UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ACCUSES PRESIDENT OF DICTATORSHIP. The parliament on 23 September approved a statement accusing President Leonid Kuchma of creating a dictatorship in the country ahead of the 31 October presidential elections, AP and ITAR-TASS reported. The parliament claims that the authorities are helping the incumbent president to secure his re-election, saying that the government is virtually neglecting its functions and has transformed itself into Kuchma's "campaign headquarters." JM

JOINT ROMANIAN-MOLDOVAN PEACEKEEPING BATTALION DISCUSSED. Romanian Defense Minister Victor Babiuc and his Moldovan counterpart, Boris Gamurar, discussed the creation of a joint peacekeeping battalion during a 23 September meeting in Chisinau, according to a Rompres report cited by the BBC. Babiuc said Romania is ready for the creation of such a battalion. Moldpres reported that the two sides also talked about the possibility of creating a larger battalion involving Polish and Ukrainian troops as well. Gamurar stressed that Romania has agreed to allow Moldovan military personnel to undergo training in Romania, Rompres reported. VG