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EU - Ukraine summit goes ahead without associate agreement

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 19.12.2011 14:31
The EU has ruled out an associate agreement deal being made with Ukraine at the summit in Kiev, Monday, following the continued imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Despite the handshakes between EU president Herman Van Rompuy, President Viktor yanukovich and EC president Jose Manuel Barroso, no agreement will be signed at the summit; photo - EPA

The agreement, four years in the making, would have created a framework for cooperation between EU and Ukraine, with an emphasis on streamlining trading arrangements.

“We would liked to be able to announce that negotiations are finalized, and to begin the work of communicating the agreement to citizens on both sides,” EU president Herman van Rompuy said in an interview with news agency Interfax, prior to Monday's summit.

But Brussels is saying the trial and seven year prison term given to Yulia Tymoshenko, a former PM of Ukraine, has raised questions over the democratic credentials of President Viktor Yanukovich's leadership and his commitment to EU democratic values.

The former prime minister was accused of “exceeding her powers” by pushing through a gas deal with Russian gas giant Gazprom in 2009, which the court in Kiev said resulted in the loss of millions of dollars to the Ukrainian state.

After the sentence was announced, Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs said she was “deeply disappointed” by the verdict, sentiments echoed by Poland's foreign ministry, which described the trial as representing “the politicization of the Ukrainian judiciary.”

A statement by the European Commission said at the weekend before the summit: "The need for comprehensive judicial reform and for steps against politically-motivated or selective justice in Ukraine will be underlined by the EU leaders."

Pawel Zalewski, a Polish member of the European Parliament and Chairman of the EU Commission on the International Trade issued a statement saying: "Despite the tentative plans, the Association Agreement will not be initialed today, but negotiations on its content are over in practice.”'

President Yanukovich has signalled, however, that he will not step in to reduce the sentence given to Yulia Tymoshenko and that this was a matter for the courts. (pg)

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