Ukraine's Parliamentary Speaker Andriy Parubiy has suggested stepping up cooperation in the format of countries of the Baltic and the Black Seas, also calling for Lithuanian support for visa-free travels to the European Union.
Kiev
© Organizatorių nuotr.

"I recommended acutalizing our cooperation among countries of the Black and the Baltic Seas, we could also invite countries in this axis, namely, Romania, Poland, Estonia and Ukraine. I am convinced that the line of cooperation has huge potential for transit, economic and military cooperation," Parubiy said in his Ukrainian-language address at a Vilnius news conference on Monday.

At a meeting with Lithuania's new Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis prior to the news briefing, he thanked Lithuania for the support to Ukraine on the international arena.

"Lithuania is the biggest advocate in Ukraine's discussions with other European countries. We have a few tasks, granting and implementation of visa-free travels, as well as approval of the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, the issues will be on the agenda of the European Parliament. We recently heard a promise that the issues would be settled by the New Year, however, some countries say that the visa-free issues (should only be) addressed after their national parliamentary elections, i.e., in six months, in a year – we find the position truly unacceptable, we believe that the liberalization and the association issue should be settled soon, and we genuinely hope that Lithuania's active position could help," said Parubiy.

The Lithuanian parliamentary speaker, Pranckietis, emphasized at the meeting the importance of structural reforms and expressed support to faster introduction of visa-free travels to Ukraine. In his opinion, this would allow more efficient use of potential of the EU-Ukraine free trade agreement, the parliament's Public Relations Division said.

Pranckietis also emphasized that challenges for Europe – the migration crisis, the terrorism threat and Brexit – should not overwhelm the EU attention to countries of the Eastern Partnership program, especially Ukraine, on the annexed Crimea, the situation in Eastern Ukraine and implementation of the Minsk accords. In his words, no progress has been made in the implementation of the Minsk accords, therefore, a clear message should be sent to Russia that sanctions would not be lifted until elimination of their causes.

The Ukrainian parliamentary speaker is in Lithuania on the occasion of 25-year anniversary of Lithuania-Ukraine diplomatic relations.

Parubiy's agenda in Vilnius includes meetings with top officials of the Lithuanian parliament, the opposition political group of Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (conservatives), Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, Acting Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and representatives and volunteers of the Lithuanian Riflemen's Union.

In 2014-2016, Lithuania has provided Ukraine with 4.5 million euros worth of material aid.

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