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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
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.
AppleAndroid