Germany’s foreign minister says there remain political and legal obstacles to the release of imprisoned Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
Guido Westerwelle was talking after meeting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to discuss an EU request for him to pardon his political foe in exchange for closer political ties.
“We have had constructive and intense negotiations,” said Westerwelle. “And I have felt a strong will to overcome all the obstacles on the way to signing an Association Agreement between the Ukraine and EU.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said that Yanukovich wants to solve the Tymoshenko problem, but that there has to be a realistic legal basis for the move.
Germany has offered to receive Tymoshenko for medical treatment for her back condition.
Yanukovich has said that he cannot overrule the court that found her guilty of abuse of office, linked to a gas deal with Russia in 2009. The opposition maintains, however, that he fears she will run against him in elections in 2015 and is reluctant to pardon her.