Ukrainian president confirms nation's EU aspirations

09:57, 11 February 2013
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President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday reconfirmed Ukraine's aspirations to move nearer to an association agreement with European Union (EU) that will bring the two sides' closer political and economic ties, according to Xinhua.

"The signing of the association agreement and free trade deal is our top priority and challenge in the period up to November 2013," Yanukovych said during a meeting with Stefan Fule, the EU commissioner for enlargement.

Yanukovych said Kiev would be working towards achieving European standards, including the harmonization of Ukrainian laws with those of the EU.

Fule, for his part, urged Ukrainian officials to apply greater diligence toward the aim of signing the EU partnership deal.

"We have worked very hard over the years to make possible the signing of this agreement, and we must do our best not to miss it," Fule said.

On Thursday, Fule said the document could be signed in November during the next EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius.

The EU and Ukraine last March initialed an association agreement that includes arrangements for a free-trade area and easing the visa regime for Ukrainian citizens.

The 27-member bloc postponed the signing of a document in May, faulting court system shortcomings and a lack of reform in Ukraine.

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