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The contract on FTZ with the CIS, introduction in the Customs Union and why Yanukovych didn't depart to Moscow on December 18?

On August 9, 2012, Ukraine ratified the contract on a free trade zone with CIS countries. The co-director of programs of foreign policy and the international security of the Centre of Razumkov (Kiev) Mikhail Yuryevich Pashkov tells about a role of this contract for the Russian-Ukrainian relations and about priorities of foreign policy of Ukraine in interview to the Internet portal “The world and we”.

- What consequences for Ukraine, economic and political, will have the ratification of the contract on FTZ with the CIS? How do you estimate this contract and its role for the Russian-Ukrainian relations?


Today three countries ratified FTZ with the CIS. Approximately it will come into force in September of this year therefore it is possible to speak about concrete results of this agreement only in medium-term prospect when it will start working at full capacity. At present it is possible to give only some projections. But I would like to note that speaking about FTZ with the CIS, it is necessary to speak about the priority direction of foreign policy of Ukraine which the European integration is. It is put in the Law “Of bases of domestic and foreign policy”, in article 11. Thus FTZ with the CIS doesn't contradict this movement and doesn't contradict the Agreement on association with EU. In my opinion, the cooperation with the CIS has to assist to the European integration in a certain degree.

As for the bilateral relations, so FTZ with the CIS, of course, will define the relations of Ukraine and Russia to some extent, but, most likely, becomes only one of elements of bilateral cooperation and probably not the main thing which isn't defining.

Because the key moment in these bilateral relations are a bit different priorities. It is the relationship in the gas sphere, the position of Ukraine relatively the Customs Union on what the Russian side actively insists.

Speaking about the possible problem aspects of FTZ with the CIS, it should be noted, firstly, that in this agreement there are certain restrictions on groups of goods that isn't equitable to interests of Ukraine. These are the goods of fuel and energy group and mineral goods. Secondly, FTZ doesn't solve a problem of the Russian-Ukrainian power relations, including, the gas sphere. And, thirdly, out of FTZ there is a transit of pipeline transport that demands the separate agreement. In my opinion, it will be very difficult, heavy negotiation process with the Russian side. Besides, FTZ doesn't put reliable mechanisms on settlement of “trade wars”. There is also a question of how the commissions of experts which are stated in this contract will work effectively.

It is possible the certain increase in volumes of mutual trade between Ukraine and Russia thanks to FTZ. But the main problem which is on the agenda today in the Russian-Ukrainian relations is a gas sphere, it is a problem of borders, these are other various plots. They are out of a context of this contract.

- How do you belong to opinion, that FTZ ratification with the CIS can prevent somehow to contracts with EU that in the agreement there are points which can limit the movement in this direction?

Firstly, Ukraine has to be guided by the interests of the European integration, to make the future of the Agreement on association of Ukraine with EU as the main.

It is the fundamental document which to be in a condition of a pause today.

- Do the last actions of the Ukrainian authorities - FTZ ratification with the CIS, adoption of the language law, testify, in your opinion, the strengthening of the Eurasian vector of foreign policy of Ukraine or it, probably, more pre-election actions of the Party of Regions?

There is no definite answer. On the one hand, of course, there is the pre-election component in these actions. On the other hand, these steps on ratifications of the contract on FTZ and recent signing of the memorandum of cooperation with CES and the language law are the attempts of the power to compensate a pause on the western direction. But the language law and not accession of Ukraine to ZST are not so basic for Russia, as a position of Ukraine concerning the Customs Union. This accurate position of the Russian side was repeatedly declared at meetings of different level. It is testified by Vladimir Putin's known article about creation of the Eurasian Union to 2015, both Dmitry Medvedev's statement and the very first decree of the president of Russia which was signed on May 7 about foreign policy of the Russian Federation.

Thus, this position of the Russian side, anyway, will be as a key question in an agenda at negotiations of Ukraine and Russia. The formula of Ukraine of "3+1" concerning the Customs Union doesn't suit the Russian side in any way therefore we should expect further pressure from Russia to Ukraine in a context of the Customs Union. Because of it, it is possible to predict rather difficult relations, but also the sharpening of the “gas” relations with arrival of colds.

- Is it possible to consider the actions undertaken by the Ukrainian power on east direction, as the attempt of search of alternative to the Customs Union, attempts to make concessions to Moscow, but thus not to enter the Customs Union?

The matter is not about the alternative, but in the recorded official rate of Ukraine on the European integration which is written accurately down in the law on bases of foreign policy and it was repeatedly approved in statements and declarations of the leadership of Ukraine. Eventually, the Agreement on association was initialed which transfers the relationship of EU and Ukraine to essentially new level of political association and economic integration that is essentially important for Ukraine. Here this direction is priority and in this direction Ukraine needs to go. On the one hand, FTZ with the CIS is the help, the registration of a format of relationship with participants of the CIS, on the other hand, it can become the additional “extension of muscles” at movement towards EU in the long term. But thus Ukraine has to defend the national interests accurately, competently and persistently, including in a framework of FTZ with the CIS.

- The noticeable attenuation of activity is now observed in process of the European integration of Ukraine. In your opinion, is there a prospect of development of these relations at the power existing in Ukraine in general or they will move further to stagnation?


The heads of EU accurately declared that the key to the development of relationship of Ukraine and EU is in Ukraine. And today it is valid so. Therefore, moving in the direction of EU, it is necessary to consider that EU adheres to those norms and rules in dialogue with Ukraine which Ukraine undertook to carry out. And the implementation of these arrangements is the main priority for Ukraine today.

- There is an opinion that, despite the declared purposes about aspiration in EU, the existing Ukrainian power has a reorientation of foreign policy priorities to the Customs Union at informal level, that a number of the made decisions testifies it about which we spoke. What is your relation to this assumption?


I wouldn't began to connect directly the language law with movement in the Customs Union. Certainly, Ukraine needs the cooperation with the countries of the Customs Union, in some sectors which are equitable to its national interests. Therefore the formula “3+1” chosen by the leadership of Ukraine, corresponds to these interests to some extent. It is clear that the claims of Russia stretch much further and it insists that Ukraine joined the Customs Union. But this accession isn't equitable to national interests of the country and the declared course on the European integration.

- That is, a priority for the ruling group still is an aspiration in the European Union?


The time will show what would be the affairs, but while the bases for optimism in connection with a situation in Ukraine becomes less and less. I after all consider that a key priority for the country is the movement in EU and the future of Ukraine as European country and as implementation of norms, rules and EU standards in Ukraine. It answers the interests of the population and ruling group of the Ukrainian elite which declares the priority of the European integration.

P.S. It is interesting, to what the infinite balancing between European and Customs Unions will lead Ukraine? After all it is so short to crash down from a rope... The present Ukrainian power all the time seeks to manage to get for itself more preferences at subjects of international policy, but Ukraine meanwhile turned in far not the most important object. And after the South Stream opening, the country becomes the real backward “Ukraine” at all. Meanwhile the introduction in the Customs Union will reduce the price of the Russian gas almost in 3 times that will annually bring 9 billion dollars to the Ukrainian budget without any credits. But for the Ukrainian authorities probably it is more pleasant to dangle between the heaven and earth: it is the extreme, however...

Viewed : 1638   Commented: 0

Author: Mikhail Mikhaylov

Publication date : 19 December 2012 01:00

Source: The world and we

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