Almost whole Europe shows disappointment with Ukraine, yet Poland does its best to prevent total isolation of its neighbour in the European arena. The visit of Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski in Kiev confirms firm support of Polish diplomatic service for European aspiration of Ukraine.
The delegation, visiting Kiev on the occasion of the 4th Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Poland and Ukraine and led by the head of Polish diplomatic service, included Undersecretary of State Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz and directors of all MFA departments. The meeting in such a wide circle and of such a high level is a significant gesture, for we must be aware that Poland’s support for Ukraine is an exception in regard to present relations between EU countries and Ukraine. This state of affairs was confirmed by EU Ambassador to Ukraine Jose Manuel Pintu Teisheir who in his interview outright said that there is no point in meetings of Union representatives with President Yanukovych. The reason behind isolation of Ukraine is Europe being more and more distrustful towards Kiev authorities ‘attitude since Ukraine did not signed the Association Agreement in December last year. This chance was wasted because of sentencing and imprisoning former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko.
“I tell Ukraine how much the quality of Yulia Tymoshenko’s trial harmed this country out of friendliness”, said Radosław Sikorski at the press conference after his meeting with Ukrainian authorities, including the President. According to the Polish Minister, Poland did more for Ukraine than for any other country during its Presidency in the European Council. “We have achieved much, but we could have done better … The problem with cooperation between EU and Ukraine comes from a deepening crisis of confidence in Ukrainian policy that the EU have, especially in regard to the quality of Tymoshenko’s trial”, the Minister bitterly admitted.
Sadly, as reactions of Ukrainian politicians indicate, the Minister’s words will not change Kiev’s stand. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko who attended the conference, said that the Association Agreement is not a gift for his country. “No political reservations should spoil achieving this goal”, he said, referring to releasing Tymoshenko as a condition of signing the Agreement. Minister Sikorski, asked by one of present Polish journalists whether during the meeting with President Yanukovych he had been given any promises regarding solving the Tymoshenko problem in the near future, replied: “No, none”.
Luckily, the visit of the Polish Foreign Minister was about more than just Tymoshenko’s case and relations with the EU. In Kiev, several important decisions regarding preparations of Euro 2012 were made, concerning, i.e., issues on fans’ transfer during the event and consular cooperation. Poland submitted a request for opening another – the eight – consulate office in Donetsk. Moreover, Sikorski announced issuing Polish visas for Ukrainians free of charge and declared that Warsaw will continue its alliance with Kiev and its support for EU visa liberalization.
Watch video coverage of the Minister’s visit [ua]:
Translated by KD