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Joint Statement by the Visegrad Group and the Benelux countries on the situation in Ukraine

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Visegrad Group (V4) and the Benelux countries (B3) have called on the government of Ukraine to improve rule of law and respect for human rights in the country.

The Joint Statement was presented to the chief of Ukraine’s diplomacy, Kostyantyn Hryshchenko, by Minister Radosław Sikorski and the remaining signatories of the document during the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Poland currently holds the rotating V4 presidency.

In the Statement, the ministers wrote that the European Union recognizes and supports the European aspirations of Ukraine, which in recent years has made efforts in the area of democratization, positioning itself in the EU neighbourhood policy. They noted, however, that the past year saw some regressive tendencies in this field. The ministers pointed out the deterioration of the situation in the areas of the rule of law, human rights, freedom of the media and the overall state of democracy. The imprisonment of former PM Yulia Tymoshenko and other politicians of her government proved to be a serious symptom of these negative tendencies. At the same time, the foreign ministers of the V4 and B3 underscored that a visible improvement of the rule of law in Ukraine is essential for the signing of the EU Association Agreement; the lack of progress, meanwhile, may turn out to be a serious impediment on the country’s pro-European path.

The Statement concludes with the ministers’ call on the government of Ukraine to ensure that the upcoming election, conducted next month in October, will be in line with the standards of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The document was signed by Radosław Sikorski, Foreign Minister of Poland; Karel Schwarzenberg, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic; János Martonyi, Foreign Minister of Hungary; Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Slovakia; Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Belgium; Jean Asselborn, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Luxembourg; and Uri Rosenthal, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands.

Source: MFA Poland

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