Ukrainian Cabinet Bars Newly Reappointed Foreign Minister From Session, Minister Says

KIEV, Ukraine -- Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's allies on Wednesday barred the newly reappointed foreign minister from a Cabinet session, a move that was likely to further raise tension between the premier and the president.

Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk

President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday ordered his political ally Borys Tarasyuk to stay on as foreign minister, defying a parliamentary vote last week to sack the pro-Western minister.

Yushchenko acted after a local Kiev court upheld Tarasyuk's appeal against his firing.

But when Tarasyuk tried to enter Wednesday's Cabinet session, he said he was stopped by Anatoliy Tolstoukhov, a minister in charge of the Cabinet's work.

Yanukovych, who is currently on an official visit to the United States, was not present at the session.

"They said I wasn't on the list," Tarasyuk said in remarks broadcast on TV5, adding that he would file a lawsuit against the Cabinet for refusing him entry. "I will seek to secure my rights as a member of the Cabinet."

The Cabinet of Ministers press office refused to comment.

Yanukovych had initiated Tarasyuk's dismissal, complaining that he was working in opposition to the Cabinet. Tarasyuk heads a political party that has declared itself in opposition to Yanukovych's government, and his pro-Western views were in sharp contrast with Yanukovych's more Russian-leaning political party.

The pro-Western Yushchenko and Yanukovych share power in an awkward arrangement that was initially billed as an effort to unite Ukraine, but instead has turned into a tug-of-war for influence.

Source: AP


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