Monday, 19. May 2014 "The German government expressly welcomes the continuation of the round table talks in Kharkiv," stated government spokesperson Steffen Seibert. National dialogue is the best way to find a peaceful way out of the crisis. Criticism that the round table talks have failed to produce a result are missing the point, he said. //
"Round tables are not decision-making bodies, but a forum at which the spectrum and diversity of opinions in the country can be publicly voiced," stressed Steffen Seibert in Berlin. The discussions will contribute to the decision-making process to be conducted by the democratic institutions that are mandated to do so.
Steffen Seibert continued, "It is remarkable that none of the participants from the realms of politics, trade unions, churches and civil society, from the east, west and south of the country have questioned the territorial integrity of Ukraine". Decentralisation is an important issue, which has been raised repeatedly.
OSCE election observation mission
One hundred OSCE long-term election observers, including eight Germans, are already in Ukraine to observe Ukraine’s presidential elections. Over the next few days, 900 short-term election observers will be arriving in Ukraine, in order to observe the entire course of the presidential elections.
In an interview with the German daily newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Chancellor Angela Merkel previously criticised Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its role in the destabilisation of parts of Ukraine.
"Russia sets a different emphasis"
In spite of major differences of opinion, the Chancellor aims to maintain the partnership with Russia. This does, however, presuppose a minimum of common values, which must be reflected in actual policies, said Angela Merkel.
"Russia is currently falling back into outmoded ways of thinking in terms of spheres of influence. That is no longer appropriate in our day and age," declared the Chancellor. She also stressed, however, that cooperation on the basis of international law and international agreements benefits all sides, including Russia.
The Chancellor recalled that the Ukraine had aimed to enter into an Association Agreement with the EU for a long time. During the period of negotiations, the EU had repeatedly made offers of cooperation to Russia. There is no justification for Russia intervening in the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
The aim is a diplomatic solution
Angela Merkel believes it important to continue cooperation and talks with Russia. "Nobody in Europe wants to see sanctions," declared the Chancellor. The European Commission is drawing up proposals. Should sanctions become unavoidable, member states will decide on these together.
Europe cannot be divided. Of that Angela Merkel is certain. Europe will also act in concert with its transatlantic partners. "This unity of the west is extremely valuable." She is working to ensure that the presidential elections in Ukraine can take place on 25 May, the Chancellor continued.
Chancellor speaks by telephone with Arsenyi Yatsenyuk
Last Thursday Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by telephone with the Ukrainian Prime Minister Arsenyi Yatsenyuk. The Chancellor and the Prime Minister agreed that the aim must be to resolve the crisis within Ukraine. All sections of society that are prepared to renounce the use of violence must have their place in this.