You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • 2 officers killed, 107 Islamists arrested in Egypt
    CAIRO (AP) — Two senior Egyptian army officers were killed early this morning as security forces arrested more than 100 Islamists ahead of planned anti-government demonstrations.
  • Mexico president announces anti-crime crackdown
    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's president announced a nationwide anti-crime plan Thursday that would allow Congress to dissolve local governments infiltrated by drug gangs and give state authorities control over often-corrupt municipal police.
  • Fugitive New Zealand killer deported from Brazil
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A convicted killer and pedophile from New Zealand who fled to Brazil while on temporary release from prison was deported today from the South American country.
Advertisement
Associated Press
Pro-European Union activists are trained to resist police inside their tent camp at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

EU's Ashton: Yanukovych wants to sign EU deal

Associated Press
Pro-European Union activists activists are trained to resist police inside their tent camp in the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

– Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych "intends to sign" the far-reaching trade and cooperation agreement with the EU that he rejected only last month, the European Union's foreign policy chief said Thursday after talks with the embattled leader.

Catherine Ashton said it was clear that the short-term economic and financial issues Ukraine faces can be alleviated by signing the association agreement, which she said would bring in fresh investment from EU nations.

"Look, Yanukovych made it clear to me that he intends to sign the association agreement," Ashton said on arrival for a meeting in Brussels early Thursday after her visit to Kiev.

When Yanukovych rejected the deal last month, he also made it clear he sought closer links with Russia instead. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in the weeks since to call for closer ties to the EU and a shift from Russia, which has ruled or dominated Ukraine for centuries.

EU and other Western diplomats have increased their pressure on Yanukovych to seek a solution to the tensions that have paralyzed the economically troubled nation of 46 million. Yanukovych has maintained that a deal with the EU could still be worked out if Kiev was offered better conditions.

Ashton said Ukraine's economic problems "can be addressed by the support that not only comes from the EU institutions, but actually by showing that he has a serious economic plan in signing the association agreement."

The signature on the EU association agreement "will help to bring in the kind of investment that he needs," she said.

Ukrainians in the east look more favorably on closer ties with their giant neighbor, and Russia has worked hard to derail the accord. Yanukovych, who is seeking a bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund to keep Ukraine from going bankrupt, is sensitive to the economic disruption that trade disputes with Russia can cause.

–––

Follow Raf Casert on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/rcasert

Advertisement