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Catherine Ashton

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission

Remarks by HR/VP Ashton after EU - Ukraine Ministerial

EU - Ukraine Ministerial

Bruxelles, 26 Octobre 2010

I am pleased to welcome Foreign Minister Gryschenko to Brussels. Ukraine is a European country. Our relationship is very important and we want to deepen and to develop it.

In the course of the conversations we had we covered a wide-range of issues for both the EU and for the Ukraine, particularly in view of our up-coming Summit on 22 November.

We want to move forward on the negotiations for an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. We also look for progress in our dialogue on visa liberalisation.

We are looking forward to the local elections this weekend. Ukraine has a habit of good elections, and should preserve and of course build on that.

There was discussion too of the recent ruling of the Constitutional court. We know that further constitutional reform is a key priority and we hope that it would be carried through an inclusive process with the aim of establishing a lasting system of checks and balances that accord with European standards.

We had a good and extensive exchange of views on our relations with Russia, which is a strategic partner for both of us.

And we have been looking at the situation in Belarus, which is preparing for elections on 19 December. The conduct of those Presidential elections will be very important for our relations.

And we discussed Transnistria in the Republic of Moldova. The EU and Ukraine are partners in the 5 + 2 settlement format. We will continue our co-operation, and we both want to see the moves forward.

And finally, we discussed the issue of piracy which for Ukraine is a major issue because of the hostages that have been taken who are Ukrainian and our ability to collaborate effectively, not just in the missions we have to fight piracy but also as strategic partners together in this sense. To be able to develop ways in which we can support leadership in the region in order to be able to deal with this issue. But more than anything a great pleasure to see you and I am also looking forward to a visit I hope to make very soon to Ukraine.

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