Schroeder says Ukraine needs repeat election

2nd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

2 December 2004 , BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has called on the authorities in Ukraine to repeat presidential elections to defuse the country's leadership crisis which he warned posed concerns to European security. Schroeder, in an address to the German parliament, also underlined that Berlin would not allow developments in the Ukraine to derail his government's moves to forge a new strategic partnership with Russia. A political solution was needed in Kiev, said Schroeder, adding: "Without

2 December 2004

BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has called on the authorities in Ukraine to repeat presidential elections to defuse the country's leadership crisis which he warned posed concerns to European security.

Schroeder, in an address to the German parliament, also underlined that Berlin would not allow developments in the Ukraine to derail his government's moves to forge a new strategic partnership with Russia.

A political solution was needed in Kiev, said Schroeder, adding: "Without an election repeat this cannot succeed."

The German leader threw his weight behind European Union efforts to mediate a deal in the Ukrainian presidential deadlock led by EU chief diplomat Javier Solana who was in Kiev for a second round of talks on Wednesday.

In an apparent move to end speculation over a possible German diplomatic thrust to end the crisis, Schroeder said the 25-nation EU carried greater weight than any of its members including Germany, its biggest state.

The Chancellor said he had phoned twice with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine and that Putin had agreed the "result of a democratic process which reflects the will of the Ukrainian people must be respected by all."

Schroeder added that new elections "free of manipulation" were the only way to test this will.

Russia had rushed to congratulate the officially declared winner of Ukraine's election, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

Most Western states have refused to recognize the election results and Ukraine has been paralysed since the 21 November vote by mass protest to support opposition candidate Viktor Yuschenko, who alleges that voter fraud robbed him of victory.

Schroeder and Putin are close political friends and experts say the German leader may be able to persuade Putin to take a more flexible stance toward Ukraine when they meet in Hamburg on 20 and 21 December.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Supreme Court reconvened Thursday to review allegations of fraud in the 21 November presidential run-off vote, and consider ways of resolving the country's political crisis.

All sides in the conflict mediated by international mediators have agreed to accept a decision by the court expected later Thursday or Friday, a decision that observers say could trigger a full or partial repeat of the elections.

The presidency is contested by the disputed official winner, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, and opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko, who has led mass demonstrations in Kiev since last week.   

DPA

Subject: German news

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