The government of Ukraine does not rule out discussing snap elections with the opposition, a high-ranking official said ahead of a meeting of top European diplomats in Kiev Thursday. "We have to hold negotiations," said First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Arbuzov when asked by Ukrainian Channel 5 late Wednesday if he considers snap parliamentary and presidential elections a solution to the ongoing standoff by pro-EU demonstrators across the country. "Then, when there are official proposals, (we have to) discuss them," he said. Arbuzov, 37, is seen as a key member of the so-called "Family" of close allies around President Viktor Yanukovych who have a strong influence on his decision-making. The comments came after nearly two weeks of protests in Ukraine against the decision by the government not to sign a key political and trade agreement with the EU. On Thursday, European diplomats were set to hold a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the Ukrainian capital. Yanukovych meanwhile is absent on a state visit to China.