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Ukraine crisis: talks fail

December 08, 2004 12:51 IST
Ukraine's political crisis continued Wednesday with parliament and President Leonid Kuchma unable to reach an agreement on a new election commission and electoral reforms.

On Friday, the country's Supreme Court had ruled that the results of the country's November 21 presidential runoff was invalid and ordered that a new vote be held on December 26.

"If we are to speak in general terms, no agreement was reached and instead of a statement from the round-table talks, there was simply a statement for the press," Kuchma said in a statement after talks with opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

But "all these can be done only after the opposition lifts the blockade of government buildings," said the Ukrainian president.

Massive protests against Ukraine poll

The opposition, however, says it will lift the blockade only after the approval of electoral changes.

Kuchma has also called for a constitutional amendment to limit presidential powers.

International mediators at the talks included European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus and Russian parliament speaker Boris Gryzlov.

Earlier, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said the latest round of talks encountered difficulty "as Kuchma vehemently insisted on his demands," and the hope for an agreement "is almost zero."

Opposition leader Yushchenko criticized the proposed constitutional reform, arguing that Kuchma and his allies feared his possible victory in the new election and want to weaken the future presidency.