Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko plans new government for swift reform

Ukraine's leader yesterday said he aimed to form a government within days so reforms in the former Soviet state did not lose momentum. Mr Yushchenko met representatives of 11 of parliament's 13 political factions, proposing a "stability pact" and inviting them to put forward candidates for the new cabinet.

The meeting excluded the Communists and Social Democrats but included the Regions party, led by Viktor Yanukovich, Mr Yushchenko's rival in last year's presidential elections.

Yuri Yekhanurov, acting prime minister, yesterday declared an end to Ukraine's campaign to reverse privatisations, although he said there could still be "negotiations". "I think there will be peace agreements," said Mr Yekhanurov, who took over on Thursday after Mr Yushchenko sacked the cabinet of Yulia Tymoshenko, a populist who had led the drive to reverse privatisations. "There will not be reprivatisation."

Mr Yekhanurov said an auction planned next month of the steel mill Kryvorizhstal, which was renationalised in June, would go ahead. He said a majority stake in the Nikopol Ferroalloy plant would also be returned to state ownership in line with a Supreme Court ruling yesterday, but he would avoid the "hurry" that led to last week's armed stand-off at the plant.

Mr Yekhanurov said he was close to agreeing on new management for the plant with Viktor Pinchuk, son-in-law of the former president, Leonid Kuchma, who currently owns the majority stake in Nikopol Ferroalloy, and a rival business group which owns a minority stake,reported Financial Times.

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