16:32 07.12.2013

Ukraine opposition parties set terms for talks with govt

Three key opposition parties on Saturday put forward demands that the government would have to satisfy if it were to hold talks with them.

"We demand the release of all political prisoners who have been detained on Independence Square - there are 16 of them already, - we also demand punishing all those guilty of violently dispersing [a demonstration on] the square, and we demand the dismissal of the government," Vitali Klitschko, leader of the UDAR party, told a briefing at the "National Resistance Headquarters" in Kyiv.

Arseniy Yatseniuk, parliamentary leader of Batkivshchyna (Fatherland), added that, if the demands were met, Batkivschyna, UDAR and Svoboda (Freedom) would be prepared to start talks on forming a new, "technical," government which would sign an association agreement with the European Union and on calling early presidential and parliamentary elections.

Changes might be made to the Ukrainian constitution as result of the talks, Yatseniuk said.

"This is not an ultimatum from the opposition, it is an ultimatum from the Ukrainian people," he said.

Klitschko, Yatseniuk and Svoboda leader Oleh Tiahnybok called for a mass turnout for a planned rally on Independence Square at noon on Sunday.

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