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Ukrainian parliament’s memo to grant broader powers for regions

April 17, 2014, 19:01 UTC+3 KIEV
The joint memorandum on the stabilization of the situation in the south-east of Ukraine will underscore the territorial integrity and indivisibility of Ukraine
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© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, April 17. /ITAR-TASS/. The joint memorandum on the stabilization of the situation in the south-east of Ukraine, which may be signed by all factions on Thursday, April 17, will reject federalization, grant broader powers to regions, give official status to other languages in certain regions, and proclaim constitutional amendments, Serhiy Sobolev, acting head of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) faction in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament), said.

“The joint statement will underscore the territorial integrity and indivisibility of Ukraine,” he said.

Sobolev said the issue of languages would be solved by adopting a law. “Given the proposals from several factions, we suggest settling the linguistic issue in a law that will state the right of regions with a majority of people speaking another language to have an official status for such linguistic group, which will give them broader powers and resolve this issue once and for all. Our colleagues have suggested including (the issue) in the Constitution, but this is the section that requires a referendum,” the MP said. “This is why we will most likely settle it in a law, and we are ready to state this in the memorandum,” he added.

According to Sobolev, the authorities will also support a law on amnesty for protesters in eastern regions of Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, Oleksandr Yefremov, the leader of the Party of Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada, said that the authorities and the opposition had failed to reach an agreement on a memorandum on the settlement of the situation in the country’s south-eastern regions.

He said the Party of Regions would insist that “the final document include the south-eastern regions’ demands for the (official) status of the Russian language and decentralization of power”.

Parliament-appointed acting President Oleksadnr Turchynov expressed hope that the authorities and the opposition would sign the memorandum before April 20.

“To our deep regret, the work proceeds with great difficulty because we are holding constant consultations on a peaceful settlement of the situation in Donetsk. We have come close to adopting a memorandum and laws but, to our deep regret, we have not yet found the point of consensus, where the solution will be filled up with concrete substance,” Turchynov said.

“I do hope that before Easter we will achieve the format that will consolidate the citizens of Ukraine and pool all of our efforts around united and indivisible Ukraine,” he said.

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