News / Europe

Ukraine Parliament Deadlock on Tymoshenko Clouds EU Signing

Lawmaker and Chairman of the Ukrainian opposition party Udar (Punch) and WBC Heavyweight Champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, speaks to lawmakers during the parliament session in Kyiv, Ukraine, Nov. 13, 2013.
Lawmaker and Chairman of the Ukrainian opposition party Udar (Punch) and WBC Heavyweight Champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, speaks to lawmakers during the parliament session in Kyiv, Ukraine, Nov. 13, 2013.
Reuters
Ukraine's parliament failed on Wednesday to agree on a draft law allowing jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to go to Germany for medical treatment, clouding prospects for signing  landmark agreements with the European Union this month.
 
Germany warned that with the Vilnius summit only two weeks away, time was running out for Kyiv to settle the case of Tymoshenko. Summit host Lithuania said there would be no success unless Ukraine produced “results”.
 
Accords on association and free trade, due to be signed at the summit on Nov. 28-29, offer the former Soviet republic the chance of a historic shift westwards, and away from Russia.
 
But the EU has made an end to “selective justice” a pre-requisite for the signing, and success at Vilnius hinges on whether President Viktor Yanukovich frees ex-prime minister Tymoshenko, his fiercest opponent.
 
She was jailed in 2011 for seven years for abuse of office after a trial which the EU says was political.
 
The proceedings will be watched closely by Russia, which is opposed to Ukraine signing the agreement and has threatened counter-measures. The Kremlin wants Kyiv to enter an alternative, Moscow-backed customs union.
 
Though he has refused to pardon Tymoshenko, Yanukovich has said he is ready to break the impasse by signing a draft law to allow her to go to Germany to be treated for chronic back pain.
 
At a special session on Wednesday, pro-Yanukovich deputies and Tymoshenko's supporters in parliament could not manage to agree on terms for such a draft and accused each other of seeking to undermine agreement in Vilnius.
 
Two EU envoys, Irish politician Pat Cox and former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski, who have been on a shuttle mission from Brussels to Kyiv to find a compromise, attended the special parliament session.
 
They had expected to conclude their mission on Wednesday but opted to return to Kyiv for further talks next week when they hope the Ukraine parliament could make another attempt to pass the law affecting Tymoshenko.
 
“We plan to return to Kyiv next week and to spend as long as is necessary with as many people as is necessary to do whatever is necessary to secure success,” Cox told reporters.
 
Their findings will feed into a pre-summit meeting of EU foreign ministers on Nov. 18 when Kyiv's record in meeting important democratic criteria - including a release of Tymoshenko - will be assessed.
 
The envoys said Ukraine had made “considerable progress” in meeting EU conditions but had not gone far enough. “We regret to observe that at this time we are not yet in the position to report full compliance,” they said in a statement.
 
Kwasniewski said he saw a “50-50” percent chance of finding a solution. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that time was running out for Kyiv and the failure to agree a legal formula to release Tymoshenko was regrettable.
 
Lithuania was equally critical.

“Much is now in the hands of President Yanukovich ... It is possible for him to take the required decisions, to assume  leadership and responsibility for the fate of his country,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said in remarks carried by BNS news agency.

Appeal to envoys

Former Economy Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, speaking for the three main opposition parties, urged the EU envoys not to deliver too harsh a verdict on Ukraine, but “give Viktor Yanukovich time to come to his senses”.
 
Yanukovich has stuck to his policy of Euro-integration despite intense diplomatic pressure from Russia - on which Ukraine relies for gas - and the threats of retaliatory trade action by the Kremlin.
 
But commentators say they are now detecting a change of “mood music” from the political establishment in Kyiv around the Vilnius summit. A call by Ukraine's union of industrialists - dominated by Yanukovich supporters - for the signing to be delayed by a year was given prominence by local media.
 
Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, unusually placed the emphasis on the need to repair relations with Russia rather than on what prospects would be opened up by association with the EU.
 
A criminal action brought against Tymoshenko's chief lawyer has further soured the atmosphere.
 
Yanukovich's supporters in parliament had earlier pressed for a draft law that would release Tymoshenko to Germany for treatment but require her to return to Ukraine to complete her jail sentence. The opposition, by contrast, wanted an option under which her sentence could be wiped out after treatment.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
November 14, 2013 4:19 PM
Adolf Hitler used Ukranians to run the concentration camps.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid