EU-Russia ties at risk failing de-escalation: Ministers
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Last Updated: Monday, March 03, 2014, 23:29
  
Brussels: The European Union warned on Monday that EU-Russia ties were at risk if Moscow failed to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine.

"In the absence of de-escalating steps by Russia the EU shall decide about consequences for bilateral relations of EU and Russia," said a statement obtained by a news agency that was agreed by the bloc's 28 foreign ministers at hastily-convened crisis talks on Ukraine.

The statement cited as an example talks that have long been under way with the Russian authorities on easing EU visa requirements for the country's citizens, as well as a new cooperation agreement.

It made no mention of an arms embargo or other punitive measures suggested in the original draft statement put to the ministers, which was also seen by a news agency earlier.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at the close of the talks that "if Russia does not decide credible and fast contributions for de-escalation we will have to take decisions which will concern the relations between Russia and the EU".

The statement also condemned "the clear violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that failing swift and concrete measures, "a whole series of contacts will be cut".

"If there is no de-escalation before Thursday, these measures will take effect," he said, confirming that the EU is likely to call a crisis summit gathering its heads of state and government in Brussels that day.

AFP

First Published: Monday, March 03, 2014, 23:29


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