Klimkin says hasn't talked with Zelensky after inauguration
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said he has not talked with President Volodymyr Zelensky following the latter's inauguration but communicated with Vadym Prystaiko deputy head of the presidential office, whom Zelensky has nominated for foreign minister.
"We had had conversations before, and it seemed to me that Zelensky, who wasn't yet president at the time, understood me. I sketched out various ideas for him, and I hope they'll be used," Klimkin said on the Pryamiy television channel on Thursday evening.
"There have been no such contacts following the inauguration, but the president is entitled to ask," he said.
"First, I went on leave. Then there was a National Security and Defense Council meeting, and I returned [from leave]. Then lawsuits against Russia started, and I had to help. The tribunal [the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea hearing concerning Ukrainian sailors detained by Russia], Moldova, and a lot of other issues, I mean routine foreign policy issues. The diplomatic service keeps working with or without me, Ukrainian citizens receive protection abroad, and Ukrainian businesses receive support. But there are things that can hardly be done without the minister, like what surrounded Moldova or the lawsuits. This includes telephone calls, coordination of positions, and some other things, too," Klimkin said.
Asked whether he has talked with Prystaiko, Klimkin said, "Of course, we have communicated. We've known each other for years."
Klimkin said he was unaware of the incumbent presidential team's foreign political priorities. "I have my vision, but I don't know how the Zelensky team sees these things," he said.
Commenting on his future, Klimkin said, "I'm not going to travel anywhere so far [to start a teaching career]. I'll be working here. This includes a non-governmental organization, a political project, and many other creative ideas."
"A political project is, among other things, a political party, but this might involve something more than a political party," Klimkin said.
After taking office, President Zelensky has forwarded a proposal to the Verkhovna Rada on relieving Klimkin of his duties as foreign minister, but the Rada has declined to do so.