Ukraine`s government, long at odds over economic policy with the country`s president, has postponed a privatisation auction planned for Tuesday of the Odessa Port chemical plant, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Monday, according to Reuters.

"In order to protect people, we have agreed that all privatisation events scheduled for tomorrow are being postponed," Tymoshenko told a news conference after an extraordinary cabinet meeting.

President Viktor Yushchenko has on three occasions barred the selloff of the plant near the Black Sea port of Odessa, saying the site is of strategic importance. The latest such move was contained in a decree issued last week.