Kyiv, November 24, 2015. Events in the Middle East that now are in the focus of the leading players in the global political arena have not changed the position of France on the Ukrainian issue. “France keeps closely in touch with Ukraine to help it defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity, including Crimea,” said Elisabeth Guigou, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. In her speech, Ms. Guigou summarized the statements made during today’s meeting with a number of Ukrainian politicians – Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, members of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, its head Hanna Hopko and various experts.
“Although now we directed our forces and attention toward Syria, and this is number one issue on the agenda (…) we do not forget about Ukraine,” emphasized Elisabeth Guigou, denying the concerns expressed by Ukrainian analysts. In particular, she thanked the Ukrainians for solidarity and sympathy with the French people over the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13 and said that France “is astonished at the persistent courage that Ukrainians display in their daily struggle with difficulties” and appreciates Ukraine’s willingness to carry out reforms. “The fact that we have a dialogue with Russia does not prevent us from defending and defining our own principles, positions and requirements,” said Ms. Guigou. “Regarding the Syrian situation, it was stated at a recent meeting in Vienna, that we are looking for a political solution of the problem, and we have clearly outlined French positions on this issue.” Ms. Guigou noted that France had quite clearly demonstrated the seriousness of its position on the Ukrainian issue since it refused to sell Mistral warships to the Russian Federation. It is a costly decision both for the French budget, and the companies that produce these ships. She also added that the possibility of easing the EU sanctions against Russia may be considered only if all sides comply with the Minsk agreements and solely on the common European level.
At today’s meetings with Ukrainian officials and experts, said Ms. Guigou, they discussed two main issues – implementation of Minsk agreements and reforms in Ukraine. Elisabeth Guigou stressed that these two processes are closely interrelated. “We believe that this difficult situation that has arisen due to the annexation of Crimea and Donbas conflict cannot be solved by military means. There is only a political solution, which should be achieved through the implementation of Minsk agreements. And they have no alternative, said Ms. Guigou. “Of course, there are huge difficulties here, we know what happens. Ceasefire does not always hold and there are also terrorist attacks. It is very difficult, but the more successful are the reforms, like decentralization, constitutional, judicial, economy reforms, fight against corruption, the more opportunities Ukraine will have to exit this critical situation.”