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Hong Kong leader says ready for talks with student protesters

October 16, 2014, 16:53 UTC+3 BEIJING
This announcement suggests a thaw in the stand-off between Hong Kong’s government and the student protesters started in late September
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© AP Photo/Vincent Yu

BEIJING, October 16. /TASS/. Authorities in Hong Kong said on Thursday they were ready to start talks with student protesters next week, suggesting a breakthrough in a political crisis that has seen activists taking over the city's major parts for almost three weeks.

Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying told a news conference that in the past few days, the government had been negotiating through middlemen with the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the organizers behind the protests.

Negotiations with representatives of the organizing group Occupy Central With Love and Peace could begin as early as next week, he said, adding that the two sides would discuss ways to restore order in the region and start a second public consultation on political reform.

Leung’s announcement suggests a thaw in the stand-off between Hong Kong’s government and the student protesters started in late September. Last week, the government called off planned talks with the protesters after they called on supporters to come back to the streets.

Activists of the Occupy Central movement are demanding reforms on how Beijing vets Hong Kong candidates for elections in 2017 as well as the resignation of Leung, the current leader.

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