Door still open for Ukraine, European Union leaders say

Nov. 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM
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BRUSSELS, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Leaders from the European Union said Monday an offer to sign agreements with the bloc is still on the table for Ukraine.

Ukrainian leaders last week opted to suspend efforts to sign an association and free trade agreement with the European Union.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said there's still an opportunity for Ukraine provided they show the necessary political will.

"The offer of signing an unprecedented association agreement and a [free trade deal] is still on the table," they said in a joint statement.

Pro-EU supporters in Ukraine rallied in the streets of Kiev in opposition of the decision to abandon the EU deals. The opposition All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland," led by jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, drafted a resolution Monday to dissolve the government in protest of the decision, the National News Agency of Ukraine reports.

A measure that would've let Tymoshenko travel to Germany for medical treatment was scrapped by Ukrainian lawmakers last week. Her treatment and imprisonment are among the issues of concern for the EU.

Tymoshenko was jailed in 2011 on corruption charges. She says the charges were politically motivated.

The EU leaders said they were wary of Russian pressure on Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, but it's up to Kiev to decide its own future.

"Ukrainian citizens have again shown these last days that they fully understand and embrace the historic nature of the European association," the EU leaders said.

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