BELARUS, MOLDOVA TO BOOST BILATERAL TRADE. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his Moldovan counterpart, Petru Lucinschi, met in Minsk on 29 June to discuss how to improve bilateral trade, Belarusian Television reported. They signed 12 documents on cooperation. Lukashenka said he and Lucinschi will soon meet with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to resolve the problem of transit via Ukraine. "It is necessary to open a corridor from Moldova to Belarus across Ukraine in order to provide an outlet for those goods that we have always bought from you," Lukashenka told Luchinschi. JM

UKRAINE'S CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CENSURED FOR VERDICT ON REFERENDUM DRAFT BILL. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko said on 29 June that the Constitutional Court "was exploited with the only purpose of giving a blessing to [President Leonid] Kuchma's draft and excluding the alternative bill" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 June 2000), Interfax reported. Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz said he is "surprised" that the Constitutional Court ruled only on the presidential draft, while keeping silent about the lawmakers' proposal on how to amend the constitution in line with the 16 April referendum. "[The court] wants to push the presidential bill through the Supreme Council before the parliamentary summer recess," Moroz added. Constitutional Court Judge Mykola Kozyubra said the court will rule on the lawmakers' draft by 15 June. "It is impossible to reconcile these two draft bills,...there is a number of differences in them," Kozyubra added. JM

SWITZERLAND CONVICTS UKRAINIAN EX-PREMIER FOR MONEYLAUNDERING. The Geneva Police Court on 29 June sentenced Pavlo Lazarenko to an 18-month suspended prison term for money-laundering and confiscated $6.6 million from his Swiss bank accounts, Reuters reported. Prosecutors earlier told the court that Lazarenko is believed to have embezzled a total of $880 million in Ukraine, with more than $170 million passing through Switzerland. However, they said they were unable to bring charges relating to other offenses for lack of resources and because the case is close to the statute of limitations. Lazarenko is currently in jail in San Francisco, facing U.S. charges of laundering $114 million that he allegedly demanded for doing business in Ukraine when he was prime minister in 1996-97. JM