Lajcak: Minsk Agreements Must Be Met Thoroughly

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Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (left) and his Ukrainian opposite number Pavlo Klimkin (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov).

Kiev, February 2 (TASR-correspondent) – Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak, speaking during a working visit to Kiev on Tuesday, appealed for a thorough implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

Slovakia insists on establishing peace and restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine, noted Lajcak.

Despite the ceasefire, clashes between pro-Russian separatists and Government forces have been occurring in eastern Ukraine. Individual points of the Minsk Agreements, adopted in February of last year, should have been implemented by the end of the year. The agreements should have culminated in the restoration of Kiev’s full control over its borders with Russia, but as virtually no point of the agreements has been carried out to the full, the meeting of its stipulations has been postponed to the end of 2016.

Lajcak at a meeting with his Ukrainian opposite number Pavlo Klimkin supported Ukraine’s European aspirations, and he praised the fact that the economic part of an association agreement entered into force as of January 1.

“We view it as a step in a good direction. It could help both Ukraine and the EU,” said Lajcak.

The agreement on free trade between the EU and Ukraine, which is part of the association agreement signed in June 2014, entered into force as of the beginning of 2016. Russia subsequently suspended its free trade contract with Ukraine signed as part of the Commonwealth of Independent States and banned imports of Ukrainian products. Kiev reciprocated when it came to imports of certain Russian goods.

Lajcak also voiced support for the introduction of full visa liberalisation between the EU and Ukraine and praised Kiev for steps that have already been taken.

“I believe that Ukrainian citizens will soon be able to travel to the Union without visas,” said Lajcak.

The ministers also debated energy and the reverse flow of gas from Slovakia to Ukraine, with Lajcak confirming that gas supplies via this route will continue.