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Authorities, opposition must start talks - Kudrin

File Photo of Alexei Kudrin
file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 16 (Interfax) - The Russian authorities and opposition are not prepared to begin talks yet, said Russia's ex-finance minister Alexei Kudrin.

"This very well suits the irreconcilable groups in both camps, but doesn't suit those who advocate a rational approach. Maintaining the status quo further is dangerous, in my opinion. The parties should make one step towards one another if the impasse is to be resolved," Kudrin said on his website on Monday.

Organizers of mass rallies should select negotiators, Kudrin also said.

The authorities must vividly demonstrate their readiness for talks with this working group. I welcome (human rights commissioner) Vladimir Lukin's participation in the consultative process, but more people, trusted by both sides, should be joined to the group of mediators," he said.

"The first contacts with organizers of the rallies and with representatives of the authorities, made after the holidays, indicate that the parties have not become any better aware of the need to start a substantive negotiating process," the ex-finance minister said.

"The organizing committee (of the rallies) should formalize its representation in the talks, specify the agenda agreed with all parties, select negotiators for the talks giving them an official status, and involve official representatives of the parliamentary opposition in the work," he said.

Kudrin told Interfax last week that he is holding consultations on the formation of a new liberal party. "Talks are underway with politicians and experts. Prospects of shaping such a party are being assessed," he said.

Lukin in late December told Interfax that he had agreed to coordinate dialogue between the authorities and opposition.

Proposals were made for initiating talks between the authorities and the opposioiiton after a series of mass rallies protesting vote rigging in the December parliamentary were held in Moscow and other cities.

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