MOSCOW, March 28, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine is in need of a decentralization of power, Anne Brasseur, Predident of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), who recently returned aftrr a trip to that country, told the newspaper Kommersant.
"None of our interlocutors in Ukraine spoke unambiguously in a spirit that the country needs federalization. However, Ukraine, in my view, is definitely in need of decentralization. Local and regional problems must be addressed at appropriate level by local and regional authorities with due regard for the population's interests," Brasseur said.
Her opinion is that "a reform of the local self-government system is one of major priorities to the new authorities of Ukraine," and that it (reform) "may be effected on the basis of the European Charter of Local Self-Government".
"Such a reform will enable the new authoritites to win the population's support and overcome distrust on the part of some groups. We favour a unity of Ukraine where members of all nationalities could live in peace,"the PACE president pointed out.
Brasseur acknowledged a suppression of the rights of the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine. "Yes, I saw demonstrations held by Russian-speakers in Ukraine, in Donetsk, for example. People went into the streets (for demonstrations) in a demand for the protection of their rights. They (demonstrators) said they did not feel fully safe and that they encountered pressure and insults," she pointed out.
"Ukraine is a large country with diverse population. And the State, certainly, must ensure for every citizen the exercise of his or her rights, protect the rights of ethnic and linguistic minorities. Each citizen must have the possibility of speaking his or her mother tongue," she said.
In response to a question why the Council of Europe supported the forcible change-over of power in Ukraine, Brasseur said, "Revolution never evolves smoothly"; "the president of Ukraine fled" and "under conditions when he himself left his post", "we have a right to regard that (change-over of power) process as legitimate".
When speaking of the possibility of excluding Russia from the Council of Europe in view of the developments around Crimea, the PACE president stated that "anything may happen"and that it is difficult for her to say now "how far the present crisis in relations between the RF and Europe will go." In so doing she emphasized that at present it is important for Russia and Europe "to continue to speak to each other, and that the PACE is a convenient organization for the conduct of dialogue".