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Diplomat says EU violated partnership agreement by evasion from summits with Russia

December 28, 2015, 14:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The diplomat also noted that the year of 2015 has become the most difficult in the history of official relations between Russia and the European Union

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© Dmitriy Burlakov/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/. EU’s evasion from summits with Russia is the direct violation of the 1994 agreement on partnership and cooperation, Russian envoy to EU Vladimir Chizhov said on Monday during a video bridge between Moscow and Brussels.

Commenting on the statements of the head of European Union’s delegation in Russia Vygaudas Usackas that it is impossible to hold Russian-EU summits like before, Chizhov said: "I do not agree with such statements. I assume that my colleague’s words were not interpreted correctly." "The existing agreement on partnership and cooperation from 1994 envisages two summits per year. This is an obligation. If EU evades it, it represents a direct violation of the agreement," he added.

Usackas said earlier that there will probably be no more landmark meetings like Russian-EU summits held twice a year before the crisis in bilateral relations.

According to Chizhov, cooperation with the European Union has been disrupted but it can be restored if there is political will.

"The developments that engulfed Europe, especially in the second half of the year - migrant crisis, terrorist attacks in Paris - demonstrated where the real threat to the world is coming from," Chizhov noted. "It would have been easy for us to say - Russia warned you that it will end like this. However, we are far from gloating. We are set for cooperation," he added.

"Talking about future prospects, the cooperation has been disputed, of course, and restoring it is not an easy task but this task can be fulfilled if there is political will on both sides," Chizhov concluded.

The diplomat also noted that the year of 2015 has become the most difficult in the history of official relations between Russia and the European Union.

"Over the last 26 years of official relations with EU, this year has been the most difficult," Chizhov said. "The relations appeared to be hostage to the Western line (in general, not only of EU countries) aimed at confrontation with our country. The formal pretext was the Ukrainian crisis, and the real reason are geopolitical considerations," he added.

Chizhov however noted that Russia and the European Union (EU) will hold a meeting at the high level on fighting against terrorism early next year.

"We just recently started coordinating dates for the next meeting at the high level with EU on the topic of fighting against terrorism. The meeting will take place at the beginning of next year," Chizhov said.

Ukraine will have to pay for joining anti-Russian sanctions - Russia’s EU envoy

The envoy pointed out that Russia is ready to continue its dialogue with the European Union and Ukraine on the free trade zone agreement between Brussels and Kiev but such dialogue will be held in a different environment.

"We are open for further dialogue but it will be held in a different situation when Ukraine enjoys most favored nation treatment regime," he told a videoconference from Brussels.

"We have always been open for dialogue, or trialogue, if you please," he stressed. "But regrettably, the latest statements by the European trade commissioner did not invite for further dialogue. ‘This exercise is now over’ was what she said."

Russia suspends free trade zone agreement with Ukraine and imposes a ban on food imports from that country starting from January 1, 2016.

According to him, the extension of Russia’s retaliatory measures to Kiev is the price for joining the EU sanctions, there is nothing supernatural about that.

"The restrictions applicable to the EU member-counties who joined the sanctions against Russia will be extended to Ukraine," he said. "There is nothing supernatural, this is the price that Ukraine will have to pay for joining the sanctions."

The official also dwelled on the Crimean issue in Russia's relations with the EU. According to him, in informal contacts the EU partners display signs of realism regarding the Crimean issue.

Although in official statements the EU partners "repeat their well-memorized formula the European Union does not recognize so-called annexation of Crimea by Russia and has no intention of doing so, this sounds like a hackneyed phrase," Chizhov said.

"But in informal contacts traces of realism are present - although we do not recognize it, we are well aware that nothing can be changed," Chizhov said.

"We do not discuss the Crimean theme with the Western partners," Chizhov said. "I see no prospects the situation may change in the near future."

Rusian envoy doubts Ukraine can join EU any time soon

The diplomat noted that Ukraine won't join the European Union in the lifetime of the current generation

"If we are talking about Ukraine’s accession to EU, I doubt that it will happen in the lifetime of the current generation," Chizhov said adding that "Association (Agreement) is something different."

The diplomat noted that no one told Ukrainians on the Maidan that the Association Agreement with EU does not mention the visa-free regime. "Some people were probably packing their suitcases," he added.

Provisions of Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union on the formation of a free trade zone come into effect on January 1, 2016. On October 30, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Ukraine could not take part in two free trade zones concurrently - the one with the European Union and the one within the Commonwealth of Independent State (CIS).

The Russian side has prepared a package of documents if no compromise at talks is found. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree in mid-December on suspension of a treaty for creating a free trade zone with Ukraine as of January 1, 2016 in view of exceptional circumstances affecting Russia’s interests and economic security and requiring the adoption of immediate measures.

The Russian government also adopted a resolution this August on introducing customs duties on Ukrainian goods from January 1, 2016.

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