EU calls on Ukraine to get its act together

Other News Materials 5 September 2008 21:25 (UTC +04:00)

European Union foreign ministers on Friday urged Ukraine to solve its political crisis constructively if it wants to move closer to the EU, just days before a major summit.

"I hope that political leaders in Ukraine will choose a path which leads the country back to being able to negotiate (with the EU)," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at an informal meeting with EU counterparts in the French town of Avignon.

"The political squabbles of the last few months have already led to blockades between parties in parliament and between parliament and government. That must be changed and I hope that ways will be found to do it," he said.

On Tuesday EU leaders are set to meet Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yushchenko in the French spa town of Evian. The pro-Western Yushchenko is widely expected to push for closer ties with the EU in the wake of August's Georgian-Russian war.

But the political storm that erupted in Ukraine on Wednesday, with the pro-Western government coalition apparently crumbling in a feud between Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, has led many to question whether Ukraine's political culture is stable enough for it to become a closer partner.

"Obviously, there are important responsibilities for Ukraine's leaders that the political debate does not become national disunity," Britain's Foreign Minister David Miliband warned.

"Membership prospects (for Ukraine) would go too far, we have to take it one step at a time, be very careful," Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb added, dpa reported.