From RFE/RL's News Desk:
BARROSO WARNS PUTIN OVER EU-UKRAINE TRADE DEAL
The head of the European Commission says an EU-Ukraine trade deal can only be changed by Brussels and Kyiv – not Moscow.
Jose Manuel Barroso made the remarks in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin released on October 1.
Ukraine's parliament ratified its agreement with the EU last month.
However, the implementation of the trade part of the deal has been delayed until January 2016 to appease Russia, which says the pact will hurt its markets.
Moscow has called for more three-way negotiations to amend the deal and threatened to curtail Ukraine's access to Russian markets if Kyiv implements it.
In his letter, Barroso warned Putin not to impose new trade measures, saying it would threaten the agreement with Russia to delay the EU-Ukraine pact.
(With reporting by Reuters)
And for anybody interested, here's the full text of Barroso's letter:
Following your letter of 17 September, I would like to welcome the constructive engagement from all sides in the trilateral ministerial meeting on the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area on 12 September.
The conclusions reached at that meeting were endorsed by all participants and set out in a joint ministerial statement.
On the EU side, we have informed our Member States of the outcome of the trilateral process, and we have now obtained their approval for the necessary legislative steps.
I should emphasize that the proposal to delay the provisional application of the DCFTA is linked to continuation of the CIS-FTA preferential regime, as agreed in the joint ministerial statement. In this context, we have strong concerns about the recent adoption of a decree by the Russian government proposing new trade barriers between Russia and Ukraine. We consider that the application of this decree would contravene the agreed joint conclusions and the decision to delay the provisional application of the trade related part of the Association Agreement.
The joint ministerial statement also foresees further consultations on how to address concerns raised by Russia. We are ready to continue engaging on how to tackle the perceived negative impacts to the Russian economy resulting from the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
I take however this opportunity to underline that the Association Agreement remains a bilateral agreement and that, in line with international law, any adaptations to it can only be made at the request of one of the parties and with the agreement of the other, according to the mechanisms foreseen in the text and the respective internal procedures of the parties.
I wish to recall that the joint conclusions reached at the Ministerial meeting state clearly that all these steps are part and parcel of a comprehensive peace process in Ukraine, respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine as well as its right to decide on its destiny.
Consequently, while all parties should implement the conclusions as laid down in the joint ministerial statement in good faith, the statement does not and cannot limit in any way the sovereign prerogatives of Ukraine.
The European Commission remains fully committed to contribute to a peaceful solution. In this respect we hope that the recent positive steps embodied in the Minsk Protocol of 5 September and the ensuing memorandum from 19 September will be fully implemented, including the monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border and its verification by the OSCE, and the withdrawal of all foreign armed formations and military equipment from the Ukrainian territory.
We also expect that rapid and decisive progress can be achieved in the trilateral gas talks towards a mutually acceptable interim solution for the upcoming winter period, on the basis of the compromise elements set out by the European Commission. It is key that the resumption of energy deliveries to the citizens of Ukraine is ensured and that the fulfilment of all contractual obligations with customers in the EU is secured.
José Manuel BARROSO"