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Ambassador: Greece against Ukraine's EU membership

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Oct. 6, 2011, 10:15 a.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

A police officer's boots are left in the street during a protest against austerity measures by police officers outside the Greek Parliament in Athens, on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011.

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Athens, Oct 5 (Interfax-Ukraine) - Greece does not support Ukraine's demand to include a provision on the country's EU membership prospects in the draft association agreement with the European Union, as it believes that it is currently not the best time for accession to the EU, Ukrainian Ambassador to Greece Volodymyr Shkurov has said. "Greece does not currently support Article 49 [of the Treaty on the European Union], as insisted by Ukraine, concerning the inclusion of Ukraine's EU membership prospects in the association agreement. This can be explained by the fact that Greece believes that it's currently not the best time for accession to the EU," he said in an interview with Ukrainian journalists in Athens on Wednesday.

At the same time, Shkurov said that this does not mean that Greece is against Ukraine's membership of the EU.

The presidents of Ukraine and Greece will discuss at a meeting on Thursday the subject of the financial crisis, which Greece is currently facing, Shkurov also has said.

"Of course, the agenda foresees the discussion of the issues of the financial crisis, which Greece is currently facing... I think that the conversation will be built in a format of information exchange," he said in an interview with Ukrainian journalists in Athens on Wednesday.

The ambassador said that Greece, as well as Ukraine, had launched complex reforms that are currently being implemented with great difficulty.

Shkurov said that perhaps now was not the best time for visits, but that did not mean that the leaders should not meet and talk.

"Greek experience should be taken into account, but I think that Ukraine is now in a much better situation compared to the situation in Greece and some countries of the European Union," he said.

The ambassador said that in terms of Ukrainian-Greek relations, bilateral trade in the first half of the year grew by about 20%, while exports rose by about 90%.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych will make a state visit to Greece on Oct. 6-7.
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