Monday, 2 February 2015 - 14:36
Ukraine violence tops Dutch agenda at Baltic conference
The situation in the Ukraine will be one of the top points of discussion in the Benelux-Balts consultation in Estonia on Tuesday and Wednesday. Minister Bert Koenders (Foreign Affairs), who will participate in the consultation, will also speak with his Latvia counterpart, Rinkevics, before the consultation to make his concerns about the violence in Ukraine known. "I am very concerned about the increasing violence in Ukraine. The diplomatic negotiation goes round in circles. This requires urgent consultation. The conversation with the Latvian Presidency will obviously go over this situation, and over the agreement with the Greek ggovernment on economy and security." Koenders said. Koenders believes it is important to stand along the Baltic states. "These countries have a lot of knowledge about Russian and the region. It is good to continue to act together", the minister said. "The Baltic states recently had to deal regularly with Russian provocations, causing a growing need for security guarantees. As NATO partners, this is not only their concern, but also ours" Koenders said. "It is imperative that we help the Baltic allies with the security of their borders. The security on the Eastern European border is after all important to all of Europe." According to Koenders, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union gave a clear signal to Russia on Thursday. "We have decided to continue the freezing of assets of those involved in the uprising in eastern Ukraine. It was also decided to extend this list. We also decided to continue the travel ban to the EU. These are strong measures." Koenders emphasized that it is also important to continue a dialogue with Russia. "A combination of pressure and dialogue is the only way out of this crisis."