BEIJING: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Friday welcomed the deal in Ukraine as an "exit from the crisis", saying the negotiations that led to it took place in a "terrifying atmosphere".
"It's the best that we could have hoped for," Fabius told reporters on a visit to Beijing, having left Kiev to travel to China.
"It's the exit from the crisis. In any case everything is set up for that. It was very hard to reach agreement, because it needed hours and hours of negotiations: more than 10 hours with President Yanukovych, about the same with the representatives of the opposition, and in a terrifying atmosphere as there were dozens of dead," he added.
"I'm not sure you would choose to go on holiday with President Yanukovych," Fabius said, adding the Ukrainian leader was "used to power, he doesn't share it", and the government in Kiev was known to be corrupt.
For its part the opposition "always wanted more", he said, while the demonstrators on Independence Square wanted Yanukovych to step down.
"Sometimes the talks were interrupted because there was a phone call. And it was Joe Biden from the US, or X or Y."
The deal was signed in the presidential palace in Kiev in the presence of EU envoys by Yanukovych and and three top opposition leaders. It includes a unity government and a promise of early elections.
It was excellent news, Fabius said, adding: "Europe was very useful in dealing with this situation... everyone helped, including the Russians."
But he warned that Ukraine's economic situation remained appalling, and that the agreement still needed to be implemented.