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'Urgent' reforms needed in Ukraine, EU's Fule says

Feb. 13, 2014 at 1:24 PM

KIEV, Ukraine, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- European Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Fule said Thursday it is up to Ukraine to chart a durable political future.

Protest erupted in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, after the government backed away from the European Union to protect its economic ties to Russia. Protests turned violent in January when the government passed a measure curbing protests -- a restriction that has since been repealed.

Fule, in Kiev for his third visit in as many weeks, said Ukraine must chart a political future with a new guard in place.

Ukrainians are called on to take "urgent steps on constitutional reform," form a "new inclusive government" and ensure there are "free and fair elections" in the future, he said in a statement.

Mykola Azarov resigned as prime minister last month under opposition pressure. Pro-EU factions in Ukraine have been calling on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to follow suit.

Fule said deep engagement with all parties to the political crisis is needed to find a solution based on a national consensus.

"My main message is that only one plan can work here: a Ukrainian plan agreed by Ukrainians and implemented swiftly," he said.

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