Strong relations with Ukraine require continuous contacts with all main political forces, European Commissioner Stefan Füle said in a statement following his meeting with Ukraine's opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

"We agreed that the process of shaping reforms for Ukraine’s rapprochement with the EU needs the engagement of the opposition. As leader of the opposition, Mrs Tymoshenko stressed she would play a constructive role in this regard in particular on the election code, which we discussed at length. Inclusiveness and maximum transparency in the reforms of the constitution, the election code and the judiciary are essential.

As regards EU-Ukraine relations, we reiterated the determination to pursue positive results which are in the interest of all Ukrainians. As already indicated in Kiev earlier this year, I hope to conclude negotiations on the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area in the course of this year. I informed Mrs Tymoshenko of the recent progress in this regard. The first months of 2011 have born some additional fruit with the recent signature of the Memorandum of Understanding on the National Indicative Programme for Ukraine of 470 millions ? for the next three years.

I reiterated to Mrs Tymoshenko the need for criminal law not be used for political ends. I highlighted that respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law are fundamental principles that bind us together. These principles cannot be compromised. The pace and depth of our rapprochement with Ukraine will be determined by full respect for these values,' the statement reads.


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