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Ukrainian parliament speaker calls for strategic partnership with Russia

November 22, 2012, 22:09 UTC+3

Litvin met Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and Valentina Matvienko

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KIEV, November 22 (Itar-Tass) — Vladimir Litvin, the speaker of Ukraine’s Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament), hopes that the parliament elected on October 28 will support the development of strategic partnership with Russia, the press service of Ukrainian parliament reported on Thursday, commenting on Litvin’s trip to St. Petersburg to the 38th session of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS member countries.

Litvin met Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and Valentina Matvienko, the head of the Russian Federation Council, in St. Petersburg earlier on Thursday.

“Litvin thanked his Russian colleagues for fruitful cooperation with Verkhovnaya Rada of the sixth convocation. He said he was convinced that the new parliament will also be determined to develop strategic partnership with Russia,” the press service said in its release.

Litvin urged the Russian side to support the activities of the Ukrainian community in Russia, including in questions of its self-organization. The second stage of the constituent assembly of the Ukrainian Congress of Russia, an all-Russian public organization of Ukrainians, will be held in Moscow on November 24. It is expected to adopt its charter and finish preparation of documents necessary for registration at the Russian Justice Ministry.

Litvin believes that cultural and humanitarian cooperation between the two countries will get a new impetus after the governments of Ukraine and Russia sign an agreement for cooperation in provision of the rights of persons belonging to ethnic minorities.

The Ukrainian parliament speaker also thanked Russia for the renovation of the monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in Moscow.

Naryshkin said that Russia had closely watched the election campaign in Ukraine and added that the elections had passed according to democratic principles.

In turn, Valentina Matviyenko said that Russian observers hadn’t noticed any serious violations of election legislation during the polls.

In the meantime, Ukraine has a serious chance to sign an association agreement with the European Union in the second half of 2013.

“Thank God, we’ve heard a signal that we have a serious chance to sign the agreement next year,” Ukraine’s First Vice-Premier Valery Khoroshkovsky said on Wednesday.

“Most likely, that’s going to happen in the second half of 2013. The government team will focus all efforts on signing this agreement next year,” Khoroshkovsky emphasized.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry hopes that the Ukraine-EU summit may be held after a new parliament has been formed.

“We want the summit to take place at a time when the composition of the new Verkhovnaya Rada, including the committees, is finished in Ukraine,” Oleg Voloshin, the director of the information policy department at the country’s Foreign Ministry, said. He added that the date for the summit was less important than its content. “It’s not enough holding a summit for the sake of a summit. It’s insufficient to just meet and shake hands with each other,” Voloshin said.

In his previous statements President Viktor Yanukovich said that Ukraine was set to sign an association agreement with the European Union, including the creation of a free trade zone, as soon as possible.

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