Ukrainian president, opposition leaders sign EU-brokered deal
Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and the leaders of the main opposition parties in parliament signed on February 21 an agreement brokered by European Union foreign ministers, meant to end violence in the country and pave the way for early presidential elections later this year.
Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski and German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reportedly met with representatives of protesters camped in Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) to persuade them to accept the deal.
After the meeting, Sikorski was caught on camera by British TV channel ITV saying “If you don’t support this [deal] you’ll have martial law, you’ll have the army. You will all be dead.”
The full text of the agreement, as posted on the German foreign office’s website, follows:
Agreement on the Settlement of Crisis in Ukraine
Concerned with the tragic loss of life in Ukraine, seeking an immediate end of bloodshed and determined to pave the way for a political resolution of the crisis, We, the signing parties, have agreed upon the following:
1. Within 48 hours of the signing of this agreement, a special law will be adopted, signed and promulgated, which will restore the Constitution of 2004 including amendments passed until now. Signatories declare their intention to create a coalition and form a national unity government within 10 days thereafter.
2. Constitutional reform, balancing the powers of the President, the government and parliament, will start immediately and be completed in September 2014.
3. Presidential elections will be held as soon as the new Constitution is adopted but no later than December 2014. New electoral laws will be passed and a new Central Election Commission will be formed on the basis of proportionality and in accordance with the OSCE & Venice commission rules.
4. Investigation into recent acts of violence will be conducted under joint monitoring from the authorities, the opposition and the Council of Europe.
5. The authorities will not impose a state of emergency. The authorities and the opposition will refrain from the use of violence. The Parliament will adopt the third amnesty, covering the same range of illegal actions as the 17th February 2014 law.
Both parties will undertake serious efforts for the normalisation of life in the cities and villages by withdrawing from administrative and public buildings and unblocking streets, city parks and squares.
Illegal weapons should be handed over to the Ministry of Interior bodies within 24 hours of the special law, referred to in point 1 hereof, coming into force. After the aforementioned period, all cases of illegal carrying and storage of weapons will fall under the law of Ukraine. The forces of authorities and of the opposition will step back from confrontational posture. The Government will use law enforcement forces exclusively for the physical protection of public buildings.
6. The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, Poland and the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation call for an immediate end to all violence and confrontation.
(Photo of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich by president.gov.ua)