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Remarks on Chechnya by the new Danish FM (interview with Jyllandsposten)

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  • Norbert Strade
    Jyllandsposten 29.11.2001 http://www.jp.dk/dbp/internetavisen/indland/artikel&art_id=3529089 [my unauthorized translation] Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2001
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      Jyllandsposten
      29.11.2001

      http://www.jp.dk/dbp/internetavisen/indland/artikel&art_id=3529089

      [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).
    • Johan Lagerfelt
      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
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 2, 2001
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        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
        weapons contract.
        Good luck to Mr Møller and the new Danish government!

        Johan Lagerfelt
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