Ukraine should not be presented with an artificial choice of the "western" and "eastern" development vectors, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the Chernovtsy National University on Monday.
"We are positive that our closest neighbors should not be forced to make an artificial choice between the "western" and "eastern" development vectors," he said.
"Integration processes on the continent, both in the European Union and in the Eurasian formats, develop by the same rules; hence it is necessary to foster the objective trend towards their linking rather than try to oppose them to one another artificially," the Russian chief diplomat said.
Interaction with all interested parties under the same economic rules is the principle of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Lavrov said.
"Main tasks in the provision of functioning of the grand Customs Union have been accomplished. A unified system of foreign trade tariff, non-tariff and customs regulation has been formed, and policies in technical regulation and sanitary, veterinarian and phytosanitary measures have been coordinated," the minister said.
"The Customs Union ensured free movement of goods. International treaties of the Common Economic Space created prerequisites for free movement of services, capitals and labor resources. The future target is the coordinated currency and macroeconomic policy," the Russian foreign minister continued.
He noted that the union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan had brought tangible results, such as GDP growth, better investment climate in the three countries, and more comfortable conditions for business.
"Continuation of the integration processes in the Troika does not mean they seek distance from other countries. Quite the opposite: the Eurasian project was designed to be open to other states, primarily members of EurAsEC and the CIS," Lavrov said.
Speaking of Russia-Ukraine cooperation, Lavrov pointed to the frank and detailed political dialogue held by Kiev and Moscow on the summit and high levels.
"Negotiations are intensive on the elaboration of new cooperation formats in gas delivery to Ukraine and gas transit through Ukraine to European customers. We think it is necessary to ensure stable and mutual beneficial terms, which would meet the long-term interests of our countries," he said.
"We continue to upgrade agreements and legal documents in various spheres, among them the provision of optimal conditions of the stay of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian territory," he said.
The minister admitted that some issues in Russia-Ukraine relations were not solved as quickly as the sides might have liked. Yet, he noted the importance of the search for settling problems, which inevitably occurred between neighbors in such intensive relations as Russia and Ukraine had in all spheres, at frank and pragmatic negotiations.
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