Spindelegger: "Russia and Ukraine must assume responsibility for gas supply"
Foreign Minister meets with new Ukrainian counterpart
Vienna, 16 November 2009 – "For both Austria and the EU, Ukraine is a particularly important and valued partner. We want to continue to intensify our relations at all levels – economically, politically and within the framework of the European Union. Austria is highly interested in an economically prospering and politically stable Ukrainian partner," stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger at today’s meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko. In view of the EU-Ukraine summit on 4 December and the respective discussion at the Council meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels, which starts today, the Vienna meeting was scheduled at short notice.
The key topic revolved around gas supply security during the coming winter months. Ukraine is experiencing a difficult economic crisis and is also facing great challenges as a gas transit country. However, the problems can basically be solved, as both sides pointed out. Austria is well prepared for any bottlenecks in the supply of gas. Nevertheless, Foreign Minister Spindelegger expressed his satisfaction at Ukraine’s payment of the latest outstanding bill, which prevented a repetition of the gas crisis for the time being. "The European consumers should not become the victims of another bilateral gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine. We expect both partner countries – Russia and Ukraine – to fully respect their international supply obligations."
In view of the forthcoming presidential elections in Ukraine on 17 January 2010, Spindelegger emphasised the importance of free and fair elections. "We expect the elections to take place in a manner corresponding to European standards. I am confident that Ukraine will continue to push for democratic, social and economic reforms with great energy in the interests of all Ukrainians. At any rate, the EU will support these efforts to the best of its abilities," concluded Spindelegger.
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