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Ukraine’s first President says political crisis advancing too far

January 24, 2014, 0:38 UTC+3 KIEV

Kravchuk indicated that the conflict was very likely to continue expanding if the sides threw away reciprocal requirements

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KIEV, January 23, 23:36 /ITAR-TASS/. Top state officials and representatives of the political opposition have the sole correct instrument for defusing the current political crisis, and it is to sit down to the conference table and “to heed each other’s voices”, Ukraine’s first President Leonid Kravchuk /in the office from 1991 through to 1994/ said Thursday in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass.

“There’s only one way out, and it is to go over from rhetorical promises to practical negotiations,” he said. “To do this, they’ll have to draw up an agenda as a first step. However, they have no agenda at present.”

Kravchuk indicated that the conflict was very likely to continue expanding if the sides threw away reciprocal requirements.

“A very acute political situation has taken shape in the country, as combat actions have begun de facto, putting people’s lives and the very independence of the state into jeopardy,” he said. “The authorities should realize that the opposition won’t quit the Maidan /Kiev’s Independence Square/ just like that because it wants to press forward with its demands. And what for have they been standing there for more than two months already?”

Along with it, Kravchuk believes that the opposition should renounce the language of ultimatums because “Ukrainian state power is losing authoritativeness as it is trying to fulfill them.”

Procrastinations with the settlement of this conflict have already led up to radicalization of people’s protest moods, he said. “And if we fail to abate this, we may slide into an uncontrollable state eventually.”

Kravchuk believes the laws, which the Verkhovna Rada - the national parliament - passed January 16, added fuel to the flames, since they sparked staunch criticism in society.

“I’d like to express my own viewpoint,” he said. “The timing of adoption was ill-conceived. Do we need such laws? We do, but they have a very problematic /legislative/ quality and their conformity to the Constitution is questionable, too.”

He voiced the hope the situation with the ‘January 16 laws’ might be settled at an emergency session of the Verkhovna Rada scheduled for January 28.

“I’d like to believe in this and I’d like to ask the MPs to do this,” Kravchuk said.

As he spoke of other possible steps capable of defusing the situation, he mentioned a resignation of the cabinet, adding that it was “impossible under the Constitution at this very moment” in spite of all the demands on the part of the oppositionists.

Since the Rada had already discussed the problem of no-confidence in the cabinet of ministers, it could take up the issue again not earlier than at the next session of the Rada.

Kravchuk cited a few instances from history when Ukrainian Prime Ministers resigned voluntarily.

“There is a form of resignation of this kind and it comes into action at the moments of conflicts and confrontations when the Prime Minister of a Deputy Prime Minister comes forward and says ‘I’m resigning’,” he said.

“Vitaly Massol, Vitold Fokin and Leonid Kuchma have done this in the past - they tendered voluntary resignations,” Kravchuk said.

When the interviewer asked him whether or not Ukraine was capable of eliminating the political crisis without assistance from any third parties, Kravchuk said: “We can do anything if we feel like doing it.”

A third party may only play the role of a guarantor but in any situation Ukraine will be making decisions on its own, he said.

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