UKRAINIANS SAID TO BACK DEATH PENALTY. Ukrainian parliamentary chairman Oleksandr Moroz told Interfax on 23 September that "Ukrainian society is not ready for the legislative repeal of the death penalty." When Ukraine joined the Council of Europe in 1995, Kyiv committed itself to abolishing the death penalty, but the parliament has been unwilling to pass the necessary legislation. As a result, President Leonid Kuchma is likely to be subjected to close questioning on the issue when he attends the Council of Europe summit in Strasbourg on 10-11 October.
UKRAINE WANTS TO HOST 1999 BALTIC-BLACK SEA SUMMIT. Ukrainian President Kuchma told the UN General Assembly on 23 September that his country wants to promote good relations with all its neighbors, ITAR-TASS reported. To that end, Kuchma said, Kyiv now seeks to hold a summit of countries in the Baltic-Black Sea region in 1999. That meeting would be a follow-up to the summit earlier this month in Vilnius. As he had promised before leaving Kyiv, the Ukrainian president called for East European representation on the UN Security Council (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 September 1997).
UKRAINE TO HELP IRAN SET UP AIRCRAFT INDUSTRY. An unnamed Ukrainian aircraft industry official told ITAR-TASS on 23 September that the Ukrainian Antonov Aviation Research Complex has won a bid to build 100 An-140 planes over the next eight years. The Ukrainian firm will transfer technologies to Iran to enable that country to manufacture planes on its own in the future. Initially, The planes, which can be used for both civilian and military purposes, will be built in Iran with parts produced in Ukraine. In addition, Tehran has purchased 10 An-74T-200 military transport aircraft for its ground forces.
UKRAINE WANTS TO SUPPLY TURKISH ARMY. The Ukrainian arms trading company Ukrspetseksport is displaying firearms and its latest T-80UD tank at the international arms exhibition in Ankara, Interfax reported. Ukraine is one of several participants in a tender to provide military equipment for the Turkish army. Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Sezgin told Reuters on 22 September that his country allocates $2.5 billion annually to the modernization of its armed forces.
CROATIA APPROVES TRANSIT OF TANKS FOR BOSNIA. The Croatian government on 23 September granted approval for a Ukrainian cargo ship to dock at Ploce and unload ten T-55 tanks, a gift from Egypt to the Bosnian Federation Army, RFE/RL's South Slavic service reported. Zagreb had blocked the shipment since early August arguing that documentation was lacking. Meanwhile, Croatian Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa said in Zagreb on 23 September during a visit by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel that Croatia and Turkey intend to open talks shortly on forming a free trade zone.