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Ukraine's parliament sacks foreign minister-2

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Ukraine's parliament voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to dismiss Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko over his handling of a territorial dispute with Romania and policies damaging ties with Russia.
(Adds Yushchenko's quote in final paragraph)

KIEV, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's parliament voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to dismiss Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko over his handling of a territorial dispute with Romania and policies damaging ties with Russia.

The opposition Party of Regions and Communists had demanded the dismissal of Ohryzko, the president's appointee in the Cabinet, for what they called his "unprofessional stance" in a dispute with Romania over a Black Sea islet, and for harming the national interest by straining ties with Moscow to "appease the West."

A total of 250 lawmakers in the 450-seat Supreme Rada voted in favor of his dismissal, including 49 members of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's party, which earlier said it would not back the move.

The International Court of Justice ruled in February to award part of the disputed seabed to Ukraine and Romania, but the biggest share went to Bucharest. The ruling was hailed as a major success of Romanian diplomacy in the country's media.

Late last month, Ohryzko summoned Russia's ambassador and threatened to expel him over his allegedly undiplomatic comments. The threats came just weeks after Moscow and Kiev resolved their bitter gas row.

The UNIAN news agency said President Viktor Yushchenko had condemned parliament's move to sack Ohryzko, who is considered the president's man in the government. "It is totally inappropriate to weaken the direction of the country's external policy and create new sources of tension amid the worsening domestic economic crisis," the president said.

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