Kiev sees momentum with EU talks

April 19, 2011 at 2:44 PM

KIEV, Ukraine, April 19 (UPI) -- Bilateral talks between Ukraine and the European Union solidified work toward advancing a constructive partnership in 2011, leaders said.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych welcomed European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to Kiev to discuss issues related to nuclear energy, trade and visa plans.

"President Yanukovych recently stated that an EU integration strategy is a key element of his political approach," said Barroso in a statement. "It is important that Ukraine continues filling this European agenda with life."

Ukraine has had 18 rounds of talks with European officials since 2007 with the bulk of the negotiations centered on a free-trade zone between Ukraine and the EU.

Both leaders said progress was made in setting up a treaty outlining a free-trade zone.

"This is not just another treaty, it is a transformational agenda," said Barroso. "That's why we should keep working on it with determination."

Yanukovych, for his part, said there was a "clear political will" in Kiev to conclude EU agreements in 2011.

The EU is Ukraine's top trading partners with bilateral trade reaching the $40 billion mark in 2010.

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