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US official says US sides with EU choicemade by Ukrainian people

December 05, 2013, 18:45 UTC+3 KIEV
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland: this is Ukraine's moment to meet the aspirations of its people or disappoint them
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U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonid Kozhara

U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonid Kozhara

© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

KIEV, December 05. /ITAR-TASS/. U.S. is siding with the people of Ukraine that has chosen Europe, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said Thursday as she took the floor at a conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe /OSCE/ underway in Kiev.

"Whole world is looking at Ukraine today and all the principles and values, on which the OSCE was founded forty years ago, have been put at stake today," Nuland claimed.

"This is Ukraine's moment to meet the aspirations of its people or disappoint them," she told the OSCE meeting. "Democratic norms and the rule of law must be upheld."

She called on all the parties to the turbulent political process in this country to renounce violence, adding that those who have overused powers should face justice.

The OSCE conference in Kiev is proceeding on the background of mass actions of protest sparked by the authorities’ decision to suspend the signing of an agreement on association with the EU. Participants in many-thousands-strong rallies are demanding that the government return to the signing process and the cabinet of ministers resign.

On the face of it, the opponents of Euro-integration support of the position of President Viktor Yanukovich and his administration.

Several cordons of policemen are guarding the government quarter since Thursday morning and the streets leading to the Verkhovna rada and the government building. Police busses are blocking Sadovaya Street that links the two buildings.

Only about 150 oppositionists waving the flags of the ultra-right nationalistic Svoboda party and the Ukrainian Rebel Army, which fought on Hitler’s side of the frontline during World War II, managed to approach the cabinet of ministers’ building in the morning and about a hundred people with the banners of UDAR party could be seen picketing Bankovaya Street where the office of the Presidential Administration is located.

Staff workers of the Verkhovna Rada and the cabinet have big problems as they try to get to their work places. They have to use bypass routes, as do the employees of the Presidential Administration staff.

A camp of supporters of the ruling Regions Party and President Yanukovich has been put up the square in front of the entrance to the Rada and in the Mariinsky park. A public rally was also held there Thursday afternoon.

The area is surrounded by a metal fence and a stage for speakers has been installed inside. The organizers have had to move sideways the improvised fence of metallic shields inside which the meeting is taking place, since the square did not have enough room for all the supporters of the authorities.

Several thousand people gathered there. The pauses between speeches are filled with songs by Soviet-era chansonnier Mark Bernes and the contemporary group Lyube.

Thursday afternoon, no more than 2,000 people could be seen in the main camp of the opposition on Independence Square /the Maidan/, the central actions hotspot of oppositionist actions.

Utterances made by Victoria Nuland prompted Guido Westerwelle, the German Foreign Minister who is also taking part in the OSCE conference, to offer explanations on behalf of his government.

German Foreign Ministry does not think that the EU is meddling with Ukraine’s internal affairs when it renders support to the protest movement in the country, Westerwelle told ARD channel in Germany.

When the EU is moving towards other Europeans and conducting dialogue with them, this is an expression of European values, not interference in anyone’s internal affairs, he claimed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday upon the results of a Russia-EU summit in Brussels that events in Ukraine were the domestic affair of this country.

As took the floor at the OSCE conference Thursday, he did not mention the current protests in Ukraine.

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