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EU says no further delay on Ukraine trade deal

EU says no further delay on Ukraine trade deal

BRUSSELS: The EU said on Thursday it would not bow to Russian demands to delay further the planned January 2016 implementation of a free trade deal with Ukraine which is bitterly opposed by Moscow.

“The date is the first of January next year,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said. “It is not for Russia to decide,” Malmstroem said, adding that the 28-nation European Union has been very clear on the issue.

The free trade accord is part of the broader 2014 EU Association Agreement at the heart of the Ukraine crisis and was originally due to come into effect in January this year.

In September however, the EU postponed implementation for a year to support peace efforts as a first Ukraine ceasefire accord was negotiated.

In return, Russia promised to hold off on the retaliation it had threatened if the EU and Ukraine went ahead with the trade pact without resolving its concerns.

Russia claims that what is known as the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement will damage its own important economic ties and interests in its Soviet-era satellite.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2015

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