Tuesday, September 18, 2012

International Relations: Condoleeza Rice - EU Should be More Open Toward Ukraine and Turkey

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine

The EU should not separate itself from the neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Turkey, said the 66th U.S. Secretary of State (2005-2009), Condoleezza Rice at the ninth annual Yalta European Strategy (YES) meeting (September 13-16, 2012). She stressed that if Europe focused on itself as a result of a crisis then one of the largest magnets of democratic development in Europe and the whole world would be lost.

Both Turkey and Ukraine have been trying to become members of the EU for some time now. Presently, the EU is finalizing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Ukraine and cooperating with the country within its neighborhood policy. FTA is a part of Ukraine's Association Agreement (AA) with the EU. In 2011, Ukrainian parliament reconfirmed signing AA a priority of the country's foreign policy. AA has reached the final stage of initialing in July 2012, when the sides finished editing and coordinating approvals of the second - economic - part of the AA.

Turkey's negotiation on membership in the EU started back in 2005 but came to a halt because of domestic and external problems including the Cyprus issue. The EU froze talks in 8 of the 35 key areas under negotiation. Although Ankara is aiming to comply with the EU laws by 2013, Brussels refused to back this date as a deadline. Reportedly, Turkey's accession process may postpone until 2021.

This year's summit "Ukraine and the World: Addressing Tomorrow's Challenges Together", opened by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, focuses on Ukraine's relations with other nations.

Over 200 leaders from politics, business and society representing more than 20 countries came to discuss major global challenges and their impact on Europe, Ukraine and the world. Among the participants of the Summit are Aleksander Kwasniewski, Stefan Füle, Robert Zoellick, Carl Bildt, Gordon Brown, Javier Solana, Condoleeza Rice, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Shashi Tharoor, Richard Branson, Elmar Brok and others.

The annual Yalta meeting which was organized by the Yalta European Strategy (YES) in partnership with the Victor Pinchuk Foundation traditionally takes place in southern Ukrainian town of Livadia at the former summer retreat of Russian tsar Nicholas II - Livadia Palace.