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US expert: US Senate resolution on Ukraine expresses position of only those who lobbied for it

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Sept. 24, 2012, 11:55 a.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

The US flag flies in front of the US Capitol dome on December 24, 2008 in Washington, DC.
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The resolution on Ukraine passed by the United States Senate recently is not obligatory and does not oblige the Senate to take any action, Executive Director of the American Institute in Ukraine Anthony T. Salvia has said.

"Recently, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution, which did not draw special attention of the U.S. media… It is commonly known that the United States Senate passes many resolutions on various issues. The U.S. really take leading positions in many aspects, so it is quite natural that politicians and senators express their opinions on various issues related to various parts of the world. This resolution is not an exceptional case – it is not obligatory and its does not oblige the Senate to take any action, it's just an expression of the opinion of those people that lobbied for it in the Senate," the expert said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

He also said that the U.S. officials are still concerned about the situation with former Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko.

"Of course, politicians should be held to account, but this practice should not have a selective character, and the legislation should be applied equally to everyone, and the justice system should not be politicized. At the same time, it does not mean that the person is not guilty," he said.

According to Salvia, all components and details should be taken into account to avoid the impression that "people that draft such resolutions ignore them [components and details]."

As reported, on September 22, Serhiy Vlasenko, the defense lawyer of former Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko, wrote on his page in Facebook that the U.S. Senate had unanimously passed a resolution on Ukraine with a call for the immediate release of Tymoshenko and other political prisoners. The resolution also calls for the imposition of a visa ban against all officials responsible for Tymoshenko's imprisonment.

In turn, the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine stated that it did not consider it necessary to comment on the resolution.

"It is difficult to take seriously a document that was passed last night according to a procedure that, with due diplomatic restraint, could be described as at least doubtful. What kind of motivation did the authors of the Yulia Tymoshenko resolution have while trying to ignore by all possible means the protests of other senators against the resolution, and with what aim did they quickly make editorial amendments to it? They also proposed the Senate to pass the document as a new document after 0300, several minutes before the closure of the session of Congress, when less than five members of the upper house of the U.S. parliament were present in the sitting hall," it said.

An article in the Segodnya daily newspaper reads that the Senate vote on the resolution was flawed. To pass a resolution, the majority needs to receive confirmation from the minority that no one opposes the resolution, as well as receive approval from the Senate speaker. Thus, at least one senator has to have opposed the resolution to prevent its adoption by the Senate.

The newspaper cited a source in Ukraine's Embassy in the U.S. as saying that the resolution was put on the agenda of the Senate in the daytime. However, one senator opposed it, and said that he did not agree with the text of the document.

"Usually this would mean that it [the resolution] should be removed from the agenda. But the lobbyists of the Ukrainian opposition appeared to be slier – they removed from the agenda the old text of the resolution, made technical amendments to it and submitted it for consideration under the same number on the same day. Actually, the did it at night, and when they asked the senators whether anyone opposed the resolution it was at 0300 on the night from Friday to Saturday, with only a few minutes left until the end of the session, the opposing senator had left by that time, and none of the four senators present opposed it. The resolution was approved," reads the newspaper.

The American Institute in Ukraine (AIU) is a privately funded U.S. nonprofit organization. The AIU's purpose is to address questions relating to U.S. policy toward Ukraine, particularly with respect to security issues such as Ukraine's possible accession as a member state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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