Ukrainian Groups To Seek NATO, CES Referendums In 2007

MOSCOW, Russia -- Members of initiative groups gathering signatures in support of a Ukrainian referendum on membership in NATO and the Common Economic Space (CES) have appealed to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for help in ensuring the referendums are held in 2007.

The Ukrainian Central Election Commission (CEC) registered 109 initiative groups from November 2005 to February 2006, Volodymyr Golub, a representatives of the Poltava region initiative group, said at a press conference at the Interfax press center in Kyiv on Monday.

One hundred and four of them submitted documents proving that over 4.6 million signatures in support of the NATO and CES membership referendum had been gathered by March 5, 2006, he said.

However, the CEC's official report certifying the signature count, which was due one month after the signature sheets were submitted, has not been completed, Golub said.

"This is being deliberately dragged out," he said.

Press conference participants called on Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and the CEC to observe the Constitution and to guarantee the right of the people to express their will.

Members of initiative groups have sent an open letter to the OSCE and the PACE with proposals for ending the violations.

"We are convinced that the authority and influence of the OSCE and PACE will force the Ukrainian authorities to fulfill their international obligations and the demands of national law, and to hold an all-Ukrainian referendum on the aforementioned issues in 2007," the letter says.

Source: Interfax


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