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Yanukovich may meet opposition leaders to end conflict - speaker

December 04, 2013, 21:15 UTC+3 KIEV
The opposition has been blocking the parliament’s work, demanding that the government resign and new parliamentary and presidential elections be called
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KIEV, December 04 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Vladimir Rybak said President Viktor Yanukovich might meet opposition leaders in order to try to end the conflict in the country.

“The president will be back [from China] on Friday. I will meet with him and I will ask for a meeting between opposition factions and the president so that we could consider all issues,” Rybak said on Wednesday, December 4.

After talks with the parliament faction leaders earlier in the day, it was decided that the opposition would prepare a list of issues that worry them. After that it will be decided who else, apart from members of parliamentary factions, should be engaged to resolve the conflict in the country, the speaker said.

“I do not rule out that international specialists may be invited,” he added.

Rybak ruled out dissolution of the parliament by the president. “I do not see any reason for dissolving the Verkhovna Rada now,” he said.

However under law, if the parliament cannot start working for 30 days, the president will have the right to dissolve it. “But this is his right, not obligation,” he added.

The opposition has been blocking the parliament’s work, demanding that the government resign and new parliamentary and presidential elections be called.

The speaker ruled out the use of force against demonstrators. “I think there can be no use of force because this is a peaceful action and people have a right to take to streets and defend their interests,” he said.

“The beating of protesters on Independence Square on November 30 must not occur again,” he added.

Meanwhile, former Ukrainian Presidents Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko called for convening a national roundtable discussion and resuming talks with the European Union.

In a joint statement on December 4, they stressed that a solution should be found “through open dialogue with civil society” and suggested “looking urgently for a solution to the political crisis in the format of a national roundtable.”

They also called for resuming negotiations on the Association Agreement with the European Union. “We cannot know a complete list of all proposals for settling the situation, but we firmly believe that the voice of Ukrainian citizens should be heard by the Ukrainian authorities,” they said.

In their opinion, the main cause for the “deep political crisis” in the country is the “non-systemic work” of the government to prepare for the signature of the Association Agreement with the EU at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in late November.

Kravchuk, Kuchma and Yushchenko expressed solidarity with the peaceful actions in support of European integration. At the same time, they urged the sides to reject all attempts to solve political issues by force. “Calls for seizure of administrative buildings, revolutionary actions, a state of emergency, insubordination of cities and regions to the central authorities, and antagonising of the east and west of Ukraine must be stopped as dangerous and unpredictable,” the president said.

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