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Lithuania may be asked to mediate Ukraine crisis 's Kirkilas

  • 2007-04-18
  • By Arturas Racas
VILNIUS - Lithuania may soon be called upon to mediate the current political standoff in Ukraine, Lithua-nian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said after a two-day visit to the country. Ukraine has been stricken by a conflict between its president and prime minister, and faces a constitutional crisis.

"President Viktor Yushchen-ko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych believe that they may need international assistance. They think that the current stage of negotiations does not need international mediation, but believe this could be needed in the future, perhaps next week," Kirkilas said in an interview with Lithuanian public radio from Kiev on April 13.
According to Kirkilas, Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus may be asked to play the role of international mediator, just as he did in 2004 when he, alongside Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski and the European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana, mediated another political standoff between the same two men over contested presidential elections.

That political crisis then ended with victory for opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko in what came to be known as the "Orange Revolution." At the time, Lithuanian politicians including Adamkus openly expressed their support for Yushchenko.
By contrast, Lithuania's prime minister during his recent Kiev trip met first with Yushchenko's main opponent.
"Lithuania's interest is that the crisis in Ukraine is solved in a democratic way. A compromise must be found, it is a test for democracy," Kirkilas said in a briefing after talks with Yanukovych.
The Ukrainian prime minister in a press conference said that international observers would facilitate finding a way out of the political crisis.

"We would like international mediators to have the possibility to follow the current processes in Ukraine," Yanukovych said, adding that this would ensure the "highest level of responsibility" among local politicians.
Meanwhile, president Yushchenko did not seem very eager to once again entrust international mediators with decisions on his own destiny.
During their meeting, Yushenko told Kirkilas that Ukraine itself would signal when it needs international assistance in solving the political crisis, the Lithuanian government's information bureau reported.
Ukraine's leader also reiterated his adherence to a Euro-Atlantic integration policy, according to the report.
The statement also said that Ukraine's president, in sharp contrast with Yanukovych's position, stressed that the only way out of the crisis is early parliamentary elections.

The current political crisis in Ukraine broke out when Yushchenko decided to dissolve Parliament and called for early elections. Parliament, where a majority of legislators are supporters of Yanukovych, refused to obey the president's decree and has brought the matter to the Constitutional Court.
While in Kiev Kirkilas signed an agreement between the Lithuanian and Ukrainian governments on cooperation in the fight against crime and international terrorism. He also visited the city of Odessa where he met local authorities and participated in a tourism business