Brussels, 30 January 2013
Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton following her meeting with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara
"My meeting with the new Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kozhara today, in the run-up to the Summit in Brussels on 25 February, was a good opportunity to take stock of our mutual engagement for the political association and economic integration of Ukraine with the EU.
The Foreign Affairs Council last December set concrete criteria and a timeframe for the possible signing of the Association Agreement with its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. Signature of the agreement will, however, only be possible if progress is sufficient. I therefore call on Ukraine to use this opportunity for a breakthrough in our relations and take determined action to achieve tangible progress on the benchmarks set in the Conclusions. The benchmarks are clearly achievable, but time is short.
In the meeting today I reiterated how important it is that Ukraine addresses the cases of selective justice and prevents their recurrence. In this context, I expressed concern about recent developments related to Yulia Tymoshenko and her close collaborators, and about the overall political context in which these developments are taking place. This morning's news about Yuriy Lutsenko’s unexpected transfer from the hospital back to prison was also raised.
At our meeting we also exchanged views on Ukraine’s Chairmanship-in-Office of the OSCE during 2013. I stressed that Ukraine is well placed to build bridges and that all existing OSCE commitments need to be upheld at home and promoted within the OSCE region. Furthermore, I fully support Ukraine’s determination as Chairman to pay particular attention to protracted conflicts, including Transnistria.”