Ukraine FM: No troops allowed for a Crimea vote

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PARIS (AP) — Ukraine's foreign minister says pro-Russian citizens in the nation's strategic Crimea region must be willing to replace armed forces with international observers if the new government allows a vote for more autonomy.

In an exclusive Associated Press interview Wednesday, the minister (Andriy Deshchytsia), also said he had temporarily canceled his plans to fly home from Paris on the chance that he might meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf).

The Ukraine foreign minister's message appeared part of a new appeal by Kiev to soothe demands in Crimea for independence. Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (ahr-SEHN'-ee yaht-sehn-YOOK') announced the offer just hours earlier in a separate AP interview.

The foreign minister said the only way the deal could work is without violence or the presence of armed troops. He said international observers would have to monitor the vote.

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