Berlin joins efforts toresolve Ukraine crisis
26 November 2004 , KIEV/BERLIN - Germany has stepped up its diplomatic efforts to help resolve Ukraine's political crisis with Berlin calling for a review under international supervision of the disputed presidential elections. A foreign ministry spokeswoman said the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) could oversee a poll review. The spokeswoman said a solution had to be found in the crisis resulting from Sunday's run-off polls which was acceptable to all sides. With tensions growin
26 November 2004
KIEV/BERLIN - Germany has stepped up its diplomatic efforts to help resolve Ukraine's political crisis with Berlin calling for a review under international supervision of the disputed presidential elections.
A foreign ministry spokeswoman said the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) could oversee a poll review.
The spokeswoman said a solution had to be found in the crisis resulting from Sunday's run-off polls which was acceptable to all sides.
With tensions growing over the standoff in Kiev, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called for a review of the election on Thursday and phoned outgoing Ukraine president Leonid Kuchma and opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko to discuss the crisis.
Indeed, the sixth day of mass demonstrations was accompanied by intense international efforts to help Ukraine resolve the crisis triggered by disputed presidential elections.
Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski and EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana were among the dignitaries arriving in Kiev on Friday for talks to defuse the conflict.
A German foreign ministry spokesman said Fischer called on both sides to seek a political solution to the crisis without violence.
Fischer told journalists in Berlin that if there were signs of "considerable falsifications" in Sunday's poll "then one cannot rule out new elections being held".
The elections must express the will of the people "in order to guarantee the national consensus", he said after a meeting with the foreign minister of Cyprus, George Iakovou.
Fischer added that all sides had to contribute to a democratic solution. This went for "participants in Ukraine as well as regional and international participants", he said.
The comment was believed to be a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin whom Fischer accused in parliament Wednesday of influencing the electoral campaign in favour of the declared winner, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.
In the parliamentary debate, Fischer also said all the signs were that there had been major fraud in the polls.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder phoned Putin Wednesday to raise his concerns about Ukraine's election crisis.
Officials in Moscow said the German leader had called for the stand-off to be settled "in accord with the terms of Ukrainian electoral laws".
Meanwhile in Kiev, Yanukovich was prevented from entering his office on Friday by demonstrators who have sealed streets leading to government administration buildings in the capital.
Eyewitnesses confirmed the prime minister was unable to get to his office as it was blocked by thousands of supporters of Viktor Yuschenko.
Yuschenko, a reform politician, declared himself the true president on Tuesday, charging Yanukovich backers with massive voter fraud during the 21 November poll. Yanukovich won by a small margin.
Kwasniewski during the morning met with Kuchma, and with Yuschenko. An afternoon meeting between Kwasniewski and Yanukovich was being considered, according to Polish diplomats in Kiev.
Solana arrived in Kiev shortly after Kwasniewski.
Trilateral talks between Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Litvin, Kwasniewski, and Solana were in progress by midday.
Discussions between the Ukrainian politicians and Europeon officials according to news reports focused on resolving fraud allegations stemming from the 21 November vote.
Public indignation over that result has sparked the largest mass protests in Ukraine history, which have remained peaceful.
The Yuschenko camp added fuel to vote fraud allegations on Friday by making public tapes of telephone conversations purported to show Yanukovich heading up a nationwide vote-fixing operation over the last month.
Yanukovich's staff had no immediate comments on the alleged evidence.
Tension in the capital's streets was greatest near the presidential administration building, where protestors massed at both ends of the entrance street, effectively preventing the government's top leadership from moving to and from the building.
Three lines of anti-riot police were blocking the crowd from pressing towards the building, but officers were taking no steps to break the blockade.
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus also was set to fly to the Ukrainian capital on Friday afternoon to join Kwasniewski.
Jan Kubis, general secretary for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was expected to arrive for a two-day visit.
Ukraine's parliament reportedly has agreed to meet in extraordinary session on Saturday, however official confirmation was not immediately available.
DPA and Expatica
Subject: German news