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Choice suggesting ‘either Russia or EU’ imposed on Eastern Partnership countries

May 23, 2015, 2:19 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
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BRUSSELS, May 22. /TASS/. EU’s Eastern Partnership aimed from the very start to tear its member-nations away from Russia, believes the Russian ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov.

"The Eastern partnership programme had a dubious foundation from the very start and the subsequent events confirmed this," he told reporters.

"In the first place, there emerged a European neighborhood policy that gave rise to many questions," Chizhov said. "In many ways, this is a highly contrived undertaking which makes it possible to apply the ‘one-size-fits-everyone’ formula to the countries as different and incomparable as Belarus, Libya, Algeria, or even Palestine and Israel."

"When France held the union’s rotating presidency in 2008, the then President, Nicolas Sarkozy, rehabilitated the so-called Barcelona Process, known from the 1990’s, and transformed it into a union for the Mediterranean, thus separating southern neighborhood from the eastern one," he said.

"It’s also true, though, that the idea proved futile, too, but this is a separate story," Chizhov said.

"And in 2009, two well-known politicians - Radoslaw Sikorski in Poland and Karl Bildt in Sweden - who were both Foreign Ministers responded to Sarkozy’s initiative by acting as the founding fathers of the Eastern Partnership," he went on. "Quite naturally, we got questions from the very start, namely, what is was, what it had been designed for and what its objectives were."

"It’s clear now that the adventure never presumed the status of a participant for Russia and we realized full well Russia was not an object of the initiative and would never be one, although we offered to consider some specific projects that could present interest for both the EU and Russia and other states on a trilateral basis," Chizhov said.

"Six years have passed since then but the EU hasn’t addressed us with a single project over this time," he said. "This couldn’t but foster our conviction that the political objective of the EU’s initiative didn’t aim at cooperation with Russia and the whole project pursued the goal of splitting the focus countries away from us and that is was an instrument of an artificial competition in the region, which the authors of the scheme denoted by the ‘shared neighborhood’ phrase."

Chizhov believes that the focus countries have been put in the face of an artificial choice suggesting ‘either with the EU or with Russia’.

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