Latvia to continue supporting Ukraine’s aspirations for closer relations with EU

Latvia will continue supporting Ukraine’s aspirations to build closer relations with the EU, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Unity) said during the meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Kyiv on June 20.

The Latvian Foreign Minister said that Rinkevics had expressed strong support for Ukraine’s aspirations to build closer relations with the EU. “It is important that Ukraine move actively ahead with its reform process in order to also ensure further support from the international community. We shall address those issues at the Ukraine Reform Conference in Copenhagen on June 27. With this in mind, Ukraine should continue working towards the full implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement,” he said.

Latvia also supports holding of the EU-Ukraine Summit in Brussels on July 9 and drawing up a joint statement. “We believe that the statement should focus on support for Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the European Union. The statement should contain an unwavering support by the European Union for Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” the Latvian foreign minister said.

During the meeting with the Ukrainian President Poroshenko, Rinkevics said that over the 26 years since Latvia and Ukraine established their diplomatic links, the two countries have succeeded in setting up multifaceted relations covering a broad range of cooperation issues. He confirmed to President Poroshenko that Latvia supported Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Latvia does not recogniz the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and condemns Russia’s aggression in the east of Ukraine, Rinkevics said.

In a meeting with the First Deputy Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, Irina Gerashchenko, the Latvian foreign minister addressed the situation in the east of Ukraine and the course of reforms required for Ukraine to draw closer to the EU. He confirmed that Ukraine would also further remain one of priority countries for Latvia and receive its support in carrying out the much-needed reforms.

“Ukraine’s political commitment to actively proceeding with reforms aimed at the development of the whole country should be sustained. To this end, Latvia is prepared to offer assistance in the areas vital for Ukraine’s long-term development, notably, in the field of good governance, anti-corruption, the rule of law, human rights, and economy. It is essential that no steps are taken during the reform process in Ukraine that could undermine the decisions taken,” Rinkevics said.

The officials also discussed the implementation of the Minsk Agreements in the Normandy format. Gerashchenko informed Rinkevics about the human rights violations observed in Donbas and noted that the exchange of prisoners of war between Ukraine and Russia was not taking place at the moment.

In an exchange of views with Mustafa Dzhamilev, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and leader of the Crimean Tatars, the Latvian foreign minister discussed the human rights situation in Crimea illegally annexed by Russia. “Latvia will continue advocating and reminding the international community, the EU Member States in particular, of the human rights situation in Crimea,” Rinkevics underlined.

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