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SOURCE Ukraine Monitor
KIEV, Ukraine, December 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said he is sending a delegation to Brussels for urgent talks on the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.
Announcing the mission after a meeting with three former Ukrainian Presidents, Yanukovych said he has always kept open the door to Europe but the conditions must be right.
"Our purpose is very simple: we want to get conditions that will satisfy Ukraine, Ukrainian commodity producers, and the people of Ukraine now," he said.
His latest statements undermine opposition claims that the government has abandoned the EU and committed its future to Russia's Customs Union.
The meeting involving former Presidents Viktor Yushchenko, Leonid Kuchma and Leonid Kravchuk, also heard Yanukovych's amnesty offer to those caught up in the protests.
Yanukovych has asked Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka to release all detained protesters whose crimes are not serious.
"It's difficult for me to say how many people will be released, but people who have young children, young families, they will be released," Yanukovych said.
Approving the initiative former President Kravchuk added: "The President of Ukraine, without interfering with the work of judges, will settle the issue so that the people who are currently in custody are freed."
The key agenda item of the four men was Ukraine's integration with Europe and ensuring the economy and people don't suffer as a result of the Association Agreement - the very concern that forced Yanukovych to back away from the planned signing last month.
He reiterated the adverse impact the deal in its current state would have on agriculture, the "most vulnerable sector of our economy."
But he said more broadly, the government must minimise the economic risks by the next EU-Ukraine summit in spring 2014.
"We have set a task for the government to carry out this work and to engage as many experts as needed," he pledged.
The meeting heard that the Government's reform programme - which has overhauled, among other things, the criminal code, taxation law, and the pension system - will continue in 2014. In that time the Government will also work harder to make the people aware of how much has already been achieved.
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