Ukraine ’round table’ meeting to be held on May 14 – German gov’t

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A “round table” of Ukrainian politicians and civil groups will meet on Wednesday, May 14, Germany’s government spokesman said, welcoming the move as a potential step towards easing the crisis. “We need national dialogue in Ukraine with the participation of the OSCE to discuss crucial themes like decentralization, constitutional questions, constitutional reforms,” spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters at a regular government press conference on Monday.

“We welcome the fact that preparations for a round table have progressed and that on Wednesday a first round table meeting will be held,” he added, as quoted by Reuters. A spokesman for the foreign ministry declined to say which groups would be involved.

EU FMs to discuss situation in Ukraine’s east and possible new sanctions against Russia

The foreign ministers of the 28 member-countries of the European Union (EU) will hold a routine meeting in the Belgian capital on Monday to consider possible consequences of the referendums held on Sunday in Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine. It is also planned to discuss advisability of application of additional sanctions with regard to Russia. An EU Council official said sanctions might be applied against about 15 more Russian citizens and five Crimea-based companies.

Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), will attend the ministerial meeting. He is expected to brief the ministers on the results of his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on May 7, and on OSCE proposals about elaborating a roadmap for a way out of the crisis in Ukraine.

The document contains such points as ceasefire, deescalation of tensions, the establishment of a dialogue, and the holding of elections.

Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, will make a special visit to the Ukrainian capital on Monday to give moral support to Kiev and to discuss the course of preparation for presidential elections.

The polls, scheduled for May 25, are under the threat of frustration owing to a special operation being conducted by Kiev’s security forces in the country’s south-eastern regions.

The European Commission will go ahead with a hurried preparation here for a May 13 “joint meeting” with the provisional government of Ukraine.

Incidentally, according to availbale information, the meeting will involve only several members of the Verkhovna Rada-appointed Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers.

Gerhard Shroeder cautions West against building pressure on Russia

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder has cautioned Germany and other Western countries against imposing tougher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

Instead of building pressure on Moscow, the West should be more attentive to Russia’s security concerns and resist America’s push for tighter sanctions, Shroeder told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Germany is Russia’s central partner both from the economic and political viewpoints, therefore the role of the German government is so important here, the ex-chancellor said.

Shroeder urged Kiev to stop using military force in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian government should seize any chance for a peaceful way out of the conflict, not doing so would be irresponsible, he said.

The Kiev authorities should, in Shroeder’s opinion, be ready for national dialogue with eastern Ukraine.

He believes that the European Union should press Kiev to follow the right path.

The clue to the Ukrainian crisis is not just in Moscow, but also in Brussels, Washington and Berlin, Shroeder said, TASS reports.

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