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leaky foggy bottom, leaky opposition brains

01/30/2004 | peter byrne
pust' ukrainskaya nepravda protsitiruet ehto

US-UKRAINE RELATIONS ONCE AGAIN ON THE BRINK:
>
> SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL
>
>
>
> Agence France Presse (AFP), Washington, D.C., January 29, 2004
>
>
>
> WASHINGTON (AFP) - Recent political developments in Ukraine have so
alarmed
> the United States that relations between the two countries are teetering
on
> the brink once again after a period of rapprochement last year, a senior
> State Department official said Thursday.
>
>
>
> The official said Kiev's heavy-handed tactics against the opposition
> threatened to bring US-Ukraine ties to their lowest point since Washington
> alleged in 2002 that President Leonid Kuchma had personally approved the
> sale of early warning radar equipment to Iraq in violation of UN
sanctions.
>
>
>
> Since then and until October 2003, the official said that relations had
> improved, notably with Ukraine's participation in Iraqi stabilization, but
> that they had now relapsed due to a growing trend of political repression.
>
>
>
> "I'd like to say that the relationship has moved onward and forward since
> then," the official said, referring to a brief September meeting between
US
> President George W. Bush and Kuchma at the United Nations.
>
>
>
> "I can't do that," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
> "The relationship has once again been troubled by Ukrainian indiscretions
in
> the area of democracy. And that's putting it politely."
>
>
>
> The official slammed government-sponsored harassment of opposition
> demonstrations in Ukraine, a proposed amendment to radically alter the
> constitution just months ahead of October presidential elections and signs
> that Kuchma may seek a third term which is prohibited by the current
> constitution.
>
>
>
> "We think it would be a very good thing for there to be a new president
> after the next election," the official said.
>
>
>
> Pointing to highly critical remarks made by US ambassador to Ukraine, John
> Herbst, in December the official also took issue with Kuchma's subtle
> accusations that Washington was behind the ouster of former Georgian
> president Eduard Shevardnadze.
>
>
>
> Shevardnadze was forced to resign in November after massive protests
against
> rigged parliamentary polls and Kuchma and others authoritarian leaders in
> the former Soviet Union watched warily as Georgia's "rose revolution" saw
a
> pro-western president overwhelmingly elected in January.
>
>
>
> The US official denied any US role in Georgia's revolution but pointedly
> recalled Herbst's December 23 speech in Kiev in which the envoy said
> Shevardnadze had failed to heed Washington's advice about free and fair
> polls.
>
>
>
> "Long in advance of the run-up to Georgia's elections, we conferred with
> President Shevardnadze and others in the country on the need to hold free
> and fair elections," Herbst said in his speech. "That obviously did not
> happen."
>
>
>
> The official also said Washington shared the opinion of the Council of
> Europe, a pan-European human rights and democracy body, which this week
> censured the proposed constitutional amendment that would scrap direct
> elections of the president.
>
>
>
> Kuchma responded by accusing the council of interfering in the internal
> affairs of the former Soviet republic.
>
>
>
> Last month, a bill to amend the constitution and have the president
elected
> by parliament rather than by universal suffrage passed its first reading
> after a stormy session where opposition parties boycotted the vote.
>
>
>
> Shortly after the bill passed its first reading, Ukraine's Constitutional
> Court ruled that a two-term limit did not apply to Kuchma, since his first
> term began in 1994, before the constitution was adopted in 1996.
>
>
>
> The US official noted with irony that the same court had previously ruled
> the opposite way in a case involving other senior Ukrainian officials, an
> inconsistency not addressed by the judges in the latest decision.
>
>
>
> The official said that unless the October election is deemed to meet
> international standards, US-Ukraine relations will be severely damaged but
> that the converse was also true.
>
>
>
> "Our relationship will get much better if the elections are free and
fair,"
> the official said. "They will get complicated if they proceed the way
> they've begun."
>
>
>
> * U.S. Concerned Over Proposed Electoral Changes in Ukraine
>
>
>
> The United States has "serious reservations" about the
> "unusual timing" of proposals to amend electoral
>
> procedures spelled out in Ukraine's constitution, Deputy
> U.S. Representative to the OSCE Douglas
>
> Davidson told the Permanent Council in Vienna January
29.
>
>
>
> "Embarking on a process of modifying the constitutional
> election procedures during the run-up to a
>
> presidential election is, it seems to us, not consistent
> with democratic principles and also contravenes
>
> normal democratic practice," he said.
>
>
>
> Following is Davidson's statement
>
>
>
> United States Mission to the OSCE
>
> Vienna
>
> http://www.usosce.rpo.at/archive/2004/01/Ukraine.pdf
> <http://www.usosce.rpo.at/archive/2004/01/Ukraine.pdf>
>
>
>
> U.S. STATEMENT ON ELECTION PREPARATIONS IN UKRAINE
>
>
>
> As delivered by Deputy Representative Douglas Davidson
to
> the Permanent Council
>
>
>
> January 29, 2004
>
>
>
> Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
>
>
>
> The U.S. has expressed serious reservations to the
> Ukrainian government on recent proposals to amend Ukraine's constitution,
> this includes the most recent proposal, which was approved by the Rada on
> its first reading on December 24 last year.
>
>
>
> The U.S. concern centers on the unusual timing of the
> proposals for constitutional change. Embarking on a process of modifying
> the constitutional election procedures during the run-up to a presidential
> election is, it seems to us, not consistent with democratic principles and
> also contravenes normal democratic practice.
>
>
>
> The U.S. strongly urges the Ukrainian authorities to
> ensure that the 2004 presidential campaign and election are conducted in a
> free and fair manner.
>
>
>
> The office of the OSCE' project coordinator in Kiev has
an
> important role to play in this regard in coordinating the activities of
the
> international community in order to assist Ukraine in the conduct of its
> elections. The United States attaches great value to continued cooperation
> between the coordinator's office and the Ukrainian government in the
> implementation of the office's elections related activities and it looks
> forward to a report on this matter in the near future.
>
>
>
> Thank You.
>
>
>
> * Resolution 1364 (2004)[1], Provisional Edition
>
> Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly
>
> Strasbourg, Germany, January 29, 2004
>
>
>
> [NOTE: The following resolution was adopted January 29 by a vote of 46 in
> favor and 13 against.]
>
>
>
> 1. The Assembly is deeply troubled by the recent developments in
> Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine relating to the consideration of the draft law
on
> amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine and in this context refers to
its
> Resolutions 1179 (1999), 1239 (2001), 1244 (2001), 1346 (2003) and in
> particular to Recommendation 1451 (2000) on the institutional reform in
> Ukraine. It notes that recently a procedure has been initiated, which is
> not in compliance with the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada or
> Article 19 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
>
>
>
> 2. The Assembly deeply regrets that the Ukrainian authorities,
> including the President of Ukraine and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
> consider the activities of the Council of Europe, namely the Assembly's
> monitoring procedure, the visits of the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring
> Committee and their statements as "interference in the internal affairs of
> Ukraine".
>
>
>
> In this regard, it recalls that Ukraine has voluntarily accepted the
> obligations arising from its membership according to the Statute of the
> Council of Europe. Therefore, the Assembly finds such a stand of the
> Ukrainian authorities groundless and unjustified.
>
>
>
> 3. The Assembly supports any sincere aspirations by both the
> executive and the legislative authorities of Ukraine to pursue democratic
> reforms that would aim at substantially strengthening the legislative
power
> and enhancing the independence of the judiciary, thus contributing to a
> greater separation of powers and an improved system of checks and balances
> as required by the standards of the Council of Europe.
>
>
>
> 4. The nature of the reforms as well as the system of governance
> chosen is an internal affair of any sovereign state, but only as long as
> they are carried out with due respect to the fundamental law of the
country.
>
>
>
> 5. In this respect, the Assembly reiterates that the current
> Constitution in force since 1996 constitutes the main domestic legal
> instrument on the basis of which the country can develop a genuine
democracy
> and insists on strict respect of its provisions, in particular as regards
> amendments to the Constitution, whatever their necessity and
> appropriateness.
>
>
>
> 6. Within this context, the Assembly is convinced that any
decision
> reforming the constitutional election rules taken on the eve of
Presidential
> elections is likely to be biased and divisive and therefore considers the
> timing of the current debate on constitutional reform highly
inappropriate.
>
>
>
> 7. The Assembly strongly regrets the fact that the crisis in the
> Verkhovna Rada has been sparked by lack of discussion of the officially
> registered draft amendments to the Constitution. The Assembly finds that
> such practices are inappropriate in a democratic state guided by the
> principles of the rule of law.
>
>
>
> 8. At the same time, it deplores the means the opposition has
> resorted to in retaliation in order to block the regular work of
parliament.
>
>
>
> 9. The Assembly refers to the opinion of the European Commission
for
> Democracy through Law ("Venice Commission") adopted on 13 December 2003
> which welcomed the efforts made for the reforming of the system of
> government to bring the Ukrainian system closer to European democratic
> standards but concluded that "the precise solutions chosen in the various
> drafts do not yet seem to have attained that aim and introduce other
> amendments to the Constitution that would appear to be a step backwards".
>
>
>
> 10. The Assembly deplores the fact that none of the recommendations
> of the Venice Commission have been taken into account in the course of the
> revision of the three Draft Laws (n 3207-1, 4105 and 4180) by the
> Constitutional Court of Ukraine nor by the ad hoc parliamentary
> Constitutional Committee before submitting the Draft Law N 4105 for
> discussion in the Verkhovna Rada. The Assembly therefore urges the
relevant
> Ukrainian authorities to take into account all recommendations made so far
> by the Venice Commission and to continue to hold an open and effective
> dialogue with the Commission with a view to further improving the draft
laws
> currently under debate.
>
>
>
> 11. The Assembly launches an urgent appeal to the parties and
blocks,
> to parliamentary factions and groups represented in the Verkhovna Rada to
> resolve their problems in a peaceful manner through an open dialogue and
> full respect for parliamentary rules and regulations by means of:
>
>
>
> i. securing the legitimacy of any constitutional reform by
> admitting that, in this instance, the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna
> Rada failed to be respected by all parties concerned, taking into account
> that "voting by raising hands" in parliament is not provided for by law,
> including the Rules of Procedure;
>
>
>
> ii. proceeding to an open debate on all three Draft Laws
(n
> 3207-1, 4105 and 4180) on constitutional amendments which would involve a
> proper public information and a nation-wide popular discussion on these
> issues, especially pluralistic political debates on national TV and Radio
> channels;
>
>
>
> iii. fully taking into account the recommendations of the
> Venice Commission while amending the Constitution and in particular
> reconsidering their position regarding the imperative mandate of national
> deputies, the limitation to ten years of the judges' tenure and the
> extension of the mandate of the Prosecutor General, which all conflict
with
> the principles of democracy and the rule of law;
>
>
>
> iv. ensuring that the next presidential election be held as
> scheduled and for the term prescribed in the current Constitution, in view
> of the fact that changing the election modalities immediately before the
> elections are due can only but confuse the electorate;
>
>
>
> v. agreeing to submit any constitutional changes relating
to
> the term and mode of election of a president to a nation-wide referendum
as
> provided in Article 156 of the Constitution in force.
>
>
>
> 12. The recent rulings of the Constitutional Court have once again
> shown the vulnerability of the independence of the judiciary in Ukraine.
In
> the earnest belief that only a fully independent judiciary can provide the
> stability that is necessary to establish the rule of law, the Assembly is
> concerned by the ruling of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of 25
> December 2003 (N 22-rp) as it corresponds neither to the present nor to
the
> previous Constitution of Ukraine in force when President Kuchma was first
> elected in 1994.
>
>
>
> The Assembly still hopes that the President of Ukraine will demonstrate
> democratic responsibility by stepping down at the end of his second term
as
> foreseen by the Constitution of Ukraine.
>
>
>
> 13. With regard to the forthcoming Presidential elections in
October
> 2004, the Assembly shares the concern of many Ukrainian citizens that the
> election may not be truly free, fair, open and transparent. It maintains
> that any form of authoritarian practices like intimidation of voters,
> pressures on elections commissioners, curtailing the freedom of expression
> or bias of the media in favour of some candidates of the ruling political
> forces is clearly unacceptable. When full respect has been given to all
> these elements, the outcome of the elections also has to be respected.
>
>
>
> 14. The Assembly calls upon the President of Ukraine to submit in
the
> nearest future the proposed candidates to fill the seats in the Central
> Electoral Commission which are vacant since the expiry of the mandate of
the
> former incumbents.
>
>
>
> 15. In the light of the above findings, the Assembly calls upon the
> Secretary General of the Council of Europe to urgently appoint a Special
> Representative in Ukraine whose mandate should be to follow current
> political developments in Ukraine, to provide advice and Council of Europe
> expertise if and when needed and generally to enhance and co-ordinate the
> ongoing co-operation with Ukrainian authorities.
>
>
>
> 16. It also considers that the activities relating to the Council
of
> Europe media action plan agreed with Ukraine should be stepped up in order
> to achieve a noticeable improvement of the general framework in which
media
> operate and to promote substantial changes in the media culture in view of
> the forthcoming election campaign.
>
>
>
> 17. The Assembly is also concerned about the recent events in the
> town of Mukachevo concerning elections of the mayor and urges to resolve
> this problem in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine. The Assembly
> recommends that the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the
> Council of Europe undertake the monitoring mission over the future
elections
> of mayor in the town of Mukachevo aiming at free and impartial elections.
>
>
>
> 18. The Assembly is of the opinion that the recent infringements of
> the voting procedures in the Verkhovna Rada violate Ukraine's obligations
> under Article 3 of the Statute of the Council of Europe. If any further
> attempts should be made to push through political reforms by amending the
> Constitution in a manner which is not prescribed by law and by
> unconstitutional means, or if Ukraine should fail to guarantee free and
fair
> elections on 31 October 2004, the Assembly may decide to challenge the
> credentials of the Ukrainian Delegation in accordance with Rule 9 of the
> Assembly's Rules of Procedure and subsequently may decide to request the
> Committee of Ministers to suspend the membership of Ukraine in the Council
> of Europe in accordance with Article 8 of the Statute of the Council of
> Europe.
>
>
>
> 19. The Assembly will continue to closely follow the developments
in
> Ukraine and stands ready to contribute to an effective dialogue between
the
> political forces represented in the Verkhovna Rada.
>
>
>
> [1] Assembly debate on 29 January 2004 (7th sitting) (see Doc.10058,
report
> of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member
> States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee), Co-Rapporteurs:
Mrs
> Severinsen and Mrs Wohlwend). Text adopted by the Assembly on 29 January
> 2004 (7th Sitting) . (END)
>
>
>
> NOTE: REPORT OF THE MONITORING COMMITTEE:
>
> To read a copy of the entire Report (Doc. 10058, 27 January 2004) of the
> Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States
> of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee) Rapporteurs: Mrs Hanne
> Severinsen, Denmark, Liberal, Democratic and Reformers' Group, and Mrs
> Renate Wohlwend, Liechtenstein, Group of the European People's Party and
the
> draft resolution click on:
>
http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/Work
>
<http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/Wor
> k>
>
> ingDocs/doc04/EDOC10058.htm (paste link together)
>
>
>
> NOTE: FINAL ADOPTED RESOLUTION :
>
> The link to the final resolution [shown above] that was adopted is:
>
http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http%3A%2F%2Fassembly.coe.int%2FDocume
>
<http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=http%3A%2F%2Fassembly.coe.int%2FDocum
> e>
>
> nts%2FAdoptedText%2FTA04%2FERES1364.htm (paste link together). >
>
>
>
> * http://www.csce.gov/helsinki.cfm <http://www.csce.gov/helsinki.cfm>
> ; link to Congressional Record statement:
> http://www.csce.gov/crs_display.cfm?crs_id=210
> <http://www.csce.gov/crs_display.cfm?crs_id=210>
>
>

³

  • 2004.01.30 | magda

    What exactly here points to leaky opposition brains??

    Please state your point. Making people read through 10 displays of official documents to fish out something which is only your conclusions (which may be unobvious) is not exactly correct way of communication.
    /
    • 2004.01.30 | peter byrne

      Re: What exactly here points to leaky opposition brains??

      your response.
      /
      • 2004.01.30 | magda

        If Mr. Byrne is worried about opposition brains, maybe...

        ...he should also pay attention to his eyes.

        Pls look here:

        http://maidan.org.ua/n/free/1075435722

        and the posting immediately following that one. This was already quoted on Maidan. Is it not a proof of a brain leak to demand on Maidan that Ukrainska Pravda cite something that is already on Maidan. Maybe you should write an e-mail to pravda@svitonline.com , . .
        /
        • 2004.01.30 | Wild Guess

          Probably because it's too late to worry about his own brains(-)

          /
          • 2004.01.30 | magda

            (-)



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