Friday 19 December 2014

Ukranian Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko expected in Dublin next week

John Drennan, Political Editor

Published 01/03/2014 | 18:12

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko (C) meets with U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (L) and head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombinski in Kiev, February 23, 2014
Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko (C) meets with U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (L) and head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombinski in Kiev, February 23, 2014
Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko prepares to address anti-government protesters in the Independence Square in Kiev

UKRANIAN Opposition leader, Yulia Tymoshenko, is expected to be in Dublin next week for an event being hosted by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Fine Gael's EU grouping, the European People's Party, are holding their congress in National Convention Centre.

The eyes of the world will be on Mr Kenny should the recently freed Ukranian leader attend the event.  

The Congress meeting which will be attended by 17 Heads of State and over 2,000 delegates will also be deciding the EPP candidate will be for the Presidency of the European Parliament.

However, the diplomatic importance of the meeting will be seriously accelerated should the former Prime Minister attend as expected.

The EPP has consistently campaigned for Ms Tymoshenko to be released by the ousted Ukranian regime.

The crisis in Ukraine, in the wake of the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich has been the catalyst for a rise in diplomatic tensions between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that has not been seen since the Cold War.

A Fine Gael source told the Sunday Independent the former Ukrainian PM had ''confirmed she would be attending''.

“This is a key diplomatic moment at a time of great crisis, there will be some high powered diplomacy at play here, the eyes of the world will be on how Mr Kenny handles this,” the source said.

“Obviously the motive behind her presence is to send a message that Ukraine is committed to a democratic path.”

The meeting is also critical as it will decide who the EPP's candidate will be to replace the President of the European Commission, Jose-Manuel Barroso, whose relationship with Ireland was problematic at best.

The candidates are believed to include Herman van Rompuy, the former French Commissioner Michel Barnier and former Latvian President Valdis Dombrovskis, whilst IMF managing director Christine Lagarde has also been mentioned in dispatches.

“There will be some hard tangling before that choice is made, it certainly is a critical one for Ireland."

Irish Independent

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