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Yanukovych: Ukraine will remain a neutral state

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Jan. 7, 2010, 2:33 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

Victor Yanukovych

The leader of the Regions Party and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych has said that Ukraine will remain a neutral state and will not join any alliances.

"It's certain that Ukraine was and will be non-aligned state... We strive neither to join NATO nor the [CIS]CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization]. We'll maintain a neutral status," Yanukovych said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine newspaper.

He said that Ukraine is ready to consider an initiative by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the creation of a new Europe collective security system.

Yanukovych also said that if he wins the presidential election, Ukraine would continue developing its plans to join the EU, although this would depend on develpment and reform inside the country. Commenting on relations with Russia and other CIS states, he said that Ukraine would consider the joining the common economic space on a "three plus one" and WTO (the World Trade Organization) principle.

"In addition, Ukraine should become a reliable partner in gas relations with Russia and the European Union, as I'm considering the prospect of creating a gas transport consortium between the market players – Ukraine, Russia and the European Union – as one of the points of a project for Ukraine's modernization," Yanukovych said.

He again said that the gas agreement signed between Kyiv and Moscow in 2009 was very unprofitable for Ukraine.

"Of course, after election I'll initiate the discussion of the most urgent gas issues," he said, adding that the only one approach should be used in gas talks – the price of gas and the level of transit fees should be fair.
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