Koenders presses for progress on reforms in Ukraine

Foreign minister Bert Koenders has called on the new Ukrainian government to make swift progress on reforms, now that it has been given a robust mandate from the electorate. Mr Koenders spoke on Wednesday evening with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin, prior to a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Basel, Switzerland.

The new government of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was approved by parliament on Tuesday, and Mr Klimkin was able to stay on as foreign minister. Mr Koenders congratulated his colleague on his reappointment.

Mr Koenders also pledged the Netherlands’ enduring support for Ukraine. ‘Ukraine can continue to count on Dutch support in implementing its political and economic reform process,’ Mr Koenders said after their meeting. ‘We are happy to lend our assistance wherever Ukraine needs it.’

The Netherlands and Ukraine have had good relations for years. ‘Since the MH17 disaster in eastern Ukraine, a tight bond has formed between our countries. Ukraine did important work in the aftermath of the crash, and we are very grateful to the authorities for that,’ Mr Koenders acknowledged.

The foreign minister also expressed his concern about the situation in eastern Ukraine. ‘The agreements on a ceasefire made in Minsk under the auspices of the OSCE must be respected. The parties involved must do more to reach a lasting political solution.’