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EU urges Ukrainian PM to mend rift with president
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08:19, June 20, 2008

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A top European Union official on Thursday urged Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to iron out her differences with President Viktor Yushchenko for the sake of national stability.

"We still have some preoccupation on our side on the political situation," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told Tymoshenko following talks here.

"We would like very much to see the political situation stabilize," he added.

Differences over policies, mainly concerning oil and gas, between Tymoshenko and political rival Yushchenko are threatening to hamper economic and political reforms.

Tymoshenko, once a Yushchenko ally during the 2004 Orange Revolution, promised to bridge the political rifts with the president.

"Ukraine has very good potential and is developing positively and what we need is to get the political unity between the president ... and my majority in the parliament, and from my side as head of the government, I will do my best to head in this direction," Tymoshenko said.

The Ukrainian prime minister is in Brussels ahead of an EU summit to push for her country's EU membership bid. The former Soviet republic hopes to join the EU by 2020.

The 27-nation EU is divided on Ukraine's prospects of full membership.

Sweden and Poland are the driving forces behind prodding the bloc to develop closer ties with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and other former Soviet republics.

The EU is likely to offer Kiev closer ties at an EU-Ukraine summit in September.


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