By Monika Scislowska

Associated Press
30 Sept 2011

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - The European Union president said Friday the
bloc still expects to finalize association talks with Ukraine by the
end of the year.

Herman Van Rompuy spoke at the end of a two-day summit devoted to
the Eastern Partnership, an initiative launched in 2009 to deepen
the EU's ties with Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and
Azerbaijan, and to spur them into embracing the EU's political and
economic standards.

Prospects for concluding negotiations with Ukraine had appeared at
risk because of the imprisonment and trial of former Prime Minister
Yulia Tymoshenko.

Western leaders view the trial of Tymoshenko, the country's key
opposition figure and a leader of the Orange Revolution, as politically
motivated and a sign of Ukraine's weak commitment to the rule of law.

Van Rompuy said EU officials expressed their opposition to Tymoshenko's
trial repeatedly at the summit, where Ukrainian President Viktor
Yanukovych was in attendance.

He said EU leaders "expressed our concern" about the selective use
of judicial procedures against members of the past administration.

"This is a serious matter in our relations and we are expressing
ourselves very clearly on this matter," Van Rompuy said.

Prime Minister of Poland, which currently holds the rotating EU
presidency, Donald Tusk said that under Tymoshenko's term Ukraine
embarked on its pro-European path.

"Bad treatment of the opposition will have negative effects for the
negotiations," Tusk said.

EU leaders also issued a separate declaration condemning Belarus for
its "deteriorating" record on human rights and rule of law.

Head of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, said all agreed they
were worried over the situation in Belarus, where opposition leaders
are being held in prison without trials, many since the rigged Dec.19
presidential election.

"There are various opinions on how to proceed on Belarus," Buzek said.

"Should we be offering a new, conditional opening, or should we turn
away from Belarus, after what happened there," he said.

Belarus on Friday boycotted the summit, protesting the pointed
decision by organizers to exclude the country's autocratic leader,
Alexander Lukashenko.

Van Rompuy said the EU will not cooperate with Belarus without signs
of democratization and respect for human ights there.

EU leaders issued a final declaration at the summit saying they
"acknowledge the European aspirations and the European choice" of
some countries on the 27-nation bloc's eastern periphery, language
indicating that they are keeping open the prospect of enlargement in
the future for those who embrace democracy. Leaders, however, have
stressed that any new enlargement is not a realistic prospect for now.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress