Victor Yushchenko has met with leaders of Crimean Tatars, according to the President’s press-office.

      Gennadiy Moskal, the President’s Crimea Representative, Mustafa Dzhemilev, Head of the Presidential Council of Crimean Tatars, Refat Chubarov, Deputy Head of the Presidential Council of Crimean Tatars, Remzi Ilyasov, Crimean MP, and Serhiy Rudyk, Head of the State Nationality and Migration Committee, came to his summer residence to discuss education, land, property and information problems facing Tatars. The President promised to help them resolve some of these problems.

      “We need an undivided and stable Crimea, and your role in achieving this goal is truly significant,” he said.

      They decided to hold a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, which would involve Crimean politicians and public leaders, and a roundtable to consider these issues.


      “We really want to see the whole picture and formulate a joint agenda to resolve the problematic issues,” he said.

      The Head of State later told reporters, by regularly meeting with Tatar leaders, he aimed to “see Crimea peaceful, see political relations and relations between public institutions and government settled and stable.”

      Mr. Yushchenko opined some “seemingly controversial” problems of Crimea were, in fact, far-fetched and artificial. One of such problems, he said, is the land conflicts, whose settlement depends on local authorities.

      “Honest officials should promote and ensure the rule of law and quickly and appropriately react to problems that emerge within their communities,” he said.

      The President described recent fistfights in Bakhchysaray as an example of the local government’s failure to make proper decisions in order to prevent the confrontation, which “undermines the reputation of Crimea’s government.”

      “So, the first thing we want to do is to formulate initiatives together with Crimea’s public and political institutions that see Crimea not as a territory stuffed with contradictions but as a territory of harmony…,” he said.

      The Head of State insisted that the Crimean government must be more responsible and patriotic.

      “It is vital to discover a resource of tolerance, mutual respect and democracy,” he said.