Viktor Yanukovych confident that full integration of EU and the Ukraine is close
UKRAINE’S President Viktor Yanukovych promised the European Union on Friday that the way the October 28 parliamentary election is conducted will allay all concerns about democracy in the ex-Soviet nation.
• Viktor Yanukovych has promised that the parliamentary elections next month will allay all fears over democracy in the Ukraine
• The President avoided questions on how he will pursue EU integration with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko still in prison
• Western countries have called for Tymoshenko to be released
The EU has put on hold a key cooperation deal with Ukraine over the jailing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which it condemns as politically motivated.
“We are actively moving toward signing an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union,” Yanukovych told a conference devoted to Ukraine’s EU integration. “At the moment our partners have some additional questions for Ukraine, but I am convinced that after the current parliamentary elections, all those concerns will disappear and the path toward full integration of Ukraine and the EU will be completed.”
In the vote Yanukovych’s Party of Regions will struggle to retain its parliamentary majority in the face of a re-energized opposition, united around Tymoshenko’s jailing.
Yanukovych skirted a question on how he intends to pursue EU integration with Tymoshenko jailed on politically tainted charges and the West strongly pressing for her release, only listing the economic and other reforms his government has pursued.
“Of course, it’s impossible to do everything as fast as we would like to do,” a visibly irritated Yanukovych said. “The path of reform is not a simple path, but we have been following it and will continue following it.”
Tymoshenko, the country’s top opposition leader, has been sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of abuse of office while leading natural gas import negotiations with Russia in 2009. She has been in jail for more than a year and Yanukovych has resisted strong Western pressure to release her.
Tymoshenko, who is also the subject of a slew of other investigations, denies all the charges against her and accuses Yanukovych, her long-time foe, of throwing her in jail to bar her from the election.
Tymoshenko was the heroine of the 2004 Orange Revolution mass protests, which annulled Yanukovych’s fraud-tainted election victory and brought a pro-Western government to power. However, Yanukovych was able to return to power, narrowly defeating Tymoshenko in the 2010 presidential vote, by capitalizing on slow reforms and constant bickering in the Orange camp.
The opposition and watchdogs accuse Yanukovych of concentrating too much power in his hands since becoming president and undoing many of the democratic achievements of the Orange Revolution.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
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Wind direction: North east