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Volume 691: debated on Monday 30 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assistance they are providing to the Government of the Ukraine, through European institutions or bilaterally, towards the resolution of current constitutional and political issues in that country. [HL3281]

The UK and EU are urging Ukraine's leaders to act peacefully, responsibly and democratically, to respect the rule of law and to work together in support of the national interest. EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso have spoken regularly to the main political players. Our embassy in Kiev has been closely engaged with all the parties. There has been no formal invitation for foreign mediation in the crisis and the onus for now is on Ukraine's political leaders to find a democratic solution. The UK is ready to help underpin a compromise deal when it emerges.

My right honourable friend the Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon, made clear during his visit to Kiev on 26 and 27 February that the UK firmly supports Ukraine's commitment to political and economic reform. The EU is supporting Ukraine's programme of reform through the European Neighbourhood Policy, which offers deeper EU-Ukraine relations in return for progress on key reforms. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's global opportunities fund currently disperses around half a million pounds under its Reuniting Europe programme in Ukraine, including to projects that support Ukraine's policy of EU integration, particularly in the field of improved governance. The Council of Europe supports Ukraine's democratic development through regular monitoring of its obligations and commitments. Secretary-General Terry Davis has confirmed that the Council of Europe stands ready to offer further help to Ukraine in the context of a political settlement to the current crisis, particularly in the field of elections and any possible future constitutional commission.