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Work on Ukraine constitutional reform not transparent — Russian foreign minister

May 19, 2014, 17:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW
“If these round-table discussions were meant to be used just as a screen, with a real reform carried out behind closed-doors, this surely won’t add trust of the southeast”, he says
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Sergei Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov

© Anton Novoderezhkin

MOSCOW, May 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Work on a constitutional reform in Ukraine proceeds “privately and non-transparently,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

“We have read reports saying a certain committee was set up in the Verkhovna Rada to work on the reform, and asked for additional information, which was inaccessible,” the minister said. “Nobody knows what amendments are being made,” he added.

“One of these days we have received another piece of news that these amendments were sent to the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe for assessment,” Lavrov said. “This is a bit strange as the procedure envisages first the completion of national discussion of this or that law, and only then an expertise of the Venice Commission,” he noted.

Nevertheless, the process of a constitutional reform has been announced by the authorities, and it proceeds not transparently, while in parallel ‘round-table discussions’ have been announced to discuss alterations already made by the parliament’s secret commission,” the diplomat said.

“If these round-table discussions were meant to be used just as a screen, with a real reform carried out behind closed-doors, this surely won’t add trust of the southeast” in the activities of the authorities, Lavrov said.

 

Punitive operation in south-east should be stopped

The military campaign in Ukraine’s southeast should be stopped so national dialogue can be launched, Lavrov added.

“A punitive operation and use of the army against the population don’t contribute to creating conditions for the launch of a truly nationwide dialogue in Ukraine with the aim of agreeing on national reconciliation and constitutional reform suiting all parties,” Russia's top diplomat said.

“That is why we insist that the so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ should be stopped as an unconditional first step,” he added, saying that this operation “was turning into activities to terrorize Ukrainian citizens for their political convictions”.

This would be fully in conformity with the Geneva statement and the "roadmap" of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), he said.

“Representatives of the OSCE mission, staying in the area of combat operations, should take the initiative of acting as mediators and agreeing on the sequence of moves to deescalate the situation,” Lavrov added.

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