US And EU Warn Yanukovych On Coming Vote

NEW YORK, USA -- The United States and the European Union, in a strong joint message on Wednesday, urged President Viktor Yanukovych and his government to make sure upcoming general elections are free and fair.

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign affairs and security policy chief, said the elections will shape Ukraine’s future relations with the West.

In a 676-word article published by The New York Times just three days before the elections, Clinton and Ashton said there were “worrying trends,” expressing concerns over reports the authorities may have been helping pro-government candidates.

“This is a moment when Ukraine’s leaders should deliver for their citizens,” Clinton and Ashton said in the article.

“They expect President Viktor Yanukovych and his government to address these concerns, especially to ensure that the right to political participation is upheld and to provide for fair media access for all candidates.”

This is the second message expressing concerns over the upcoming elections in Ukraine that was delivered publically by Clinton and Ashton over the past 30 days. 

At a meeting in New York last month, Clinton and Ashton expressed “regret” over selective prosecutions and imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The messages show the U.S. and the EU have the same concerns and similar approaches towards Ukraine, suggesting the pressure will probably mount on the Ukrainian leaders to fix the problems.

At stake is Ukraine’s future trade and political integration with the EU, which will be indefinitely postponed by Brussels if the country continues.  

The EU and Ukraine completed negotiations on an ambitious Association Agreement that will provide for the country’s political association and economic integration with the European Union, including by establishing a free trade area.

It would offer Ukrainian businesses greater access to 500 million consumers in the EU and advance Ukraine on the path toward a modern European democracy.

But the EU will only be able to move forward with such an ambitious agenda if the “democratic rights of the Ukrainian people, including freedoms of expression, political participation, association and media, are respected, the rule of law is put on strong footing, and progress is made on the overall reform agenda,” Clinton and Ashton wrote.

The U.S. and the EU pointed to the increasing use of administrative resources to favor ruling party candidates and the difficulties several media outlets face. 

“Similarly, we are concerned about the continuation of the practice of the Central Election Commission holding closed pre-session meetings and the lack of representation of some political parties on district and precinct election commissions,” Clinton and Ashton wrote.

“Distribution of material or financial benefits to voters is another issue that should be investigated and halted.”

“We regret that the convictions of opposition leaders during trials that did not meet international standards are preventing them from standing in parliamentary elections,” Clinton and Ashton wrote.

“The Ukrainian government needs to address these selective prosecutions, including the case of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other former senior officials.”

“It remains deeply in our common interest to see an independent, prosperous and irreversibly democratic Ukraine that is associated with the European Union. We want to pursue deeper, mutually beneficial partnerships with Ukraine and will continue working toward a day where Ukraine will fully realize its own potential and take its place among the modern democracies of Europe.”

Source: Ukrainian Journal


gwl said…
Brilliant stuff!