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Ukraine PM Offers Resignation

Ukraine's parliament has repealed a controversial set of laws restricting public protests, while Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has offered his resignation in what the government says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 of the resignation 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.

Hours later, parliament approved the repeal of the anti-protest laws, which had sparked some violent anti-government protests in Kyiv and elsewhere. But President Yanukovych said amnesty for dozens of protesters arrested at the demonstrations will only be implemented if activists take down their barricades and leave the streets.



On Monday, President Yanukovych announced he had agreed to scrap the anti-protest laws. The announcement came after a meeting between the president and opposition leaders.

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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