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Canadian foreign minister to meet with members of Ukraine’s new government in Kiev

February 27, 2014, 4:45 UTC+3 OTTAWA
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OTTAWA, February 27, /ITAR-TASS/. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird plans to meet on February 28 in Kiev with members of Ukraine’s provisional government, opposition, public and religious leaders, Rick Roth, spokesman for the Canadian foreign minister, told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

The delegation, along with Minister John Baird, will include seven more members - three lawmakers and four representatives from the Ukrainian diaspora, including President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Paul Grod, the spokesman said.

According to Roth, the delegation will take off from Ottawa, while the minister will come to Ukraine from Australia, where is currently on a working visit. The delegation will leave Kiev on Saturday morning.

Canada, along with its allies, wanted to help the Ukrainian people, Roth said, adding that some concrete measures were being discussed but these measures could not be made public so far.

On Monday, the Canadian foreign minister said that Ottawa thought the appointment of parliament speaker Alexander Turchinov to act as Ukraine’s president was legitimate and hailed this appointment.

Canada ranks second after Russia in terms of the number of the Ukrainian diaspora. About 1.2 million Ukrainian live in that country and about each 30th Canadian citizen has Ukrainian roots.

On Thursday, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, or national parliament, is expected to form a parliamentary coalition that will appoint the country’s new government. The coalition will be formed from the Batkivshchina (Fatherland), Svoboda (Freedom) and UDAR factions. It will also incorporate lawmakers nonaffiliated with any faction, who will form their lawmaker groups enjoying the rights of factions or will join any of the existing factions. The Party of Regions has already declared it would go into opposition.

On February 21, the Verkhovna Rada passed a law on returning to the 2004 constitution, which fixed the parliamentary-presidential form of government in Ukraine, where president’s competences were considerably reduced. The parliamentary coalition thus obtained the right to form the government. The Verkhovna Rada’s term has been extended from four to five years. Under the 2004 constitution, prime minister is elected by the parliament from among candidates nominated by the president. The parliament also appoints ministers of defence and of foreign affairs and head of the Security Service upon the recommendation of the president. Candidatures of other government members are nominated by the prime minister.

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