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Ukraine still looking to reach EU agreement: PM

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Ukraine PM Mykola Azakova.Photo: AP
Ukraine PM Mykola Azakova.Photo: AP

Ukraine's prime minister said on Wednesday that Kiev still wanted to reach a historic agreement with the European Union on closer relations despite breaking off talks on the pact last week.

"I affirm with full authority that the negotiating process over the Association Agreement is continuing, and the work on moving our country closer to European standards is not stopping for a single day," Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told a government meeting.

EU officials had hoped to sign the so-called Association Agreement with Kiev at a two-day summit that starts on Thursday in Vilnius.

But the Ukrainian government broke off negotiations citing concerns that its signing of the deal would harm trade and economic relations with its giant neighbour Russia.

Azarov's comments at the cabinet meeting came as hundreds of protesters rallied outside the government building for the fourth day running demanding the deal's signature in Vilnius.

The agreement serves as Kiev's first step toward eventual membership in the 28-nation bloc and pulls the ex-Soviet country out of Russia's orbit for the first time.

Azarov said "there will be no split in our society because we are not going to change our course in favour of European integration."AFP

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