COPENHAGEN, 27 November 2014 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) issued the following statement today on the opening session of the new Ukrainian Parliament and the election of a Speaker:

"Today the newly elected lawmakers of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada assembled for the first time following last month's historic vote. I congratulate Volodymyr Groysman on his election to the post of Speaker and look forward to close co-operation. I also await the new Rada's speedy appointment of a Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

"Members of Parliament must now work together to address the pressing issues facing the country and enact needed reforms to further fight corruption and strengthen democracy. I know that the new Rada is deeply concerned by the situation in the east and will address these issues, taking the welfare of all Ukrainians into account, as they begin their important work. I also look forward to the time when the Rada seats reserved for representatives from eastern regions and Crimea – where citizens were prevented from having legitimate votes – can be filled, so that they, too, can contribute to national dialogue."

Separately, President Kanerva took the opportunity to condemn the 26 November attack on OSCE monitors in eastern Ukraine. He called on all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety and freedom of movement of the monitors, who are impartial, civilian observers, and for those responsible for the attack to be brought to justice.