Ukrainian chargé d'affaires summoned to the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Vienna, 24 November 2004 - On behalf of Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik and in line with the EU resolutions, the Secretary-General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Johannes Kyrle, summoned the Ukrainian chargé d'affaires in Austria, Yuriy Polurez, to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 24 November.
Kyrle set out to Polurez Austria's deep concern regarding the conduct of the presidential elections in the Ukraine. The OSCE and the International Election Observation Mission had stated that a considerable number of international standards had been violated. Particularly suspicious were the unusually high numbers of voters using absentee voting certificates in some polling districts, as well as the fact that approximately 5% of voters were newly registered on election day.
Under these circumstances, Austria, like the EU Presidency, seriously questions whether the preliminary results announced by the Central Election Commission of the Ukraine reflect the true will of the Ukrainian electorate.
Along with all other EU Member States, Austria, as Kyrle emphasised, urgently calls upon the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the entire election process and the election results in cooperation with the OSCE and the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, for her part, is in constant contact with the Director of the ODIHR, the Austrian Ambassador Christian Strohal, who was in Kiev throughout the entire election process. The Foreign Minister reminded the Ukrainian government that whether or not the creation of a deep and lasting breach in Ukrainian society could be avoided was very much dependent on its own behaviour in the coming days. "It is in the government's interest to seek dialogue with Viktor Yushchenko and the other representatives of the democratic opposition and to uphold this dialogue by peaceful means", emphasised Plassnik.
Plassnik stressed that the Ukraine in principle had the potential to become a strategic partner of the European Union. "However, it is obvious that the quality of our further cooperation will depend very decisively on the course of events in the Ukraine over the coming days", the Foreign Minister concluded.