November 22, 2013
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:
“Canada is deeply disappointed with today’s announcement by the Ukrainian government of its decision to suspend preparations for the signing of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the European Union.
“This decision represents a significant lost opportunity in Ukraine’s path toward strengthened democratic development and economic prosperity. This agreement would have embraced the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Ukraine, and would have created a more transparent, rules-based and liberalized marketplace, transforming and developing Ukraine’s economy. Canada hopes that preparations for a Ukraine-EU agreement can resume in the near future.
“I personally spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara on November 15 to urge Ukraine to sign this agreement. It is particularly disappointing that the Yanukovych government has since made a decision to turn its back on the exhaustive efforts that the European Union and all of Ukraine’s Western partners, including Canada, have made to help Ukraine fulfill its European aspirations.
“The Government of Canada is likewise very troubled that Ukrainian authorities have not taken the necessary steps to address selective justice in the case of imprisoned Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. This continues to hamper Ukraine’s democratic development, as a legitimate and active opposition is a vital part of a vibrant and effective democracy.
“Canada commends the European Union for keeping the door open and stands together with the people of Ukraine in their pursuit of the many shared values that would have been enshrined in this agreement.”
Media Relations Office, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.