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President Kaljulaid discussed with Zelensky the cooperation and development of the two countries

President Kaljulaid discussed with Zelensky the cooperation and development of the two countries © Office of the President

16.09.2019

President Kersti Kaljulaid, who is on a working visit to Ukraine, met with his Ukrainian colleague President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev today to discuss recent developments and the state of reform in Ukraine, as well as the Ukrainian business environment and the rule of law.

“Ukraine is a priority country for Estonia. The war in the east of the country and the occupation of the Crimean peninsula are not only problems for Ukraine, they must be a common concern and alarm for the whole free world that has not stopped ringing. Vigorous reform of the country in such a situation, while combating corruption and enforcing the rule of law, are difficult tasks, but Ukraine has no choice in staying on course between the European Union and NATO,” said President Kaljulaid after meeting with his Ukrainian colleague. The Head of State added that Estonia has so far supported Ukraine's aspirations both financially and by sharing our knowledge and experience, and this must continue.

In discussing Ukraine's ambitious reform agenda, President Kaljulaid stressed the importance of the fight against corruption and the imperative of building a transparent and modern state where both citizens and businesses have confidence in the rule of law. “Many reforms have already started well. E-governance, health and land reform, as well as building or privatizing strong and decentralized municipalities, for example, are important to keep up the pace to show their Western partners that Ukraine's efforts are real,” said President Kaljulaid.

The Estonian Head of State also expressed his Ukrainian colleague's continued and strong support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. “The war in the eastern part of the country and the occupied Crimean peninsula, as well as the activities of Russian armed forces in the Azov Sea, are things Estonia will never accept. It is our job to continue to keep this topic on the international debate table. Of course, the goal here must be to move forward towards solutions and efforts must be made by both Russia, Ukraine and the international community. The steps can and must be proportionate on both sides and the solution cannot come at the cost of Ukrainian sovereignty,” President Kaljulaid said after the meeting, adding that the recent exchange of prisoners is a notable step in this direction.

The President of the Republic is on a two-day working visit to Ukraine, where he has met with the President of Ukraine, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada and Foreign Minister. President Kaljulaid also participated in the opening of the Yalta European Strategy Forum in Kiev, where she made a keynote speech and participated in several debates.

The heads of state of Estonia and Ukraine have previously met bilaterally in the middle of May following the inauguration of President Zelensky and already in October, President Zelensky will be on an official visit to Estonia.

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