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Ukraine FM is Happy with ASEAN Summit Outcomes

PHNOM PENH: The Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, has said that he had the honor of meeting Prime Minister Hun Sen to hold bilateral talks and follow-up on the conversation between the Prime Minister and Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, after signing Ukraine on to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). 

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, 12 November, at the Sokha Hotel, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister said that he was very happy that Ukraine was able to sign on to the TAC, as it requires essential support from all ASEAN members, and is a step forward to becoming an official ASEAN dialogue partner. 

“We take it as a message of support, a message of support from ASEAN countries to Ukraine,” he said. “The issue of Ukraine joining the TAC was on the agenda for some years to finally build up and bring our relationship with ASEAN countries to a new level.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister mentioned that even though the Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, is also attending the ASEAN summit, there has been no discussion of the two meeting. He said Foreign Minister Lavrov had not tried to reach out and organize a peace meeting during the Summit, even though Prime Minister Hun Sen had offered Cambodia as a potential forum for peace talks.

EAC News asked the Ukrainian Foreign Minister what he thought about some ASEAN countries expressing their belief that sanctions should not be applied to Russia, even though all ASEAN members have univocally condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In response, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “Sanctions do work, [while] certain sanctions don’t work. It is true to say that not everyone, especially here in ASEAN, supports the sanctions regime, but they are doing it for political reasons, [while] some do it [out of] their own concerns.”

The Foreign Minister said he had brought up this subject in several bilateral meetings and gave suggestions on how foreign countries can support Ukraine. He said that most of all, the worst thing any country can do is to be distanced, be friends with both countries and to do nothing else to address this issue.

“I believe this goes against very basic, very fundamental and general interests,” he said.

He stressed that no countries should want the war to continue, and if Russia is not stopped now, this will only open up more opportunities for other large countries to invade smaller countries.

It should be noted that Ukraine signed on to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) on Thursday, 10 November, to become its 50th member.

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