Ukraine should become a link between Europe and Russia, says Tigipko

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Nov. 23, 2009, 9:31 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

Sergiy Tigipko

Ukrainian presidential candidate Sergiy Tigipko has said that the country should conduct the most constructive policy it can in relations with neighboring countries. "The Euro-Atlantic community and Europe itself are on the threshold of radical change. Under changing conditions, Ukraine should strengthen its diplomatic role in the region by conducting a maximally pragmatic and constructive policy in its relations with NATO and neighbors," his press service quoted him as saying on Monday.

He commented on German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor Guttenberg's statement made at an international forum on security in Halifax, Canada. The minister called for a fundamental reform of NATO, in particular, in strengthening its cooperation with non-member states of the alliance ad creating new structures inside NATO.

"The alliance already views Russia as a real and prospective partner despite all of the tensions between them. This circumstance demands that we hold a multilateral foreign policy freed from any ideological bias," Tigipko said.

In his opinion, the resetting of relations with Moscow, an agreement of association and a free trade area agreement with the EU are realistic steps that Ukraine should take as soon as possible.

"The role of a link between the old Europe and our eastern neighbors is a very strong and profitable position," he said.
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