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Poland urges Ukraine to make East-West choice

KIEV — Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski urged Ukraine’s leader Thursday to push for integration with the European Union but acknowledged that a key obstacle is the country’s jailing of its former premier, Yulia Tymoshenko.

After talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in Kiev, Mr. Komorowski said Ukraine must decide whether it wants to align itself with the EU or join a Russia-led customs union.

“It is impossible to implement those two scenarios at the same time,” Mr. Komorowski said at a news conference with Mr. Yanukovych. “A choice has to be made.”

Mrs. Tymoshenko, the country’s top opposition leader and the heroine of the 2004 Orange Revolution, is serving a seven-year jail term on charges of abuse of office while leading natural gas import negotiations with Russia in 2009.

Mrs. Tymoshenko, 51, denies the charges and accuses Mr. Yanukovych, the antagonist of the Orange Revolution, of throwing her in jail in order to bar her from Ukraine’s Oct. 28 parliamentary election.

The nation’s relations with the EU have been strained over her treatment, which the West has condemned as politically motivated. The EU has balked at implementing a key cooperation deal with Ukraine over the Tymoshenko case.

Mr. Komorowski said Mrs. Tymoshenko’s jailing is a key impediment n Ukraine’s road into the European club.

Tunisia

Government bans anti-French protests

TUNIS — Tunisia has banned any protests Friday against a French satirical weekly’s publication of lewd, crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Interior Minister Ali Larayedh told Shems FM radio Thursday that authorities sensed some groups were planning to pillage and carry out violence after the weekly communal prayers at mosques.

The publication of the cartoons this week by the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris has raised concerns that French interests could face violent protests such as the ones targeting the United States over an amateur video produced in California. The government of France, a former colonial ruler in Tunisia, has ordered its embassies and other official sites in about 20 countries across the Muslim world closed Friday as a precaution.

Calls to protest in Tunisia against the caricatures have turned up in social media.

United Arab Emirates

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