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Ukrainian president intends to sign EU deal: Ashton

Press TV | December 12, 2013

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton says Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych “intends to sign” an agreement with the European Union to enhance economic and political relations with the bloc.

Ashton said on arrival for a meeting in Brussels on Thursday after her visit to Kiev that Yanukovych “made it clear to me that he intends to sign the association agreement.”

She added that the short-term economic and financial issues Ukraine faces could be “addressed by the support that not only comes from the EU institutions, but actually by showing that he has a serious economic plan in signing the association agreement.”

Ashton also said that the signature of the deal would help to bring in the kind of investment that the Ukrainian president is in need of.

The executive body of the European Union had said on December 9 that Ashton would travel to Ukraine on December 10 on a two-day visit, with a European Commission spokesperson noting that the visit aims to “support a way out of the political crisis in Ukraine.”

Last month, Kiev refused to sign the agreement with the bloc in a move that triggered major street protests by the opposition supporters, who want Ukraine to become closer to the EU and distance itself from Russia.

Clashes erupted several times between the anti-government protesters and police forces during the demonstrations. Several arrests were made in the course of the protests as well.

In an effort to calm the political unrest, President Yanukovych invited all parties, including the opposition, to engage in dialog. However, Ukrainian opposition leaders on Wednesday turned down his offer of negotiations, calling for dismissal of his government and release of the detained protesters.

On the same day, the US State Department said it is considering sanctions against Ukraine if security forces intensify the crackdown on anti-government protesters in the country.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko had vowed earlier that police would not act against peaceful protesters.

December 12, 2013 - Posted by | Economics | , , , ,

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