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Ukrainian Lawmakers Again Bar Foreign Minister From Cabinet Meeting

Allies of Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, locked in a bitter power struggle with President Viktor Yushchenko, have for a second time this month barred a Yushchenko loyalist from attending a cabinet session.

In Kyiv Wednesday, Yanukovych backers stopped Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk from entering the meeting. Witnesses said a scuffle broke out between members of the two factions before Tarasyuk retreated. A similar incident occurred two weeks ago.

Parliament dismissed Tarasyuk December 1, citing policy differences. The president, backed by a Kyiv court, reappointed him to the post.

Tarasyuk - a close Yushchenko ally - is a key architect of the president's push to establish closer ties with the West. Parliament is dominated by those seeking closer ties with Russia.

Although they remain bitter opponents, President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yanukovych share power in an awkward arrangement once seen as the best chance to break a political stalemate triggered by deadlocked elections in March.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.