News / Europe

EU Ministers Urge Ukraine to Stop Bluffing on Tymoshenko

Ukraine's FM Leonid Kozhara (C), Poland's FM Radoslaw Sikorski (L) and Sweden's FM Carl Bildt following a meeting with Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych in Kyiv, October 22, 2013.
Ukraine's FM Leonid Kozhara (C), Poland's FM Radoslaw Sikorski (L) and Sweden's FM Carl Bildt following a meeting with Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych in Kyiv, October 22, 2013.
Reuters
Two European Union ministers urged Ukraine on Tuesday to stop “bluffing” and reach a deal on the release of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko because time was running out.
 
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Sweden's Carl Bildt met Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych amid a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at nailing down a compromise on the Tymoshenko row which threatens the signing of landmark agreements with the EU next month.
 
The 28-member bloc says the opposition leader, Yanukovych's fiercest opponent, was the victim of a political trial when she was jailed for seven years in 2011 for abuse of office.
 
Her case has become symbolic for the EU of “selective justice” which the bloc wants ended in the former Soviet republic before agreements on association and free trade are signed in Vilnius, Lithuania, on November 28.
 
Though he badly wants the agreements to cement a course of Euro-integration, Yanukovych is anxious to keep Tymoshenko out of action as a political force as he prepares for the run-up to a re-election bid in February 2015 and has stalled over releasing her.
 
Supporters of jailed former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko (image at right) take part in a rally in Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine's integration into Europe, Feb. 25, 2013.Supporters of jailed former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko (image at right) take part in a rally in Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine's integration into Europe, Feb. 25, 2013.
x
Supporters of jailed former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko (image at right) take part in a rally in Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine's integration into Europe, Feb. 25, 2013.
Supporters of jailed former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko (image at right) take part in a rally in Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine's integration into Europe, Feb. 25, 2013.
With pressure mounting on him, he has now offered now to sign a law to allow her to go to EU member Germany for medical treatment for spinal problems, if such a draft were adopted by parliament.
 
But he has balked at a call by European mediators to pardon her and wipe out altogether her sentence - something which opposition supporters of Tymoshenko are still asking for.
 
Drafts of possible legislation floated by pro-Yanukovych deputies envisage her going to Germany only as a convicted criminal and returning to Ukraine to complete her sentence after treatment.

"Time for action"
 
As politicians from the ruling Regions Party and the opposition wrangled over a solution, the two EU ministers, Sikorski and Bildt, warned time was running out.
 
“The time for bluffing is over on both sides now. It's time for action,” Sikorski said standing alongside Bildt after a meeting of more than one hour with Yanukovych in Kyiv.
 
The agreements scheduled to be signed in Vilnius would mark a historic shift towards the West and away from Russia for Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.
 
Irish politician Pat Cox and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, EU envoys who are shuttling to and fro in pursuit of a compromise, saw Tymoshenko in hospital in Kharkiv where she is being treated under prison guard. They also met a senior member of Ukraine's presidential administration and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.
 
There was no word from them on how negotiations were going and it was not known if they were still pressing for a pardon for her. The two men will report back to the European Parliament in time for a decisive, pre-summit meeting by the EU on November 18 when the 28 member states will try to map out a joint position on Ukraine.
 
Sikorski and Bildt declined to go into details of what they themselves discussed with Yanukovych. They declined too to say how Cox and Kwasniewski's mission was progressing, but added their findings would be crucial.
 
“We will not go into details, but what they report will be decisive. If there is a green light from Pat Cox and Alexander Kwasniewski there will be a green light for Ukraine in Europe,” Bildt said.
 
“Without a green light from them, there will not be a green light. This is the political reality of the day ... We are now approaching crunch time,” he said.
 
There was no word from Tymoshenko on whether she was prepared to accept Yanukovych's proposal. Her party, Batkivshchyna, said on Monday that the solution lay solely in Yanukovych's hands and did not require any new laws being passed.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid