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Leaders make progress in talks with Prez
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, July 4 – Leaders of pro-government and opposition groups made progress in talks aimed at ending a standoff in Parliament after holding two meetings with President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday, an official said.

Yushchenko invited the leaders for the talks seeking to unblock the work of Parliament as the Regions Party, an opposition group, for a week has been preventing coalition from forming the government.

“I think ice has been broken,” Oleh Rybachuk, the chief of staff at the Yushchenko office, told Ukrayinska Pravda. “A miracle happened as party leaders have shifted from the language of ultimatums to a constructive dialog.”

Yulia Tymoshenko, prime minister designate, Our Ukraine leader Roman Bezsmertniy, Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz and two opposition figures, Regions Party leader Viktor Yanukovych and Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko, joined the meetings with Yushchenko.

The Regions Party, which controls 186 seats in 450-seat Parliament, has shut down electronic voting system and locked doors at parliamentary session hall last week seeking to win control over key committees and other posts.

The pro-government coalition, which controls 243 seats, originally rejected the ultimatum suggesting the opposition party may control only certain positions in Parliament, such as a special committee to control privatization.

But the coalition leaders made progress in talks on Tuesday apparently agreeing to meet most of the demands from the Regions Party, except for control of the key committees in Parliament.

Instead, the coalition suggested creating up to six new special committees that would control all aspects of the government’s activity, from finance to energy sectors, and which would be led by the opposition.

“So, there will be created a streamlined system to secure the rights of the opposition,” Moroz said after the meeting.

Tymoshenko said: “We develop this system for the opposition like for ourselves because we don’t know when we would end up in opposition.”

The Regions Party will hold a meeting Wednesday morning to decide whether to accept the coalition’s proposal, and if the plan is accepted, Yushchenko would hold another meeting with the leaders on Wednesday. This may open door for unblocking the work of Parliament by the end of the day.

“Speaking globally, what is being agreed is the role for the government and for the opposition,” Rybachuk said. “This is a conceptual thing for the country.” (tl/ez)




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