No Ukraine Agreement After 10-Hour Talks

KIEV, Ukraine -- Talks to end Ukraine's four-month political paralysis broke off over the weekend without any agreement between President Viktor Yushchenko and the pro-Russian parliamentary majority that has nominated Viktor Yanukovych as prime minister.

Yanukovich (L) and Yushchenko (R)

Yushchenko spent more than 10 hours in closed-door negotiations Friday night with Yanukovych, whose fraud-tarnished run for the presidency in 2004 sparked the Orange Revolution protests that helped sweep Yushchenko to power, and the country's new parliament speaker, Oleksandr Moroz.

The rivals were trying to negotiate a national unity agreement that Yushchenko hopes will lock Yanukovych into the president's pro-Western and reformist policy goals, and could open the door for Yushchenko's party to join a parliamentary coalition.

The agreement would commit Ukraine to work toward joining NATO, the European Union and the World Trade Organization, and would safeguard Ukrainian as the sole national language.

The accord would represent a significant compromise for Yanukovych.

The all-night negotiations ran into difficulties over disagreements about the state language, Yushchenko's pro-Western ambitions and whether Ukraine should cooperate in a "common economic space" with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, said Yushchenko's deputy chief of staff, Ivan Vasyunyk.

Source: The Moscow Times

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