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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Ukraine allies 'agree coalition'
Yulia Tymoshenko addresses the Ukrainian parliament
Ms Tymoshenko tells MPs they saved Ukraine's future
The three pro-Western political parties behind Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution say they have agreed to form a coalition after months of deadlock.

A spokesman for President Viktor Yushchenko's party told parliament a deal was reached with the Socialists and ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko's party.

The three parties have been trying to form a coalition since March elections.

The deal will not be certain until it is signed, says the BBC correspondent in the capital, Kiev.

The very creation of the coalition defines Ukraine's course for many years ahead and will move Ukraine into the European community
Yulia Tymoshenko
"Yesterday the three political forces finished work on a coalition agreement. Today we are preparing it for signing," said Roman Bezsmertny, the lead negotiator for President Yushchenko's Our Ukraine (NU) party.

The main stumbling block has been the distribution of posts such as prime minister and speaker of parliament.

Ms Tymoshenko, who was sacked as prime minister last year, is widely expected to get her old job back.

"We won democracy for Ukraine," she told MPs on Wednesday. "The very creation of the coalition defines Ukraine's course for many years ahead and will move Ukraine into the European community."

Provided there are no more setbacks, it is expected that the deal will be signed on Friday.

The NU emerged as the second strongest "Orange" party after the election - behind the Tymoshenko bloc but ahead of the Socialists.

The former allies have struggled to overcome deep hostility, our correspondent says.

Negotiations have proved so difficult that the president's party has also been holding discussions with the pro-Russian opposition, led by Viktor Yanukovych, who was Mr Yushchenko's rival during the Orange Revolution.

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