Vote Delayed On Yushchenko Allies

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's parliament has delayed a vote on whether to dismiss the foreign and defence ministers.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk (R) stands near Defence Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko (L) in Kiev November 14, 2006

The pair - President Viktor Yushchenko's last remaining appointees in the cabinet - were expected to face the fateful vote on Wednesday.

They were summoned to defend their policies to parliament, but then told the vote was delayed for two weeks.

The moves are part of the continuing power struggle between the pro-Western president and PM Viktor Yanukovych.

Mr Yanukovych, who has a majority in parliament, favours closer ties with Russia.

Other ministers loyal to Mr Yushchenko have either resigned already or are expected to lose their jobs soon.

Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk and Defence Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko were summoned to parliament to present progress reports.

President Yushchenko, who hand-picked these cabinet ministers, called it an inquisition.

Impeachment fears

He has said that attempts to sack the foreign minister are a way of slowing down the pace of Ukraine's integration with the West.

Mr Yushchenko is pursuing membership of Nato and the European Union.

Some members of Mr Yushchenko's party have said that this could be the first step towards an attempt to impeach the president.

Source: BBC News

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