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Enrico Letta: Ukraine’s decision to give up rapprochement with EU is “historical mistake”

November 29, 2013, 18:58 UTC+3 VILNIUS
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VILNIUS, November 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Friday that the European Union supported European integration and its decision to suspend talks with Ukraine was a “negative sign”.

“It is not so much the fact but the process which is disappointing. All efforts were taken and all the conditions were created at the talks to sign an association agreement with Ukraine. A pause in this process has brought about many questions,” Letta, who had taken part in the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, said. However, he added that the door was still open to Ukraine.

“We are interested in strengthening European integration and ending negotiations with Ukraine would be a historical mistake,” the Italian prime minister went on to say.

In this connection, he welcomed the agreements concluded with Moldova and Georgia and a treaty on liberalization of the visa regime signed with Azerbaijan.

At the same time, Letta emphasized that the European Union should also strengthen its relations with Russia. He remembered his fruitful talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that were held in Trieste on November 26 and that dwelt on the situation related to Ukraine.

“It is also necessary to take account of Russia’s interests and overcome mutual suspicion because a pause in negotiations with Ukraine was, to a certain extent, a consequence of mutual suspicion existing between the European Union and Moscow and lack of trust,” the Italian prime minister said.

He said that those issues would be a priority for Italy during its EU presidency in the second half of 2014.

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