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Yanukovych cancels address due to urgent talks

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has cancelled his address to participants of a meeting in central Kiev citing emergency talks that might help resolving the current political crisis in the country, a host of the meeting announced Saturday.
KIEV, April 7 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has cancelled his address to participants of a meeting in central Kiev citing emergency talks that might help resolving the current political crisis in the country, a host of the meeting announced Saturday.

"These talks could influence the situation that caused us to gather here today," the host said without specifying the details of negotiations or naming the concerned parties.

More than 20,000 supporters of the government and the ruling coalition in parliament gathered at the Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital to listen to the prime minister's address concerning the latest developments in a most serious political crisis in Ukraine since the 2004 "orange revolution."

Following President Viktor Yushchenko's refusal Thursday to backtrack on his decree to dissolve parliament and call early elections, and threats of criminal prosecution for officials defying his order to allocate funds for new elections, the prime minister said the political crisis gripping the country can still be resolved through dialogue and compromise.

And unlike the president and his supporters in the Cabinet, who said the current conflict was a domestic affair, Yanukovych refused to rule out requests for help from Russia, its historic ally, and Poland, a bow to the country's role in Ukraine's European integration aspirations.

"As soon as we have made a decision, we will approach the presidents of the neighboring states, Russia and Poland, and possibly others," he said earlier this week.

The latest twist in the political crisis - simmering since Yanukovych's return as premier last August and an uneasy power-sharing deal with the pro-presidential forces - was triggered after 11 lawmakers defected to the ruling coalition March 23.

The defectors brought the coalition closer to a 300-seat majority that would have allowed it to amend the Constitution and made it immune to presidential vetoes.

But in a major concession move since the start of the crisis, the ruling coalition in parliament said Friday that it would return to the original lineup and number 238 people, including 186 members of the Party of Regions, 21 Communists and 31 Socialists.

The lawmakers who quit pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc and the opposition Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc would remain in parliament outside any factions and would vote independently.

The Supreme Rada has adjourned until April 17, but First Deputy Speaker Oleksandr Martynyuk, closing Friday's session, warned the MPs to be ready to meet, if need be, for an emergency plenary session.

Meanwhile, the Russian and Ukrainian presidents said in a telephone conversation Friday that they hoped for a political and constitutional resolution to the current crisis in Ukraine, the Kremlin press service said.

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