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MINSK, August 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has called a personal meeting of the Russian and Ukrainian presidents the key achievement of Tuesday’s talks involving the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan), Ukraine and the European Union.
“The personal meeting between Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko is the key result of the talks,” Nazarbayev told journalists on Wednesday.
Putin and Poroshenko held talks on Tuesday tete-a-tete in what was their first meeting in this format. The meeting lasted two hours. Putin said after it that the two sides reached an agreement to resume the work of the trilateral Russia-Ukraine-OSCE contact group on Ukraine and an agreement on humanitarian aid.
The Russian and Ukrainian presidents also discussed the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU and energy issues. Previously, they only had a brief conversation in Normandy in June 2014 in the presence of the German and French leaders. They have also had telephone talks.
Nazarbayev said possible consequences of the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU for Customs Union members were one of the topics for discussion at the multilateral meeting.
“The problem is that the deal will completely remove barriers for imports from European countries to Ukraine. It means that high-quality and cheap European goods will be imported to Ukraine, and that country’s merchandise will be exported to Russia and our country. We need to take that into account,” Nazarbayev said.
According to the Kazakh leader, Tuesday’s discussions touched upon possible efforts to prevent the Ukraine-EU deal from harming trade relations of Customs Union members.
“The decision was made to establish a working group that will address these issues and introduce amendments to Ukraine’s agreements with the EU when necessary,” he said.
The Kazakh presidential press service said Nazarbayev met with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko after the summit.
“The heads of state expressed confidence that agreements reached at the meeting of the leaders of the Customs Union, Ukraine and EU representatives will have a positive effect for improvement of the situation in Ukraine,” the press service said.
Putin said at the Customs Union-Ukraine-EU meeting Tuesday that more intensive cooperation between the Union on the one hand and Ukraine on the other would be useful but added that it is hardly possible due to Kiev’s association deal with the EU.
He also said at the meeting that the companies of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have close connections in all basic spheres and have organized unique production chains.
The Customs Union member states are Ukraine’s key foreign trade partners with trade reaching $50 billion in 2013 and $22.7 billion in the first six months of 2014. The Customs Union’s market accounts for 30% of Ukraine’s exports. The volume of Russian capital in Ukraine’s banking system has reached some 32%.