French Foreign Minister Responds to Ukraine Crisis
MEETINGS WITH UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES
Q. – You’ve just landed in Kiev. You’re going to have a meeting later on with Viktor Yanukovych; what are you going to say to him?
THE MINISTER – I’m meeting opposition leaders first, then I’ll be seeing President Yanukovych.
I’ll tell him first that the violence, which is obviously unacceptable, must be stopped and that we’re getting ready this afternoon to adopt sanctions against those responsible for the violence. I’ll also tell him that if we want to find a solution, an election must be organized or, at any rate, the whole political picture has to change.
Last night in the capital there was a truce – perhaps linked to the fact that we’re here this morning – but in other cities, especially in the east of the country, things are extremely violent. The number one objective is to say that the violence must be stopped.
Q. – For you, is this truce an important first step?
THE MINISTER – Anything which might stop the violence is worthwhile, but it would be a serious mistake to say the country has calmed down again. No, it’s in no way calm. There’s a huge job to do but we’re coming up against clear unwillingness from the authorities, who, for the moment, aren’t shifting their position. Europe’s role is to work at getting them to shift their position and genuinely agree to the dialogue, which they haven’t done so far.
Q. – You talk about Europe. Several countries, including France, are calling for sanctions against President Yanukovych’s regime. You’re expected in Brussels this morning for a meeting of the European foreign ministers. What form could these sanctions take?
THE MINISTER – Immediately after leaving Kiev I’ll be going to Brussels. The sanctions we have in mind are targeted and therefore personal; they’re geared to banning visas on the one hand, and the surveillance and freezing of assets of a number of people in positions of responsibility on the other, because in these cases we’ve got to hit them in their wallets./.