UKRAINIAN PREMIER-DESIGNATE WANTS TO COOPERATE WITH PARLIAMENT. Valery Pustovoitenko, who has been nominated by President Leonid Kuchma as prime minister, told Interfax on 15 July that the future premier must be able to ensure political agreement between the government and parliament. "Without agreement with the parliament, laws cannot be passed and economic problems cannot be solved," Pustovoitenko said. He also said that if he becomes the prime minister, he "will have to organize the drafting of tax laws in a way that will allow us to shape a 1998 budget to the benefit of the people, the state, and the entrepreneurs." Pustovoitenko said the policy of radical economic reform, announced by the president in 1994, will not be changed. The parliament is scheduled to discuss his candidacy on 16 July.
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS BAN ON NATO TRAINING. Lawmakers on 15 July rejected a motion by left-wing factions to ban NATO training on Ukrainian territory later this summer, dpa and ITAR-TASS reported. The motion was proposed by the Communist, Socialist, and Agrarian factions. The Sea Breeze exercises are scheduled at the end of August off Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Some 20 ships and 300 marines from the U.S., Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Romania, and Georgia are expected to take part. The left-wing factions claimed that the exercises, as well as an earlier training exercise this month, were unconstitutional. Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko assured deputies that the exercises did not run counter to the Ukrainian Constitution. He said the fact that Kyiv has not applied to join NATO does not mean it should not cooperate with the alliance.
ALMOST HALF OF UKRAINIANS WANT TO JOIN RUSSIA-BELARUS UNION. A poll conducted by the Kyiv-based Social Monitoring Center in May shows that some 44 percent of Ukrainians support their country's joining the Russian-Belarusian union, Interfax reported on 15 July. The poll was conducted among 2,007 Ukrainian citizens over the age of 15 and representing all regions of the country. Of the respondents, 32 percent said they were against Ukraine joining the Russian-Belarusian union, while 24 percent said they were undecided.
ROMANIAN JUDGES CHALLENGE TREATY WITH UKRAINE. Half of the judges serving on Romania's Supreme Court have challenged the treaty signed with Ukraine in an appeal to the Constitutional Court. RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 15 July that the 17 judges say the treaty violates the country's constitution, which stipulates its territory is "indivisible." A spokesman for the Constitutional Court told Reuters the challenge is likely to be rejected by the court because it was submitted after President Emil Constantinescu promulgated the treaty following ratification by the parliament.
PROTEST AGAINST SLAVIC UNIVERSITY IN MOLDOVA. The Socialist Agrarian faction in the parliament, as well as leaders of the Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Bulgarian national minorities, have criticized the foundation of a private Slavic university in Chisinau (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 14 July 1997). They said the move aims at making university education in the Russian language dependent on students' ability to pay for it. In a message to President Lucinschi, they said he should "use his authority" to persuade Russia to finance the setting up of a state Slavic University in the academic year 1997- 1998. The rector of the private university, Oleg Babenko, told BASApress that the institution has been founded legally by "a group of persons who have nothing to do with political parties or ethnic organizations."