Ukraine still wants EU deal despite snub

2011-10-18 19:32

Donetsk - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said on Tuesday his country was still interested in signing a cooperation agreement with the EU after Brussels postponed a scheduled meeting with him.

Thursday's talks in Brussels were to have focused on an association agreement whose signature would mark the first step to Ukraine's full membership in the 27-nation bloc.

The EU indefinitely postponed the talks over Ukraine's jailing of Yanukovych's bitter rival Yulia Tymoshenko on abuse of office charges while prime minister in 2009.

Yanukovych said he expected the EU to treat Ukraine as an equal.

"We will always meet with the EU as partners - with members of the European Commission when there is a need, and on a bilateral level," Yanukovych said following talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

But he also made clear that Ukraine would still sign up to the association deal if the EU made the first move.

"Everything depends on the progress we achieve in the immediate future," Yanukovych said.

"There are certain plans. We would like to hear the European Union, and if they [the plans] have not changed, then we will continue on that course," he said in reference to the membership drive.

Yanukovych had hoped to sign the agreement this year and voiced hopes of his country's complete EU integration within the next 10 years.