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Ukraine PM Offers Resignation

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has offered his resignation, in what the government says is an effort to encourage political compromise.

Ukraine's government website announced the news Tuesday, publishing a statement by Mr. Azarov that says he wants to encourage "social-political compromise," after two months of protests that have recently culminated with violent clashes between demonstrators and police.

He said he hoped his resignation, which still must be accepted by President Viktor Yanukovych, will create an opportunity for the peaceful settlement of the country's political crisis.

On Monday, President Viktor Yanukovych agreed to scrap the anti-protest laws that have sparked some of the violent anti-government protests in Kyiv and elsewhere.

The announcement came after a meeting between the president and opposition leaders. But Mr. Yanukovych rejected the idea of amnesty for detained protesters unless demonstrators abandon all the buildings they have seized throughout the country.

Protesters did leave the Justice Ministry building that they had occupied overnight, but promised to return if no progress is made on ending the standoff with the government.

Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk formally rejected President Yanukovych's offer to make him prime minister. It is not clear how this latest offer to scrap the protest laws will be received.



Marchers took to the streets in late November when Mr. Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties to Russia.

The White House says U.S. Vice President Joe Biden telephoned Mr. Yanukovych to urge parliament to repeal the anti-protest laws and keep working with the opposition to avoid violence and reduce tensions.

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