The FINANCIAL -- US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday urged Ukraine and Georgia to hold free
and fair elections and discussed the eurozone crisis in a series of
meetings with European leaders.
"Ukraine is hugely important to European security and stability. We have been very clear how much we regret what we see as selective prosecutions, including imprisonment of former prime minister (Yulia) Tymoshenko," a US official said.
He said that Europe and the United States were working closely to push for fair elections on October 28, and the issue was discussed in meetings this week between Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
"Our relations with Ukraine can really only move forward when we see an end to those selective prosecutions," he said.
Georgia, another former Soviet nation, also goes to the polls on October 1, and the United States will be actively monitoring events on the ground.
As EUbusiness reported, Clinton also met Tuesday with several European foreign ministers for an annual transatlantic dinner hosted on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
In talks with the Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, Clinton focused "considerably on the Greek economy."
Clinton "expressed our understanding and appreciation for the great sacrifices that the Greek people are making in the reforms that have been deemed necessary to keep Greece in the eurozone," the official said.
"It is a core American interest to see the eurozone not just survive but thrive," he said, adding "we were impressed by the seriousness of the effort" being made by Greece.
Greek unions are preparing to bring the country to a standstill Wednesday, and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has warned that delays in reforming the economy are creating a growing financial shortfall.
Lagarde warned Monday that delays in implementing Greece's bailout program, including privatizations, had expanded the country's shortfall.
At stake is a loan installment of 31.5 billion euros, which Athens needs to pay state salaries and pensions, recapitalize Greek banks hit by a state debt rollover and repay over six billion euros owed to private contractors.
"No one should fail to understand how focused we are and how focused the secretary is on this challenge," the US official said.
"We have made very clear that we have an enormous stake in the success of the European economy and the eurozone."
Recent reform efforts in Spain and Italy send a "signal to us that there is a real seriousness in Europe to deal with this problem," he added.