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KIEV, December 14, 23:50 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara assured U.S. Senator John McCain on Saturday, December 14, that European integration was Kiev’s foreign policy priority.
“The minister of foreign affairs stressed the priority of Ukraine’s course towards European integration,” the ministry said. Kozhara and McCain discussed Ukrainian-American relations with a focus on the political situation in the country.
Local mass media said that during his visit McCain was planning to meet with members of the Ukrainian government, opposition and public organisations.
The U.S. State Department said earlier in the day that America was working closely with its European allies and partners to help Ukraine take the steps necessary to proceed along the path to European integration.
“Since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, we have supported the Ukrainians as they built democratic skills and institutions, and promoted civic participation and good governance - all of which are preconditions for Ukraine to achieve its European aspirations. We have spent over 5 billion U.S. dollars to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine,” the State Department said.
In Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. provided over 100 million U.S. dollars’ worth of assistance to Ukraine in support of economic modernisation, democratisation, and other reforms to help Ukraine move down the path towards EU integration. “Our programmes that assist on customs, IPR enforcement, and border guards directly contribute to Ukraine meeting the level of standards required under the Association Agreement. Our support of judicial reforms, especially on Ukraine’s newly adopted Criminal Procedure Code, similarly helps prepare Ukraine for deeper integration with the EU. Our programmes combating trafficking-in-persons also help Ukraine reach EU standards in this area,” the statement said.
The State Department reaffirmed commitment to continuing support for Ukraine in its economic reform efforts and said it would continue to urge the government of Ukraine to work in good faith with the IMF. “Restoring macroeconomic stability in the context of an IMF arrangement would send a positive signal to private markets and would facilitate increased foreign direct investment that is so urgently needed in Ukraine. The longer Ukraine waits to address its vulnerabilities, the costlier it will be,” the State Department said.