I read with interest the recent opinion article by five E.U. foreign ministers (“Ukraine’s slide,” Views, March 5). I respect their opinion. Yet for me it is not perception that matters but facts. I would therefore like to offer five important ones here, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Gryshchenko wrote in his article for New York times.
is committed to European values. We are not sliding but striding toward full
integration into the European Union. Last year, we successfully completed
negotiations with the E.U. on the association agreement, creating a deep and
comprehensive free-trade area. This agreement serves the best interests of both
parties — Ukraine
and the E.U.
2. I value recognition of the ambitious reform agenda underway in Ukraine. These reforms were long overdue. Previous governments did not dare to address the painful issues of development.
3. The current government has achieved 5 percent G.D.P. growth at a time of global financial crisis. This came even as we paid last year a draconian price for Russian natural gas, the price we are obliged to pay as a result of 2009 Tymoshenko gas deals with Russia. It is ridiculous but today this deal makes it cheaper to import Russian gas from Germany than from Russia itself.
4. My colleagues refer to trials of former Ukrainian officials on corruption charges. Those cases are very similar to indictments of former officials across Europe (trials in Croatia or Iceland are examples). The principle is the same: Whatever the court’s decision is, it is to be respected — domestically and internationally. The way to challenge it is to go to a higher court of law.
5. Elections. In 2010, President Yanukovich came to power after beating Tymoshenko fair and square. Presidential elections were universally recognized as meeting international standards. It was Tymoshenko alone who did not recognize the election result.
Today, Ukraine is approaching parliamentary elections. The president has stated publicly his commitment to hold them freely and fairly, in accordance with our new election law, based on European standards and endorsed by both coalition and opposition parties. Meanwhile, Ukraine has sent early invitations to international observers to monitor the election process.
Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Kiev
Foreign minister of Ukraine
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