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Seeking broker role in Ukraine, Germany lauds 'encouraging' end to occupation in Ukraine

Germany says the release of jailed protesters in Ukraine and the end to the occupation of Kiev's City Hall are an "encouraging" sign that the government and opposition can find common ground.

Berlin has played a prominent role in trying to broker negotiations between Ukrainian opposition leaders and President Viktor Yanukovych in recent months.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer says it's now up to the Ukrainian authorities to abide by an agreement to drop the prosecution of protesters.

His comments Monday came hours before Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to meet with Ukrainian opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko in Berlin.

Last week German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier traveled to Russia, seeking support for a peaceful resolution to the unrest in Moscow's western neighbor.