GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER PROPOSES GUAM PEACEKEEPING FORCE. Davit Tevzadze has proposed that Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova form a peacekeeping force to promote regional security and guard the proposed export oil pipeline for Azerbaijan's Caspian oil, Turan reported on 9 December. Tevzadze said experts from all four countries have discussed the possibility of cooperation with NATO to create such a force within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program. Tevzadze said that the proposed force could also interact with the Balkan peacekeeping force set up earlier this year. Tevzadze was speaking in Bucharest, where he signed a bilateral agreement on defense cooperation with his Romanian counterpart, Victor Babiuc, on 8 December. LF

NATO TO STATION LIAISON OFFICERS IN UKRAINE. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk and NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said on 9 December that two NATO liaison officers will be stationed in Kyiv, an RFE/RL correspondent in Brussels reported. The announcement was made after a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO commission. Tarasyuk also said that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma will attend the alliance's summit in April. Tarasyuk said he hoped relations with NATO continue to develop. In Kyiv, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk and his Romanian counterpart, Victor Babiuc, said the two countries will sign a military cooperation treaty next year, AP reported. The agreement will include officer exchanges, the modernization of Romanian tanks and planes, and joint arms exports. Babiuc, who also met with Kuchma, is on a two-day visit to Ukraine. PB

UKRAINE FORMS COMMISSION ON LAZARENKO. The Ukrainian parliament on 9 December announced it will set up a commission to investigate the arrest by Swiss authorities of former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, AP reported. The commission will be headed by deputy speaker Viktor Medvedchuk. The parliament also urged speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko to ask Swiss authorities to resolve the issue quickly. A Geneva court said Lazarenko's case would be heard on 11 December. PB

UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION NEWSPAPER SHUT DOWN. Oleh Lyashko, the editor in chief of the daily "Politika," said he has been informed that a Kyiv court has revoked the newspaper's registration, forcing it to shut down, AP reported. Lyashko said no representatives of the newspaper has been asked to appear in court. He charged that the decision was made because "Politika" recently published a series of articles on alleged corruption within Kuchma's office. Lyashko, however, said "in this case I don't see the hand of the president. I think it's an action by people who wish to arrange for Kuchma to look as if he's strangling the press." "Politika" closed down for several months earlier this year when a criminal case was launched against it by tax officials. PB