Ukraine: language policy issue still unresolved

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Aug 1 13:51:51 UTC 2006

Official criticises Yushchenko for pro-NATO position.

29.07.2006, 20.47

 KIEV, July 29 (Itar-Tass) -- Former presidential chief of staff Viktor
Medvedchuk criticised President Viktor Yushchenko for his pro-NATO policy
and said the question of Ukraines accession to NATO should be decided only
in a nationwide referendum. Only an all-Ukraine referendum should decide
whether Ukraine will be in NATO or will remain a neutral state. This is
why an attempt to solve this issue by political bargaining is doomed to
failure, he said. Medvedchuk, who is the leader of Ukraines United Social
Democrats, expressed hope that people will bring in their verdict and
evaluate all parties to the talks.

President Viktor Yushchenko had a real chance to become the president of
the whole of Ukraine, not part of it, but he seems to have preferred
another path: at the roundtable we saw only the leader of one of the
political forces, Medvedchuk said. He said the roundtable on the
resolution of the political crisis in Ukraine is another political show
staged by authorities. By using the slogan of national unity as a cover,
authorities as always have forgotten about the people. Ukraine's accession
to NATO is one of the stumbling blocks at the talks.  The president
insists that the country should be a member of NATO and refers to external
threats to Ukraines security.

Public opinion polls show that less than 20 percent of the population
support Ukraines accession to NATO. The roundtable will resume on Monday,
July 31, the presidential press service said earlier in the day. By
agreement, the leaders of parliamentary factions will hold consultations
and the political parties involved in the round able will convene their
councils on Sunday. The roundtable reconvened on Saturday afternoon after
almost overnight talks, but the parties failed to sign the Universal of
National Unity that should put forth a plan of action to stabilise the
political situation in the country.

It envisages that a new parliamentary coalition may be formed or the
already formed anti-crisis coalition consisting of the Party of Regions,
the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party may be enlarged by
incorporating of the pro-presidential bloc Our Ukraine. The main obstacle
to consensus is President Viktor Yushchenkos reluctance to nominate Party
of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovich for prime minister, the head of the
Socialist Party's faction in the parliament, Vasily Tsushko, said. Either
Yushchenko gives guarantees on prime minister or the parliament is
dissolved and new elections are called. It is the essence of the show,
Tsushko said.

In his view, Yushchenko and Yanukovich do not trust each other. Incumbent
Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov described the situation at the overnight
talks as complicated. The negotiations focused on four issues, and no
compromise on them was reached. The questions were federalism and the
unity of the country, the language policy, Euro-Atlantic integration
(Ukraine's accession to NATO), and cooperation within the Common Economic

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