EU’s Ashton to meet Yanukovych, opposition in Kiev next week
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Thursday she will meet Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders in Kiev next week in an effort to promote dialogue.
“I am convinced that, in light of the violent escalation of events, the EU has to reinforce the efforts in support of the political solution,” Ashton said.
“The doors to dialogue and a political solution have to be kept open,” she said in a statement announcing the trip.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele will be in Kiev on Friday while Ashton said a European Parliament delegation will also go there next week.
“It is imperative to avoid further worsening of the situation and to pave the way for a genuine dialogue between the authorities, the opposition and civil society,” she said.
“Only an inclusive dialogue offers a viable way forward.”
Earlier Thursday, Yanukovych told European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso in a phone conversation that he did not plan to introduce a state of emergency to curb the violent protests in Kiev.
When the two talked Thursday morning, the Ukrainian leader “reassured Barroso that it was not foreseen to install a state of emergency in Ukraine,” Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said.
In Kiev meanwhile, Yanukovych demanded an extraordinary session of parliament and was to hold talks with the three main opposition leaders after world boxing champion and UDAR (Punch) party leader Vitali Klitschko brokered a truce on the streets.