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Germany Says Tymoshenko Case Could Scupper Association Agreement

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

Germany's foreign minister has warned that Ukraine's failure to address concerns about jailed ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko could threaten a European Union-Ukraine association agreement that has been under negotiation for years.

Guido Westerwelle said on German television that Berlin was prepared to block ratification of the political and trade deal if Kyiv does not examine legal questions about Tymoshenko's case.

The pro-Western Tymoshenko has complained of abuse since last year, when she began serving a seven-year sentence that her supporters condemn as politically motivated.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week called for Tymoshenko's release, and European officials have threatened to boycott attending Euro 2012 championship soccer matches in Ukraine this summer.

On May 2, Austria's government announced it would boycott all Euro 2012 soccer matches in Ukraine to protest the treatment of Tymoshenko.

Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said that no Austrian government official would attend any matches held in Ukraine during the tournament, which begins on June 8.

Ukraine's top soccer official said reports that matches could be moved to Spain were "groundless."

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, dpa, and

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