Paris, Moscow Agree on Ukraine’s February Accord – French Ambassador

MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow and Paris see eye to eye on the importance of a presidential election, constitutional reform and stronger minority rights in Ukraine, cornerstones of the February accord in the country, France’s ambassador to Russia Jean-Maurice Ripert told RIA Novosti.

According to Ripert, the deal was rendered “pointless” two days after it was struck between the Yanukovych administration and anti-government protesters in Kiev.

“Viktor Yanukovych simply ran away, leading to the parliament’s vote on his ouster and the appointment of an interim president,” the ambassador said.

But he said some of the agreed provisions remained valid, including the call for a nationwide dialogue.

“The only achievable thing about it [the February agreement] – and we are one with Russia on this – is the essence of the agreement, which is about elections, a constitutional reform, minority rights guarantees, and militias’ disarmament. It is all fair,” the French diplomat said. “There are no divergences [on that],” he added.

The remarks came as the interim government in Kiev says there is no reason to put off the upcoming presidential election, despite deadly clashes in the country’s southeastern regions.

On February 21, Ukrainian opposition leaders signed an EU-mediated peace pact with President Viktor Yanukovych aimed at ending a violent standoff between the parties.

The next day, Ukraine’s parliament, backed by far-right movements, voted to strip President Viktor Yanukovych of his powers, amended the constitution and scheduled early presidential elections for May 25.

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