UKRAINE SAYS IT NEEDS MORE THAN $300 MILLION TO SHUT DOWN CHORNOBYL. Environment and Nuclear Safety Minister Yuri Kostenko Ukraine told journalists in Kyiv on 30 June that $300 million pledged by the Group of Seven major industrialized countries to shut down the Chornobyl nuclear power plant is not enough. Kostenko said Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and U.S. Vice President Al Gore will chair a conference of donor nations in the fall to confirm or revise the plan for shutting down the plant. Under a memorandum signed by the G-7 countries and Ukraine, Kyiv is to close the plant by 2000 with sufficient Western support. Kostenko said that Ukraine will need at least $500-600 million to ensure the safety of the plant's destroyed reactor.
CZECH PRESIDENT IN UKRAINE. Vaclav Havel met with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in Kyiv on 30 June to discuss economic cooperation and European security. Havel hailed Ukraine's favorable stance toward NATO expansion and was quoted by Interfax as welcoming the charter Ukraine plans to sign with NATO at the Madrid summit later this month. Kuchma said that the strategic goal of Ukraine is integration into the EU. Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Oleksander Moroz, however, criticized the planned expansion of NATO at his meeting with Havel. He argued such a step is aimed against Ukraine, "Lidove noviny" reported. Havel and Kuchma signed agreements on cooperation in nuclear energy and industry, on avoiding double taxation, and on joint efforts in fighting crime and drug-trafficking.
HUNGARY AWARDS PRIVATE NATIONAL TV LICENSES. The Hungarian Television and Radio Commission has granted national television licenses to two Western-led consortia. One consortium is headed by CLT-Ufa, which has interests in 19 television stations across Europe and in which the German media giant Bertelsmann owns a 50% stake. Most of its stations operate under the banner of RTL. The second consortium is led by the Scandinavian Broadcasting System (SBS), of which the U.S.-based Walt Disney owns 22.8%. The tender is seen as a setback for Central European Media Enterprises (CME), which had hoped to add a Hungarian license to its Central and Eastern European portfolio. That porfolio includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Ukraine, and Poland.