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Ukraine President Convenes Roundtable Talks to Avert Political Crisis


Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko says his country has reached what he calls a moment of truth in efforts to solve months of political deadlock.

The Ukrainian leader stressed the need for all sides to band together on issues of sovereignty, market reform and democratic rights. His comments came at roundtable talks Thursday aimed at resolving the country's ongoing political crisis.

The talks focused on efforts to create a broader coalition that would include Mr. Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party and the opposition Regions Party. However, former reformist Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said her supporters would not join any coalition with the leading opposition group. She urged Mr. Yushchenko to dissolve parliament and call new elections.

Mr. Yushchenko has until next week to decide whether to approve a parliamentary coalition's suggestion of his former rival Viktor Yanukovych as the country's next prime minister.

Mr. Yushchenko defeated Yanukovych for the presidency in 2004, and has so far voiced resistance to the nomination.

Thursday's roundtable meeting is the latest twist in a convoluted political struggle that erupted when the Regions Party emerged as the largest parliamentary faction in March elections, but failed to win a majority.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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