Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland find it impossible to “smoothly” continue talks with Ukraine about closer European Union ties while former Premier Yulia Tymoshenko remains incarcerated, political leaders said.
Ukraine is working to sign an Association Agreement,which includes a free-trade area with the EU, this year. Leaders of the three largest former-communist EU members, meeting as the Visegrad Group, said an accord is at risk after a Kiev court convicted Tymoshenko on Oct. 11 of abuse of power and sentenced her to seven years in prison.
“We cannot imagine a situation that we smoothly ratify the Association Agreement with Ukraine when the legal system there is not functioning and Tymoshenko is in prison,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas told reporters in Prague today after Polish Premier Donald Tusk and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Tymoshenko,50, was found guilty of abusing her position as head of government when she signed a 10-year gas supply and transit agreements with Russia in 2009.
Her imprisonment raises “very serious” questions about how closely Ukraine complies with basic civil and human rights, Necas said.
The premiers also called for Belarus, a former Soviet Republic north of Ukraine, to improve its human rights record and release political prisoners.
--Editor: James M. Gomez
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