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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: the European Union condemns aggression against Ukraine

04.03.2014

At an emergency meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet along with colleagues from other European Union countries unequivocally condemned Russia’s aggression in Crimea in Ukraine, which is a violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Russia’s actions towards sovereign Ukraine are contrary to the UN Charter and a threat to peace and security,” the EU foreign ministers said.

The European Union foreign ministers called on Russia to immediately withdraw its armed forces to the areas of their permanent stationing. “Russia must also agree to immediately hold consultations with Ukraine in accordance with the bilateral Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership signed in 1997,” the Estonian foreign minister said.

EU foreign ministers reaffirm the importance of sending an OSCE observer mission to Ukraine.

According to Paet, the EU decided it will suspend negotiations with Russia on visa matters as well as on the New Agreement if the Russian invasion continues. “If Russia continues to violate international law with acts of aggression towards a sovereign country, the European Union will introduce further measures,” the EU foreign ministers decided.

The Estonian Foreign Minister stressed that the most important thing is to find a political solution to the crisis, while respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The European Union is ready to mediate talks aimed at reaching a peaceful solution. “Estonia has repeatedly expressed the need to send observers from international organizations to Crimea,” Paet noted.

Helping Ukraine and preventing its economic collapse are crucial to the European Union. “But the prerequisites for this are rapid and bona fide reforms in Ukraine, which will truly strengthen the rule of law, reduce corruption, ensure the functioning of a market economy and strengthen civil society,” the Estonian foreign minister said.

Paet also acknowledged the current Ukrainian government's actions in stabilizing the situation in the country and willingness to continue negotiations with the European Union. “An accountable government in Ukraine is a prerequisite for the European Union, IMF and other structures possibly providing financial assistance,” the Estonian foreign minister said. The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement also continues to be ready to be signed, according to Paet. “We approve of concluding this agreement and feel that it would be beneficial for the future perspective of Ukraine,” he noted.

Foreign minister Paet emphasized that Ukraine's presidential elections scheduled for May must be free, democratic and transparent. “International election observers must also be guaranteed access,” the Estonian foreign minister added.


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