PM Tymoshenko Defends Handling of WTO Bills - Blames Moroz and Lytvyn for Obstructing Their Passage

KIEV, Ukraine -- Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko has robustly defended the government's efforts last week to push through parliament a package of 14 bills essential to Ukraine's WTO entry, and blamed two allies – Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz and parliament speaker and People's Party leader Volodymyr Lytvyn - for obstructing their passage.

Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko

Speaking during a 20-minute studio interview on One Plus One TV's weekly news review programme on 10 July, Tymoshenko dismissed suggestions that the government had put undue pressure on parliament to adopt flawed documents.

"Don't listen to these stupidities, when they say that the government submitted something in haste, that it submitted half-baked documents, that something was not agreed with MPs," she said. "When you hear such criticisms of the government, you should know that the government is being obstructed from working."

Tymoshenko attributed parliament's failure to adopt the full package to the fact that the country is already in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in March 2006.

"Moroz's faction, which I respect a lot; Volodymyr Lytvyn in Zerkalo Nedeli hinted that he has a self-sufficient force that will take part in the elections independently; Regions of Ukraine and the United Social Democratic Party - these are all opponents in one way or another," she said.

Tymoshenko repeated her challenge to the most vociferous critic of Ukraine's WTO entry, Communist leader Petro Symonenko, to debate the issue on TV.

Tymoshenko also said that she had spoken to Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko about rumours in the press that the ministry had received instructions to look for material compromising her and that he assured her this was completely out of the question. "The minister's words are enough for me," she said.

Source: BBC Monitoring Service