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Foreign Policy Research Institute

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A number of meetings with representatives of Western countries and preparation for a visit to Brussels demonstrate the readiness of the international community for an active dialogue with the newly elected president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

On May 20, 2019, after the inauguration ceremony, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky met with the heads of several states who came to Kyiv in the administration. Thus, at the meeting the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite discussed bilateral relations and the continuation of reforms in Ukraine with Zelensky. Zelensky also met with Hungarian President Janos Ader and Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.[1]

At the moment, Ukraine and the world are looking forward to the first steps of the new President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in foreign policy, including the first visits to foreign capitals. Cities that will be the first in the list will largely indicate the foreign policy priorities of the new Ukrainian leadership. In order to choose the country of the first visit, the newly elected President must answer at least two questions. Firstly, what signal should he send to Ukraine and the world by choosing a country for his first visit? Secondly, how will Ukraine's key partners, who will not be in the top three, react to this choice? Now it became known that Zelensky is going to carry out his first foreign visit to Brussels. And this is quite symbolic! After all, Brussels is the capital of the EU and NATO, to which Ukraine seeks to join.

That is, it is a powerful press center, where the President can prove his position during communication. During the meeting of the President of Ukraine with the leaders of the EU and NATO, political and security aspects, the conflict settlement between Ukraine and Russia, Donbass will be discussed. After talking with Chancellor Merkel and President Macron Zelensky will have more reasoned dialogue with Trump.[2] In this matter, Zelensky should be prepared as much as possible not to make any unjustified concessions, which, in particular, can be expected by our partners in order to reduce the degree of tension between Ukraine and Russia. But we must understand the boundaries, the red lines, beyond which the newly elected President cannot go, and he must understand this during these visits.[3]

An invitation to Zelensky for a meeting during his visit to Brussels was handed over by Director General of the European Commission on Neighborhood and Negotiation on EU Enlargement, Christian Danielsson and Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia in the European External Action Service, Thomas Mayr-Harting. According to "Radio Liberty", during the visit Zelensky will meet with EU leaders, in particular the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. In addition, among the scheduled conversations Volodymyr Zelensky will have a meeting at NATO headquarter with NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg and a joint press conference following the meeting.[4]

On May 30, President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky had a meeting with Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Maas in Kyiv. The head of state noted the special role of France and Germany in resolving the situation in the East of Ukraine, in particular in the framework of the Normandy format. "I would like to once again express gratitude to President of France Emmanuel Macron for congratulations on winning the elections and for the meeting before I became President of Ukraine. Also, I would like to express gratitude to the German side for having a very substantive conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding the solution of priority tasks in the East of Ukraine, the end of the war, the implementation of the Minsk agreements," Volodymyr Zelensky said.

The participants of the meeting exchanged views on the preconditions and further steps to activate the negotiation process on Donbass. The head of state also stressed that his priority is to return all Ukrainian prisoners. For their part, the leaders of the foreign policy departments of France and Germany noted the progress of Ukraine in developing cooperation with the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance, and confirmed their willingness to further promote the European and Euro-Atlantic policy of our state, as well as the reforms. In addition, Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that he is ready to visit France and Germany at the invitation of the leaders of these countries.[5]

Therefore, now the main tasks of the sixth President of Ukraine in Brussels will be to represent the interests of the country and give a solid performance during the first visit abroad. Since Zelensky has already held several meetings with representatives of European countries, it means that in this way they congratulated the newly elected President and are determined to continue further cooperation.




[3] Ibid.