European envoys in Ukraine to resolve Tymoshenko case

The European Parliament's special envoys arrived in Kiev on Wednesday in a new bid to find a last minute compromise for jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to go abroad, as Ukraine seeks to agree a key step for EU integration.

Aleksander Kwasniewski and Pat Cox are on the three-day visit to Ukraine as the Ukrainian parliament plans to debate new legislation which could allow convicts, such as Tymoshenko, to go abroad for treatment.

Finding an acceptable solution to the fate of the former prime minister between her allies and her main political rival, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, is seen as a prerequisite for the signing of a broad political and free-trade deal with the EU at the end of the November.

The two envoys have indicated they did not support the plan of Yanukovych, who has refused to pardon Tymoshenko.

Instead, he has promised to sign a law allowing to send the opposition leader for treatment abroad and then return her to Ukraine to serve the rest of the prison term.

Yanukovych is believed to be looking for ways to prevent Tymoshenko, jailed in 2011 for seven years on abuse of power charges, from staging a political comeback and taking part in presidential polls in 2015.

Tymoshenko, who has dismissed the charges against her as an attempt by her rival to remove her from politics, suffers from back pain and is being treated in hospital under prison guard.

A key decision on Tymoshenko's case must be taken by November 18, when the EU foreign ministers will decide whether to recommend the approval of the Association Agreement with Ukraine at the summit in Vilnius.

During their visit, Poland's former president Kwasniewski and former European Parliament president Cox are expected to meet Yanukovych in Kiev and opposition leaders as well.

On Thursday they may visit parliament during debates of the bills on Tymoshenko's fate. On Friday they set to meet the former prime minister in hospital in the eastern city of Kharkiv.