Remarks on Chechnya by the new Danish FM (interview with Jyllandsposten)
[my unauthorized translation]
Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller promises new struggle for human rights
The struggle for human rights in Chechnya, Tibet and other places in the
world will be carried on with renewed force in Danish foreign policy.
With the appointment of Conservative Per Stig Møller as foreign
minister, the new Liberal-Conservative government signals that respect
for human rights has top priority in foreign policy.
As shadow foreign minister, Per Stig Møller criticized the former
government of being too passive in the struggle. In the first longer
interview as newly appointed foreign minister he points out that human
rights will have top priority during his leadership of the ministry.
"The former government was too reluctant in connection with Tibet and
Chechnya. It took too long time before there was a reaction to the
violations of human rights", Per Stig Møller says.
With the creation of a new unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Per
Stig Møller wants to secure that human rights become an integrated part
of the ministry's work.
A focus on human rights could bring Denmark on a collision course with
big nations like Russia and China, where gross violations are happening
on a daily base.
Terrorists are sorted out
The Foreign Minister admits that after the terror attacks in the USA on
11 September, there is a risk that the struggle of small nations for
independence could be labelled as terrorism.
"This could be feared. There is of course a risk that all oppressed
nations that want independence, home rule or respect for their culture,
suddenly are declared terrorists by the central power. There are two
sides, and we have to be very careful to stay calm. One side is a terror
side, the other one a political side. It's important that there are
political negotiations, so that the terrorists can be sorted out.
Each terrorist with a bomb says that he represents the people. Osama bin
Laden says that he represents the Muslims. IRA said that they
represented the Irish. The terror part must be sorted out in
negotiations", says Per Stig Møller.
After 11 September, there has been a serious start of negotiations
between Russia's president Vladimir Putin and Chechen rebels.
"Russia has now taken up the political talks with the Chechens. That's
what they had been asking for for several years, and that's what we were
urging. The Russians must go and get the terror-aspect sorted out and
understand that it will strengthen terrorism if they don't get a
political solution. The situation is different after 11 September", Per
Stig Møller believes.
He admits, though, that there aren't any useful results yet. Therefore
Denmark will keep up the pressure on the Russians - e.g. when the
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is expected to visit Copenhagen
around the turn of the year.
"I'm going to keep up the pressure on the Russian Foreign Minister, and
now I have got the tool for that", Per Stig Møller says - not without a
certain satisfaction with the fact that the post of foreign minister
gives him the opportunity to directly work with all the cases for which
he has been fighting from the opposition bench.
Those responsible to court
In spite of the thaw in the Chechnya question he points out that Denmark
must continue to demand that the responsible Russian generals are
brought before a court because of their murdering of the civilian
population in the area.
"The Russians have said themselves that they'll persecute them. There's
nothing else to do than to keep telling them that this is the price for
being part of a civilized society. War criminals are persecuted. We must
outlaw them, so they can't leave their country," Per Stig Møller says.
Denmark will continue to rise the demand for persecution, whatever
Russia says, he points out: "They can't become angry about the fact that
we take them at their word. That's exactly what we must do".
(non Chechnya-related part snipped).
- Dear All,
What fantastic news! Finally a senior politician in power who is willing
to call a spade a spade and who is willing to criticize countries for
violations of human rights. No more pussy-footing around, no more
skirting these important issues for fear of not being awarded a fat
Good luck to Mr Møller and the new Danish government!