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

Monday, May 12, 2014

© Photo: East News/AP Photo/Keystone, Gian Ehrenzeller

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

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.



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