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EU calls for stable government in Ukraine

European leaders on Friday urged Ukraine to form quickly a stable government after September 30 elections as they started talks with President Viktor Yushchenko on the country’s hopes of joining the bloc.

Yushchenko said at the start of the annual European Union-Ukraine summit that the general election would go ahead “in a transparent, democratic way, in line with national and international standards,” his office said. The president again stressed the desire of Ukraine, which has had several years of political instability, to be part of the EU.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said before the summit that a government must quickly be formed after the election. Following separate talks with pro-Western former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, Solana said authorities had to “create the political stability to move this country forward.”

Yushchenko dissolved parliament in April after a prolonged battle with the pro-Russian majority that now runs the government. Solana, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Portugal’s Prime Minister Jose Socrates were in Kiev for the talks. The two sides were to study progress made on talks toward a possible Ukrainian membership of the EU. The two sides are seeking a new strengthened bilateral accord to replace a partnership agreement that expires next year. Visas for Ukrainians to visit the rest of Europe and commercial barriers were also to be discussed. (