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Ukraine, RF discuss strategic partnership, cooperation

December 07, 2013, 12:40 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, December 07, 12:32 /ITAR-TASS/. Relations with Russia, possible changes in the cabinet, the opposition's unwillingness to participate in a constructive dialogue and investigation into violence actions against law-enforcers were among the issues Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov spoke about in an interview with foreign media on Friday.

The premier said the Ukrainian and Russian presidents during their meeting in Sochi discussed preparation of an agreement on strategic partnership. The Ukrainian president, when returning from China, made a stopover in Sochi, where he had a meeting, which was earlier agreed on, the Ukrainian government's information department cited the premier as saying. The two presidents discussed preparation of "a big agreement" on strategic partnership with the Russian Federation with a so-called "road map" to remove disagreements in the trade and economic area.

Ukraine and Russia intend to remove the disagreements accumulated in bilateral relations in the past few years, including over the gas supply contract and break in bilateral production cooperation, the premier said. "The work is under way," he added.

Analyzing the internal situation, Azarov noted that the opposition did not respond to the government's call for "round table" discussion of problems. "I am ready for a dialogue," the premier stated. "Let's begin a dialogue for them (opposition supporters) to disperse and return home. They have families, children. Let them do their own things. They work somewhere, don't they? What need is to stand there for so much time?" he asked.

According to the authorities' information, the pro-EU "Maidan" (a square, the site of protest actions) is not controlled by opposition leaders. There are various groups, various people. Regrettably, on the "EU Maidan" are many radicals, who have organized most of the provocations in the country and the capital, Azarov noted.

The premier described the opposition-organized blocking of the government buildings as an absolutely abnormal method.

"I want to appeal to the opponents' reason and conscience and say that they must return to the constitutional field and stop blocking the work of the state institutions -- the government, the presidential administration and the parliament and leave the building of the Kiev city administration," he stated.

According to the premier, they have to work to maintain the country’s life support and take decisions in the extreme situation under the abnormal conditions. "This must be stopped, and all the foreign ministers, with whom we met at the 20th OSCE Minister Council meeting, supported me in it. All of them confirmed that it was absolutely abnormal. It is absolutely not a European way of development, which is so much talked about on the Maidan."

The premier noted a few days ago he proposed to form an independent group to objectively investigate all the problems that caused concern of the opposition.

“I want to say once more that nothing is more important now than maintaining of order," he stressed.

According to the premier, national media coverage of the opposition's actions is unbalanced. A lot of various rumours are spread. If to watch Ukrainian television channels, it seems that all Ukraine is on some pro-EU Maidans. It is far from being so," Azarov noted. Ukrainian media "ignore rallies of many thousands in support of the president and the government."

"Our attitude to our demonstrators is absolutely normal," he said, noting that Kiev "is not all Ukraine", and the opinion of the country's entire population should be taken into consideration. And these are 46 million citizens, but not 10,000 and even not 200,000 on squares. "So, demonstrators cannot dictate and impose their decisions concerning the entire country, all Ukraine," the cabinet head stressed.

Speaking about possible changes in the cabinet, he said decisions should be taken only after a thorough analysis of the social and economic situation and an analysis of the work of ministers for the implementation of the economy boost programme, which is the most important at present, he noted. "Where the analysis shows it is necessary to strengthen the work, such decisions will be taken." But it may be no earlier than in a few weeks, he added.

As was earlier reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a working meeting in Sochi with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. They discussed current issues of Russian-Ukrainian relations and preparation for the Russia-Ukraine Interstate Commission meeting that will be held in Moscow, the Russian president's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said on national television that the two presidents in Sochi discussed first of all approval of a document on strategic relations and cooperation needed in the areas where Ukraine and Russia cannot live without each other, in particular in the space industry, aircraft-building and machine-building sectors. Ukraine hopes to maintain cooperation and preserve 500,000 jobs, Kozhara noted.

According to the foreign minister, the level of strategic partnership is established with the Russian Federation as well as with the European Union, and Kiev's decision to take a pause in the EU integration process does not harm, but is expected to have a positive effect on Ukraine’s economy.

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