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Next "roundtable for national unity" may be held in Cherkassy May 21

Ukraine's former president Leonid Kravchuk has said the third "roundtable for national unity" over the settlement in the south-east of Ukraine may take place in Cherkassy, central Ukraine, on Wednesday, May 21.

Kravchuk spoke upon completion of the "second roundtable for national unity", held in the eastern city of Kharkov on Saturday amid continuing armed operation in the country's east.

Discussions in Kharkov were more open than in Kiev. "We're trying to improve our work. This 'roundtable' was opener and included more issues. It involved representatives of the opposition and regions, including of the Lugansk region," Kravchuk said.

Lots of high-profile politicians and officials participated in the discussions, in particular Ukraine's former presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma, parliament-appointed interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, Minister for Regional Construction and Housing Vladimir Groisman and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Acting Foreign Minister Andrei Deshchitsa, Vice-Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's national parliament, Ruslan Koshulinsky, lawmakers and representatives of local self-rule bodies, religious and public organisations.

On May 14, the first roundtable in the Verkhovna Rada discussed settlement in the troubled Donbass, constitutional reform, decentralisation of power, and fight against corruption among other issues.

Certain politicians claimed that the dialogue failed then as the participants again turned a deaf ear to the east of the country. A lawmaker of the Party of Regions, Nestor Shufrich, said that those who were openly opposing the authorities in the east should have been invited. The Ukrainian communists were not there, either, he said.

"Without their participation - immediate or tentative - all the roundtable debates are declarative," he said adding "there is no place at the table for those whose hands are in blood."

The authorities are tasked with decentralisation and transfer of power to the regions and a status of the Russia language, he said. Shufrich is confident that "the parliament must find the stamina and settle the issue once and for all.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 17May14]

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