Ukraine must pursue 'democratic path', urges Hague

Help

Ukraine must bring about political and economic stability and move to a more "democratic path", Foreign Secretary William Hague has told the Commons.

Mr Hague said there was a "pressing need for constitutional reform", including improvements to the country's political culture and an end to "pervasive" corruption.

MPs were told the country faces an economic crisis and may require external financial assistance, but that such support "cannot be provided without clarity that it will be put to proper use".

Mr Hague said in a statement on 24 February 2014: "Our fundamental interest is democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Ukraine.

"This is not about a choice for the Ukraine between Russia and the EU, it is about setting the country on a democratic path for the future."

'Foot-dragging'

His comments came after the removal of President Yanukovych at the weekend and the appointment of an interim president, following months of deadly protests sparked by a decision to abandon a far-reaching EU partnership deal.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Mr Yanukovych, whose authority, Mr Hague said, "is no longer widely recognised".

His Labour counterpart, Douglas Alexander, asked the foreign secretary whether he would push for negotiations on the EU deal to be reopened, arguing that it could be "vital" in helping the country's economy.

Mr Hague said the agreement "remains on the table" but counselled that the priority is to achieve "an end to violence, a unity government, and free elections taking place".

The shadow foreign secretary also suggested the EU should appoint a dedicated special envoy to Ukraine, an idea supported by Mr Hague but who pointed out it was for the EU high representative to consider.

The wide-ranging statement also covered recent events in Syria and Iran.

MPs were told there was "no sign" that President Assad's regime was willing to negotiate the political transition demanded by the UN Security Council.

Mr Hague also said the 30 June deadline for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal was in "jeopardy" because of "foot-dragging" by the Syrian government.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.