KIEV, September 19 (Itar-Tass) - Secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, Andrei Kliuyev and European Union officials have had a meeting in Brussels to discuss the future fate of former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, who is serving a seven-year jail term for what Ukraine judicially believes to be occupational abuses in the process of signing natural gas deals with Russia.
The information was revealed Thursday by Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Olefirov, who spoke at an early morning show of the national Channel Five.
“Arrangements for negotiations on the Timoshenko issue are functioning,” he said. “This issue is brought up during former Polish President Alexander Kwasniewki's visits to Ukraine and the former speaker of the European parliament, Pat Cox.”
“The sides are discussing solutions to the problem in the format of a bilateral dialogue and Security Council Secretary Kliuyev devoted his visit to Brussels precisely to this topic,” Olefirov said. “The visit took place at the end of August and Kliuyev held talks with the European Commissioner, Stefan Fule.”
It appears now that the government in Kiev concealed the fact.
Timoshenko’s release from imprisonment, which she is serving in the northeast city of Kharkov, is a condition for the signing of an agreement on association between Ukraine and the EU. However, there is no unanimity among Western politicians on the issue.
U.S. Abmassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt said Wednesday that the Timoshenko case was not a problem of personality but rather a matter of principle for the U.S.
The U.S. Administration is concerned by the selective character of persecution of the former Prime Minister for the actions that she took as part of executing her official duties, he said.
He voiced the hope that the success of the Kwasniewski-Cox mission, which was set up last year upon agreement between the Ukrainian authorities and the European parliament for monitoring the judiciary processes related to the criminal cases of Timoshenko and former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko.
On the face of it, Britain’s Minister for Europe David Lidington said a few days ago in Kiev that his country does not think the Timoshenko problem is crucial for the signing of the Ukraine-EU association agreement.
Lidington said he could not answer whether or not the agreement could be signed if Timoshenko remained in jail.
"It is a difficult question, I do not know an answer,” Ukrainian mass media quoted him. “UK has never insisted that any individual case or issue was a price for signing."
"For some political parties in the EU, especially for the group of the European People's Party, the fate of Tymoshenko is very important. But it will be the governments' decision of the members of the EU whether her release will be a "red rating "or I would say, a condition without which we will not sign the agreement", he said.