Statement of Foreign Minister of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius on Decision of Ukrainian Government

22 November 2013, Last updated at, 11:50 EEST
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author: AFP/Scanpix

The news from Ukraine is disappointing. We have taken note of the decision of the Ukrainian government but want more clarity. The decision, whatever it will turn out to be in its final form, will not mean that we will be lowering the curtain on what has been achieved. 

Ukraine, a European state of 46 million, has become closer to the European Union in the past years. The people of Ukraine appear to have already made up their mind that they belong to the European family.
 
President Yanukovych should take responsibility for fulfilling the European aspirations of the Ukrainian people. 
 
European Union has always said that it would be ready to sign the Association Agreement, the most ambitious of its kind, if and when Ukraine is ready, and we have always maintained that the ultimate choice whether to undertake the necessary reforms rests with the Ukrainians. Given how much has already been achieved on this road, the government decision is unfortunate.
 
The proposal for the trilateral dialogue is not an option and has no precedents. EU proposal for bilateral association remains on the table and we see no role for third countries in this process.
 
We do not believe in any delay in signing the agreement. It would diminish chances for signing, and it would delay the significant benefits that the Association Agreement would ultimately bring to the Ukrainians. 
 
From Lithuania’s own experience, we know the challenges, but we also know the benefits that the association and free trade process brings while not harming trade relations with the outside world. 

Ukraine remains an important member of the Eastern Partnership. In Vilnius, we will initial the Association Agreements with Georgia and Moldova. We will strive to respond to all partners who will express their further wishes to move closer to the European Union. 

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