G7 FMs urge Ukraine to further progress in reforms

The foreign ministers of the G7 countries have called on Ukraine to make further progress on its internal reform program.

"We support efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy and institutions, and encourage Ukraine to make further progress on the reform agenda, namely on the rule of law, judicial reform, corporate governance, and in combatting corruption to strengthen their democracy, promote economic growth, and fulfil commitments to international donors and partners and to the citizens of Ukraine," the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers said in the communiqué, following the meeting in London on Wednesday, April 5.

The ministers reiterated their full confidence in the G7 Ambassadors' Group in Ukraine and acknowledge the role of this group in monitoring and supporting the implementation of reforms.

In addition, the foreign ministers called on Russia to de-escalate the situation on Ukraine's borders and in the illegally-annexed Crimea.

"We reaffirm our support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders including its territorial waters. We call on Russia to uphold the OSCE principles and commitments it has signed up to on transparency about its military forces and activities, including by addressing the specific concerns and questions raised under Chapter III of the Vienna Document," the G7 Foreign Ministers said in the communiqué.

The G7 ministers expressed regret that Russia failed to provide a substantive response and its failure to meet with Ukraine is wholly inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Vienna Document.

"It is critical that Moscow now fully withdraws its forces and takes the necessary steps to help alleviate tensions," the foreign ministers said.

In addition, they expressed deep concern over Russia's actions to block access to parts of the Black Sea, including near illegally-annexed Crimea and the Kerch Strait, impeding access to Ukraine's ports in the Sea of Azov.

"We commend Ukraine's posture of restraint and diplomatic approach in this context. We underline our continued support for France's and Germany's efforts through the Normandy Process to secure full implementation of the Minsk agreements, as a diplomatic path for a political solution to the conflict and to lasting peace," the ministers said in the communiqué.

The ministers welcomed the OSCE's role within the Trilateral Contact Group and in this regard call on Russia and the armed formations it backs to recommit to the ceasefire.

"We remain fully committed to implementing sanctions, recalling that the duration of international sanctions is linked inter-alia to Russia's complete implementation of its commitments under the Minsk agreements and to the return of Crimea to Ukraine. We unequivocally denounce Russia's temporary occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. We welcome in principle Ukraine's initiative to establish an International Crimean Platform. We condemn violations and abuses of human rights on the peninsula, particularly of Crimean Tatars," the G7 Foreign Ministers said in the document.

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