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Russia says Ukraine talks should include opposition leaders

English.news.cn   2014-05-07 01:18:51

VIENNA, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said the new round of international negotiations on deescalating tensions in Ukraine should include "opposition" leaders as well.

Speaking to reporters in Vienna after a Council of Europe meeting that was dominated by Ukraine crisis, Lavrov said pro-Russia representatives should be at the negotiation table in the upcoming talks to ease tensions in Ukraine.

Lavrov said he believed upcoming talks in Geneva would "go round in circles" if the no pro-Russia representatives took part in the diplomatic process.

The Russian foreign minister said he would meet his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier to discuss the issue.

Lavrov said it would be "unusual" to hold a presidential election in Ukraine while the government was deploying the army against "some of its people".

The Council of Europe's decision-making body, the Committee of Ministers, gathered on Tuesday in Vienna to discuss the Ukraine crisis and help defuse tension in the region.

Foreign ministers of both Russia and Ukraine attended the Vienna meeting, as the two countries are among the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.

Addressing reporters after the Vienna meeting on Tuesday, Andrii Deshchytsia, Ukraine's acting foreign minister, said Kiev would be ready for a new round of international negotiations in Geneva over Ukraine if Moscow supports Ukraine's presidential election.

Deshchytsia said his country would back a new round of talks to ease tension in eastern Ukraine "if Russia is ready to commit itself to support these elections and eliminate its support for extremist elements in Ukraine."

Deshchytsia said Ukraine was headed for presidential elections on May 25, which was agreed as the short-term priority of Ukraine at the meeting.

Russia said it opposed the use of armed forces against civilians in eastern Ukraine, adding that military action by Kiev ran counter to the fundamental norms of the Council of Europe and should be stopped.

The situation in eastern Ukraine continues to deteriorate due to the escalating conflict between Ukrainian military and pro-Russian armed forces.

According to reports, there are rising casualties on both sides after clashes outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk.

The Geneva Statement, adopted after the April 17 meeting on Ukraine involving Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine, envisions that all illegal armed formations should be disarmed in Ukraine, all administrative buildings unblocked and all protesters except for those who committed serious crimes pardoned.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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