Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš: The situation in Ukraine has escalated into a setback for the nation; it can only be resolved through talks


On Thursday, 12 December, Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima, issued a statement on the situation in Ukraine.

“The ongoing confrontation between the government and citizens of Ukraine over a broken promise to bring Ukraine one step closer in its quest for European integration is now sadly escalating into a regrettable setback for the entire nation,” stressed Kalniņš in his statement, pointing out that the disappointment of the Ukrainian public is understandable, for it had been told that the government’s long-sought goal of signing an Association Agreement with the EU would finally be reached at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. 

The Committee Chairman asserted that those who felt that their trust had been betrayed took to the streets to express their outrage, while the subsequent use of force by Ukrainian authorities in suppressing this public display of civic disappointment has been both unjustifiable and unwise. “Rather than address the genuine concerns of the people, it only exacerbates them,” Kalniņš emphasised in the statement.
“Since Latvia restored its independence over two decades ago, it has actively supported the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to develop a strong, stable and prosperous European state. The people of our two countries are friends who share a common goal of living in peaceful, stable and democratic societies. Those ties have become even stronger since Latvia joined the European Union and has deepened its cooperation with Ukraine through the European Partnership Program,” noted the Committee Chairman.

In his statement, Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš joined the leaders of the European Union and Transatlantic partners in urging the Ukrainian government to cease all use of force in suppressing free expression, peaceful assembly and democratic rights in Independence Square and other locations in Ukraine where thousands of citizens have gathered. 

Ukrainian authorities, notably President Yanukovich, have pledged they would engage the voices of the opposition in a dialogue to resolve their differences, noted Kalniņš urging Ukrainian authorities to honour this pledge. “It is the only reasonable, humane and constructive way to find a resolution to this conflict. These issues can only be resolved through talks, not tear gas,” stressed Chairman Kalniņš.

“It has been said that the European Union has two types of neighbours: those who are neighbours of Europe, and European neighbours. The fact that Ukraine is European in terms of culture, traditions and aspirations is unquestionable. The fact that the Ukrainian people seek to improve their quality of life by integrating into European Union economic and political structures has been amply demonstrated in recent weeks,” emphasised Ojārs Kalniņš.

He also expressed the opinion that Russia too would welcome a stable, prosperous and democratic EU member country on its Western border. “Ukraine’s continuing integration into Europe would bring benefits not only to the Ukrainian people, but also the citizens of Russia. It is hoped that Russian authorities will eventually realize this and end their misguided either/or policy concerning the political and economic future of its neighbouring Ukraine,” stressed the Committee Chairman.

In the statement, Kalniņš expressed conviction that the people of Ukraine will succeed in this historic quest as the thoughts and feelings of the Latvian people go out to Ukraine. 

Saeima Press Service

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