December 03, 2013 22:41
Brussels calls on Kyiv to stop playing with figures - EU diplomat
BRUSSELS. Dec 3 (Interfax) - Brussels calls on Kyiv to stop playing with figures indicating how much money Ukraine needs to accumulate to proceed toward closer integration with Europe; the parties should instead start a constructive dialogue if they want to reach some tangible results on the way toward signing an association agreement, a high-ranking European diplomatic official said in an interview with Interfax on Tuesday.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov said earlier that the Ukrainian government needed 10 billion euros for the national economy to survive the implementation of the association agreement with the EU. The European official interviewed by Interfax suggested that the figure is groundless and proposed discussing the matter at a negotiating table.
The official insisted that there can be no tripartite negotiations on a bilateral agreement, and such negotiations would go against the basic principles of bilateral negotiations. The EU does not discuss bilateral documents it negotiates with anyone with third parties, be it Canada, Japan, or other countries, which European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso tried to explain to the Ukrainian delegation at the recent summit in Vilnius. However, the official went on to say that he had the impression that Ukraine either did not hear, or did not want to hear, or pretended not to understand this.
The European diplomat also questioned Russia's guarantees after Moscow and Kyiv normalize their trade and economic relations. Ukraine made it understood earlier that, after this is done, it intended to proceed toward signing the association agreement with the EU. The official suggested that, as soon as Russia sees that Ukraine is going to sign the agreement, it might again apply the same pressure it did recently.
He reiterated that the European Union, which earlier vowed to help Ukraine implement the association agreement, will keep its promise.
The European diplomat also recalled Barroso's recent statement to the effect that the dialogue initiated in a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych cannot be used for negotiating the already agreed-upon agreement. The European Commission is open to discussing details of the implementation of the association agreement that the EU and Ukraine have already initialed, but it will not open new negotiations on the matter. Kyiv held negotiations on the document with Brussels for quite a lot of time, and the agreement was initialed under President Yanukovych, that is, Ukraine said 'yes' to each page of the agreement and each word in it, and the document reflects Ukraine's position on which Kyiv and Brussels had reached a consensus over the six years of negotiations, the diplomat said. Therefore, he said, Ukraine cannot say now that its economic interests have not been honored.
At the same time, the diplomat interviewed by Interfax was basically positive about the road map proposed by Ukraine, saying that it could well serve as a bridge toward signing the association agreement.
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