KIEV, November 26 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine will sign an association agreement with the European Union when its economy is ready, President Viktor Yanukovych said Tuesday.
“We will resume discussions on signing the treaty … when it is in line with our interests, when we are able to negotiate reasonable terms,” the president said in an interview to Ukrainian television channels. “Time will show if it happens soon or not.”
He said he was looking forward to signing the treaty.
“Our focus [on European integration] remains unchanged,” Yanukovych said. “All we want is to be taken seriously.”
In a move that stunned Europe, the Ukrainian government last week announced that it would seek closer cooperation with Russia and the Moscow-led Customs Union trade bloc, which also comprises Belarus and Kazakhstan, instead of signing an association agreement and a free-trade deal with Europe.
The announcement triggered protests in Kiev and number of towns and cities across Ukraine. Opposition leaders said they would rally near the government building on Wednesday, demanding the current Cabinet of ministers to resign.
The Ukrainian government acknowledged last week that the country had already registered significant losses because of shrinking trade volumes with Russia and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, an alliance of former Soviet countries.