“Ukraine could sign an agreement on visa-free travel regime with the EU by mid-2015,” said Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski on Friday, after meeting with senior officials of the Ukrainian MFA in Kyiv.
At the press conference, Sikorski stressed that introducing visa-free travel regime with the EU will be possible if Ukraine fulfils a number of requirements, such as the adoption of anti-discrimination law, law on refugees and law on personal data protection, and introduces biometric passports. “If you do your part, we will speed up the procedures on our side. The agreement is possible by end of the first half of next year,” announced the minister.
The chief of Poland’s diplomacy called Ukraine a strategic partner. “We think that Ukraine is Poland’s only truly strategic partner among the countries that are not members of the EU or NATO,” said Minister Sikorski.
Poland’s top diplomat welcomed reforms that Kyiv has carried out recently. However, he added that more reforms are needed, for instance those concerning the fight against corruption. “Adopting anti-corruption measures is important for the implementation of the IMF agreement,” he stressed.
As Sikorski said, Ukraine’s authorities assured him that the Ukrainian embargo on Polish meat will “very soon be a thing of the past.”
During the press conference, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Andrii Deshchytsia announced that a meeting between Polish and Ukrainian veterinary services is scheduled for 27 May. He added that the meeting is expected to end with the signing of an agreement lifting the embargo on Polish meat. “There will be no delays in our decisions,” said the Ukrainian minister.
Sikorski reaffirmed that “Poland does not recognise the illegal referendums in Crimea and Donbas.” “Obviously we do not recognise forceful revision of borders. We still consider Crimea to be part of Ukraine,” he added.
“We support attempts at mediation, but they must be consistent with both Ukrainian and international law. Ukraine must always be represented at the talks,” said Poland’s top diplomat.
Sikorski expressed his hope that Ukraine will sign all parts of the EU Association Agreement after the presidential elections that are scheduled for 25 May.
“We know that the Russian Federation questions the legitimacy of the Ukrainian government. It should then be the biggest supporter of transparent and democratic presidential elections. The best way to ensure peaceful elections in the east of Ukraine is to stop providing support (also material) to separatists,” he said.
On Friday, foreign ministers of Poland and Ukraine signed a plan of cooperation between foreign ministries of the two countries in 2014-2015. The plan provides for political consultations between Ukraine and countries of the Visegrad Group and Weimar Triangle, regular meetings of Polish and Ukrainian foreign ministers, and trainings for Ukrainian diplomats in Poland.