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Tymoshenko arrest 'obstacle' to Ukraine's EU bid

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 31.08.2011 08:52
President Bronislaw Komorowski said after his meeting with Viktor Yanukovych in northern Poland, Tuesday evening, that the arrest and trial of Yulia Tymoshenko could be seen as “an obstacle” to Ukraine's further integration with the European Union.

Viktor Yanukovich (far left) with Bronisdlaw Komoerowski (far right) in Jurata, Tuesday; photo - PASP/CVPP/Wojciech Grzędzińsk

The two leaders met in the presidential seaside retreat in Jurata on the Baltic coast, where talks ranged over issues connected with Ukraine's bid to complete negotiations on signing an Associate Agreement, free trade and visa waiver deals with Brussels.

President Komorowski told the TVP public broadcaster last night, however, that though Ukraine has made significant progress in some areas in recent years, "There are also obstacles”.

“Undoubtedly, the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko is an obstacle [which] spoils the image of Ukraine abroad and may constitute a major problem to the advancement of Ukraine to the Western world," the president said.

Poland remains a “good friend and role model” for Ukraine, Komorowski added, however, and Kiev's incorporation into the EU and western structures remains one of the priorities during Poland's six-month EU presidency, which began on 1 July.

The Ukrainian newspaper Kommersant writes this morning that President Yanukovich's trip to Poland is the first to a western country since former prime minister Tymoshenko's trial began in Kiev, where she is charged with abusing public office in 2009 when making gas deals with Russia during her term of office.

The newspaper writes that a source close Yanukovich said that the arrest and imprisonment of Tymoshenko, after she called the judge a “puppet” of the president's regime, was brought up at the meeting with Komorowski.

Tymoshenko claimed yesterday in court that more than 200 pages are missing from a Russian natural-gas contract at the centre of her trial in Kiev.

"You have not provided access to the materials of the criminal case. You gave only 1 1/2, two days to review the materials when you had much more than two days," said one of the leaders of the 2004 Orange Revolution.

US Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain joined a growing list of politicians in America and Europe calling for the release of Tymoshenko amid concerns that the charges are politically motivated. (pg)

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