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EU Commissioner Fule urges Ukrainian govt, opposition to stop violence

January 25, 2014, 20:11 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
1 pages in this article

BRUSSELS, January 25, /ITAR-TASS/. Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule urged the Ukrainian authorities and the opposition to stop the violence and continue the dialogue.

Fule visited Kiev for two days this week on behalf of President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and High Representative/ Vice-President Catherine Ashton. During the visit, he “conveyed the deep concerns of the EU about the latest developments and underlined the need to end the cycle of violence, to fight against impunity of perpetrators of human rights violations and to continue an inclusive national dialogue to find a way out of the crisis that threatens to further destabilise the country.”

Fule held talks with President Viktor Yanukovych, leaders of the opposition party Batkivshchina Arseny Yatsenyuk, of the party Udar Vitali Klitchko and party Svoboda Oleg Tyagnibok as well as with representatives of the civil society. He also visited Kiev’s Independence Square known as the Maidan square and talked to people there.

“My talks in Kiev showed the need for a series of concrete steps to first start to rebuild trust of people by stopping the spiral of violence and intimidation, to be complemented in a second stage by an inclusive political process leading the stability in Ukraine,” Fule said.

He discussed a series of steps to this end that could lead to confidence building and to a political process aimed at ending this crisis. “I stressed to my Ukrainian partners that the EU would remain engaged in this process assisting them in de-escalating the situation and finding a way out of the crisis, as demonstrated by the scheduled visit of High Representative/Vice-President Cathy Ashton to Kiev next week,” the commissioner said.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in an interview with the German magazine Bild on January 25 that “big parts of the population [in Ukraine] lost confidence in the government long ago. [President Viktor] Yanukovich is now trying to counteract with brutal force. This is definitely the wrong way.”

In his opinion, “there are obviously people on both sides who now rely on violence. Ukraine is in its deepest crisis since independence to date” and it is crucial now for the government and the opposition to continue their dialogue. “We can now see how important it is that we continue to keep all the doors open,” he said.

However, Europe should initially give Ukraine the chance to lead the dialogue itself. If it fails, then an international dialogue would certainly be helpful, Schulz said.

He believes that both Brussels and Moscow, which has a lot of influence on Yanukovich, should be engaged in this process.

Yanukovich is now meeting with the leaders of opposition factions in the national parliament, the presidential press service said on Saturday, January 25.

Participating in the meeting are presidential chief of staff Andrei Klyuyev, his first deputy Andrei Portnov, Justice Minister Yelena Lukash, opposition UDAR (Puinch) party leader Vitali Klitschko, Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party leader Arseny Yatsenyuk, and Svoboda (Freedom) party leader Oleg Tyagnibok.

The Batkivshchina press service said the opposition leaders had agreed to hold the talks “at the request of the Council of Churches.”

“All churches of Ukraine have asked us to continue the talks and gave us their blessing,” Yatsenyuk said, adding that the opposition “did and still does everything it can to settle this horrible conflict solely by peaceful means.”

The clergy are heading to Kiev’s Independence Square, the scene of the latest mass protests, to address the demonstrators and ask them to resolve the conflict peacefully.

However Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko said the government’s attempts to “resolve the conflict peacefully without using force have been futile so far.”

“The calls have not been heard and the truce agreements have been broken,” he said in a statement.

The minister noted that “radically-minded MP Oleg Lyashko called for seizing and attacking law enforcers” and “the talks between police and protest leaders and opposition MPs that continued throughout the night failed.”

“They can no longer influence radical groups that control the seized buildings and use force,” Zakharchenko said, adding that firearms were being brought to the buildings of the House of Unions and the Kiev city administration.

“The international community must not turn a blind eye to these events that are highly extremist in nature. Opposition leaders have not distanced themselves from radical forces but can no longer control them and thus put citizens of Ukraine at risk,” the minister said.

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