U.S. legislators: pardon of Yulia Tymoshenko is key step for reform

10:28, 28 October 2013
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U.S. Congressman Sander Levin and his colleagues from the Ukrainian Congressional Caucus Jim Gerlach and Marcy Kaptur, along with Congressman Bill Keatin, are urging the Ukrainian authorities to pardon and release Yulia Tymoshenko, according to the Official web site of Yulia Tymoshenko.

"We recognize the significant progress made by Ukraine is certain areas, including adoption of the new Criminal Procedure code, and support the next major steps Ukraine is taking in addressing critically important issues and in introducing reforms needed to improve its electoral system, governance, and the justice system. We believe a key step in these reforms would be the pardoning and release of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which should take place on mutually acceptable terms," the members of Congress said in a statement cited by Voice of America.

The legislators believe the signing of the EU association agreement is an important chance for Ukraine to confirm its commitment to democracy and human rights and is in the strategic interest of Ukraine, the EU and United States. "We welcome the progress Ukraine has made so far. We also welcome Ukraine’s plans in the next few weeks to take the final steps necessary for association with the European Union during the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November," he said.

"Last year we closely monitored Ukraine’s efforts to fulfill the EU’s requirements for the signing of this agreement. As the date of the start of the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius approaches, we want to encourage both side to continue to work together towards the implementation of the necessary reforms on the legislative level and in practice," the statement says.

The members of the U.S. Congress believe that by strengthening bilateral relations with the EU and through greater economic integration and political cooperation, Ukraine will build better relations with current EU countries and their transatlantic partners, particularly the United States. "To build a relationship based on shared principles of democracy, rule of law, positive governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms. We believe the signing of an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU will be a catalyst of democratic and human rights reforms, economic development and will improve the lives of all Ukrainians," they emphasized.

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