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Ukraine opposition leaders sign deal with government

Deal sets out plans to hold early presidential elections, form a national unity government and revert to the 2004 constitution Vote could pave way for Tymoshenko release Western cities warn they could break away nalysis! peace deal no thanks to "ussia or #$ Vitali %litschko, leader of #kraine&s #dar opposition party, shakes hands with 'resident Viktor (anukovych after the signing of the agreement in %iev, #kraine) 'hotograph! Thomas Trutschel*'hotothek via +etty ,mages

Ian Traynor in Kiev and agencies-Friday 21 February 2014 #kraine&s president, Viktor (anukovich, and three opposition leaders have signed an agreement intended to end a crisis that sparked bloody clashes between protesters and police on the streets of the capital, %iev) The deal sets out plans to hold early presidential elections, form a national unity government and revert to the 2004 constitution, removing some of the president&s powers) (anukovich did not smile during a signing ceremony lasting several minutes in the presidential head-uarters, but he did shake hands with the opposition) The deal was also signed by two .uropean #nion foreign ministers who helped broker it in tortuous negotiations that lasted more than /0 hours) 0This agreement is not the end of the process) ,t&s the beginning of the process,0 the +erman foreign minister, 1rank2Walter $teinmeier, said after the signing) 3e said it was not perfect but the best agreement that could have been reached) 0With

it #kraine has got the chance to resume its way to.urope,0 he said) 'arliament subse-uently began to vote to make the agreement law, supporting immediately a return to the constitution of 2004 and an unconditional amnesty for people detained in the unrest) ,t also voted to allow the release of the former prime minister (ulia Tymoshenko after more than two years in prison)

4ink to video! 'olish minister tells #kranian opposition! agree to a deal or &you will all be dead& 4egislators voted by /50264 to decriminalise the count under which Tymoshenko was imprisoned, meaning she was no longer guilty of a criminal offence) 01ree (ulia7 1ree (ulia70 legislators chanted after the vote) ,t was not immediately clear when she might be released from prison in the eastern city of %harkiv where she is serving her sentence) The diplomatic breakthrough was confirmed earlier in a tweet from the +erman foreign office) 0 fter talks with 18 $teinmeier, 8aidan&s civic council 9the protest leadership: decided to mandate opposition leaders to sign agreement,0 it said) ;leh Tyahnibok, an opposition leader, said the protest council had reached an agreement with the acting minister of interior to resolve the crisis, in which 500 people are thought to have been killed in the last three days)

n aerial view shows the anti2government protest camp in ,ndependence $-uare) 'hotograph! Vasily 1edosenko*"euters 'oland&s foreign minister, "adek $ikorski, was caught on video telling a protest leader! 0,f you don&t support this deal you will have martial law, the army) (ou&ll be dead)0 3erman Van "ompuy, president of the .uropean council, welcomed the deal in more diplomatic terms, tweeting! 0<#kraine! welcome the agreement= necessary compromise, launch of indispensable political dialogue for democratic, peaceful way out of crisis)0 The agreement, published in full on the +erman foreign ministry website, states that presidential elections should be held no later than December and that the authorities will not impose a state of emergency, on condition that the authorities and opposition refrain from further use of violence) The sides also agreed that an investigation must be launched into the acts of violence committed during the unrest, under >oint monitoring from the #krainian authorities, opposition and the ?ouncil of .urope) ,n a statement published on the presidential website before the deal was signed, (anukovych said! 0There are no steps that we should not take to restore peace in #kraine)0 The +ermans said the talks had been 0very difficult0, continuing all night and stopping for a break after @am) ,t was not clear whether protesters would accept the deal) nton $olovyov, 2A, an ,T worker in the central s-uare, said! 0This is >ust another piece of paper) We will not leave the barricades until (anukovych steps down) That&s all people want)0 fter the worst bloodshed in the country&s 2/ years of independence, %iev awoke to a bright, sunny and peaceful day, with the city centre firmly in the hands of the anti2 (anukovych protest movement, and the riot police B ubi-uitous until Thursday morning

B barely to be seen) ,t was not long, however, before shots rang out through ,ndependence $-uare as police clashed with protesters) 0'articipants in the mass disorder opened fire on police officers and tried to burst through in the direction of the parliament building,0 a police statement said) Thousands remained on ,ndependence $-uare, or 8aidan, after police pitched battles on Thursday) The protesters had vastly eCpanded the area of the city centre under their control and -uickly built huge barricades and reinforced positions to keep the security forces at bay)