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Government and opposition sit at negotiating table again to decide Ukraine’s future

December 17, 2013, 10:55 UTC+3 KIEV
It will bring together former presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko, opposition leaders and representatives of the government
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© ITAR-TASS/Andrei Mosienko

KIEV, December 17. /ITAR-TASS/. A nationwide roundtable table meeting initiated by Ukraine’s first president Leonid Kravchuk to stabilise the domestic political situation will continue its work on Tuesday.

It will bring together former presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko, opposition leaders and representatives of the government.

At the previous roundtable meeting on December 13 with participation of President Viktor Yanukovich the opposition announced the collapse of the negotiations. Leader of Ukraine’s opposition Udar party (Punch), boxing champion Vitali Klitschko said “the authorities had met no demand of the opposition.”

However, on Saturday Yanukovich sacked Deputy Security Council Secretary Vladimir Sivkovich and head of the Kiev city administration Alexander Popov suspected of abuse of power while dispersing pro-European protesters on Kiev’s central square on November 30. Moreover, Kiev police chief and his deputy were also dismissed, while several protesters arrested after clashes with police were released from prison.

This time the opposition plans to raise the issue on a timeframe of singing an association agreement with the European Union and discuss the ruling Party of Regions’ requirement “to reformat the government led by Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov by 90%.”

The opposition insists on the cabinet’s resignation and the formation of a government of national confidence.

Parliamentarians from opposition factions collected over 170 signatures in support of the government’s resignation. Signatures are being gathered under a draft decree that the Communist Party proposed to consider at a parliamentary session. In addition to communists’ votes the decree is supported by about 210 deputies. One hundred and fifty signatures are required to consider the issue at a parliamentary session and 226 signatures - for the voting to be effective.

Some opposition parliamentarians threaten to block the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, if they get no necessary votes. In the current conditions the parliament turned “into an exclusively formal body,” they said.

On December 3, the parliament considered a no-confidence motion against the government submitted by opposition factions Batkivshchina (Fatherland), Udar (Punch) and Svoboda (Freedom), but the majority rejected it.

The opposition invites citizens to join another nationwide protest due on Kiev’s central square Maidan Nezalezhnosti later on Tuesday “to prevent Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.” At the same time the Party of Regions assures that this will not happen.

“Some try to bring a political component. But there is no political component,” the leader of the Party of Regions’ parliamentary faction, Alexander Yefremov, said, adding that the Ukrainian government planned to sign purely economic agreements with Russia.

Yefremov said at the meeting with the Party of Regions Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov on Monday “showed all protocols of documents to be signed in Moscow.” “This is mainly a bloc of documents concerning economic relations,” he said. “We are restoring cooperation. This will give our enterprises an opportunity to keep jobs.”


Along with this he added the protocol did not contain a finalized gas price. “What price will be, it will be defined directly within the framework of negotiations and signing of these documents,” Yefremov said.

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