Putin, OSCE chairman-in-office note importance of establishing dialogue between Kiev, southeastern Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Swiss President, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman-in-Office Didier Burkhalter have discussed the Ukrainian issue on the telephone. “Following the meeting held in Moscow on May 7, the discussion of the situation in Ukraine was continued taking into account the referendum results in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” the Kremlin press office said.

“Both parties have noted the importance of enhancing efforts along the OSCE aimed at resolving the crisis situation, in particular by establishing direct dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of Ukraine’s southeastern regions,” the press office said.

Decentralization, minority rights set as priorities for Ukraine national dialogue – OSCE

Decentralization, the rights of minorities and the status of the Russian language are the priority issues during the first stage of the inter-Ukrainian dialogue, said OSCE Chairperson Didier Burkhalter on Monday, May 12, after talks with European Union foreign ministers in which he outlined a roadmap on a possible resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.

“Broad debate about issues such as decentralization and the status of the Russian language is indispensable for an inclusive, transparent, and accountable constitutional process,” said Burkhalter, who serves as Switzerland’s president.

“Reaching out to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies will help reverse the polarization of Ukrainian society,” he emphasized.

The OSCE chief, who held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, said that it is highly important to “re-build a true dialogue among the main actors, also between Russia and the EU and Russia and the US.”

“We can contribute to that,” he stated.

“We have seen in Moscow that there is an openness for a dialogue,” added Swiss president.

Burkhalter also said the OSCE was planning to send 1,000 monitors to Ukraine for the vote, “one of the biggest missions” in the organization’s history.

The Swiss president announced a series of high-level roundtable discussions led by the OSCE which would bring together “leading representatives from national government authorities, the Ukrainian Parliament, and representatives from the regions,” according to Swissinfo.ch.

They are expected to start in a pilot format in the next few days, Burkhalter added, and will be co-moderated by a respected veteran German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger.

Ischinger, who would work alongside a Ukrainian bipartisan figure, was a longtime ambassador in Britain and the US and took part in the Dayton negotiations on Bosnia as well as NATO’s eastwards enlargement. He heads the Munich security conference.

Ukraine’s roadmap prepared by OSCE not unveiled due to positions held by Washington, Kiev – FM Lavrov

The roadmap for Ukraine, which was prepared by the OSCE chairman, has not been unveiled due to positions held by Washington and Kiev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. “We are convinced that this must be done as soon as possible. It’s a pity that some people in Washington and Kiev are against including [Ukrainian] regions in a dialogue. That’s why, despite our readiness, the roadmap prepared by the OSCE chairman, has not been unveiled,” he said.

This is further proof of Kiev’s failure to “realize the need to engage in dialogue with its own people,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov said he had heard Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia and White House spokesman Jay Carney saying that it was necessary to continue negotiations on Ukraine in the quadripartite format including the United States, the European Union, Russia and Kiev.

The OSCE proposals on Ukraine envisage the launch of a national dialogue along with investigations into crimes, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“I am not sure it can be done in the near future, but we believe it is extremely necessary to call for a national dialogue on the basis of the proposals elaborated by the OSCE chairman,” Lavrov said after meeting with his Ugandan counterpart Sam Kutesa in Moscow on Monday.

“This needs to be done simultaneously with investigations into the crimes that have been committed. It is also envisioned by the ‘roadmap,’ which is promoted by the Swiss chairmanship,” the minister said.

“No new meetings on Ukraine have been planned as of yet but we would like the efforts to continue, without slowing down, and shortly materialize into a certain process, because another meeting in the quadripartite format is not quite promising,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday, according to Interfax.

Efforts to settle the Ukrainian crisis will go nowhere without the participation of opponents of the Kiev authorities in the dialogue, Lavrov added, TASS reports.

Russia calls for Ukrainian settlement principles agreed upon in Geneva to be realised in practical actions, Lavrov said.

“All key players agreed that main principles of settlement (in Ukraine) were agreed upon at Geneva talks on April 17 and now it is needed not to recur past events, but translate these principles in practical actions that conflicting parties should take,” the Russian top diplomat said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are calling for direct dialogue between the Kiev regime and its opponents.

“Nothing will work without involving the opponents of the regime in a direct dialogue on solutions to the crisis, and the people I have talked to, including US Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who call for the use of the Geneva principles in a direct dialogue between the Ukrainian parties,” Lavrov said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has described as “an utter lie” the statement on the Donetsk People’s Republic, which Facebook postings said he allegedly made.

“What you have quoted as part of my statement is a direct, utter and brazen lie,” the Russian foreign minister said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday.

“I know that lies and half-truths – which are even worse than lies – are being actively used during the Ukrainian crisis by both the Ukrainian figures who have seized power in Kiev, and by their Western patrons. But they have never gone down to such a crude lie is this one before,” Lavrov said.

“It looks like the mere silencing of facts is no longer sufficient for them – the truth finally makes its way into the open after all,” he said.

“Much credit for this must be given to Russian journalists’ intensive activity in very uneasy conditions, sometimes at a risk to their lives,” Lavrov said.

Journalists read out at a press conference a statement, attributed to Lavrov, which describes the Donetsk People’s Republic as “a terrorist organization that does not represent the interests of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine.”

The fake statement also says that, “Russia will never recognize the Donetsk People’s Republic’s independence.”

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