EU presses Ukraine PM to heal rift with president

15:14, 19 June 2008
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To ward off further instability

EU officials on Thursday urged Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to heal political rifts with her rivals to ward off further instability that would damage economic development in the former Soviet republic, according to AP.

A power struggle between Tymoshenko and Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko are threatening to delay much needed economic and political reforms. The two were allies during the 2004 Orange Revolution against voter fraud, but they have repeatedly clashed over various policy matters, mainly concerning oil and gas.

"We still have some preoccupation on our side on the political situation," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told Tymoshenko after talks at EU headquarters. "We would like very much to see the political situation stabilize."

Tymoshenko told Solana she would work to heal political divisions.

"Ukraine has a very good potential and is developing positively and what we need is to get is the political unity between the president ... and my majority in the parliament, and from my side as head of the government, I will do my best to head in this direction," Tymoshenko said.

She said her government was working to lower inflation from 17% and said the economy would benefit from expected bumper crop harvests this year.

Tymoshenko was in Brussels before an EU leaders summit to bolster Ukraine`s membership bid. French President Nicolas Sarkozy will host an EU-Ukraine summit in September, at which the EU could present Kiev with an offer of closer ties.

Poland and Sweden are pushing the EU to develop a new "eastern dimension" policy that would build ties with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and other former Soviet neighbors.

Ukraine hopes to join the EU by 2020, but the EU remains divided on giving it the prospect of eventual membership.

AP, USA Today

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