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Ukraine: Yanukovych signs decree granting Arbuzov powers of prime minister

5 February 2014, 20:50

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych has signed a decree granting First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Arbuzov the powers of the prime minister of Ukraine.

PM Mykola Azarov submitted his resignation at the end of January amid the mass-scale meeting in the country, which started there last November when the Cabinet of Ministers announced a pause in the Euro-integration process.

The Ukrainian President accepted the resignation of both the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, which continues to perform its duties until the new government is formed .

The First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Arbuzov is acting as Prime Minister.

The presidential decree regulates Arbuzov's powers as PM.

'The First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Sergei Arbuzov must perform his duties of prime minister in compliance with Part 4 of Article No. 42 of Ukraine's law 'On the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine,' the document notes.

EU ready to investigate violence in Ukraine clashes - Ashton

The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Wednesday that Brussels was ready to provide support for Ukraine's constitutional reform plans and help investigate alleged abuses committed during two months of protests.

'We have the capacity to provide support,' Ashton told reporters after holding talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

President Viktor Yanukovich has met EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton to discuss ways to stabilize the political situation in Ukraine, the presidential press service reported on Wednesday.

'The parties also discussed the pace of economic reforms and measures to strengthen democratic institutions,' the press service said.

Yanukovich and Ashton called for ensuring security of citizens and for an objective, transparent and unbiased investigation of the latest events, the press service said.

Ashton arrived in Kiev on Tuesday, February 4, on a two-day visit. She had visited Ukraine prior to that on January 29 and held a series of bilateral meetings with opposition leaders and government officials, including the president.

After her previous visit, Ashton urged the Ukrainian sides to stop violence and start a real dialogue. She said she had noted that both sides want to look for solutions.

Later Ashton met with members of the Ukrainian opposition at the Munich Security Conference to have 'an in-depth discussion about the situation in Ukraine.'

She said she was 'deeply alarmed' by violence and cases of intimidation and torture and 'particularly appalled' by the 'cruel treatment and torture' of one of the opposition leaders Dmitry Bulatov and by reports that there were attempts to arrest him from his hospital bed. 'This is completely unacceptable and needs to stop immediately,' she said.

'The situation in Ukraine is deeply worrying and I will be returning to Kiev next week, on behalf of the European Union,' Ashton said.

Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule, who also visited Ukraine in late January on behalf of High Representative Ashton and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, urged its authorities and the opposition to stop violence and continue the dialogue.

During the visit, he 'conveyed deep concerns of the EU about the latest developments and underlined the need to end the cycle of violence, to fight against impunity of human rights violators and to continue an inclusive national dialogue to find a way out of the crisis that threatens to further destabilize the country.'

Fule held talks with President Viktor Yanukovich, leaders of the opposition Arseny Yatsenyuk from Batkivshchina (Fatherland), Vitali Klitschko from the party UDAR and Oleg Tyagnibok from Svoboda (Freedom) as well as with representatives of the civil society. He also visited Kiev's Independence Square known as the Maidan [Nezalezhnosti] square and talked to people there.

'Talks in Kiev showed the need for a series of concrete steps to start winning back the trust of people by stopping the spiral of violence and intimidation, to be complemented in a second stage by an inclusive political process leading the stability in Ukraine,' Fule said.

He discussed a series of steps that could lead to confidence building and to a political process aimed at ending the crisis. 'I stressed to my Ukrainian partners that the EU would remain engaged in the process assisting them in de-escalating the situation and finding a way out of the crisis, as demonstrated by the scheduled visit of High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton to Kiev next week,' the commissioner said.

Ukraine's Yanukovych ready for early elections if fails to compromise with opposition

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovy is ready for early parliamentarian and presidential elections if the opposition fails to compromise, according to reported comments by a political ally. The member of parliament went on to cite Yanukovich's willingness to hold a presidential election a year early, and a parliamentary election that is otherwise not due until 2017.

The member of parliament, lawmaker Yuri Miroshnichenko, cited Yanukovich's willingness to hold a presidential election a year early, and a parliamentary election that is otherwise not due until 2017.

'The president said that if politicians can't now come to an agreement, reach joint decisions and implement them, then the only democratic way of resolving the situation is early elections,' Miroshnichenko was quoted as saying.

'And he (Yanukovich) said: 'Both you will face early elections and I will face early elections.''

Emerging on the day the president returned from sick leave and as parliament convenes for a new term on Tuesday, it may be an attempt to break a deadlock that has gripped central Kiev.

However, Yanukovich, possibly comforted by an opinion survey last week showing both he and his party topping polls with about 20 percent support in Ukraine's fragmented political system, may be ready to call the bluff of opponents who want him to quit.

A leading member of parliament from Yanukovich's Party of the Regions was quoted in local media late on Monday saying the president had told his allies he would not declare a state of emergency or use troops or other force to clear central Kiev's Maidan protest camp or public buildings occupied by protesters.

'We have every possibility of liberating administrative premises and even liberating Maidan by force,' Yanukovich was quoted as saying by lawmaker Yuri Miroshnichenko. 'I will never do that, because these are also our citizens.'

Miroshnichenko's remarks were made to Ukraine's ICTV television, as reported by the news website Ukrainska Pravda.

No comment was immediately available from the president and there was no immediate response from opposition leaders.

Miroshnichenko said there had been discussions recently within the party about declaring a state of emergency, a move that could, among other things, let the government use troops.

'There will be no state of emergency,' he said.

The member of parliament went on to cite Yanukovich's willingness to hold a presidential election a year early, and a parliamentary election that is otherwise not due until 2017.

'The president said that if politicians can't now come to an agreement, reach joint decisions and implement them, then the only democratic way of resolving the situation is early elections,' Miroshnichenko was quoted as saying.

'And he (Yanukovich) said: 'Both you will face early elections and I will face early elections.''

Voice of Russia, Reuters, TASS, AFP, RIA

Source: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_02_05/ Yanukovych-signs-decree-granting-Arbuzov-powers- of-prime-minister-4953/



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