President Ready To Send Tymoshenko Abroad

KIEV, Ukraine -- President Viktor Yanukovych said Friday jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko could get medical treatment abroad if laws are changed to make the move legal.

Viktor Yanukovych

The fate of Tymoshenko may be the biggest obstacle to signing free trade and political association agreements between Ukraine and the European Union in November.

Yanukovych and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said they are committed to closer integration with the EU, but have so far refused to allow Tymoshenko get treatment in Germany.

"The law would have to be changed so that someone would be provided with the authority to do this," Yanukovych said in the interview aired by 1+1 television. The comment signals that a compromise is possible.

Yanukovych said most political parties in Parliament would "unite" to solve outstanding problems relating to European integration and he was optimistic that Kiev would meet criteria laid down by the EU for signing the agreements at a summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The EU says agreements on association and free trade with Ukraine could be in jeopardy if Yanukovych does not free former prime minister Tymoshenko, his biggest political rival, who was jailed in October 2011.

The EU says her trial for abuse of office was political.

Ukraine needs to approve a number of bills before the summit in November to make it possible to sign the agreements. 

The bills seek to reform the judiciary, end politically motivated prosecutions and improve electoral legislation.

"Demands for the signing of association ... were put to Ukraine and we are working on them, putting the finishing touches, we might say. A final full-stop will be written this autumn. We will fulfill all the conditions. I have no doubt of this," Yanukovych said.

But many diplomats say it is unlikely the agreements will be signed unless Yanukovych relaxes his stance on Tymoshenko.

Kiev has stuck to its aspiration of joining the European mainstream and turning away from its former Soviet master, but Yanukovych has not shown any inclination to free Tymoshenko.

She is his strongest political opponent and could doom his chances of re-election for a second term in 2015 if she became political active again. 

Source: Ukrainian Journal