UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES GOVERNMENT PROGRAM. The parliament voted on 6 April by 261 to 103 to approve Premier Viktor Yushchenko's ambitious program for 2000-2004, AP reported. The program foresees GDP growth of up to 2 percent in 2000 and up to 6.5 percent annually from 2002-2004. It also provides for the creation of 1 million new jobs, a decrease in annual inflation from the 19 percent expected in 2000 to 7 percent from 2002-2004, and growth in the population's real income of up to 9 percent in 2004. "Today we are not talking of the program's faults or virtues but of voicing political support for the cabinet," Yushchenko told the parliament before the vote. JM

U.S. URGES REFORM IN UKRAINE... U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs Alan Larson said on 5 April that relations with Ukraine are a priority in U.S. foreign policy, while noting that Washington wants Kyiv to speed up market reforms, Reuters reported. Larson said the U.S. expects Premier Yushchenko's government to press ahead with cash privatization, including sell-offs of electricity distribution companies. Larson welcomed Ukraine's commitment to promote land reform, which, he said, would eventually provide for the free purchase and sale of land. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will visit Ukraine on 20-21 April. JM

...AS DOES WORLD BANK. Luca Barbone, the World Bank's director for Ukraine and Belarus, said in Kyiv on 5 April that the bank will change its strategy in Ukraine and demand reform before granting loans. "We strongly support the efforts of Yushchenko's government in many areas, but our level of financial support will depend on the successful implementation of the government program," the "Eastern Economist Daily" quoted Barbone as saying. Barbone noted that the bank will look for signs of the program's success in improvements of the population's living standards and the development of business activities. Part of the World Bank's new strategy will be to increase its presence in education, health, and social assistance. JM