EU calls for calm, "more dialogue" in Ukraine

3rd April 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 April 2007, Kiev (dpa) - The European Union called for calm from Ukraine's warring political camps and a renewed willingness to negotiate their differences as a political stand-off threatened to destabilize the country, the Interfax news agency reported. A statement from the current senior EU representative in Ukraine, German Ambassador Reinhard Schaefer, to parliament chairman Oleksander Moroz warned of the dangers of instability if Ukraine's badly-divided political factions fail to reach agreement. "We

3 April 2007

Kiev (dpa) - The European Union called for calm from Ukraine's warring political camps and a renewed willingness to negotiate their differences as a political stand-off threatened to destabilize the country, the Interfax news agency reported.

A statement from the current senior EU representative in Ukraine, German Ambassador Reinhard Schaefer, to parliament chairman Oleksander Moroz warned of the dangers of instability if Ukraine's badly-divided political factions fail to reach agreement.

"We (the EU) would prefer that there not be taken any steps which could lead to an escalation of the situation," the statement said in part.

The pro-Russia wing of Ukrainian politics led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich is faced off against the pro-Europe wing led by President Viktor Yushchenko over the division of power between the executive and the legislative branch.

Neither appeared to be budging on Monday, with media loyal to either politician accusing the opposition of violating the constitution and negotiating in bad faith in the past.

Mykola Yekaterinchiuk, a pro-Yushchenko MP, made one of the most confrontational comments of the day, declaring "Any MP who ignores a presidential order to dissolve parliament will be in violation of the law ... once the president dissolves the parliament, no-one may challenge him on this."

Yekaterinchiuk's assertion pointed to a key and as yet unresolved aspect of Ukraine's thorny parliament-president stand off: Ukrainian MPs by constitutional statute enjoy full immunity to any police interference - but it is unclear whether that immunity extends to an MP belonging to a parliament which the president has just dissolved.

The majority of Ukrainian political scientists in talk shows and interviews over the weekend were divided on whether Yushchenko would attempt to dissolve parliament, but unanimous that were he to attempt it, the matter would go to the top constitutional court.

Justices in Ukraine's constitutional court historically have supported a letter-of-the-law approach to the country's political disputes.

Despite increasing political tension and speculation that a constitutional crisis could come in a matter of days, a Yushchenko plan to visit Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday was still in effect as of Tuesday evening.

Yanukovich in recent months has used his reliable majority in parliament to reduce Yushchenko's authority over most sections of the executive branch. At a meeting with US legislators, Yanukovich said "Ukraine's democracy" was strong enough to resist a Yushchenko attempt to dissolve parliament.

Yushchenko on Friday threatened to dissolve parliament were the process to continue - a move almost sure to throw Ukraine into a constitutional crisis, as no Ukrainian president has ever dissolved a parliament.

The two sides conducted competing street marches in the capital Kiev over the weekend in an apparent effort to display public support for their positions.

DPA

Subject: German news

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