Ukraine`s premier appealed to prosecutors to stop Borys Tarasyuk from continuing as foreign minister, accusing the pro-Western minister of harming national interests, the Cabinet press office said Tuesday, according to AP.
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych`s appeal is the latest move in a power struggle between him and President Viktor Yushchenko. The two share power in an awkward arrangement that was initially billed as an effort to unite Ukraine, but instead has turned into a tug-of-war for control - with Yushchenko losing.
Parliament last month dismissed Tarasyuk, a presidential appointee, at Yanukovych`s request. After Tarasyuk appealed his ouster and won, Yushchenko reappointed him.
This month, Ukraine`s appeals court overturned the lower court`s ruling and Tarasyuk is now challenging that decision.
Yanukovych`s office said in a statement that prosecutors should act to stop Tarasyuk`s activity, "which is harming the interests of the state, negatively reflecting on Ukraine`s image, and influencing the results of activity by the Cabinet of Ministers in the sphere of foreign politics and foreign economic relations."
Yanukovych`s appeal came after Tarasyuk made an official visit to the Czech Republic on Monday, a trip the premier insisted was not authorized by his office. During the visit, Tarasyuk met with his Czech counterpart and gave a talk entitled, "Ukraine on the path to NATO and the EU," the Foreign Ministry said.
Tarasyuk`s views in support of NATO membership and shaking off Russian influence are in line with Yushchenko`s policies, but they contrast sharply with Yanukovych`s more Russian-leaning approach.
Yanukovych`s office also noted Yanukovych did not approve Tarasyuk`s vacation, which he interrupted to make the visit to the Czech Republic, nor the trip itself.
"In this way, Borys Tarasyuk can`t be considered an official figure," the statement said.
There was no immediate comment from either Yushchenko`s office or Tarasyuk on the appeal.
In the struggle with Yushchenko, Yanukovych appears to have the stronger hand, particularly after parliament last week approved a new law outlining powers of the Cabinet.
Yushchenko had vetoed the measure, saying it undermined the balance of power between the president and ministers, but lawmakers overrode him. The law greatly weakens the president`s constitutional right to appoint the foreign and defense ministers.