"Our Ukraine" Press, www.razom.org.ua, Kyiv, Ukraine, February 20, 2004
KYIV - The leader of "Our Ukraine" coalition Victor Yushchenko met with the
former US Secretary of State, now chairperson of the NDI board of directors
Madeline Allbright. Answering questions after a half-an-hour meeting,
Yushchenko noted that two main issues were discussed during the meeting:
political situation in Ukraine and the conference "Ukraine in Europe and the
World," which will be held tomorrow and in which Madeline Allbright will
According to the leader of "Our Ukraine," the representative forum,
organized with the help of many European countries, has to answer the
questions of Ukraine's place in the world and the prospects of our country
as well as the nature of relations with our partners and the key values of
the national domestic and foreign policies.
Yushchenko noted that, when he headed the government three years ago, the
issue was raised that the resolution of many of important issues for our
country depended on the dialogue between the government and the society, on
the government's openness and willingness to solve problems. "It is a pity
that the current government does not have the will to come to the
negotiations table with its opponents and political elite and discuss
possible ways out of the deep ongoing crisis of the system," remarked the
leader of "Our Ukraine."
According to Yushchenko, he sees this conference as an important step
towards public dialogue. "The level of representation could have been much
higher had Ukrainian government not continued acting with its usual style.
In this case, it caused a number of problems during the organization of this
event. Nevertheless, despite obstacles created by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and other government institutions, the conference will take place,"
declared Yushchenko, adding that presidents, prime ministers, and ministers
of foreign affairs were to participate in the forum.
At the same time, "Our Ukraine's" leader reported that over 40 participants
from different countries would participate in the event the following day.
"We expect to hear the governments position on the events that have been
happening in the country and plan to explain our own position. We hope that
this dialogue will answer the challenges that have been recently raised
before Ukraine. We have to find an answer to how to stop the abuse of the
Constitution, manipulation of public awareness, and discuss other important
issues," said Victor Yushchenko.
Answering a question whether Madeline Allbright knew anything about the
obstacles the government placed before the organizers of the conference,
Yushchenko noted that much did not surprise her in her preparation for the
visit since she was well informed on the situation in Ukraine and understood
the difficulties, connected to the constitutional reform and the unequal
positions of political forces and knew what had been happening with Radio
"Freedom" and oppositional newspapers.
Commenting on his position towards the constitutional reform, Yushchenko
stressed that, "if the legitimate procedures of amending the Fundamental Law
are violated, it will make the changes themselves illegitimate and, as a
result, make the government illegitimate too. He gave Belorus, where the
government first ignored the will of the voters, then - the Law, which
resulted in isolation of this country from the world, as an example.
FOR PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC USE ONLY