Simferopol (QHA) - A round table on interethnic relations held in Crimea on September 19 with participation of EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara caused great public resonance. In general, it can become a first step towards the solution of the Crimean Tatar issue in Ukraine. “On September 19 an extraordinary event took place in Crimea. A senior official of the European Union, Stefan Fule included into his program of stay in Crimea a separate meeting, the purpose of which was to discuss problems of the Crimean Tatars in Ukraine”, said Ali Khamzin, head of external relations department of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people to QHA correspondent. Khamzin believes it is important the parties could express their views on the situation. However, according to him, there were moments that caused negative reaction. For example, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said that the Ukrainian government will not work with the report of the OSCE Office of High Commissioner “Integration of the formerly deported people in Crimea, Ukraine”. Another remark of Kozhara, which he made on behalf of the Ukrainian government, was also incorrect, according to Khamzin. Specifically, Kozhara stated that Crimean Tatars in Ukraine are not discriminated and fully exercise their rights. To Khamzin’s comment that reports of the U.S. Department of State and other international organizations, including OSCE and UN Human Rights Committee state the fact of discrimination of Crimean Tatars, Kozhara noted that “this is the position of the Government of Ukraine”. Head of Crimean Council of Ministers Anatoliy Mogilev had traditionally reiterated his readiness to recognize Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people legitimate, but only through the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. In turn, Leonid Kozhara expressed willingness to personally carry the documents for registration of Mejlis to the Ministry of Justice. Discussion of the conducting of International Forum on Crimean Tatar issue in 2014, according to Khamzin brought positive results. The EU Commissioner Stefan Fule and members of his team were able to familiarize with the difficult situation of the Crimean Tatars, who hope for restoration of their rights at their historical homeland in Crimea. This is one of the main results of this meeting, according to Khamzin. Khamzin also informed that the round table, which took place in Crimea on September 19, was held at the request of head of Mejlis Mustafa Jemilev during his meeting with Stefan Fule in Kyiv earlier this year. Finally, Khamzin noted the need for Ukraine to adjust its position in relation to the rights of indigenous peoples and national minorities in the country, which today looks more like the politics of the Soviet empire.

QHA