12.04.2007 15:40
Press office of President Victor Yushchenko

Excerpt from April 12 press conference, Responsibility. Lawfulness. Peoples Choice

Respected journalists, first of all, it is a great honour and pleasure for me to meet you today. I want to greet all of you, both Ukrainian and international journalists. I am sure you all came here to learn the truth about what is going on in Ukraine and what are the predominant processes.

To start with, I would like to say there is no tragedy in Ukraine. Ukraine is following the democratic path. Problems arise while Ukraine is following this difficult path.

What is most important for me as the president is for my nation to provide a democratic response to such problems and to find a democratic answer to the challenges along this way. This is the essence, I believe. The rest is emotions which should not be taken into account.

The situation in Ukraine is stable and under control. I am confident that today the Ukrainian nation shows itself to be European and tolerant, even though there can be differences in the views of political forces or parts of society on some issues.

The second thesis I would like to share with you will bring more clarity to the understanding of today's political situation.

My decree on dissolving the Supreme Council of the fifth convocation must be complied with as it has entered into force. This is the main political reality that the Ukrainian people are living in today. The other political reality is that the president is not going to repeal the decree.

I would like to stress once again that the parliament dissolution is not a goal in itself for me. This is the only means of turning the political life in Ukraine into the lawful track. This is the only means. [Passage omitted: MPs need to be responsible; background of political conflict]

EVENTS LEADING UP TO SIGNING OF DISSOLUTION DECREE

After the consultations [with the prime minister, speaker and political leaders on 2 April], the parliament speaker asked me for a separate talk. I agreed.

The talk started with discussing what actions the president believed needed to be taken in order to regulate the situation. I told the speaker there were three options.

[1] The first one, which I preferred, was to adopt a single package of common activities, starting with how to return to parliament the over 200 MPs who were boycotting parliament sessions.

In other words, it was about starting urgent negotiations within the coalition of parliamentary factions and seeking understanding within parliament because, above all, this is a parliamentary crisis.

[2] The second thesis is that in order to avoid what happened on 22-23 March [when individual opposition MPs chose to join the parliamentary coalition], it is necessary to adopt a law introducing amendments and addenda to the law on MP status with regard to the binding norms.

The current wording of the law on the Cabinet of Ministers needs to be cancelled, as the prime minister and speaker said. It is necessary to adopt the provisions of the declaration of national unity at the level of law and to develop these priorities into legal norms, not just declarations.

[3] The next issue is to create a joint working group on amendments and addenda to the constitution because the political crisis may be exacerbated because of some unsettled issues pertaining to the system of checks and balances and the functioning of government bodies. Certainly, we discussed the need to adopt some other laws, including one on the opposition.

To put it briefly, we discussed a package [of laws] which could have been adopted by parliament within several days had it had the will to do this. As I understood it, the parliament speaker received the president's position correctly.

Although I added that if the package was not approved, I, as the president, would like parliament to resign of its own free will because it failed to provide responses to the crucial challenges of the political situation.

If this were not done, there would be the third option - the president's decree on the parliament dissolution. Having reached the understanding that the adoption of the package amendments would be preferable, we said good bye to each other.

At about 1930 [1630 gmt], I learnt that the parliament speaker called an urgent meeting. Between 2000 and 2100, I made five or six phone calls to the speaker.

I was trying to say, Oleksandr Oleksandrovych [Moroz], we agreed that at 1000 tomorrow you would report to MPs on the outcome of our talk so that we could come up with a package of proposals, invite the parliamentary factions to sit down for talks and discuss this package of proposals put forward by the president.

The parliament speaker said he had this urgent session for briefing purposes. Fifteen minutes later, I learnt that a draft resolution was being prepared. I warned the speaker against adopting any decision today.

First, half of MPs are absent from the session hall. Second, the president is not familiar with the decisions that you are going to make. It would be better for us to coordinate our steps.

Nevertheless, the preparations for an urgent meeting were under way. At 20:45, I learnt from credible sources that one of the resolutions being prepared concerns the dissolution of the Central Electoral Commission.

At 20:55, I called the parliament speaker with a final request to stop all initiatives in this format since they make relations destructive, above all within parliament.

The speaker told me he could not come to a parliament session without a draft resolution. My last phrase was Oleksandr Oleksandrovych, you act according to your conscience, I will act as the constitution tells me. At 21:00, I signed the decree to disband the Supreme Council of the fifth convocation.

LEGAL ASPECTS

We will move on to the legal side of this issue. I would like to turn your attention to two aspects of the statements made on 22 and 23 March: individual applications [to join the coalition] and the addition of parliamentary factions to the majority.

I would like to state firmly and unambiguously that the Ukrainian constitution foresees only one format for forming a majority coalition. This format is formed on the basis of a coalition of factions - full stop.

Article 83 of the constitution does not foresee any other - individual or group - membership. This is an imperative principle, which is not open for discussion. This principle is binding.

What's more, if we talk about the time limits for forming the coalition, the article continues - a coalition of factions in the Supreme Council of Ukraine [parliament] is formed within one month from the day of the opening of the first session of the Supreme Council.

Nine months have passed, esteemed colleagues, and we are raising the question in parliament of new members of the coalition and formation of a coalition.

So I proceed from the undeniable fact that when a coalition is formed in this way by a majority of factions, as occurred on 22-23 March, the constitution was blatantly violated and the majority coalition of factions was reformatted outside the legal bounds.

I would like to emphasize that the most recent parliament election that took place in March last year was the first election in the history of Ukraine that took place on a purely proportional basis. A proportional basis means competition of parties and not of first-past-the-post candidates.

This is a competition of political programmes. This is a competition of parties that, on entering parliament, form factions. The coalition of factions is a majority coalition.

This is the simple logic of the entire constitutional process that the coalition should formed exclusively in this manner. There are no two views on this.

Today none of the political forces has appealed to parliament on this position. This is the essence of the violations that occurred on 22-23 March. So I testify that this is a blatant violation of the constitution.

In this way, the formation of a majority coalition bypassing the constitution means the decisions of this coalition are illegitimate. Because you know that in the hall of the Supreme Council apart from this coalition, most MPs from other factions do not take part in sessions.

So I continue the logical chain further. The coalition is formed in an invalid way. Accordingly, its decisions are illegitimate. I would like to continue this sequence.

If we allow - even in theory, ignoring the constitution - the possibility of forming the coalition in this way, we will allow - in practice - the political results of the election to be ignored.

In this case, the movement of MPs from one faction to another is a manipulation of people's votes. In essence, this is ignoring the will of the voters, who supported this or that party - not this or that MP.

I want to emphasize that the bearers of a mandate in the Ukrainian parliament are parties and factions, not MPs. This is the point. The party holds the mandate.

If we continue with this sequence it means that a coalition, majority and government formed in this way produces illegitimate decisions and ignoring of voters, who are the sole source of power. In the end, it leads to usurpation of power and a threat to the constitutional order in Ukraine.

I would ask esteemed journalists to understand that this is not an issue of arithmetic - whether two or 11 or 25 [MPs] moved. This is a matter of principle.

If this principle means that the will of voters is ignored, that in these conditions elections are not needed, then the president should carry out his mission to act as guarantor of the observance of the constitution, rights and freedoms. You know that the fundamental right is the right to choice.

[Passage omitted: Yushchenko insists that he exhausted the potential of negotiations; says the coalition's desire to form a constitutional majority threat to democracy.]

COMPARISON TO EVENTS OF ORANGE REVOLUTION

What happened on 22-23 March is similar to what happened in November 2004. Why did people come to Independence Square in November 2004?

Because the authorities at the time, the president [Leonid Kuchma] and prime minister [Viktor Yanukovych] and Central Electoral Commission [CEC], allowed a revision of the political results of the [presidential] election.

Because they allowed the people's votes to be manipulated. Then the law came into effect, through the mechanism of the Supreme Court. The violations were of such a character that this was the mission of the Supreme Court.

What happened in March was the same sort of manipulation, but this was a manipulation with mandates which represent people's votes. The migration of MPs from one faction to another, in essence, partially cancels the election in this or that territory.

So if we are speaking of the origins of this process, the origins of the political crisis, at its basis is the parliamentary crisis, the illegitimate processes that are becoming a norm and a tradition in the Ukrainian parliament. Behind it is not just technical migration, behind it is political corruption.

It is impossible to build the nation's democratic prospects on political corruption. [Passage omitted: compares situation with Brazil situation]

RESULTS OF "USURPATION OF POWER"

I often use two terms - usurpation of power and political corruption. I would like to explain, especially to the international media, their specifically Ukrainian features.

Usurpation is not simply concentration of power in the hands of one person. This is the loss of democratic checks and balances in relations between the higher branches of the Ukrainian authorities.

Usurpation of power is already producing results. They directly affect your rights. As president, I am here to protect your rights, to defend ordinary people. I am fulfilling my oath. I am doing my job as president. I will do it regardless of the threats that are aimed at me. [Passage omitted: more in this vein]

What are we to call it when before our eyes, in broad daylight, the keys of the safe of the head of the Pecherskyy court are taken, it is opened and the stamp of the Pecherskyy court is taken? This is only possible in one case - when usurpation and the feeling that everything is permitted is flourishing.

We aren't afraid of anything because we have everything in our hands. I want to underline that it was not simple thieves from the street who came in and took the keys. The keys were taken by Party of Regions MP [Serhiy] Kivalov and three other MPs. Is this democracy?

I dismissed the head of the Pecherskyy court, a pocket court that processes pocket suits. I dismissed him on the basis of a request from the head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. I was obliged to do this. It wasn't a whim, it was my duty and I carried it out.

Why did the Feodosiya court of general jurisdiction sit to review the issue of the non-implementation of the presidential decree of 2 April.

Why did a judge who took an oath and understands well that this is the exclusive jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court allow this review, feeling that everything is permitted because he is backed by high-ups who will cover for everything?

Admittedly, the following day the court cancelled its decision. Why did the Artemivsk court adopt a similar decision a few days later, and cancel it a few days after that. These are the results of the usurpation of power.

CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION, CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

Let's turn to other aspects of our life. Why did parliament take a decision to recall the entire composition of the CEC? This is a thought about democracy, though they understand well that this is done exclusively at the request of the president and that this is illegitimate. That this cannot happen.

But they consciously allowed this violation. I am convinced that this is an insult to all Ukrainian citizens. I think we will see the day when even those who pass laws will comply with these laws.

Why are four members of the CEC ill today. I am convinced that this is an illness with one diagnosis. Why are others, according to MP Yuliya Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko, being offered 2 million [currency unspecified] to fall ill. This is usurpation and political corruption.

So I am appealing not to politicians, I am appealing to the nation before it is too late. Esteemed Ukrainian community, these problems are not restricted within the Kiev fence or the parliament fence. They may reach every Ukrainian family if we do not understand that our values are democracy and the supremacy of your rights.

Why did the Constitutional Court not work for a whole year? Who did not want this? There were two, three political forces that did not want this, and these today make up the majority coalition. It was in order to prevent the possible initiation of the review of this or that principle.

Why is there this politicization around the Constitutional Court today? This is an echo of what began in the Ukrainian parliament as political corruption. This is an echo of how parliament began to reformat itself not in line with the constitution.

It is possible to continue this sequence. Why was the law on the Cabinet of Ministers adopted? Excuse me, if I say it was for money and not for small amounts of money.

Finally, we have the manipulation of consciousness. When I was leaving for work today, there were four lads outside my house holding a Party of Regions flag. I sent my lads to ask them - the task was to find out what they wanted to say - who are you and who put you out here?

[They said:] We don't know the name of the person from the Party of Regions who put us out here. But they said that they would be paid 100 hryvnyas [20 dollars] each in the evening. This is how we are trying to create an illusion, a virtual people's position.

I do not want to address anyone personally, but I would like to say to those people who are standing and holding flags - it doesn't matter which - for 60 or 100 hryvnyas. We should not forget our honour and conscience.

We need to have values behind us. Everything else will lead to disaster. Neither you nor the nation need this. Do not sell your conscience for a doubtful 60 or 100 hryvnyas.

PRIVATIZATION ISSUES

The last thing. Political corruption has become a problem for the nation. Political corruption that starts within the walls of parliament reaches every village council, every person. It affects your interests.

I urge you to be allies of the president because I do not aim to achieve some political goal through holding the snap election. My goal is to affirm something else - the supremacy of your rights and of the constitution.

If we are not in solidarity over this, if we interpret the point of this political moment differently, then we will see the so-called privatization of the Luhansk locomotive-building plant take place before our eyes, as it indeed took place.

It took place without a tender. Instead of the experts' estimates of 2bn hrynvyas [about 400m dollars], the treasury received 292m hryvnyas. They miscalculated a little.

Who was it did not receive this money? Invalids, pensioners, teachers, medics - it was the Ukrainian nation that did not receive it. It was all of you.

There is what is happening with Ukrtelekom. It is proposed to privatize not a controlling stake, but a part of it. It is clear that if it is a controlling stake, then a key investor will come. But for a minority stake, it will be a Ukrainian confidence trickster.

We are watching this, and we believe that this policy is possible. This is the consequence of usurpation. This is the consequence of political corruption.

It will be the same with the Odessa port plant, the regional gas distributors [oblhazes], the internal wholesale energy market, if the nation does not realize that it is being robbed in this way. If it does not support the efforts not just of the president, but of all people of goodwill to resist this political behaviour, Ukraine will lose.

I could continue this sequence. There is today more than 8bn in VAT overdue for reimbursement. Half of the oil refineries are not working today because they are being reconstructed and the other half wrote a consolidated letter that they have not been compensated 880m hryvnyas.

What will be the price at the pumps when there are such relations with kickbacks? You can see the trend from prices at the petrol pump.

This is not a crisis from the president's decree. This is a crisis that began within the parliament's walls and began to migrate from the higher echelon of power. Thank you. [Passage omitted: press secretary asks for questions]

 PRES PLEDGES TO OBEY CONSTITUTIONAL COURT VERDICT

[Serhiy Sydorenko, Kommersant] I have a question on the current work of the Constitutional Court. A few days ago, five judges refused to consider high-profile issues, complaining of political pressure.

The head of the Constitutional Court, Mr [Ivan] Dombrovskyy, earlier spoke of political pressure, but he is still in his post.

There are forecasts that there won't even be a quorum in the court to review issues, in particular the issue of the legitimacy of your decree. Do you expect the court to consider this issue?

[Yushchenko] I would start by saying that I will submit to any decision of the Constitutional Court. I am a democrat. I respect the law. But I am worried about the situation that has arisen around the work of the Constitutional Court.

I would like for these people to understand one thing - that their decision is vital not for two Viktors, but for 48m Ukrainians. Corruption should not affect the work of the Constitutional Court.

I urge Constitutional Court members to be as brave as the Supreme Court was when it considered an absolutely fateful issue two years ago.

Either Ukraine would descend into civil war with conflicts that were difficult to pacify, or we would receive an answer through law as a democratic state. I wish them courage and wisdom. These are two things that are needed for the work of the Constitutional Court.

For my part, I will do everything for the Constitutional Court to function. I am aware of attempts, I know a lot of things that unfortunately I cannot speak of publicly right now - because these are things that involve nuances after which society may be disappointed in many things.

I set my goal simply avoid these things, not to allow them to happen. I am for a viable Constitutional Court. [Passage omitted: repetition]

[Olena Savchenko, Interfax-Ukrayina] The Cabinet of Ministers has asked you to suspend the decree on dissolving parliament until the Constitutional Court verdict. How would you respond to this request?

[Yushchenko] I have already answered that I will not take such a step. The president's decree is in force. I would not like Ukraine to get used to the tradition where presidential decrees can be changed by the Feodosiya or the Artemivsk court or at the request of the government.

The president's legal acts are acts of the highest legal level. They must be obeyed. Those who ignore or disobey this or similar acts will be held legally liable today or tomorrow by the Prosecutor-General's Office. There will not be any other reaction.             

NO PLANS TO DEPLOY US MISSILES IN UKRAINE

[Savchenko] One more question, please. The Pentagon has reiterated its intention to cooperate with Ukraine on the anti-missile defence system. What precisely they are talking about and do they mean the deployment of the US anti-missile defence system's components in Ukraine?

[Yushchenko] No, no-one has ever raised this issue, and Ukraine has no intention to consider this.

YUSHCHENKO READY TO DELAY ELECTION

[Roman (?Kirik), Polish Television] As I understand, the [dissolution decree] may not be repealed. But a compromise in some form or shape between you and Mr Yanukovych has to be reached.

As I understand, the date of an early election [initially scheduled for 27 May] may be changed. Can you please say whether this is correct and for how long are you ready to delay an election: until autumn or sooner?

[Yushchenko] The short answer is yes. To expand it, I am a firm believer that political means are the best way to resolve the situation existing in the Ukrainian parliament which triggered the political crisis in Ukraine.

This is a political crisis, and politicians must use their best skills to make sure that this conflict is resolved by a political mechanism. This is the best way. In my view, it is not right to put a political question to the Constitutional Court. [Passage omitted: repetition]

I envisage the resolution of the political crisis in line with a plan [forwarded to Yanukovych on 10 April] consisting of three parts.

The prime minister and I have agreed that I would not disclose these initiatives because I proposed them as working initiatives, understanding that the other side has to examine them and adopt a decision to either accept this model or deny it. This is why I cannot disclose its details today, but I can tell you about the basics of this proposal.

The first thing that the process of understanding should begin with is a joint appraisal of events that triggered this parliamentary crisis. [Passage omitted: Yushchenko lists the developments that led to the crisis.]

The second part [of the settlement plan] says what we have to do to balance mutual proposals in the context of the dissolution decree.

I will be honest with you, this will make it look like there is no winner and loser and will save the sides' face, so that we could say that we both bear responsibility and we are politically ready to accept this, starting with the binding mandate [banning MPs from swapping parliamentary factions], the law on the Cabinet of Ministers [which significantly decreased the president's powers], a single constitutional commission [that would focus on the further implementation of constitutional reform] and so forth and so on, and ending with an early election.

I am not going to comment on this in detail. This is not what my answer is for. But we have to do this in a way which will enable parliament to work in full so that 200 [opposition MPs] return to the chamber and the parliamentary factions find a compromise. This is an inseparable part of the settlement.

One cannot declare the conflict solved if 200 MPs continue to ignore parliamentary sittings. In other words, we have to immediately start political consultations among the parliamentary parties, reach an understanding and learn to listen to each other. Without this the president's efforts will not do.

And of course, I would like to stress the issue of the election date. [Passage omitted: Yushchenko explains provisions of the constitution.]

But there are many things that require a reasonable timetable. This is something that one should pay attention to. But how can you do this if the existing law does not give an answer to this. One should find a compromise then.

In other words, what I want to say is this: if there is the will to resolve this conflict in a political way, there are more than enough opportunities for this.

NO SECRET AGREEMENT WITH TYMOSHENKO

[Sonya Koshkina, Ohlyadach] Mr President, you described in detail your talk to Mr Moroz before signing the decree on the parliament dissolution. Could you please tell us about your communication with Mrs Tymoshenko that day or a day before?

Is it true that you had an agreement that in case of the parliament dissolution, Tymoshenko would insist, particularly through the Constitutional Court, on cancelling the political reform in your favour?

And would you please be more specific about your reaction if the Constitutional Court responds negatively to your decision? Will you apologize or there will be another reaction? Which one?

[Yushchenko] As for the first question, it is only up to the president to decide on the dissolution of parliament of the fifth convocation. I do not use advice from any institution. This is my decision for which I am personally responsible. It is conscious. I am eager to share the letter and intent of this document.

Therefore, there are no backstage negotiations regarding the cancellation of the reform. If there was a political force in this country to which one can appeal regarding the cancellation of the reform, I would let you know.

Today I am confident that if we are clearly aware of the problems caused by the recent amendments and addenda to the constitution, if we are well aware of these problems, the only way to collect 300 voices is through dialogue. No-one in any political force can make a decision on his or her own. Possibly, this is the strength of our situation.

Therefore, I offer to set up a working group outside the parliament building. I would like to note at once that this group should be chaired neither by the president, nor by the parliament speaker or prime minister.

It should engage the most professional adequate members - lawyers, journalists, public initiatives, parties, the representatives of the government, parliament and the presidential secretariat.

Everyone is welcome to join and form a single position. The most important is that we discuss the constitution chapter by chapter to form the system of checks and balances that would provide the leverage against usurping power by one side of the system.

And these positions should be used as a starting point for amendments and addenda to the constitution, which the president is later ready to refer officially to parliament.

Parliament should form a constitutional commission to prepare and process this issue and to arrange for a dialogue between the factions and political forces to have it finally accepted in the session hall. This is what we did not have in 2004.

This is the truth that was hidden from people then when without any discussion the fathers of the constitution, as if for the sake of people, made the changes [to the constitution]. [Passage omitted: more background]

RELATIONS WITH TYMOSHENKO

[Serhiy Leshchenko, Ukrayinska Pravda] At the rally on Independence Square yesterday, the prime minister first time said that even if this country is to have a snap parliamentary election, this will only be together with the snap presidential election. What was your reaction to this statement?

Second, how would you describe your relations with Yuliya Tymoshenko now because previously they fluctuated from comrade to rival?

Is there any guarantee that if the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc wins [the snap parliamentary election], Tymoshenko will be nominated for the prime minister? Will the same situation we had after the election last year be replayed?

[Yushchenko] Excuse me, speaking of the past election, what did the president do wrong? The coalition proposed and I did not nominate?

[Leshchenko] There were talks which finally resulted in the creation of the anti-crisis coalition because there were parallel talks between the Orange... [indistinct]

[Yushchenko] Serhiy, I asked to specify the question only because I want the questions to be put in an honest manner, without any manipulations.

[Leshchenko] The question is about relations between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko.

[Yushchenko] I understood, I understood. I wanted other to see I am well aware of the point of your question. I want to say that the president is not involved in any manipulation. If the democratic coalition failed to come to an agreement, it was not because of the discussion about [sound jumps]

Another coalition took the floor [sound jumps]. In other words, let us separate apples and oranges. When we say constitutional norms are violated in this or that case, we need to rely on law.

If these norms are not violated, we need to rely on the constitution, which is law as well. The rest is theory, blackmail, emotions or an attempt to show that this country would not do without me, would have no prospects and the sun would rise not in the east but in the west. I would not pay much attention today to the emotional part of the statements.

I am perfectly aware that the steps that need to be taken and those that were made give a lot of reasons for emotions, for artificial heat-up, but I am confident that politicians, especially the prime minister, need to be ruled by the law only. This would show his respect to the millions of people. [Passage omitted: comments on economy]

SITUATION WITH ARMY

[Halyna Rusyn, Tonis TV channel] Right before your news conference, coalition MPs said in parliament that the Ukrainian army is on alert and special squads are ready to storm the parliament building and the cabinet.

As the commander-in-chief, are you aware of what is going on in the Ukrainian army? Can you guarantee internal security and order in the country?

[Yushchenko] I am well aware of what is going on in the Ukrainian army as I am the commander-in-chief, and I hold information briefings with law-enforcement and security ministers on the daily basis. What you quoted is a lie.

No changes in the army's regime have been authorized or will be authorized. The army is out of politics. There will be no use of force in Ukraine. Let those who talk about it calm down. These are their emotions, not more.

Moreover, I authorized the defence minister to inspect military detachments by the groups of MPs who cannot control their emotions, while complying with the rules of access to special facilities.

I am ready to offer the same to journalists. If you want to monitor it with respect to the regime of security, let us do this. I want this issue removed from agenda once and for all.

I understand the responsibility you are talking about. I understand the price of the challenge, so I would like everyone to dedicate their energy in a productive way but not on these rumours, emotions and reactions. I would like to stress if there is a need, I am ready to hear your ideas. [Passage omitted: more details]

RUSSIAN DUMA'S STATEMENT

[Olha Papiy, Halychyna Television, Ivano-Frankivsk] Esteemed Mr President, it is clearly pointless to deny that the attempt to purchase 300 votes in the Supreme Council was an attempt to return us to 2004. [Passage omitted: more in this vein]

Representatives of the Russian State Duma are coming to the Supreme Council, which no longer exists after your decree. What is this? The latest interference in Ukraine's internal affairs or an attempt to realize the Kremlin geopolitical projects? [Passage omitted: Yushchenko reiterates need for snap election.]

[Yushchenko] As for the reaction of the Russian Duma, I distinguish Russia's official reaction that was expressed in the words of the Russian foreign minister, and only the Russian Foreign Ministry has the right to interpret the official state position, from the emotions that are present in the decisions of the Russian State Duma.

I understand that behind these emotions there was a desire to say more than is allowed by Ukraine's sovereign status. I would like to say that what is happening in Ukraine is exclusively Ukraine's problem. We have sufficient wisdom and reason to sort these issues out without this sort of assistance. [Passage omitted: repetition]

VISIT TO RUSSIA

[Yevhen Havrylov, RIA-Novosti] Viktor Andriyovych, you just said Ukraine is ready to cope with the conflict on its own.

Does it mean that you flatly rule out the use of foreign mediation as it was during the presidential election [in 2004]. Second, certainly, the internal situation is a priority for you, but when are you planning to visit Moscow?

[Yushchenko] I talked to Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] about four days ago. We discussed the visit as well. We agreed that my visit should be delayed due to the events of 2 April. We are in a good dialogue.

We had several talks during the recent five or six days. I support active communication and aim to brief him on my views and opinion about the situation within Ukraine.

By the way, I do the same with the heads of all European institutions, the presidents from Europe and the world. I treat it as one of my functions because country leaders should learn the news on the political peculiarities in Ukraine directly from me.

As for the use of third parties in the settlement, I want to say that I do not rule out this. However, I would like to explain when such need may arise.

I am confident that today the Ukrainian nation and politicians need to form their part of a dialogue that should have place. I remember asking for this in 2004.

No-one wanted to talk to us back then - the president and the prime minister avoided us, representatives of authorities did not attend the meetings of political forces.

We needed this dialogue because someone wanted at least one drop of blood to be shed in Khreshchatyk [Kiev's main thoroughfare] to run any force scenario. We did not want it, but we needed the dialogue. But how can one force authorities to do this? Only with the use of third parties.

Today I say I am open to negotiations. I take part in it every day. I meet any group representing one or another political force or NGOs or Ukraine's respected people. My motto is the president will be as engaged in the settlement of this conflict as it is necessary. But it is important not to overdo things.

We should not ignore parliamentary forces. They should play their solo and be invited to negotiations. Just like any other institution. Moreover, I want no discrepancy in the connections, understanding and views between the central and regional authorities. [Passage omitted: more details]

In my view, the most correct thing to do is to ask for international assistance only after all legal problems are resolved which would pave the way to a political decision. It is very important to have a third party involved, when forming this political decision.

In this case it will cement the decision and encourage us to make higher and more serious commitments. [Passage omitted: discussion of the technical side of election]     


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