KIEV, November 22, 1:03 /ITAR-TASS/. Poland’s former president Alexander Kwasniewski and the former president of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, on Thursday issued a statement expressing “deep regret” over the decision of the Ukrainian government to put off indefinitely the signing of an association agreement with the European Union, initially scheduled for November 28-29.
“At the end of our 27th mission visit to Ukraine, we express our deep disappointment at the unilateral decision of the Ukrainian Government to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union,” the statement said.
Kwasniewski and Cox said they were taking note of Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov’s “remarks on the stressed state of economy” and repeated the commonly made Western allegations that Russia had “dramatically increased pressure” on Ukraine over the previous several weeks.
“We welcome the adoption of the amendments to the law on the parliamentary elections today in Verkhovna Rada /Ukraine’s national parliament - Itar-Tass/,” Kwasniewski and Cox went on.
“Having regard to President Yanukovych`s affirmation this afternoon in Vienna to continue along the path of European integration, we appeal to the President to underline this commitment by delivering on his promises concerning the reform of the public prosecutor`s office and on the law on medical treatment abroad of convicted persons.
“We believe that the European integration reforms to date can best contribute to the modernisation of Ukraine through their full implementation,” the statement said.
Kwasniewski and Cox expressed the conviction “that the people of Ukraine should be reassured by the leaders of the European Union that the door will not be shut on the European hopes and aspirations of Ukraine.
They also promised in the name of the European Union and President Martin Schulz of the European Parliament that they would continue maintaining “active vigilance with regard to the conditions and treatment” of Yulia Timoshenko. “Specific arrangements should be put in place to ensure this.”
“There has been enormous effort made by the European Union to work with Ukraine over the last 18 months, not least by this mission,” the statement said. “The time-out formula now decided by the Ukrainian authorities is not without clear downside risks, is likely to last for considerable time and the process, if and when renewed, will be complicated by the decision made today.”
Kwasniewki and Cox said in conclusion they would return Firday to Vekhovna Rada and would then travel to the northeast city of Kharkov for a meeting with Timoshenko, who is formally serving a seven-year jail term for past occupational abuses at a local penitentiary and is simultaneously taking a long-term course of medical treatment at a local railway hospital.