Thursday, 6 October 2005
Department of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Political Developments
A period of political uncertainty in Ukraine in recent weeks appears to have come to an end with the appointment on 22 September of a new Prime Minister and subsequently a new Council of Ministers. Tensions in the previous Government came to a head when Presidential Chief of Staff Oleksandr Zinchenko resigned on 3 September, making serious allegations of corruption about those around President Yushchenko, particularly National Security and Defence Council Secretary Petro Poroshenko. This made existing tensions within the Council of Ministers between Mr. Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko public. On 8 September the President dismissed Prime Minister Tymoshenko and the Council of Ministers.
Reports suggest these difficulties are also to be seen in the context of positioning for the parliamentary elections due at the end of March 2006, which will be of critical importance for Ukraine's further development as a democracy and market economy. Mrs. Tymoshenko has been replaced as Prime Minister by Yuriy Yekhanurov who, on 22 September, was confirmed in that position by the Ukrainian Parliament. Mr. Borys Tarasiuk has been reappointed Foreign Minister. The work of the Government is now returning to normal, including in such areas of importance as legislation regarding Ukraine's entry to the World Trade Organisation. Ireland remains committed to working with Ukraine as it pursues the challenges of reform. The Ceann Comhairle is leading the first Oireachtas delegation to Ukraine. Following my visit to Ukraine in July, Foreign Minister Tarasiuk will visit Ireland later this month.