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KIEV, January 10 (Itar-Tass) – The issue of Ukraine’s joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is outside the present-day agenda, according to speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Vladimir Rybak.
“Ukraine has not applied for membership in the Customs Union. However Ukrainian experts are working on the issue concerning this association. They will provide their recommendations and opinions to the lawmakers,” he said late on Wednesday in an interview with a local television channel. “We shall consider this issue when time is ripe. Now we are looking at possible formats of relations with the Customs Union, including the formula “three plus one.”
According to the speaker, there are specific areas where “we can work together, so this issue is under consideration.”
Last week, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said Ukraine should adapt its national legislation to the norms of the Customs Union, which do not contradict Kiev's international commitments. Ukraine will continue to look for "instruments and opportunities for mutually advantageous cooperation with the Customs Union," he said and stressed that that the Customs Union countries were sales markets for Ukrainian products and that trade with these countries exceeded 60 billion U.S. dollars.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said earlier that Kiev was expecting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to visit Ukraine to discuss the format of cooperation with the Customs Union. "We'll discuss this question; I believe we'll step up the dialogue with Russia over the format of Ukraine's possible participation in the Customs Union, without being a member of this association," Kozhara said.
A meeting between the two foreign ministers is planned to be held on January 14 in the Ukrainian city of Chernovtsy. The sevenths meeting of the subcommittee on international cooperation of the Ukrainian-Russia interstate commissioned co-chaired by Kozhara and Lavrov will be held on that day.