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Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK

World: Europe

Ukraine wins Council of Europe reprieve

The Council of Europe has decided to delay proposed moves to suspend Ukraine's membership over its failure to abolish the death penalty.

The process will now start in January, unless there has been what the council's parliamentary assembly called substantial progress.

Ukraine promised to abolish capital punishment within three years when it joined the council in 1995.

But a BBC correspondent at the meeting in Strasbourg says at least one-hundred-and-eighty executions have been carried out since then.

The country has also been criticised for not fulfilling other commitments, which include improved media freedoms and the adoption of new penal and civil codes. The Council of Europe is the continent's oldest human rights body.

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