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Ukraine Talks on Ending Parliament Standoff Get Underway

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko met with leaders of parliamentary factions Tuesday in an effort to end a standoff that has prevented the formation of a new government.

Representatives of the country's pro-Western coalition say talks scheduled for Monday were canceled after Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the opposition pro-Russian Party of Regions failed to attend. But a spokesman for the opposition group said the meeting was intended for experts, not top leaders.

The pro-Russian party has been blocking parliamentary proceedings for the past week by barring access to the podium. Party members are dissatisified with the role they have been offered in the new government. They contend that because they won more seats in parliament than any other group in the March elections, they deserve a bigger role.

The pro-Western coalition is made up of three parties that led the 2004 Orange Revolution and brought Mr. Yushchenko to power.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.