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Ex-minister slams lack of deadline for work on Ukraine's Customs Union strategy

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June 7, 2011, 10:21 a.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine
Ukraine's working group in charge of cooperation with the Customs Union formed by Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan does not have any concrete deadline for formulating a strategy for promoting such contacts, former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko told Channel 5 television. At first sight, it seems that the decision to set up such a working group points to the Ukrainian authorities' intention to secure a certain balance, but on closer inspection, one can see that the goal of this decision is to make sure that a strategy for cooperation with the Customs Union is adopted on mutually beneficial terms only after an association agreement and an agreement on the creation of a free trade zone are signed with the European Union, he said.

"The establishment of this working group only points to an ongoing search for some balance. Although, frankly speaking, if you delve into details of the decree [signed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to form a working group in charge of promoting cooperation between Ukraine and the Customs Union], you will clearly see willingness to delay this process because any concrete deadline for implementing [the decree] is absent," Ohryzko said.

This group does not have any specific deadlines, the former minister said.

According to earlier reports, President Yanukovych gave the working group two months to draw up a strategy for promoting Ukraine's cooperation with the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia in the 3+1 format.
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