Putin's statement on Ukraine plane crash

Putin's statement on Ukraine plane crash

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened a meeting with top economic advisers late Thursday with comments on the crash of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine. The text of his remarks, as taken from the Kremlin website and translated by The Associated Press:

---

Dear colleagues!

You know that a terrible event occurred today in the sky over Ukraine, an awful tragedy -- a civilian plane was killed, 285 people, according to preliminary information, were killed.

On behalf of the Russian leadership and the Russian government, we express condolences to the bereaved families, the governments of those countries whose nationals were on that plane. I ask you to honor their memory.

(A moment of silence)

In this regard, I want to note that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.

I have already given instructions to the military departments to provide all necessary assistance in the investigation of this crime. And I also ask the government of the Russian Federation through the available civilian agencies that have the capability to do everything for a thorough investigation of this event. We will do everything -- everything that depends on us, anyway -- in order that the objective picture of what happened is part of the public domain here, in Ukraine and in the rest of the world. This is an absolutely unacceptable thing, and no one has the right to let this pass without the appropriate conclusions and without all of us having objective information about the incident.

But we have gathered with you for another reason. I would like to talk to you about the socio-economic situation in the country. We also have many other issues of the current character. Let's talk about them. (today.az)

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Italy pushes Turkey's EU membership forward

Italy pushes Turkey's EU membership forward

Italy will throw the full weight of the EU presidency behind Turkey's accession bid as it takes over the office, Italian under-secretary for Europe Sandro Gozi has told the Anadolu Agency.

Gozi said Turkey's accession to the EU would contribute to the 28-member bloc economically, socially and culturally.

He said: "We have always welcomed and supported Turkey's EU membership. We always want Turkey to be included in the EU more and this will be among Italy's priorities."

Stating that Turkey should make good use of Italy's presidency period, Gozi said: "Italy is determined to accelerate Turkey's EU membership process, hence we will do our best to support Turkey's EU bid."

Italy took the EU's rotating six-month term-presidency in June from Greece - the 12th time it has held the office since it founded the European Economic Community with five other nations in 1957.

Turkey and the EU opened accession talks on Chapter 22, which covers regional policy, after France lifted its block on the chapter in November 2013.

Beginning accession talks on 35 negotiation chapters in 2005, Turkey has seen very little progress amid opposition to Turkish membership in some EU countries, including France, and the unresolved Cyprus dispute.

Gozi, emphasizing that Turkey would play a key role in the EU in terms of the regional security, said: "There are also common economic interests between Turkey and the EU which is one of the main reasons for Italy's support for Turkey's membership. (today.az)

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