Buzek laments Tymoshenko sentence

Nov. 28, 2011 at 10:21 AM
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BRUSSELS, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Ukraine must face its internal political differences if it's to have a sincere dialogue with the European Union, the president of the European Parliament said.

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, in a birthday message to jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, who turned 51 Sunday, said the political climate in Ukraine was troublesome.

"Yulia, I wish you courage and strength in this difficult moment," he was quoted on the former prime minister's Web site as saying. "You should not be in prison."

Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges she abused her authority when she helped broker a natural gas contract with Russian energy company Gazprom in 2009. That deal helped restore gas supplies to Ukraine but the current government said it hurt an economy already battered by recession.

Europe said it was reviewing its relationship with Kiev following the sentencing. Tymoshenko's allies said they believed the sentence was politically motivated.

"How can we expect to have a sincere political dialogue between the EU and Ukraine, if Ukraine cannot have dialogue within itself?" added Buzek.

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