstrators are again gathered in front of the Zvecan town hall, for the third day in a row, they denounce the entry into office of the Albanian mayors of four cities in the region whilst turnout for the elections did not reach 3.5% in April.
According to the Serbian majority, these mayors are not legitimate. The protests escalated earlier this week, leaving dozens injured among protesters and NATO soldiers on the ground. For Emmanuel Macron, the Kosovar authorities should not have continued the process.
Emmanuel Macron: "There is a responsibility of the Kosovar authorities in the current situation"
>> Read also: International guest - Tensions in Kosovo: "Too much gap between what Pristina wants and what Belgrade wants"
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