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United World International Fund: Ukraine Needs Help with National Reconciliation

KIEV, Ukraine, Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On January 31, the 50th anniversary Munich Security Conference convenes, with participants scheduled to discuss the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine. Eighteen heads of state and government, over 50 foreign ministers and 10 heads of international organizations are expected to take part in the conference debates. With such a high level of representation reflecting the urgency of peace and security issues in Europe, Ukraine's political stalemate has become a priority for the conference, which now offers a window of opportunity to resolve the political crisis in Ukraine.

Eduard Prutnik, United World International Fund Chairman of the Board, issued the following statement and proposal prior to the start of the Munich Security Conference, for esteemed conference attendees to consider:

"Since November, Ukraine has been embroiled in a political crisis between governmental authorities and various political opposition groups.  While the crisis originally emanated from displeasure over Kiev's decision to forego signing an association agreement with Brussels, it has now transformed into a protest movement about fundamental dissatisfaction of current governance and demands for improving the quality of life for every Ukrainian citizen. 

"Ukraine's political crisis has benefitted our country's nascent democracy by allowing the opposition's concerns to be voiced. It is unlikely that governmental authorities in other former Soviet republics would allow such a robust protest to continue for an extended period, as Kiev has allowed.  While the voices of those insisting on closer EU ties have and should always be heard, those supporting the policy of Ukraine's integration with the Eurasian Union must not be silenced.  When determining Ukraine's future course, all points of view must be taken into consideration.

"As the protests in Kiev and other cities near the two-month mark, it is clear that both sides are at a stalemate.  While Ukraine's government must listen to the concerns of opposition leaders and find ways to improve the economic well-being of each Ukrainian, so too must the opposition work to ensure that any civil disobedience transforms into a vibrant civil society.   In order to move Ukraine forward, away from the current street protests and political gridlock, international mediation is necessary.  The stakes are too high for Ukraine's leaders and opposition, as well as for Kiev's stakeholders in Washington, Brussels, and Moscow, to allow any further political instability.

"Ukraine must no longer be a pawn on the geo-strategic chessboard between the east and the west.  As it has in the past, Kiev can act as a bridge, to close any divides between Moscow and Brussels/Washington. But, all parties must be prepared for concessions if a satisfactory end to the ongoing political crisis is expected.

"International mediators, per the agreement reached in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, must ensure that security guarantees for Ukraine's democratic development, territorial integrity and economical independence be extended.  These guarantees should extend to Ukraine's democratically elected president and Rada, who should not be involuntarily forced from office due to threats, violence, or other intimidation. 

"Ukraine's presidential election is scheduled for 2015 and should proceed with constitutional norms and normal political processes, without conflicts and strife.

"Therefore, the important factor of successful mediation of the global players is particularly noteworthy, including: synchronization of efforts, joint actions, supporting equality and the renunciation of unilateral measures that could undermine reconciliation in Ukraine, and the normalization of the political environment in the country.

"Mediators should encourage Ukraine's leadership to consider voluntary changes at the highest levels of office, if the resignation of any elected official helps improve the chances for a peaceful resolution to the current political crisis.

"Until an agreement is reached through mediation to end any ongoing disputes between Kiev and the political opposition, international mediators can also suggest certain steps to improve Ukraine's economic situation, which continues to teeter precariously on the edge of a fiscal cliff.  Ukraine's economy can only benefit from increased tripartite trade between Kiev, Brussels, and Moscow. The benefits of trade should be embraced by Kiev and Ukraine's political opposition alike, whose primary goal should be improving every Ukrainian's economic future.

"Brussels also can help those protesters clamoring on Maidan for a European lifestyle, by offering Kiev a visa-free travel agreement. Ukraine started its visa liberalization dialogue with Brussels back in 2008, yet European Union leaders today claim that Ukraine must fulfill conditions to lift the cumbersome Schengen visa process, despite Kiev making substantial progress on all passport security issues.  Just as Moscow demonstrated its commitment to helping Ukraine step back from the edge of economic ruin thanks to a financial assistance and stabilization package, so too must Brussels aim to help those Ukrainians aspiring for a European trajectory.

"Those international policymakers seeking to influence Ukraine's future course and supporting the aspirations of the Ukrainian people, need to understand that, as in any other democracy, there is not just one voice.  Ukraine is now at a crossroads, where the stakes include not only external and trade ties, but also the country's internal peace and unity.  Ukraine's friends need to respect that and remain committed to encourage reconciliation and accommodation, not confrontation and strife."

About United World International Fund

United World International Fund was founded in April 2008 at the initiative of Eduard Prutnik. The Fund focuses on:

  • Targeted help to create a more healthy, strong, independent and developed Ukrainian community;
  • Assisting in the further integration of Ukraine into the world and searching for a proper place for Ukraine in social, political, economic and cultural spheres;
  • 
Cooperating with authorities in keeping and developing national culture as well as support for innovations, leading to cultural renaissance; and
  • Assistance for talented youth as the most perspective resource of Ukrainian society.

For more information, visit United World International's Web site at http://www.uniworld.org.ua/en/about/

SOURCE United World International Fund

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