UKRAINIAN PREMIER UPBEAT ON IMF LOAN RESUMPTION. Viktor Yushchenko on 17 March said he still hopes for new loans from the IMF, despite a statement by the fund last week saying that Ukraine misled the IMF in 1996-98. "We can look at the resumption of IMF credits for Ukraine with optimism," Yushchenko told journalists, adding that "we have an answer for renewal of the IMF program," AP reported. Meanwhile, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has said an IMF mission will visit Kyiv in early April to discuss the resumption of loans. Interfax quoted U.S. Ambassador to Kyiv Steven Pifer as saying that Yushchenko's visit to Washington may take place in April. The visit, planned for this month, was canceled by Washington after the IMF accused Ukraine of misusing IMF loans. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT 'NEGATIVE' TOWARD CABINET'S ACTION PROGRAM. The parliament's first reaction to the government's plan of action for 2000-2004 is "negative," the "Eastern Economist Daily" reported on 20 March. Oleksandr Volkov, deputy head of the Revival of Regions caucus, said the document suggests the "dilettante attitude of schoolchildren toward serious problems" rather than a plan of action. According to the agency, the program is also "traditionally" opposed by all leftist caucuses in the parliament, while Fatherland is the only caucus supporting it without reservation. According to Social Democratic Party (United) deputy Viktor Suslov, Yushchenko, in his capacity as premier, has already fulfilled his main task of rescheduling Ukraine's foreign debt repayment and is no longer "useful" to the president. JM