18:12 21.11.2013

Russia ready for tripartite talks with Ukraine, EU - Peskov

Ukraine's decision to suspend its trade and economic association with the European Union is a strictly internal affair but Moscow is prepared to have tripartite negotiations with Ukraine and the EU on trade and economic issues.

"Before he learned about the decisions of the Rada and the Ukrainian government, the Russian president had clearly defined our position, which said that Russia would be ready to hold tripartite negotiations for elaborating and improving the modality of our trade and economic cooperation," Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

Moscow welcomes the wish to develop and improve trade and economic cooperation, he said. "As to the decision of the Ukrainian government to suspend this association, this is a strictly internal and sovereign decision of the country, and we think we have no right to comment on it," Peskov said.

Vladimir Putin had repeatedly declared Russia's respect for any decision Ukraine would make and said that was an internal affair of Kyiv, he said.

As to whether contacts with Ukraine were planned in the new context, Peskov said, "Probably, there will be contacts on the level of experts. Especially as we know that the directive has been given, some contacts, certainly working ones, will be held between ministries and departments."

Peskov could not answer the question if the resumption of negotiations on the possibility of the Ukrainian accession to the Customs Union could now take place. "Once again, this is a sovereign affair of our Ukrainian partners," he noted.

The Ukrainian government decided on Thursday to suspend preparations for the association agreement with the European Union and expressed the determination to considerably improve trade and economic relations with Russia and CIS member countries.

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