February 21, 2014 21:52
Ashton hails Ukraine govt-opposition deal, demands punishment for rights violators
BRUSSELS. Feb 21 (Interfax) - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton hailed Friday's agreement between Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders.
"This agreement opens the way for a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine. A democratic and peaceful solution is the only way forward," Ashton said in a statement released in Brussels.
"There must be an immediate end to violence and I call for the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms and for urgent independent investigations into human rights violations. Those responsible must be brought to justice and in this respect we adopted strong Council Conclusions yesterday," she said.
"The EU has been very much engaged in all the efforts that led to this important breakthrough [Friday's deal]. I particularly commend the important work on my behalf of the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and Poland who facilitated this agreement. Implementation is now key. I call upon all signatories to respect the agreement and recall full Ukrainian ownership and responsibility for its immediate implementation," Ashton said.
"The EU is ready to lend full support to the implementation of the agreement, in close coordination with the Council of Europe, the Chairman in Office of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] and other relevant partners," she said.
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