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Ukraine President Accepts PM's Resignation

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the rest of the Cabinet -- a key demand of his political opponents.

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

He said he hoped his resignation would create an opportunity for a peaceful settlement of the country's political crisis.

Also Tuesday, parliament repealed recently-approved anti-protest laws that had sparked violent anti-government protests in Kyiv and elsewhere.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.

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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