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German, French, Polish FMs to meet Yanukovich again

February 21, 2014, 2:41 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, February 21, 2:08 /ITAR-TASS/. The foreign ministers of Poland, Germany and France intend to meet with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich again, French Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday, February 20, after talks with opposition leaders in Kiev.

“We tried to consider different ways to stop the violence, form a new government and hold new elections. We intend to meet with Yanukovich again this night and with the opposition afterwards,” the minister said, adding that no final solution had been found yet.

Fabius promised to continue efforts towards a political settlement in Ukraine. “There is no solution yet, but we are doing our utmost to move forward. The situation is very complex and it will take maximum effort to resolve it,” Fabius said.

The foreign ministers of Poland, Germany and France said earlier that they had achieved progress at the talks with the opposition and the authorities in Kiev.

“After the talks with the opposition we go back to President Yanukovich to help him at the talks. Progress has been achieved but important disagreements remain,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said.

The Polish, German and French ministers will remain in Kiev for overnight talks. They were sent to the Ukrainian capital on a diplomatic mission by Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. They had a four-hour meeting with Yanukovich and then conferred with opposition leaders.

The meeting with the opposition was very long. Discussed were the issues previously talked about with Yanukovich: early presidential and parliamentary elections, constitutional amendments and formation of a new government, a diplomatic source told the Polish Press Agency said.

Addressing the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Thursday, Ashton said she had spoken to them twice in the last couple of hours, they had had a number of meetings and were currently in further discussions.

“We have said in all the visits to Ukraine, what needs to happen: the dialogue, the importance of moving on the constitutional issues and the importance of moving towards free and fair elections. We stand by those; and we stand by the people of Ukraine. The responsibility to stop this violence rests squarely with those in power and we urge them to do so as quickly as possible,” the EU foreign policy chief said.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the situation in Ukraine was “very difficult and remains extremely volatile” with the immediate and urgent priority being to avoid further bloodshed and save human lives.

“The authorities have a special responsibility in ensuring it and demonstrators also need to keep the peaceful nature of the protests. An immediate end to the violence and a meaningful dialogue, responding to democratic aspirations of the people of Ukraine is the only way to solve the political and institutional crisis,” he said.

Along with the offer of assistance in facilitating dialogue and de-escalating the situation, he stressed that “the most immediate thing is to put an end to violence, violence to stop as soon as possible.”

“We will continue engaged and committed to a political, democratic and peaceful solution of the situation in Ukraine together with our international partners,” Barroso noted.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian parliament voted to stop the counter-terrorism operation in the country and return all law enforcement units to their permanent bases.

The resolution passed by the parliament also calls for releasing all detained persons and prohibits police from blocking roads.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s permanent representative in the parliament, Yuri Miroshnichenko, said the main task was to stop the bloodshed in the country.

“The first and foremost task we are facing is to stop the bloodshed. This is why the president held meetings and spent hours consulting with our colleagues from the European Union. This is why he invited opposition leaders to a meeting,” he said.

Miroshnichernko said there was no time for long discussions. “We need to adopt a consolidated decision that will be voted for by the whole parliament. If only a part of MPs vote for it, this will bring no peace and calm. This is why it is fundamentally important to work out a common position and state an action plan, which each side - demonstrators and the authorities - will comply with strictly. This is what the president is talking about,” Miroshnichenko said.

“Although emotions fly high, we have no other way but adopt legitimate decisions. And these decisions are being adopted,” he said.

Ukrainian MPs voted to work in plenary sessions until the political crisis was resolved. The decision was passed by 229 votes with the required 226.

The parliament will work on a daily basis, including weekends.

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