Turchynov, Yatsenyuk initiate national discussion to forge consensus on key issues in the Ukraine

The Ukrainian leadership is initiating national-unity roundtable discussions, involving all political forces representing all regions, as well as public figures and experts.

"We are announcing today our initiative to hold all-Ukrainian national-unity roundtable discussions. We are prepared to join dialogue with all the parties that pursue legitimate political goals and intend to defend them using legal means - those who have not stained their hands with blood. We invite representatives of all political forces from all regions, civil society and experts to start a dialogue on all issues and problems facing the Ukrainian people today," says a joint statement by Ukraine's parliamentary speaker and interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, and acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, posted on Turchynov's website on Saturday evening.

"The list of the most urgent issues includes decentralization of authority, local self-government reform, the maintenance of a balance between branches of authority, expanded guarantees of the defense of ethnic minorities' rights, and reform of legal relations between the state and the public, including the reform of the judiciary and of the law-enforcement system," the statement says.

"The goal this dialogue pursues is to negotiate a national consensus on the key problems facing Ukrainian society. The proposals to be forged in dialogue between all political forces will be implemented by the Verkhovna Rada, including through mechanisms of amending the constitution and legislation," the statement says.

In order to make this process effective, the Ukrainian leadership finds it expedient to make use of the experience amassed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe which "has done a great deal already to stabilize the situation in Ukraine, including by deploying monitors for the purpose of providing objective information about Ukraine to the international community."

"We hope that the universal nature of the OSCE, an organization with 57 member countries, including Ukraine, the United States, the European Union countries and Russia, will create the most favorable conditions for holding roundtable discussions," the statement says.

Turchynov and Yatsenyuk invited all the parties in the political process, as well as representatives of the public, to play and active role in implementing this initiative. "We will achieve the long-wanted stability and cope with the emerging challenges on the basis of a compromise and dialogue," they said.

The Ukrainian leaders also said that all of the illegal armed groups must surrender their weapons and free the hostages and seized buildings. "Those who fulfill these conditions and who were not involved in grave crimes, who did not kill, or torture people, will be amnestied," they said.

Turchynov and Yatsenyuk again urged all signatories to the Geneva agreements to abide by them strictly, noting that the Ukrainian leadership is ready to propose additional steps to form national consensus and compromise.

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