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Foreign ministers of the Czech Republic and Ukraine met in Prague
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Foreign ministers of the Czech Republic and Ukraine met in Prague

 

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister officially visited the Czech Republic for the first time in five years. Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček received Vadym Prystaiko at the Czernin Palace on 4 February 2020. The topics of the meeting were economic cooperation, Ukrainian reforms, Czech support for the democratic direction of Ukraine, the security situation and relations with the EU. The ministers also jointly launched the Czech-Ukrainian Forum.

“The Czech Republic has never recognised the annexation of Crimea and we are not going to do so in the future,” Petříček summed up during the press conference. “We support Ukraine’s territorial integrity, but we also stress the need for gradual national reform. This is also a condition for the Czech Republic’s continued financial support for the democratic direction of Ukraine. At present, we are most engaged in environmental protection and support for independent journalists.”

In the context of bilateral negotiations, the discussion also touched on cooperation within the Eastern Partnership, which is one of the priorities of the Czech presidency of the V4 Group. Both ministers could therefore meet again as early as the beginning of April at the V4 + Eastern Partnership summit.

Another topic was the historical debt that Ukraine has owed to the Czech Republic since the 1980s, when Czechoslovakia supplied machinery to Ukrainian natural gas extraction sites. Both sides have long been unable to settle the so-called Jamburský debt. “One option being discussed is to erase part of the debt in exchange for a suitable building for the embassy in Kyiv, as the current one has come to the end of its operational life,” said the Czech Republic’s top diplomat. His Ukrainian counterpart promised a helping hand in this matter.

As part of the official visit, the ministers also opened the Czech-Ukrainian Forum, which aims to provide sufficient space for discussion about the common future and past of the Czech Republic and Ukraine. During the first year, the debate focused on the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, the humanitarian impacts of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, mutual potential economic and investment opportunities, and the totalitarian past of both countries and its impacts on current relations.

At the end of the official visit, representatives of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, the Security Services Archive of the Czech Republic and the State Archive Service of Ukraine signed a cooperation agreement. “I expect that this cooperation will contribute, among other things, to exposing the causes of certain repressions during Communist totalitarianism, but that it will also bring new information to both sides and that we will share experience regarding the handling of archival records,” Petříček said.

 

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Foreign ministers of the Czech Republic and Ukraine met in Prague

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