Polish, Ukrainian presidents sign joint declaration
The Presidents of Poland and Ukraine, Andrzej Duda and Volodymyr Zelensky, signed a joint declaration in Kiev on Monday, after which they highlighted the importance of allowing the search and exhumation of victims of 20th century conflicts and repression.
The two presidents also called for an end to Russia's occupation of Crimea and a cessation of violence in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas.
The declaration referred to the two countries' bilateral relations, which, the two presidents noted, are of a strategic partnership nature. The two leaders also expressed a will for the "comprehensive development" of bilateral relations for the two countries' societies and economies.
The two heads of state said the coronavirus pandemic has had a strong impact on the global and regional order and said a strengthening of international cooperation was necessary to combat new threats and challenges.
Duda and Zelensky also made reference to the situation in eastern Ukraine. "We underscore the respect of the Republic of Poland and Ukraine for international law and the basic principles of international relations, calling at the same time for an end to the illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the ongoing aggression in the Donbas region," a joint statement said.
The statement went on to express Poland's interest in cooperating with Ukraine within the framework of an international platform for the de-occupation of Crimea and said the two countries "emphasise the right of citizens of all states to decide their own future as a result of democratic elections."
The declaration also stated Poland's support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and its internationally recognised borders.
On matters of common history, the two presidents condemned "crimes against humanity, including those committed on the basis of hate" and expressed the conviction that "they can in no way be justified."
The declaration recognised the need to remember innocent victims of conflict and political repression and highlighted the need to ensure the possibility of their victims' search and exhumation with a view to remembering them and for the benefit of living relatives and descendants "in the spirit of respect for historical truth."
The declaration went on to address the issue of national minorities in both countries, recognising the importance of protecting their rights in line with international obligations and bilateral contracts. The document stated that the issue of minority schools in both countries would be resolved through a separate agreement between the two countries' governments.
A strengthening of Ukraine's relations with the European Union was included in the declaration, with both countries stating a readiness to cooperate towards that end, as well as towards deeper economic integration.
Ukraine expressed gratitude to Poland for practical support for its Euro-Atlantic aspirations, "primarily in the process of reforming the security and defence sector in line with NATO standards."
The Ukrainian side vowed to continue its ambitious reform efforts, to strengthen the rule of law and fight corruption, while the Polish side confirmed its readiness to further support the process of system transformation in Ukraine. The need to further develop the joint Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade was also mentioned in the declaration.
Duda and Zelensky highlighted the importance of developing "mutually beneficial economic cooperation, with the aim of fully exploiting the possibilities of the Polish and Ukrainian markets in the context of the functioning Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the European Union and Ukraine," as well as stating the need for "urgent activation of the work of an international commission on economic cooperation."
The two presidents stated the need to further cooperate in the energy sector with the aim of strengthening the energy security of the region and of the whole of Europe, as well as recognising the importance of diversifying sources and carriers of energy deliveries and of ensuring the transparency of the energy sector.
See also: President highlights importance of truth about Katyn Massacre for Poland Poland and Ukraine declared the need to cooperate with the aim of strengthening the region's role as an important transport and transit, infrastructure, and innovation and investment centre for Europe. In this context, Poland stated its support for Ukraine to strengthen cooperation within the Three Seas Initiative, which groups 12 countries between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. (PAP)