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Rice: EU should be more open to Ukraine and Turkey

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Sept. 14, 2012, 4:49 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Fencing off the EU from neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Turkey would lead to a loss for Europe, 66th U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said
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Yalta – Fencing off the EU from neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Turkey would lead to a loss for Europe, 66th U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009) has said.

"If Europe withdraws into itself as a result of crisis, we will lose one of the most powerful magnets for democratic development not only in Europe, but also in the world," she said at the ninth annual meeting in Yalta on Friday.

Rice said she understood the economic reasons why sentiments for integration with its neighbors weakened in Europe.

"Don't the Europeans understand how important Europe is in a peaceful transition of countries that were freed from the Soviet Union?" she said.

Rice noted that Europe was a measure and reference point for Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states and now it should not give up this role.

Speaking about the relations between the EU and Turkey, she said Turkey itself was trying to determine how Islam and democracy could coexist.

"It seems that Europe is afraid [of integration with Turkey]. Turkey feels that it is not welcome in Europe, because it is an Islamic state, so it is moving more to the East," Rice said.

She noted that the United States to some extent is tired of global leadership, which is partly explained by a range internal economic problems. She said that among them were the problems of debt, emigration and the education system.

"We're tired, but we have no other choice. We're tired, but we must lead the world, because the United States has always been a strong voice for free people in the world," Rice said.

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