Gilmore may visit Ukraine for OSCE

Wed, May 23, 2012, 01:00

MINISTER FOR Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said he had no official plans to include a match in Ukraine during the Euro 2012 championships. “However, I cannot at this time rule out a visit to the Ukraine at some point this year, including in my separate capacity as chairman-in-office of the OSCE,’’ he added.

He said this was a forum in which Ukraine played an important role and it would assume the chairmanship next year.

He was replying to Fianna Fáil foreign affairs spokesman Seán Ó Fearghail, who asked about his plans to attend the championships in Poland and Ukraine in view of the treatment of imprisoned former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Mr Gilmore said he anticipated there would be political representation at Ireland’s Euro 2012 group stage matches, all to take place in Poland. As regards Ukraine, the European Union had made its concerns known to the authorities there about politically motivated trials and Ms Tymoshenko’s conditions of detention.

High representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy Catherine Ashton had called on Ukrainian authorities to ensure her right to appropriate medical assistance, he added.

“I fully support that call,’’ said Mr Gilmore.

He said he had discussed Ukraine with his EU foreign minister colleagues in Brussels. It was agreed that further progress on the EU’s association agreement with Ukraine would require a number of positive steps on the resolution of the issue of politically motivated trials, including Ms Tymoshenko’s detention, and the free and fair conduct of elections due to take place in October.

Mr Gilmore said there was no common EU position on attending matches in Ukraine. A number of political figures had made it known they did not intend to visit Ukraine. A sports boycott would not be an effective tool of persuasion, he added.