“Bad manners” between Moscow, Paris and Berlin

The incident could have gone unnoticed in the current flood of threats and warnings between Westerners and Russians over Ukraine. But he tells of the tensions caused by the conflict “frozen” in the east of the country, against a backdrop of diplomatic deadlock and rumors of boots. The Russian Foreign Ministry published on its site, on the night of Wednesday 17 to Thursday 18 November, part of the correspondence between its boss, Sergey Lavrov, and his French and German counterparts, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas , about a possible relaunch of negotiations on the Donbass. The revelation of confidential letters breaks with the usual practices in the hushed world of diplomats.

“We have taken note of the decision of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to make our correspondence public., reacted Anne-Claire Legendre, spokesperson for the Quai d’Orsay. We consider this approach to be contrary to diplomatic rules and customs ”. Berlin protested in the same tone.

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The principle of a so-called meeting “Normandy format” – adopted in 2014 between Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France – had been approved by Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Poutine, during a remote exchange, in October. Paris and Berlin had offered to organize the meeting on the occasion of November 11, in the French capital, but it never happened. Since then, everyone has shifted responsibility for this missed opportunity. France and Germany say Russia was setting conditions “Unacceptable”, by wanting to mediate while it supports the pro-Russian separatists at the origin of the fighting in the Donbass, the latter presented by Moscow as a “Internal conflict” Ukrainian. As for Mr. Lavrov, he questioned the “Bad manners” Franco-German in this affair, claiming to have been available to meet her counterparts on the scheduled date.

” We have nothing to hide “

The publication of his discussions with MM. Le Drian et Maas also falls into the category of “Bad manners”. “The process is curious, but enough in the practice of the Russian Foreign Ministry, very aggressive towards Europeans”, said a diplomat. “We can say it: we are fed up”, for his part, launched Mr. Lavrov on Friday, in a kind of implicit self-justification. According to him, MM. Le Drian and Maas “Have made arrogant, not quite correct and not very ethical statements: All are ready, Putin has given his approval, but Lavrov does not want », he quipped during a press conference.

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“Bad manners” between Moscow, Paris and Berlin