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EU Delays Signing Ukraine Association Agreement

Ukrainians Demonstrate For EU, Against Yanukovich
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About a thousand people gathered in Kyiv outside the presidential offices where a Ukraine-EU summit was taking place to urge joining Europe without President Viktor Yanukovych, and for ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko to be freed.

The European Union says negotiations between the 27-member bloc and Ukraine on an association agreement have been completed, but the signing of the document will depend on political developments in Kyiv.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy made the statement at an EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv, which was held amid concerns about the jailing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The summit had been expected to end with by the signing of an association agreement, four years in the works, that would have brought Ukraine a step closer to EU integration.

However, the October sentencing of Tymoshenko to seven years in jail for abuse of office was condemned by the EU as politically motivated and caused a crisis in ties between Kyiv and Brussels.

Tymoshenko, in a statement from jail, reaffirmed her backing for Ukraine's EU integration and accused the government of President Viktor Yanukovych of alienating the bloc because of the use of "political repression."

Van Rompuy and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso held face-to-face talks with Yanukovych and are scheduled to hold a news conference.

compiled from agency reports