Following yesterday`s Presidential Decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament), the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) René van der Linden today made a declaration, according to a press release of the Parliamentary Assembly Communication Unit. The declaration reads as follows:

      "The Parliamentary Assembly views the current political developments in Ukraine with great concern. The situation that has emerged needs to be resolved in full compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine, and through the legal avenues it offers, as well as through a constructive dialogue between all political forces represented in the Parliament.

      In a state governed by the rule of law, disagreements over the interpretation of the Constitution must be solved in accordance with the existing legal procedures.

      I call on Ukraine`s political leaders and the whole Ukrainian nation to show their wisdom and political maturity by maintaining calm and avoiding any escalation of this conflict, including in the streets. This of the utmost importance for Ukraine and for its international image.

      I spoke this afternoon with the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Alexander Moroz, who expressed his wish that the Parliamentary Assembly holds an urgent debate on this issue during its next part session (16-20 April 2007). I will also discuss the situation in the country with President Yushchenko tomorrow morning.

      The Parliamentary Assembly stands ready to assist Ukraine`s political forces to find a solution to the current crisis. In this context, I also call on them to make use of the Council of Europe`s instruments and mechanisms, in particular the Venice Commission, which have proven in the past their capacity to provide advice and assistance in such situations."