GRODNO (Belarus) (Sputnik) – A consensus on Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union may not be reached by January 1 if the political atmosphere of some of the participants does not shift, Russian First Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexei Likhachev said Tuesday.
“The main difficulties of the [association agreement] talks is the extreme politicized approach by a number of participants…If the mood of the participants of the consultations doesn’t change, then, in my opinion, it’s very unlikely that a mutually acceptable solution will be reached by January 1,” Likhachev said.
“This needs to be a document that at least has the signs of an intergovernmental agreement or international agreement, otherwise we’ll consider that we’ve just wasted our time,” Likhachev said.
Trilateral ministerial negotiations on the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union concluded on Monday with an agreement to address Russia’s concerns this month.
Russia, as Ukraine's biggest trading partner, has repeatedly insisted on being included in the negotiations over Ukraine's EU association, fearing the process could result in an uncontrolled flow of European goods into the Russian market.
Russia’s concerns over the implementation of the agreement led to a postponement of the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area’s (DCFTA) implementation until January 1, 2016.