UKRAINE SIGNS MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH TURKEY. During Turkish President Suleyman Demirel's official threeday visit to Ukraine, Kyiv and Ankara signed a military cooperation agreement, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 May. Demirel said he sees "great prospects" for bilateral cooperation in the military sphere. His Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, declined to comment on details of the agreement, saying that "details will be tackled by the military." Meanwhile, the 22 May "Turkish Daily News" reported that Ukraine "is on tenterhooks" to sell T-84 tanks to Turkey, which, the newspaper said, is "in the market for 1,000 battle tanks." Demirel announced in Kyiv that Turkey is going to spend $150 billion on armaments over the next 30 years. JM

PUSTOVOYTENKO SAYS COAL MINERS STRIKES POLITICALLY MOTIVATED. Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko has said the recent strikes in the coal mining sector are organized by political forces interested in destabilizing and ousting the government, Ukrainian Television reported on 21 May. Pustovoytenko added that his opinion is based on reports by the Interior Ministry and the Security Service. "Today, the Hromada faction is collecting signatures to seek the government's resignation," Ukrainian Television quoted Pustovoytenko as saying. JM

FOUR CAUCUSES APPEAL FOR COMPROMISE IN ELECTING SPEAKER. Four parliamentary groups have appealed for a compromise on the election of a speaker and new parliamentary leadership, Ukrainian Television reported on 21 May. The Popular Democratic Party, the Popular Rukh, the Social Democrats, and the Greens have proposed forming the parliamentary leadership on the basis of equal participation of all political forces represented in the legislature. The groups believe that the speaker should be elected from among centrist politicians who are not interested in seeking the presidency in the 1999 presidential elections. Observers say that since no party or bloc has an absolute majority and 13 candidates have been proposed for the post of speaker, there may be a stalemate within the Supreme Council if no compromise is reached on its speaker. JM

WORLD BANK LENDS KYIV $200 MILLION TO IMPROVE HEATING SYSTEM. The World Bank has approved a $200 million loan to Ukraine to modernize and improve the central heating system in Kyiv. But the loan will be on hold until Ukraine makes more progress in economic reform, Reuters reported. In March, the World Bank delayed releasing $600 million in loans to support business and strengthen the banking sector because of the slow pace of microeconomic reform. World Bank representative for Ukraine Paul Siegelbaum told Reuters that the current loan is "investment lending" to the project, which, he said, will pay for itself "in three or four years" due to an increased efficiency in heat delivery. JM