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Ukraine advances two basic demands for signing EU Association Agreement

November 26, 2013, 1:30 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, November 25, 22:33 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine has advanced two basic demands to the European Union which, if granted, would open the way to the signing of the EU Association Agreement. The matter of convicted ex-premier Yulia Timoshenko’s release or at least the permission to her to receive medical treatment abroad is no longer raised at Kiev’s talks with Brussels.

The newspaper Segodnya writes on Monday that Kiev, first of all, wishes to get a credit of 10 billion euro from the International Monetary Fund not conditional upon raising gas prices for utilities services and for subsidized industrial facilities. Kiev also wants commercial preferences for Ukrainian export, for instance, the lifting of quotas on products of the metallurgical industry that are preserved with the free trade area. A source of the newspaper in the European structures asserts that the EU is ready to provide all the necessary assistance, although not earlier than in the autumn of 2014, after the election to the European Parliament.

Experts believe the last word about the prospects for the signing of the Association Agreement has not yet been said despite the statement of Nikolai Azarov’s government about the stoppage of the eurointegration process. European politicians are ready to go on waiting. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that if there was a report about the slightest chance of at least something, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski might visit Ukriane prior to the Vilnius summit. European Commissioner Stefan Fule was more reserved, saying that the next opportunity for the signing might be the Ukraine-EU summit, the timeframe for which was not yet fixed, but it might be in late winter or early spring.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov does not rule out either that the Association Agreement might be signed during the summit in early 2014. He has said no one in Europe regards the stoppage of eurointegration as a tragedy.

According to sources in the Ukrainian Presidential administration close to the negotiations, the talks between Kiev and Brussels “have not been halted a moment and continue right now.” They deny reports that after the government’s decision Ukraine disrupted the talks with the EU leadership on the signing of the agreement.

Sources say that the talks were blocked by the terms of the allocation of credits, which must serve as a compensation for Ukraine’s economic losses after the signing of the agreement on the free trade area with the EU countries. According to their information, the authorities “now bargain for the allocation of 20 billion dollar credit.” The sources neither confirm nor deny reports that the team of the negotiators from the Ukrainian side meanwhile tries to conclude a package of contracts with Russia, advantageous for Ukraine.

But then the Ukrainian prime minister mentioned on Sunday Russia’s promise to revise the 2009 gas contracts. “We have been exerting efforts throughout this period to persuade Russia to revise that contract. There is actually such a promise now, and we hope it will be fulfilled during the talks,” Azarov said. The prime minister refuted statements of the leader of the opposition parliamentary faction Batkivshchina, Arseny Yatsenyuk, that Russia allocated to Ukraine 20 billion dollars in return for its refusal from the signing of the EU Association Agreement.

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