KUCHMA WANTS 'UNENGAGED POLITICIAN' AS SPEAKER... Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said on 15 April he wants to see an "unengaged politician" as new parliamentary speaker, ITARTASS reported. In such a case, "the parliament will do its job instead of engaging in political intrigues," Kuchma asserted. He declined to give any names, but his spokesman said Kuchma is opposed to the old parliament leadership, thus hinting that the president is against Oleksandr Moroz's re-election. JM

...IS CONFIDENT ABOUT NEW IMF LOAN. Also on 15 April, Kuchma expressed confidence that the IMF will grant Ukraine a new loan to help promote structural reforms. An IMF mission currently in Kyiv is discussing a three-year loan worth some $2.5 billion. Earlier this year, the fund suspended installments of a stand-by loan. JM

POLAND, HUNGARY TO JOINTLY SEEK EUROPEAN INTEGRATION. Aleksander Kwasniewski and Arpad Goncz, presidents of Poland and Hungary, said on 15 April in Warsaw that their countries are forming an alliance to seek entry to the EU and NATO, Reuters and Hungarian sources reported. Goncz stressed that Poland and Hungary are not rivals but partners on the road to European structures. Kwasniewski pointed out that both countries play the role of advocates in the integration process, with Budapest supporting Slovenia and Romania at international forums and Warsaw representing the interests of Ukraine and the Baltic States. JM