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Tymoshenko: Time to join EU

Aug. 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM

KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- There is no greater priority for Ukraine than signing a political association deal with the European Union, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said.

Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Tymoshenko delivered a message Wednesday to the Ukrainian World Congress being held in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

"Right now there is no greater priority than the signing of an agreement between Ukraine and the European Union on political association and a comprehensive free trade area," she said in her statement.

Tymoshenko in 2011 was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges she abused her authority when she helped broker a natural gas deal with Russia while serving as prime minister in 2009. The European Union said her case was one of selective justice.

European leaders have expressed concern with Ukraine's perceived targeting of political opponents, adding parliamentary elections in October were seen as a step backward politically.

European Commission for Enlargement Stefan Fule said early this year there is "hope" an association agreement would be signed during a partnership summit scheduled for November in Lithuania.

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