Eu/ukraine : Yanukovych Wins Praise for Energy Sector Reforms

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The EU has praised Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for progress in reform of his country's energy sector and welcomed the improvement in Kiev's relations with Russia. Addressing the press conference after his meeting with Yanukovych, on 13 September, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso complemented Ukraine for adopting a new law on the gas market and congratulated Yanukovych on his decision to sign the accession protocol to the Energy Community, which is due to take place on 24 September in Skopje.

Answering a question on Yanukovych's attitude toward Russia, Barroso said that good relations between Kiev and Moscow were not only in the interest of these two countries but also in the interest of the EU. He said that "the EU stands ready to promote a trilateral dialogue with Ukraine and Russia on energy issues". Kiev and Moscow have been involved in tough re-negotiations of the ten-year bilateral agreement on natural gas prices. Recent developments suggest that the two countries may be heading towards a major clash over the agreement that Prime Minister Mykola Azarov had recently described as "extremely unfavourable" for Ukraine.

Yanukovych reassured Barroso that Ukraine is committed to providing reliable transit of Russian gas via its pipelines to markets in the EU. "Ukraine is obliged, it is deemed to meet its obligations before the EU and Russia as a transit country concerning the stability and reliability of its gas transportation system," Yanukovych told Barroso. …