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Ukraine parliament to consider Amnesty Bill

January 29, 2014, 6:26 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, January 29, 6:15 /ITAR-TASS/. The extraordinary session of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament), convened in attempt to take Ukraine out of the acute internal political crisis, will continue its work on Wednesday.

On the first day of the session, the members of parliament abrogated nine out of twelve laws adopted on January 16. lt was the opposition that insisted on this decision. Thereby, tougher measures of punishment for unlawful actions during protest activities were obviated.

Along with laws containing such norms, the MPs also repealed laws that stiffened criminal responsibility for the desecration or destruction of monuments to the Soviet servicemen, participants in the partisan movement, victims of Nazi persecutions, servicemen-internationalists, and for denial or justification of the crimes of fascism. However, later on, almost immediately, the MPs re-adopted the latter laws.

As for the question of a final wording of the bill for an amnesty for participants in mass meetings, the government and opposition representatives failed to agree. The consideration of the Bill was postponed until Wednesday.

"The authorities come out in favour of tougher provisions of the Bi, whereas we demand that the bill be adopted without any conditions," explained Oleg Tyagnibok, leader of the Freedom oppositional party.

"This refers to a law under which all the demonstrators, detained during protest actions in Ukraine, must bee freed," said Oleg Tsaryov, member of the ruling Party of Regions. He said the law may enter into force provided all the buildings and motor roads, seized by opposition supporters, are vacated.

Simultaneously with the commencement of the parliament session, it became knwon that Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov tendered his resignation. Several hours later, President Viktor Yanukovich accepyed it.

Both the Batkivshchina oppostion party and the pro-government Party of Regions approve of the steps taked on Tuesday to settle the political crisis and expect a continuation of the successful dialogue between the authorities and the opposition.

"That the Prime Minister of Ukraine tendered his resignation and the President accepted it indicate that the words of the authorities are not at variance with their deeds," Anatoly Bliznyuk, member of the Party of Regions, told Itar-Tass. He is confident that the talks will be continued. "One of next steps is to form a new government, The president has enough time for that, since the law assigns up to 60 days for this," the parliamentarian said. "There is time and there will be proposals (on that score)," he added in response to a question about likely candidates for premiership. He pointed out that "The first candidacy -- that of Arseny Yatsenyuk -- has been already articulated". "Let the opposition decide whether to accept the proposal made by the Head of State. If it (the oppostion) disagrees, the President will make other proposals on premier's candidacy," Bliznyuk said.

Grigory Nemyrya, a member of parliament from Batkivshchina, when speaking of the parliament's decision to go ahead with the extraordinary session on Wednesday, said, "The situation is a complicated one. It would be naive to expect that it is possible to settle such a deep crisis within several hours or within one day". The parliamentarian regards approvingly government resignation and the abrogation of the laws dated January 16. "These are positive steps. They are essential but they are not sufficient. The resignation does not settle the crisis, it can be an element of the search for ways out of it if the rules of the game of the authorities and the opposition are changed". Nemyrya pointed out that active consultaions are under way between the authorities and the opposition and talks are being held with the invitation of international experts.

On Tuesday, Viktor Yanukovich met with Stefan Fule, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy. There were no reports on the details of the talks held in the presidential administration in Kiev.

A meeting between the President of Ukraine and opposition leaders and Catherine Ashton, EU Comissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is scheduled for Wednesday. Ashton said that she personally and the European Union would continue to look for a way out of the crisis. She emphasized that she is very seriously concerned over the situation in Ukraine. Violence must be stopped and the sides involved in the conflict must ease tensions, Ashton said, and calle on the opposition to avoid those who resort to violence.

Also on Wednesday, Verkhovna Rada Speaker Vladimri Rybak is to meet with a Europarliament delegation led by Elmar Brok, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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