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Political dialogue in Ukraine possible when parties draw red lines - diplomat

January 24, 2014, 19:58 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, January 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Political dialogue in Ukraine can be resumed only after the parties agree on the limits of a possible compromise, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov said in an interview with Itar-Tass on Friday.

“It will be possible to resume political dialogue when the parties first of all agree on what can be the subject of agreement,” he said. “Obviously, first it is necessary to draw some kind of red lines, i.e. to undertake not to demand the resignation of the president, not to use force to disperse the protesters from the Independence Square [in Kiev] and not to impose the state of emergency in the country.”

The key immediate task now, in his words, is to resume the legitimate parliamentary process, i.e. to look for ways out of the political crisis and mutually acceptable agreements only inside the Verkhovna Rada [parliament]. “Evidently, it is not an easy process and the result will not be immediate,” he noted, adding that this is why the opposition was announcing plans to create a “People’s Rada” as a “popular alternative” to the parliamentary process at the Verkhovna Rada.

“It also shows that the opposition leaders are in a search for a procedure to gain and confirm their competences for a dialogue with the official authorities,” Zurabov said. “Being not ready to recognize this fact publicly, the opposition leaders seem to be aware that their influence on protesters has its limits.”

The latest development in central Kiev, according to the Russian ambassador, “must have alarmed not only the authorities but the opposition leaders as well, since they are not interested in confrontation that might be fraught with a civil conflict.” “So, I think step one is not even the beginning of a negotiating process, but rather an answer to the question what is to be done to put things back to where they used to be at the end of the last week, before the notorious laws were signed by the president,” he noted. [On January 16, the Verkhvona Rada passed a package of laws toughening responsibility for unlawful activities of protesters].

“It looks like the opposition is now not ready to dissociate themselves from radically-minded protesters who in the recent days have been staging actions that go far beyond the current laws,” Zurabov said. “That is why they are saying that it was such forms of protest that forced the authorities to sit down at the negotiating table. Many protesters share this interpretation of the recent developments.” So, there are no “easy solutions” to the problem, he summed up.

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