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KIEV, June 11 /TASS/. Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) should adopt constitutional amendments in the next few weeks, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said in his speech in Mariupol, the government-controlled area of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, on Thursday.
"We are not ruling out that in the next few weeks we may vote for constitutional amendments in the first reading. The draft, which has been prepared by the constitutional commission, will oblige the president and the government in Kiev to sacrifice a considerable part of their powers in favour of territorial communities," Poroshenko said.
"People should be able to exercise a lion’s share of their powers in their native cities. But, the questions of foreign policy, defense, the state’s integrity and the status of a unitary state will also be the key elements of our constitution - and no federalization. There will be no more republics," Poroshenko explained.
The constitutional reform and decentralization of power are one of the points of a peace agreement signed in Minsk on February 12.
In strict compliance with this document, the official representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic in the Contact Group for the Ukraine settlement submitted their constitutional proposals on a special status of these republics, which remain part of Ukraine, with a detailed description of their rights and obligations on May 13. On June 8, they submitted additional proposals on the term of powers of the incumbent bodies of state power in the two self-proclaimed republics. The DPR and LPR have not received any official reply from Kiev yet.
The constitutional reform in Ukraine was supposed to be the key subject for discussion at the Contact Group’s working group for political issues. The working group has met twice without any visible results. The "Normandy four" political directors, including Russian deputy foreign minister Grigory Karasin, met in Paris on June 10.
"What has been happening so far is arousing a feeling of disappointment," Karasin said after the meeting. He blamed the Kiev government’s political equilibristics for the current situation. "On the one hand, Kiev says it is committed to the Minsk agreements but on the other hand, it has practically blocked their implementation," the Russian diplomat emphasized.
In this connection, Karasin expressed the hope that the political working group would be able to hold a concrete discussion at its meeting next Tuesday, June 16.