Schroeder steps back from Ukraine mediation

1st December 2004, Comments 0 comments

1 December 2004 , BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday side-stepped questions as to whether he would get directly involved in attempts to defuse the political crisis in Ukraine. Asked if he was willing to travel to Kiev to mediate, Schroeder said: "I think the mediators who are at work there, namely (European Union chief diplomat Javier) Solana and the Polish President (Aleksander Kwasniewski), are good mediators." He declined to make further comments at a press briefing but said he wo

1 December 2004

BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday side-stepped questions as to whether he would get directly involved in attempts to defuse the political crisis in Ukraine.

Asked if he was willing to travel to Kiev to mediate, Schroeder said: "I think the mediators who are at work there, namely (European Union chief diplomat Javier) Solana and the Polish President (Aleksander Kwasniewski), are good mediators."

He declined to make further comments at a press briefing but said he would address Ukraine in a speech to parliament later Wednesday.

Schroeder has a close political friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and experts say he may be able to persuade the Russian leader to take a more flexible stance toward Ukraine.

Putin and Schroeder telephoned on Tuesday after which the Chancellor's chief spokesman announced that Russia had agreed to respect the result of a possible new election in Ukraine.

Germany has called for a repeat of Ukraine's flawed 21 November presidential elections.

Meanwhile, Kiev's week-old crisis intensified with key players stepping back from previous concessions, parliament passing a no- confidence motion, and international negotiators returning to the country in an attempt to defuse the situation.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma declared his opposition to a an election repeat poll, a clear move away from previous general statements supporting some form of repeat elections.

Berlin also announced on Wednesday that Schroeder and Putin will have talks later this month focused on European and international politics.

The meetings on 20 and 21 December will take place in the northern German city of Hamburg and in nearby Gottorf Castle, said Schroeder's chief spokesman, Bela Anda.

Both leaders had been scheduled to meet in Hamburg last September but Putin was forced to cancel his trip due to the Beslan school hostage crisis.

DPA

Subject: German news

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