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Ukraine's pro-EU protesters must be listened to

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday underlined her support for Ukraine's pro-European protesters, saying their demands must be heard.

In a speech to Germany's parliament, Merkel hailed the "courageous demonstrations" against the Ukrainian government.

"They are fighting for the same values that guide the European Union and that is why they must be listened to," she said.

She said "pressure" created by the opposition rallies had already borne fruit in the talks with President Viktor Yanukovych about "necessary political reforms".

"We support, with all the means at our disposal, efforts for a peaceful solution of the conflict and the justified demands of the opposition."

Merkel praised mediation work by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who was expected to hold talks on the crisis in Kiev on Wednesday, shadowed by a warning to the West by Russian President Vladimir Putin not to meddle in Ukraine's internal affairs.

A day after scrapping anti-protest laws passed January 16 that had ignited the current spike in tensions, Ukraine's parliament on Wednesday held a new extraordinary session to debate an amnesty for jailed activists -- another key demand of the protesters after they secured the resignation of the prime minister and his entire government.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140129/ukraines-pro-eu-protesters-must-be-listened-1