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Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) (official site)
July 4, 2006 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko met with leaders of parliamentary factions today to try to resolve a political crisis caused by an opposition blockade of parliament.
The Party of Regions began blocking parliament eight days ago to delay the formation of a new government by the coalition of the three parties who were behind Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution.
The pro-Russian Party of Regions won the most votes in the March parliamentary elections and is demanding a greater role in parliament.
Yushchenko today urged a compromise to resolve the standoff.
"Ukraine is what it is -- with [Party of Regions head Viktor] Yanukovych, [Communist Party head Petro] Simonenko, [Socialist Party head Oleksandr] Moroz, [eponymous bloc leader Yuliya] Tymoshenko, [Our Ukraine bloc leader Roman] Bezsmertnyy," he said. "Maybe it is fortunate, or maybe it is what causes certain complications, but it is reality. And so we should reach an agreement in the framework of these five political forces."
Speaking later, Yushchenko's chief of staff, Oleh Rybachuk, expressed optimism that an agreement to end the standoff was now within reach.
More talks are scheduled for later today.