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Incumbent Ukrainian Pres, former presidents to meet in Kiev for dissolving crisis

December 10, 2013, 5:56 UTC+3 KIEV
At the time of reporting, the oppositionists’ reaction to the proposal was not known yet
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KIEV, December 10, 1:23 /ITAR-TASS/. Process of resolving Ukraine’s political crisis seems to have taken off the ground. At the very least, incumbent President Viktor Yanukovich has welcomed the initiative of the country’s former President, Leonid Kravchuk, to hold a nationwide roundtable conference and to invite government officials and opposition leaders to attend its sessions.

For Tuesday, Yanukovich has scheduled a meeting with his three former predecessors in the presidential office - Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko - to discuss the acutest problems the country is faced with.

“This roundtable conference may transform into a floor for understanding,” he said.

At the time of reporting, the oppositionists’ reaction to the proposal was not known yet but they said somewhat earlier they would reject any dialogue with the authorities as long as the participants in the actions of protest detained by the police remained at detention centers. As a precondition, they also demanded the punishment of officials who issued orders to disperse crowds on Kiev’s Independence Square /the Maidan/ November 30 and resignation of Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov’s cabinet.

Experts said the opposition leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klichko and Oleg Tyagnybok were most obviously keeping silent in an expectation for visits to Ukraine by Western politicians - the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, who was due to make a second trip to Kiev over a period of seven days, and the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton.

It was known Monday night that Baroness Ashton was going to offer EU mediation in the efforts to untangle the political standoff.

Maya Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the High Representative, said Baroness Ashton was expected to meet with the main political actors - government officials and opposition figures likewise, as well as with civic society activists.

Kocijancic indicated that the EU supported the request for steering political dialogue between the two opposing sides in a hope it would bring about resolution of the political crisis.

Baroness Ashton was also due to meet with President Yanukovich.

Kiev’s District Administrative court could also introduce some clarity regarding the opposition Tuesday, as it was about to hear a lawsuit filed by the European Party of Ukraine November 21 and challenging the legitimacy and legal effect of the government’s decision to suspend preparations for the signing of an agreement on association with the EU.

MP Nikolai Katerinchuk, the European Party leader, believes that the government’s resolution on suspending euro-integration ran counter to a number of Ukrainian laws and violated people’s rights.

At about midnight Monday, the proponents of Euro-integration continued their actions of protest on the Maidan but the police cordoning of the square had been reduced compared with the daytime.

About 6,000 policemen were patrolling the city streets. Monday night, police units peacefully squeezed the protesters out of the streets adjoining the governmental district.

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