EU cold shoulders three-way talks with Russia, Ukraine

22nd November 2013, Comments 0 comments

The EU cold shouldered Ukraine's proposal of three-way trade talks with Russia on Friday but said a summit next week with ex-Soviet states would go ahead.

This was despite Ukraine's sudden decision to scrap a proposed pact with the bloc.

"I can only take note" of Ukraine's proposal of a trilateral commission to resolve trade issues between Kiev, Moscow and the European Union, said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for the EU's foreign service.

In a diplomatic reverse for the EU, the Kiev government on Thursday suspended the signature of an Association Agreement with the EU at a November 28-29 summit, citing trade issues with Russia that leaves the nation continuing to look East rather than go West.

Pressed repeatedly by journalists on the possibility of a three-way forum, the spokeswoman stressed that the planned accord was "a bilateral agreement between the EU and Ukraine."

"Russia is a very important partner for us and we will continue to consult with them," Kocijancic said, highlighting the EU's separate relationship with Moscow.

She also said that Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych remained "welcome" at the summit next week in the Lithuanian capital that was organised to cement EU relations with six former Soviet states including Ukraine.

© 2013 AFP

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