François Hollande and Angela Merkel back Ukraine presidential ballot

Ukraine – Joint declaration by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, and Mrs Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Stralsund, 10 May 2014

The stabilization of Ukraine is an urgent priority for peace and security and is in the common interest of all the countries in the region. All efforts made by all interested parties and organizations, particularly the OSCE, to find a political solution to the crisis are welcome and must be supported and encouraged.

In the coming days, our priorities must concentrate on:

1 – The election. The holding of a free and fair presidential election in Ukraine on 25 May is of the utmost importance:

- All the parties should commit themselves publicly and at the highest level to its success, support it and refrain from any action that could disrupt its smooth progress.

- The election must be held under OSCE supervision. All the parties are invited to support the Ukrainian authorities in the electoral process and send observers.

- The candidates are encouraged to agree on a code of conduct for respectful practices during the campaign and after the vote.

- Any failure to hold an internationally-recognized presidential election would destabilize the country even further. France and Germany believe that in that event, the appropriate conclusions should be drawn, as envisaged by the European Council of 6 March.

2 – De-escalation

- We deplore the recent violent events in Odessa and Maripol in particular, which have caused intolerable losses of life.

- All the parties must refrain from acts of violence, intimidation and provocation. The illegal possession of weapons must cease immediately. Weapons must be collected from 15 May onwards under OSCE supervision.

- This will enable the Ukrainian security forces to refrain from using force. The legitimate use of force to protect people and property must be proportionate.

- The referendums planned in several towns in eastern Ukraine are illegal.

- All acts of illegal violence must be investigated and prosecuted.

- The Ukrainian side should ensure the immediate adoption of an amnesty law, which must be regarded as a confidence-building measure.

- The Ukrainian security forces should refrain from carrying out offensive actions before the election; the legitimate use of force to protect people and infrastructure must be proportionate.

- The Russian forces stationed near the Ukrainian border must visibly reduce their alert status.

3 – National dialogue. A national dialogue between representatives of the Ukrainian government and representatives of all regions of Ukraine must be started as soon as possible and no later than 25 May. It should address all the outstanding issues, particularly the constitutional system in Ukraine and centralization. It should be open to all groups in Ukrainian society which commit to rejecting the use of violence. The OSCE will have to play an important role as co-moderator of the national dialogue.

4 – Constitutional process. In the next few days, the Ukrainian government is due to announce its plans for launching a process of constitutional reform immediately following the 25 May election, with a short timeframe, a process of inclusive consultation involving all the stakeholders concerned and the chief areas covered by the process (regional authorities’ powers, minority rights, etc.). The expertise of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission should be swiftly used to good effect.

5 – Economic cooperation.

- All parties must refrain from any action which could damage Ukraine’s economy, particularly in the area of energy supply.

- All parties must commit to providing Ukraine with a substantial set of economic and financial assistance measures, in close coordination with the international financial institutions.

- On the basis of our joint efforts for the stabilization of Ukraine, we should work together for the creation of a stable, safe and prosperous area in the region, for the shared benefit of all partners./.

Ukraine – Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at his joint press conference with Mrs Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Stralsund, 10 May 2014

(…)

THE PRESIDENT – During our discussions yesterday evening – which continued till late in the night – we spoke of our strong concern about what is happening in Ukraine. Our active efforts – those of Germany and France but also of Europe – are the thrust of the declaration we issued this morning.

Our goal, our requirement, is for there to be an unchallengeable presidential election on 25 May, for it to be held under completely lawful conditions, in full transparency, and for it to provide the president elected in it with the essential legitimacy. The OSCE is going to be directly involved in this preparation. Political dialogue must begin, even before the election, and necessarily de-escalation.

We condemned the referendums – which have no significance – that will be organized on Sunday. We deplored the provocations that have taken place, with several dozen deaths, in Odessa and other cities, and we called for a de-escalation.

We also wanted there to be a reminder of the constitutional reform essential in Ukraine, so that minorities and distinct identities are taken into account.

Finally, we also wanted to show our solidarity with Ukraine by means of economic cooperation.

As I was saying, Germany and France have responsibilities – not alone, but they have responsibilities. We’re committed to freedom, we’re committed to the rights of peoples, and we want Ukraine to be able to go to the polls and regain stability.

We have relations with Vladimir Putin and we’re using them to ensure he takes into consideration what’s at stake in the coming weeks in Ukraine. (…)

Q. – The Polish President is calling for greater resolve from the German government so that Europe and its neighbours can live without fear in future. Are you surprised that the Polish President seems to believe there is insufficient determination? Has arms cooperation between France and Russia been officially stopped, or will this be the next stage of sanctions?

THE PRESIDENT – France, Germany and Poland have acted together over the past few weeks, and even months.

The Chancellor had a meeting with the Polish Prime Minister; so did I. We talked about energy policy, but also about what relationship to have right now with Ukraine and Russia. We are of one mind.

Europe’s strength lies in its unity. There aren’t some who are more committed and others who are more cautious. There’s a European position which, moreover, we expressed at the last meeting of heads of state and government, and which we’re also going to restate through the European foreign ministers’ meeting.

We must succeed in making 25 May an election for Europe. An election for Europe through the appointment of a new European Parliament, and an election for Europe through the Ukrainians’ vote, because they’re European values we’re going to be expressing on our continent, beyond even the 28-member Europe.

On the issue of sanctions, we’re at level two of the sanctions and would rather there wasn’t a level three. This will depend on what happens in the next few days. As regards a contract which concerns the relationship between France and Russia on the delivery of a ship, this contract was signed in 2011, it is being complied with and will be completed in October 2014. For the time being, it isn’t being called into question./.

Published on 19/05/2014

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