LUZHKOV SAYS NOT PLANING TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said in Almaty on 20 August that he will not run for the Russian presidency and asked journalists, "Why are you in such a hurry?", RFE/RL's correspondent in the Kazakh capital reported. The next presidential election is scheduled for 2000. Meanwhile, Luzhkov has ordered that scholarships be provided to 50 needy students at Russian-language institutions of higher education in Latvia, Ekho Moskvy reported on 20 August. The move is in keeping with Luzhkov's frequent appeals for protecting Russian interests abroad. He supports reunification with Belarus and has repeatedly claimed that the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol is a Russian city. Many analysts believe Luzhkov hopes to secure the support of the patriotic wing of the Russian electorate for a future presidential bid.
UKRAINE SUPPORTS U.S. PROPOSALS FOR UN REFORM. In a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson in Kyiv on 20 August, Ukrainian Prime Minister Valery Pustovoitenko and Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko supported U.S. plans to reform the UN, UNIAN reported. Richardson is on a 10-day trip to the Far East, Central Asia, and Europe to promote the U.S.'s reform proposals for the UN, including expansion of the Security Council to include Japan and Germany and lowering U.S. financial support to the world body. Udovenko said the U.S. and Ukraine have the same positions on the issue. Ukraine's support is significant because Udovenko is slated to be elected president of the 52nd session of the UN General Assembly in September. Later on 20 August, Richardson met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Bulgak in Moscow. ITAR-TASS reported that their talks focused on cooperation between Moscow and Washington in reforming the UN.
TECHNICAL FAULT AT HUNGARIAN NUCLEAR PLANT. A technical fault on 20 August caused the shutdown of one of the four units at the Paks nuclear plant, some 100 kilometers south of Budapest. A spokesman for the plant said the fault was a "technical glitch" only. The unit generates some 20 percent of Hungary's electricity and will probably be off-line for several days. Although the reactor is Sovietdesigned, it is not of the same type as the ill-fated Chornobyl plant in Ukraine.