Ukraine's Yushchenko Reinstates Sacked Foreign Minister

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday reinstated a sacked foreign minister back into office - a move likely to spark yet another constitutional wrangle in the former Soviet republic.


Borys Tarasyuk

Yushchenko by executive order returned to office political ally Borys Tarasiuk, whom parliament had thrown out of the foreign minister job last week.

The Ukrainian president, a supporter of closer relations with NATO and the European Union, cited a Kiev court decision cancelling the parliament vote on grounds it was potentially unconstitutional.

Ukraine's recently-amended constitution reserves the right of hiring and firing foreign ministers to the president.

Controlled by an anti-Yushchenko and pro-Russia majority, the parliament voted against Tarasiuk's continuing in job on December 1, citing a worsening of relations between Russia and Ukraine.

MPs at the time argued the constitution did not specifically forbid parliament from firing a foreign minister in case of incompetence.

Tarasiuk ran afoul of parliament, according to most analysts, not for lack of professional skill, but rather his outspoken support of Ukrainian access to NATO and the European Union, and a decidedly hostile attitude towards Ukraine's giant northern neighbour Russia.

The reinstatement of Tarasiuk by Yushchenko is certain to be embarrassing for the country's Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, a powerful pro-Russia politician currently in the US on a state visit.

The reappearance of Tarasiuk in the cabinet will undermine Yanukovich's assertions in Washington that he, rather than Yushchenko, makes the decisions in Ukrainian foreign policy.

Yanukovich and Yushchenko have been at open odds since late 2005, when the two politicians found themselves on opposite sides of the barricades during Ukraine's Orange Revolution.

Yanukovich defeated Yushchenko in an October 2005 Presidential election badly marred by vote-rigging. The Supreme Court eventually cancelled the result in the wake of massive street protests against election fraud.

Conflict between the pro-Europe wing of Ukrainian politics led by Yushchenko, and the pro-Russia wing led by Yanukovich, has paralysed much of Ukrainian government for months.

Source: dpa German Press Agency

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