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Lavrov: each of Ukraine’s regions must have its say in preparing constitutional reform

March 31, 2014, 0:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Each of Ukraine’s regions must have its say in the process of the preparation of the constitutional reform, RussianForeign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the Sunday Time television programme anchored by Irada Zeinalova on Russia’s Channel One.

“The atmposhere was calm, there were no hysterical intonations, we had a normal conversation,” Lavrov said, commenting on his meeting with Ukraine’s acting Foreign Minister Andrei Deshits in the Hague. “I accepted the request for this contact because I think it would be useful to convey directly to the representatives from the current Ukrainian authorities our vision of the ways out of the profound Ukrainian crisis, especially bearing in mind the fact that it stems from Kiev’s inability at this point to establish a mutually respectful nationwide dialogue that would take into due account of the interests of Ukraine’s south and east, along with the interests of other regions of this state, which is our closest neighbor.”

Lavrov stressed the necessity to fulfill everything that was fixed in the agreement of February 21 reached by Viktor Yanukovich, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleg Tyagnibok and Vitali Klitschko and also signed by foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland. “First and foremost, it is necessary to ensure law and order in the streets, in cities, to surrender illegal arms, to vacate illegally seized buildings, to unblock streets and squares, all sorts of maidans and mini-maidans,” the Russian foreign minister noted. “Further steps that are obvious for any normal person are to be the launch of a constitutional process, a constitutional reform, which was also fixed in the February 21 agreement.” Moscow is confident that the success of this constitutional reform, according to Lavrov, will depend on the participation in this process of all political forces, all regions, “each of which must have its say in the framework of these talks.”

“It is impossible to solve all the problems without a general accord on the necessity of the federalization of Ukraine,” he stressed. “It is necessary to see to it that each region has a possibility to directly elect its leaders, its legislature and governor, enjoys the right to ensure its interests, the rights of its citizens in what concerns the economy, finance, culture, the language, the social sphere and the right to have contacts with regions of the neighbouring state, be it Poland, Lithuania or Russia.”

A unitary state has proved not to work in Ukraine, according to Lavrov. “The constitution is changed following each presidential poll to be tailored either as pro-presidential, or as pro-parliamentary, or pro-government. Such leapfrog games cannot last long. So, federalization is an instrument to make each region feel comfortable, be confident that its rights are ensured, to be united with other regions by common state functions, such as defence, foreign policy, the court system,” he stressed, adding that Russia was ready for that from the point of view of the guarantees foreign players might offer the Ukrainians after such reforms.

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