15:55 28.11.2013

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen: Ukraine-EU Association Agreement is beneficial for Russia as well

2 min read
NATO Secretary General Rasmussen: Ukraine-EU Association Agreement is beneficial for Russia as well

Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that everybody, including Russia, will benefit of Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.

"From a strategic point of view, I do believe that it will be mutually beneficial if Ukraine signs such an agreement.," he said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

"At the end of the day, it will also be beneficial for Russia. This is not what we call a zero sum game. On the contrary - this is a win-win situation, from which Russia, Ukraine the EU and NATO will all gain."

However, Rasmussen said "he would deeply regret the Association Agreement of the Eastern Partnership summit not being signed.

"Of course, we respect Ukrainians' right to decide for yourselves, and we can take note of the recent decision in Kyiv," he said.

"However, I also want to say that I will have deep regrets if it's not possible to sign the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. And I hope that if [the signing] is not possible this week at the Vilnius summit, then it could be possible at a later stage."

Talking about pressure put on Ukraine, the NATO secretary referred to OSCE agreements.

"First of all, let me stress, that we all – the NATO countries, the EU countries, Russia, as well as the countries of Eastern Neighborhood, including Ukraine – have signed a document, according to which each individual country has the right to decide to which alliance or organization it wants to belong, or if it prefers to stay outside of any alliance or any organization. If anyone puts pressure on Ukraine in order to prevent Ukraine from deciding freely on Ukraine's affiliation, its alliances, then this will be in contradiction with the principles to which we all subscribed many years ago, in 1999, when an OSCE document was signed under which each individual country has the right to decide for itself. We're sticking to that principle, and we do hope that all of the other countries that signed that document do the same."

The full text of the interview in English has been posted on the Web site of the Interfax-Ukraine new agency

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