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Ukraine Acting Foreign Minister Barred from Cabinet Meeting


Ukraine's foreign minister, fired by a hostile parliament and then reappointed by reformist President Viktor Yushchenko, was barred Wednesday from entering a cabinet meeting in Kyiv.

President Yushchenko, backed by a Kyiv court, Tuesday ordered his political ally, Borys Tarasyuk, reinstated as foreign minister just four days after parliament dismissed him.

But Wednesday, Ukraine's minister for the cabinet confronted Tarasyuk, a key architect of Mr. Yushchenko's drive to build closer ties with western Europe, and told him he had no right to participate. Tarasyuk later told local television he will file a lawsuit over the issue.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who is visiting the United States, was not present. Mr. Yanukovych, who favors closer ties to Russia, had initiated Tarasyuk's dismissal and that of Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko, complaining that they were working in opposition to the rest of the cabinet.

The prime minister and the president share power in an awkward arrangement once seen as an effort to unite Ukraine. However, a series of recent constitutional changes have ceded many presidential powers to parliament, setting the stage for an ongoing power struggle between the two leaders.

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