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Kiev upbeat about EU prospects

KIEV, Ukraine, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The Ukrainian government said Thursday it was upbeat on the prospects of signing an association agreement with the European Union.

Ukraine's ties to the EU will be considered during a partnership summit scheduled for Nov. 18 in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.

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Volodymyr Rybak, chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, said he expects positive results from the Vilnius summit.

"We are making our best efforts for this," he was quoted as saying Thursday by the National News Agency of Ukraine.

He said Ukrainian legislators passed more than a dozen separate measures meant to allay EU concerns about Ukraine.

The EU said it was concerned by political justice in Ukraine. A seven-year prison sentence, given in 2011 to former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko for abusing the privileges of her office, was seen by European leaders as politically motivated. Several of her political allies are also behind bars.

Rybak said Thursday legislators would consider a bill for "amnesty to Tymoshenko" next week.

British Foreign Minister William Hague said Thursday he met with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Kostyantyn. Using his official Twitter account, Hague said there was "still time for Ukraine to improve their record on reform before [the] Vilnius summit."

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