Fischer calls for reviewof disputed Ukraine poll

25th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

25 November 2004, BERLIN/KIEV - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called on Thursday for Ukraine's disputed presidential election to be examined under international supervision. Fischer told journalists in Berlin that if there were signs of "considerable falsifications" in Sunday's run-off poll "then one cannot rule out new elections being held". Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, on Wednesday passed a unanimous resolution calling for a review of the Ukrainian electoral rolls and a c

25 November 2004

BERLIN/KIEV - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called on Thursday for Ukraine's disputed presidential election to be examined under international supervision.

Fischer told journalists in Berlin that if there were signs of "considerable falsifications" in Sunday's run-off poll "then one cannot rule out new elections being held".

Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, on Wednesday passed a unanimous resolution calling for a review of the Ukrainian electoral rolls and a complete recount of the votes.

In the parliamentary debate, Fischer said all the signs were that there had been major fraud and that Russia's President Vladimir Putin had influenced the electoral campaign in favour of the declared winner, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder phoned Putin on 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, tens of thousands of Ukrainians returned to the streets of the capital Kiev on Thursday amidst a possible Polish diplomatic breakthrough to help defuse the crisis.

Some 5,000 demonstrators spent the night pitched on the Ukrainian capital's main street, the Khreschatyk, under frigid sub-zero temperatures. Buses positioned nearby were in use throughout the night as a place to get warm.

State-owned trains and buses loaded with pro-government activists were arriving at an eastern rail station of the capital on Thursday morning. Passengers told an Interfax news agency reporter they expected to stay in Kiev for "around five days."

The capital saw thousands of people wearing pro-Yuschenko orange arriving in the city centre throughout the morning. The crowd by midday was nevertheless smaller than in previous days, in part because of temperatures around ten degrees of frost.

Opposition activists in Ukraine's western regions were moving to block roads connecting the country to the west, said opposition politician Oleksander Zinchenko in a public speech.

The tactic is aimed at the economic interests of Ukrainian tycoons exporting commodities by road to Europe. Most Ukrainian industrialists support Yanukovich.

Intense Polish diplomatic efforts overnight produced a joint government/opposition invitation to Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski to visit the country.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma issued the invitation from the government side. Ukrainian politician Viktor Yuschenko, who declared himself Kuchma's rightful replacement on Tuesday, issued the invitation for the opposition.

Lech Walesa, leader of Poland's 1980s Solidarity revolution against communism, arrived in Kiev on Thursday at the invitation of opposition leader Yuschenko.

Walesa said he hoped to help Ukraine avoid the sort of measures used against Poland's liberation movement in the 1980s, when the Soviet-backed government declared martial law.

Poland, one of the new EU members, has been closely watching developments on its eastern border since Ukraine plunged into political crises last Sunday. Warsaw lost part of its territory to Ukraine during the 1939 Soviet annexation of east Poland in the opening salvos of World War II.

The European Union on Thursday declared the vote "does not reflect the real will of the Ukrainian people," and called on the Ukrainian government to review the result. The EU was scheduled to debate the Ukrainian situation later in the day.

DPA

Subject: German news

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