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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid