OSCE Parliamentary Assembly debates crisis in Ukraine

2014-WM-Adao Silva"Today all of us are Ukrainians," says Adao Silva, Head of the Portuguese Delegation.Role of international community in promoting resolution among topics

VIENNA, 14 February 2014 – More than 250 parliamentarians from more than 50 OSCE participating states have held a spirited debate on the current situation in Ukraine to close the 13th Winter Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

In written opening remarks, OSCE PA President Ranko Krivokapic urged parliamentarians to consider how the Assembly can best support a democratic resolution to a situation he described as volatile:

"The potential remains for renewed escalation and violence. Should positions become increasingly entrenched, the sense of desperation may increase as well. In recent days, there have also been disturbing reports of protesters tortured, abductions, and hired and foreign thugs at work. I find these reports shocking and deplorable," Krivokapic said.

The PA President also reiterated the Assembly's public stance to date and emphasized its offer of direct assistance in the crisis:

"The Assembly has spoken out consistently and constructively ... urging Ukraine to live up to its OSCE commitments to safeguard freedom of assembly and speech and protect journalists. We've called for the deaths and violence to be fully investigated. We've steadfastly encouraged dialogue. And we've urged all sides in the standoff to work through democratic channels. We've also offered more direct help through mediation – an offer than remains on the table," Krivokapic said in his statement.

Ukrainian Members of Parliament from the Communist Party, Batkivshchyna, Party of Regions and UDAR were active in the debate.

The Head of the Ukrainian Delegation, Oleg Zarubinskyi (Party of Regions), said, "There are no unambiguous angels and there are no unambiguous demons in the Ukrainian conflict."

"Ukraine will never be somebody's mandated territory. Therefore, no one except citizens of Ukraine will determine who will be empowered in country," he added.

Deputy Head of Delegation Mykola Katerynchuk (Batkivshchyna) argued that there would be no resolution to the crisis in his country as long as citizens are deprived of that option and "the people's demands continue to fall on deaf ears."

Parliamentarians spent much of the debate discussing the role that the international community, including the OSCE and its Parliamentary Assembly, should play in efforts to resolve the conflict. Delegations offered a variety of opinions:

Oleg Lebedev, a Member of the Russian Delegation, warned that "interference from epicenters of the European Union threatens to undermine Ukraine's democratic structures."

OSCE PA Vice-President Isabel Pozuelo (Spain) warned of a "new Cold War" brewing around Ukraine, and argued that the international ramifications of the conflict necessitate "active participation from the EU, OSCE and outside organizations, doing their utmost to promote a peaceful solution."

Several delegates spoke out against the prospect of countries imposing sanctions on Ukrainians in response to the conflict, while others urged that such measures should be kept on the table in their national parliaments.

Others argued that a peaceful resolution in Ukraine would hinge on the country's compliance with OSCE commitments and urged the Parliamentary Assembly as a body to speak out publicly whenever those commitments are challenged.

Adao Silva, the Head of the Portuguese Delegation, proposed the creation of a special OSCE PA task force to monitor events in Ukraine.

"Today all of us are Ukrainians and Maidan is the center of Europe and the OSCE region," he said.

For full video of the debate and other sessions from the 2013 Winter Meeting, visit the OSCE PA's YouTube page at www.youtube.com/oscepa.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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