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The Joint Statement of the Visegrad Group Foreign Ministers on Ukraine

The Visegrad Group Foreign Ministers—of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the Slovak Republic (henceforth the V4 Ministers)—have closely followed the preparations and the conduct of the parliamentary elections in Ukraine on 26 October 2014. They welcome the victory of pro-European forces in the recent elections and look forward to working intensively with the new Ukrainian authorities. The upcoming early local elections in Donbas must be held in full compliance with the Ukrainian law. The V4 Ministers reiterate their strong commitment to the independent, democratic, stable, modern and prosperous Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, whose people must have a right to decide upon their own future. The V4 countries once again reconfirm their commitment to the EU policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation

The V4 Ministers would like to express their continued support to the efforts of the Ukrainian leadership to build a modern, democratic and united society, in which the rights of all the national, ethnic, linguistic and religious groups are fully respected. The V4 countries call upon the new Ukrainian parliament to lend its firm support to the reform processes which, as outlined in the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, are aimed at bringing Ukraine closer to the EU. The V4 countries stand ready to assist the parliament and the future government in facilitation of comprehensive structural reforms. These structural reforms, as demonstrated by the respective experiences of the Visegrad countries, will transform the country’s institutions, its economy and society to progressively improve the living standards and the business environment. In this respect, transparency and inclusiveness are important for building a broad nationwide consensus to deal with the complex transformation related social and economic issues.

The V4 countries stand ready to continue working with partners and allies to provide various forms of concrete assistance to Ukraine and its people. Such external assistance is to complement the transformation process which should prioritize the strengthening of the rule of law, the efficiency of national government and local self-governments, the transparency of public procurement, the reduction of state regulation and, last but not least, the fight against corruption. In this respect, the V4 countries welcome the adoption of the Operation Plan for the EU Assistance Mission (EUAM) by the recent Foreign Affairs Council and express support for its swift deployment.

The V4 countries recall that the provisional application of the DCFTA provides for the legal framework to lend support to the Ukrainian economy at this critical stage. The V4 Ministers are convinced that a peaceful solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine must be based solely on the principle of respecting Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The V4 countries would like to reiterate a strong appeal to all parties to the conflict to work on the full and unconditional implementation of the Minsk protocol of 5 September and its memorandum of 19 September, in particular by ensuring a durable cease-fire, the withdrawal of the illegal armed groups, weaponry, fighters and mercenaries.

The V4 Ministers wish to underline the crucial role played by the OSCE in monitoring and verifying the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The latter cannot be complete without all parties to the conflict adhering to the ceasefire, the Ukrainian government restoring control over its borders with Russia, a truly inclusive national dialogue and decentralization. The V4 countries share the view that only a constructive role of the Russian Federation would ensure sustainable peace and stabilityin the common neighborhood. The V4 Ministers noted with concern the serious humanitarian consequences of the crisis for the people of Ukraine. They would like to underline the necessity to guarantee an utmost respect for international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in the conflict zone, as well as a proper access for the international humanitarian organizations there. They also would like to recall the need for a conclusive investigation to the tragic events of the past several months or related to the downing of the flight MH17, as well as to the deteriorating situation of the Crimean Tatars.The V4 countries, in the gas and oil downstream to Europe, welcome the ongoing trilateral EU-Russia-Ukraine negotiations to secure an agreement on energy supplies to Ukraine and their transit for European costumers. The V4 countries hope that the Russian Federation and Ukraine will approach these negotiations in the spirit of a long-term reliable and predictable energy partnership with the EU. The V4 countries reconfirmed their readiness to support continued reverse gas flows to Ukraine during the upcoming winter.The V4 countries and their leaders will remain actively seized on the matter, and they are looking forward to meeting President Poroshenko in Bratislava on 16 November 2014 on the margins of the V4 summit.

Source: Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic

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