EU Cancels Meeting With Ukrainian President

October 18, 2011 by staff 

EU Cancels Meeting With Ukrainian PresidentEU Cancels Meeting With Ukrainian President, The European Union decided today to cancel a visit by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich this week that relations sank to a new low following the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Yanukovich was due to meet EU President Herman Van Rompuy and the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels on Thursday, but relations have deteriorated since his political rival was put behind bars last week.

The meeting “has been postponed to a later date when conditions are more conducive to progress in bilateral relations,” wrote Van Rompuy on Twitter micro-blogging website.

The European Union is demanding improvements in the rule of law after a Kiev court sentenced opposition leader Tymoshenko to seven years in prison for abuse of power in connection with a contract signed with Russia gas in 2009.

“We would like to see progress in areas such as law, law enforcement, the independence of the judiciary, which are located in the heart of our Eastern Partnership,” said European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde-Hansen told AFP.

He insisted that the meeting be postponed just, but no new date has been set.

The block Tymoshenko said that the verdict risked “profound implications”, only to see Ukraine launched a new investigation against the leader of the Orange Revolution in suspected embezzlement.

Ukraine expects to sign a partnership agreement with the EU December summit in Kiev, trade and political agreements that marks a first step the country hoping to join the EU.

A European diplomat said the EU “has no plans to cancel the summit.”

The European Commission said the decision to cancel Thursday’s meeting would not affect the technical negotiations on the partnership agreement, but the firm will depend on Kiev, respecting the values ??of the EU.

“We are very keen to continue dialogue and cooperation,” said the spokeswoman, Carolina Kottova a news conference.

Yanukovich said in an interview with the international press, rejected Western calls to review the jail, insisting on the independence of the courts.

The Ukrainian leader said that even planned to go to Brussels when the interview took place on Monday.

“The Europeans have not confirmed the meeting but I will leave on Thursday, in any case, to fly in that direction,” he was quoted by The New York Times.

“I will not ask anyone. If there is a need to meet, I’m ready. If not, I’ll fly away. We are partners and have mutual commitments,” Yanukovich said.

“I will repeat again,” he said, “Ukraine is an independent country.”

Ukraine has made no secret of his hopes of joining the EU, butanlysts warn that the current tensions could push further Kiev Moscow’s orbit.

The EU decision to cancel the meeting this week came the same day that Yanukovich was scheduled to hold talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Ukraine.

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