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Thursday, 25 November 2004

Statement by the President of the Republic of Poland on the developments in Ukraine

On 25 November 2004, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the President of the Republic of Poland met journalists and delivered a statement concerning the situation in Ukraine in the aftermath of the presidential elections. Good afternoon. As I promised – a brief information on the developments in Ukraine. As you know, a group of experts departed last evening and is now in Ukraine. The group includes a representative of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Mr. Jacek Kluczkowski, w well-known and highly regarded expert on Ukraine, my representative, Mr. Stanisław Ciosek, also a recognized authority on the subject, and two very distinguished and experienced in international and Ukrainian matters diplomats, namely Mr. Zjączkowski and Mr. Szrajfer who in recent years also served as the Polish ambassador to the OSCE. The group is conducting talks and has already had a chance to talk to President Kuchma, exchanged views with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and at this very moment is in meeting with Mr. Yushchenko. A moment ago I received Boris Tarasiuk, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, who, as you know, also addressed the Polish Parliament. As regards my assessment of the situation, it is this: it will prove very difficult to find a compromise formula but since it usually pays to be patient, we should keep on trying hoping for the best. Much impact will have the documents from the European Union – Russia meeting. We are still waiting for these, I even postponed this conference to have them ready on the table but they are yet to come. I am, however, informed by my ambassador that the Polish position, as regards the assessment of the Ukrainian developments and the need for EU involvement, has been accepted. If I were to describe, in the shortest possible words, how I envisage the scope of the Ukrainian compromise, I would say it would have to be chalked out, I believe, around the following three points. I told this Mr. Tarasiuk a moment ago, and I wish to tell you this now. Firstly, the Supreme Court has to examine and verify the election results from all the places where there were complains of electional irregularities. In practice it means that should it be ascertained that there were cases of vote fraud and abuse in any given constituency, that vote tally should be invalidated and the Central Election Commission should recount the votes. As the second point, both sides, that is the Ukrainian authorities and the civic movement, the opposition – that we see on TV all the time – should declare that they forgo the use of force in any circumstances, that they are for preserving social order so that the legal procedures, in strict adherence to rules, can be carried out to a conclusion. And the third point is the need for all the major political forces in Ukraine to meet at a round table of a kind, to talk about the future of the country, about the much urgently needed political reforms, about how to safeguard the endangered unity of Ukraine. And this is perhaps our biggest concern today: to prevent Ukraine falling apart, in consequence of the tensions and strife, into two – eastern and western – parts. And at the same time such a political agreement, if and when reached, would have to be sustained by support extended by both, the eastern neighbors – Russia, as well as by western – Poland and the whole European Union. This is just a rough outline of a political concept which, if accepted by both sides – the present authorities and the opposition – could provide a good point of departure for resolving the present crisis. I have been asked both by President Kuchma and the opposition to come to Ukraine, to hold talks and mediate. I am ready to go. There is only the question of choosing the best point in time. I will talk about this later today with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, with other advisers, we shall also listen to what our colleagues currently in Kiev have to say. In any case, I want to state very clearly that I am ready to go on this mission and that I very much hope that all the preparatory work in progress as we now talk shall bear fruit in the form of some sound compromise beneficial to Ukraine and the world at large.
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