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EU: Ukraine should regain EU's trust after gas crisis
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13:36, February 06, 2009

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Ukraine has to further proceed with its political, economic and judiciary reforms to regain Europe's trust which it had lost during the gas crisis, European Union (EU) officials said on Thursday.

"It is necessary to avoid similar crises in mutual relations in future, such as the gas crisis in which the EU member states were hostage to a bilateral dispute," said Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, after an EU Troika-Ukraine meeting which also involved EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

The two officials pointed out that Ukraine, as a pioneer of the EU's eastern partnership programme aiming to strengthen relations between the EU and post-Soviet countries, should stabilize its internal policy, the Czech news agency CTK said.

On his part, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko said it was not Ukraine but Russia who interrupted gas supplies in January.

He said Ukraine was interested in a fully-fledged EU membership and visa-free relations with EU countries, and hoped Ukraine could join the grouping in 2012, according to CTK.

Russia cut off gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine on Jan. 7, one week after it halted pumping to Ukraine due to failed talks on pricing and terms of payment. Russia accused Ukraine of blocking the gas flow, while Ukraine argued that Russia's choice of the gas route was technically "unacceptable."

About one-fourth of natural gas consumed in EU countries is imported from Russia, and about 80 percent of it is transited through pipelines across Ukraine.


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