President Barroso made the following statement during a press conference with President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, on occasion of his official visit to Georgia:
“I called today President Poroshenko to discuss the situation in Ukraine, just before meeting the President. I welcomed his peace initiative and direct talks with Russia, the fact that now President Poroshenko and President Putin are speaking directly is a positive step forward. At the same time President Poroshenko conveyed to me his extreme concern with the ongoing armed unrest in Eastern Ukraine and also today the incident with Russian tanks that according to the Ukrainian authorities have crossed into Ukrainian territory.
The European Union has stated several times and I want to repeat it today that it is very important that Russia ceases any kind of military actions in this area.
We believe that illegal armed groups need to disarm and we call on Russia to withdraw the authorisation for use of force in Ukraine.
So once again, I make an appeal to Russia to engage constructively with Ukraine and to give concrete steps and clear evidence of de-escalating efforts.
And coming back to the agreements with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia that we are going to sign in Brussels in June 27, I want to reiterate our willingness, as European Union, to pursue talks with Russia, to discuss the concrete implementation of these agreements, in case there are any concerns on the Russian side. Of course we have to respect the content of these agreements, what was already decided by the governments of these countries, but if there are some concerns, if there are technical issues that the Russian authorities want to clarify, we are ready for it.
So our message, as European Union, is a message of dialogue and cooperation, not a message of confrontation. At the same time we have to be firm in the respect of the sovereign right of any country to decide its own future.”
The full transcript of the President’s speech at the press conference will be available tomorrow morning.