Monday May 19, 1997

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN U.S. . U.S. President Bill Clinton, speaking before his meeting with Leonid Kuchma in the White House on 17 May, reiterated his belief that a successful, democratic Europe requires a successful, democratic, and progressive Ukraine, RFE/RL's Washington correspondent reported. Earlier, Kuchma and U.S. Vice President Al Gore co-chaired the first session of the U.S.-Ukraine Bi-national Commission. The two leaders told a press conference afterward that Ukraine and the U.S. have agreed to begin negotiating an agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation. Kuchma also told reporters he hopes Ukraine's charter agreement with NATO will be ready for initialing by 30 May. Meanwhile, the U.S. space agency NASA announced on 17 May that a Ukrainian cosmonaut, Col. Leonid Kadenyuk, is scheduled to be aboard the space shuttle Columbia when it lifts off in November.

TATARS DEMONSTRATE IN CRIMEAN CAPITAL. .Some 10,000 ethnic Tatars demonstrated yesterday in Simferopol to mark the 53rd anniversary of the mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars, dpa reported. The demonstrators gathered in Lenin Square to demand assistance for the 250,000 Crimean Tatars who have returned to Crimea in the past five years. The Tatars were deported to Soviet Central Asia in 1944 under communist leader Joseph Stalin for alleged cooperation with the German occupation forces during World War II. The demonstrators said some 100,000 returnees still have no flats, and tens of thousands of them are unable to find jobs.

Tuesday May 20, 1997

YELTSIN ON UKRAINE, BELARUS... . Ukraine's interests were taken into full account during talks between Russia and NATO about the accord on future relations, Yeltsin said in a letter to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma yesterday. A spokesman for Kuchma told journalists in Kyiv that Yeltsin wrote the NATO-Russia deal will strengthen stability in Europe and "positively affect the general political climate in Europe". Yeltsin is expected to visit Ukraine on 30-31 May to sign a Russian-Ukrainian basic treaty. Meanwhile, Yeltsin yesterday urged the speakers of the lower and upper houses of the Russian parliament to work for the simultaneous ratification of a union treaty and a charter agreement between Russia and Belarus. ITAR- TASS quoted Yeltsin as saying that three issues connected with the charter remain "unresolved." Yeltsin said he intends to resolve those issues in talks with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Moscow on 22 May.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT, PARLIAMENT . Leonid Kuchma yesterday accused the parliament of deliberately delaying the passage of the long-delayed 1997 budget and of stalling reforms in the hope of "reaping the harvest" of voter discontent in next year's elections, Interfax reported. He said lawmakers were showing "sharpened opposition" to the president's reforms. Kuchma also criticized Pavlo Lazarenko's government, saying it had taken a "subservient position" on the budget issue by offering the parliament the opportunity to pass a budget based on an incomplete package of tax reforms.

Wednesday May 21, 1997

POLISH PRESIDENT IN UKRAINE TO SIGN RECONCILIATION PACT . Alexander Kwasniewski and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma are to sign a declaration of reconciliation in Kyiv today, Ukrainian and Polish media report. The declaration is designed to help overcome three centuries of rivalry and hostilities, including the killing of tens of thousands of Poles by pro- Nazi Ukrainian nationalists in 1943 and communist Poland's mass expulsion of ethnic Ukrainians in 1947. Kwasniewski told reporters yesterday that "we want to broaden the opportunities for young Poles and Ukrainians...but we also want these relations to have an effect on the region and Europe as a whole." He said he hopes a cooperation agreement between NATO and Ukraine will be signed soon, adding that NATO enlargement will have a positive effect on European security. Today, Kwasniewski addressed the Urkainian parliament.

EU APPROVES ASSISTANCE TO UKRAINE, KYRGYZSTAN. The European Commission announced yesterday its approval of technical assistance programs for Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan this year within the framework of the TACIS program, RFE/RL's Brussels correspondent reported. The goal of the TACIS program is to support and accelerate the transition to a market economy. The assistance programs will be in the form of non-repayable grants, amounting to some $30 million for Ukraine and about $8 million for Kyrgyzstan. The program for Ukraine is focused on support for economic reform and developing the private sector.

Thursday May 22, 1997

UKRAINIAN, POLISH PRESIDENTS MEET IN KYIV . Leonid Kuchma and his Polish counterpart, Alexander Kwasniewski, signed on 21 May a declaration of reconciliation, which is aimed at helping overcome the centuries-long animosity between the two countries. Kuchma said after the signing that the moment had arrived to draw a line beneath the two countries' difficult past, while Kwasniewski noted that conclusions should be drawn from history to ensure its negative aspects are never repeated. The two presidents also spoke out against isolating their neighbor, Belarus, which has been criticized in the West over its human rights record.

ROMANIA, UKRAINE TO SIGN TREATY NEXT MONTH . The basic treaty initialed between the Romanian and Ukrainian foreign ministers on 3 May (see RFE/RL Newsline, 5 May 1997) will be signed by the two country's presidents, Emil Constantinescu and Leonid Kuchma, on 2 June in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta. The announcement was made by President Kuchma in Kyiv and was confirmed by the Romanian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. On the same occasion, the signatories will exchange letters detailing the agreed solutions to problems not mentioned in the treaty. Among these are the non-deployment of offensive weapons by Ukraine on the Black Sea Serpents Island, navigation on the Chilia branch of the Danube River delta and the delimitation of the continental shelf around Serpents Island. In the treaty itself, the two countries recognize present frontiers as inviolable and grant extensive rights to each other's national minorities.

Friday May 23, 1997

PROGRESS IN RUSSIA-UKRAINE FLEET TALKS . Volodymyr Horbulin, secretary of Ukraine's Security and Defense Council, said on 22 May that progress has been made in talks with Russia over the Black Sea Fleet, Reuters reported. But he noted that some people in Russia are trying to stop the fleet deal, which is scheduled to be signed next week. Horbulin said he had a "bad feeling" about Russian President Boris Yeltsin's planned visit to Kyiv on 30 and 31 May, which has been canceled six times. "A very active campaign has begun in Russian circles...aimed at breaking off President Yeltsin's visit," Horbulin commented. Interfax on 22 May quoted Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii as saying the visit would take place as planned but that it was unclear what documents would be ready for signing.

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER FILES SUIT AGAINST PREMIER . ITAR-TASS reported on 23 May that Olexander Moroz has filed suit against Pavel Lazarenko for retaining his parliamentary mandate while serving as premier. Some 41 deputies had urged Moroz to take legal action following a ruling last week by the Constitutional Court that allowed Lazarenko to hold onto his parliamentary mandate. The court ruled that parliamentary deputies cannot hold government positions but permitted lawmakers who were elected before June 1995 and held state office continuously since before that date to keep both jobs. According to Interfax, Moroz said the clause does not apply to Lazarenko because he was not appointed to a government position until July 1995, one month after the cutoff date. The largely anti-reform parliament has been battling with Lazarenko's government over tax and economic reforms.

CHORNOBYL REACTOR BACK ON LINE . Valeri Idelson, a spokesman for the nuclear power station in Chornobyl, told journalists on 22 May that the only reactor still functioning is back on line after a breakdown. Idelson said the reactor was shut down owing to a still unexplained problem with an electrical transformer. But no increase in radiation levels around the reactor has been reported. Chornobyl's fourth reactor exploded 11 years ago, causing the worst-ever civil nuclear catastrophe.

ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTY ORGANIZES DEMONSTRATION AGAINST TREATY WITH UKRAINE . The extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM) and several other associations staged a demonstration in Bucharest on 22 May against the forthcoming signing of the basic treaty between Ukraine and Romania. PRM leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor said the government's decision to conclude a treaty that recognizes Ukrainian sovereignty over northern Bukovina, southern Bessarabia, and the Herta territory (incorporated into the former Soviet Union in 1940) is an act of "national treason." He added that the government had no right to sign the treaty without first submitting it to a national referendum. The demonstrators carried maps showing the old borders of the country.

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