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Ukrainian factions set new election date, ending feud

Ukraine's sparring political parties agreed a date for fresh parliamentary elections early Sunday in a breakthrough hailed by both sides as an end to their feud, which had threatened to degenerate into a military confrontation, the Interfax news agency reported.

Ukraine's sparring political parties agreed a date for fresh parliamentary elections early Sunday in a breakthrough hailed by both sides as an end to their feud, which had threatened to degenerate into a military confrontation, the Interfax news agency reported. Pro-European President Viktor Yushchenko and pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich agreed to hold the elections on September 30. The two leaders had been locked in a long-running battle over the legality of early parliamentary elections that had been called by Yushchenko, and moves by Yanukovich's coalition to dominate parliament. The dispute degenerated further this week after Yushchenko fired a prosecutor general supported by Yanukovich, who in turn had loyal police break in and escort the prosecutor general back to his office building.

Yushchenko ordered all state buildings in the capital secured and some 2,000 troops were en route to Kiev Saturday, but the forces were held up outside the city by police loyal to Yanukovich. Observers have feared a possible assault on the prosecutor general's office. Talks between the two sides had continued through Saturday and into early Sunday morning before a deal was reached. The parliament, dissolved two months ago, will meet for a special session on May 29 and 30 to go through the procedure of setting new elections. The two sides also agreed that the country's security forces would not be misused in the dispute. Parliamentary speaker Alexander Moros of the Socialist Party joined in the talks. It was not the first time this week that Yushchenko and Yanukovich announced they had resolved the crisis, but the first time a concrete date for elections was set. (monstersandcritics.com)