NEW GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS IN UKRAINE. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 21 August signed a decree appointing Susan Stanik justice minister, UNIAN reported. She was previously family and youth minister, a post that Valentina Dovzhenko, until now deputy head of the Kyiv Oblast administration, will fill. Under another presidential decree, Vasyl Durdynets, the head of the Presidential Anti-corruption Coordination Committee and Investigation Bureau Director, was given the rank of general of the Interior Ministry. A new information minister has yet to be appointed to complete the cabinet lineup. The new government will be presented formally to the president on 22 August.
WORLD CONGRESS OF UKRAINIANS KICKS OFF IN KYIV. Some 2,000 ethnic Ukrainians from 46 countries gathered in Kyiv on 21 August for the Second World Congress of Ukrainians. In his opening address, President Kuchma called on the Ukrainian diaspora to exercise influence on their governments to contribute to Ukraine's economic recovery. ITAR-TASS reported that the participants are to discuss the survival of Ukrainian ethnicity and preservation of the Ukrainian culture. The congress will also discuss the political and economic consequences of Ukraine's six-year statehood.
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON PARLEYS WITH TRANSDNIESTER. Petru Lucinschi, in an interview with the Ukrainian newspaper "Nezavissimosti" on 21 August, says that granting the Transdniester region a "special status" is not a "concession" on Moldova's part, since it reflects the region's "peculiarities, and one must be naive not to take them into account." Lucinschi also said separatist leader Igor Smirnov is unable to understand that Russia and Ukraine have commitments not only to the breakaway region but also to the international community. "Both Russia and Ukraine recognize the Transdniester as part of Moldova and there is no way they could recognize Transdniester's independence," Lucinschi said. He added that "nobody is trying to change those rules," BASA-press reported.