No deal 'so far' with Ukraine at EU summit: Lithuania

28th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

European Union leaders failed to convince Ukraine to sign a landmark political and trade deal on the first day of a two-day EU summit, Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite told AFP Thursday.

She said that at talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanuokovych, EU "arguments did not reach Ukraine president's ear and mind. So far we see that positions have not changed."

The Ukrainian leader is due to meet both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande before the two-day summit winds up on Friday.

The talks held symbolically in the Lithuanian capital on the EU's eastern flank was to have celebrated a five-year drive to cement ties between the 28-nation bloc and six former Soviet states in eastern Europe and the Caucasus -- Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

But under mounting economic pressure from Moscow, Yanukovych a week before the gathering suspended negotiations to sign an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

The decision has sparked the biggest protests seen in Ukraine in a decade and a sharp East-West verbal tussle reminiscent of the Cold War era.

Grybauskaite said Yanukovych had harped on the economic problems of Ukraine and "wanted that these problems would be solved together by EU and Russia."

It seemed that there was confusion between the benefits of EU free trade agrement and concrete economic situation that is currently in Ukraine.

"All states, and notably the 12 new (EU) member states, said that they showed by example what free trade agreement with Europe means, and that during 15 years the 12 new member states made such progress exactly because they signed this agreement."

© 2013 AFP

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