UK concerned at 'faltering' Ukraine reforms: foreign minister Johnson

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson poses for a photo at Lancaster House with fellow attendees of the Ukraine Reform Conference, Britain July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Thursday he was worried Ukrainian government reforms were faltering, citing concerns over the selection of Supreme Court judges and obstacles facing anti-graft civil society groups.

Johnson made the remarks as he opened an international conference in London held to discuss the progress made in Ukraine on a reform program which started in 2014 after a popular uprising driven partly by public anger over sleaze.

“There are worrying signs that reform is faltering and we’re seeing some concern about selection of new members of the Supreme Court, a lack of progress in creating special anti-corruption courts,” Johnson said.

“Corruption has got to be rooted out, I think we all agree, across the board.”

Ukraine’s central bank said on Thursday that the government’s delays in passing reforms mean Ukraine will probably receive $3 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund this year instead of the $4.5 billion originally envisaged.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who led the Ukrainian delegation and presented his government’s Reform Action Plan for the next three years, pledged to continue to fight corruption and reform corporate governance.

Johnson later said that overall he was positive about the outlook for Ukraine.

“Yes of course everyone accepts that there is more to be done and the prime minister has indicated that. The overwhelming feeling of the meeting was that Ukraine is going in the right direction,” he said.

Reporting by Sarah Mills; editing by William James and Gareth Jones