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EU Foreign ministers to discuss situation in Ukraine

February 10, 2014, 4:30 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
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BRUSSELS, February 10, 4:08 /ITAR-TASS/. The situation in Ukraine will once again be the main subject of discussion at a meeting of the Foreign ministers of 27 European Union (EU) countries.

On Monday, the ministers are to consider a complicatrd question: what Brussels can promide to Kiev in exchange for an Association Agreement which was never concluded, and free trade that would open the republic's domestic market to the commodities of European producers.

According to Itar-Tass data available from diplomatic sources in a number of missions of leading EU countries here, the question of offering to Ukraine the prospect of EU full membership is not on the agenda. The ministers will not consider the possibility of applying sanctions against Ukrainian officials for fearof setting Kiev against cooperation with Brussels. The sanctions issue has not been even put on the agenda despite demands from individual members of the Europarliament.

The ministers are to consider two documents dedicated to the pursuance of a more active policy with regard to Ukraine. This also refers to Sweden's initiative under the title of "20 Theses on Eastern Partnership (EP)", which has been supported by 12 EU countries. According to excerpts from the document, its contents are not recolutionary.

Sweden suggests "enhancing"

the attractiveness of Europe's Eastern Partnership policy resultant of developing programmes for visa-free exchanges, including those of students, and stepping up efforts under programmes of interparliamenary contacts and civil society to promote the integration of as large number of citizens of key EP countries as possible into European cultural space.

Sweden also suggests speeding up the signing of Association Agreements with Georgia and Moldova and offers to all EU countries to agree on a "coordinated response" if Russia "begins to put pressure to bear on those states". The document does not spell out economic measures to stimulate the interest of Tbilisi, Chisinau, and Kiev fully to open their markets to European goods.

The other document has been prepared by Poland. According to European media reports, it provides for "additional measures of financial suport to EP countries. However, specialists familiar with the text of the document point out that this refers only to an optimization of the use of Euroepan funds. That is, no new money is supposed to be assigned to those countries.

Apart from EU and Ukraine, the EU Foreign ministers are to consider the situation in the Middle East, the conflict in the Central African Republic, and the start of talks on political and economic cooperation with Cuba. The latter item will become an important step towards normalizing relations with that country. The EU had frozen the talks with Cuba in 2003 following the arrest of a group of Cuban liberal dissidents.

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