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EUROPE > UK ministers not to attend quarterfinal

LONDON - Agence France-Presse

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England fans celebrate their team’s Euro 2012 victory against Ukraine.

England fans celebrate their team’s Euro 2012 victory against Ukraine.

Britain will not send any ministers to England’s Euro 2012 quarterfinal against Italy due to “widespread concerns about selective justice” in Ukraine, Downing Street said yesterday.

Anger is running high across Europe over the treatment of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, and other governments have been putting mounting pressure on Ukraine, the tournament co-host.

No British ministers attended England’s three group matches against France, Sweden and Ukraine which were all played in Ukraine, although the ambassador to Kiev did go.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron’s Downing Street office confirmed that no British minister would be in Kiev to watch Sunday’s quarterfinal against Italy. “It reflects ministers’ widespread concerns about selective justice and the rule of law in the Ukraine,” she said.

If England beats Italy, it would then play either Germany or Greece in a semifinal on June 28 in Warsaw. The final will be held in Kiev.

Should England reach the last four, there may be ministerial attendance at the semifinal in the Polish capital.

However, asked if the boycott would apply to the final, the spokeswoman said: “Let’s see how we get on on Sunday. No decision has been made.”

June/21/2012

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