Vitali Klitschko UDAR party hold talks with Ukraine president
Rome, Dec 13 - Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich has offered the opposition the release of all the arrested demonstrators and a pardon for the convicted ones. The offer came just before the start of talks, on Friday evening, to find a solution to the country's political deadlock.
Speaking to a group of students, Yanukovich said: "I think we should turn the page. The arrested demonstrators and the convicted ones should be released".
The opposition hesitated at first, but then agreed to hold talks with Yanukovich, as announced by Vitali Klitschko, the boxing world champion and leader of the UDAR party, much loved by the people who are preparing for Saturday's rally. The talks will also be attended by nationalist leader Oleg Tyagnybok and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, leader of Yulia Tymoshenko's party.
Klitschko said with irony: "We get the impression Yanukovich is not listening to us. Perhaps his TV set isn't working or he hasn't been informed. We want to look into his eyes, submit our overriding requests and listen to his response".
The pro-EU groups' requests include punishment of the riot police who harshly repressed the demonstrations held on Nov. 30 and the resignation of the current government. Klitschko pointed out that they will fight until victory is achieved. The Ukrainian affair will be discussed by the EU Foreign Ministers, who will be meeting in Brussels next Monday, along with the Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese situations, as well as the Eastern Partnership, specifically focussing on Ukraine, after Yanukovich backed out of the EU association deal. The 28 ministers will also be joined for lunch by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Yet it seems that Russia has cast its long shadow over the Ukraine.
Next Tuesday, in Moscow, Yanukovich will sign a bilateral agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to fully restore commercial relations. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said the recent visits by EU representatives to Kiev's Independence Square, the epicentre of anti-government protests, were a folly: "It's clearly meddling with the domestic affairs of a sovereign state", he complained.