Latvia calls on Ukraine to sign major EU deal

  • 2013-11-19
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Latvia has called on the Ukraine to sign a major association agreement with the European Union at the Vilnius summit on Nov.28-29, reports LETA.

It follows after European Union officials expressed doubts whether Ukraine would sign the free trade agreement as they have yet to agree on releasing former Ukrainian prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko was charged in 2008 for abuses of office. The EU has said it would only sign the agreement with the Ukraine based on her release.

Ukraine's parliament put off until Thursday, Nov. 21 a debate on plans to sign a trade agreement with the European Union as it remained in deadlock on the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, reports Reuters. 

Speaking at the European Union Foreign Affairs in Council in Brussels on Nov. 18, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics expressed hopes that the EU would continue supporting Ukraine economically whilst he branded Russian pressure on Eastern Partnership countries as 'unacceptable'.

Ukraine currently relies heavily on Russian imported gas. An association agreement with the Ukraine has been viewed by Russia as a step in the wrong direction.

Meanwhile, Rinkevics is in Moscow for talks with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov over border control issues whilst its expected he will sign major agreements on economic projects. 

EU foreign ministers also  discussed matters on Nov. 18 related to the bloc's security and defense policies, and the continued development of Europe's military capabilities.

The Latvian foreign minister emphasized that it is important for the EU to agree on common defense and security policy goals, with especial attention on the development of military and civilian capabilities in EU member states. 

EU foreign ministers also discussed the situation in Syria, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Also discussed was the flow of illegal immigrants into EU territory from te countries. Preparation for the upcoming EU-China Summit, as well as Bosnia & Herzegovina's progress in EU integration was also in talks.