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Wolfgang Ischinger: “The Ukrainians Are Entitled to Patriotism and National Pride”

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Kyiv, May 13th, 2014 – The Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, the Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for National Dialogue Roundtables in Ukraine during the press conference in Ukrainian Crisis Media Center said: “Ukrainians are entitled to patriotism and national pride, as well as Americans, Italians, Danes or Russians. The pursuit of the will should not be taken as fascism. As a German I know what a terrible thing it is”.

As one of the coordinators of the nationwide dialogue, Mr. Ischinger said: “The idea of the definition of tools for the promotion of dialogue in Ukraine, was born at the Geneva meeting, and was supplemented by an action plan. We have prepared the document in just a few hours. As a result, the round tables in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv were held. Each time, they became more effective. We tried to involve the broadest possible range of participants – from trade unions to the church, from the Party of Regions to their opponents. I think it’s starting to work. I think we have to continue the dialogue, and the head of the government Arseniy Yatsenyuk agrees with that”.

Commenting on the lack of representatives of the separatists at the round table, the Ambassador said: “The separatists declare that they do not want to debate with government officials. Even if I or Leonid Kravchuk sent them a special invitation I do not think anyone would have come. Also, a round table should not be confused with peace talks”.

Also Wolfgang Ischinger said: “I have not seen any Ukrainian politician who thinks the future of Donbass will be better if it separates from Ukraine. On the contrary, everyone believes that its economy will suffer. I got the impression that the movement of separatist enjoys less support among the population than it is said at times. However, I have noticed that people are unhappy with the government and require decentralization. For the future it is a serious challenge for the government. One thing is to demand freedom and reforms, and another thing is to tear Ukraine apart”.
The Ambassador urged the Ukrainians not just to go vote, but also to encourage others to express their will and not to let others hinder the process of voting: “Every vote counts. But I call those who resort to violence in the east to surrender, at least during the elections.”


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