IMF WANTS UKRAINE TO DO 'A LOT' BEFORE RESUMING LOANS. IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer told journalists on 15 September that Ukraine has to do "a lot of work" before the fund will resume its $2.6 billion loan program, AP reported. Meanwhile, Julian Berengaut, head of an IMF mission currently visiting Kyiv, said the loan program can begin again only if Ukraine draws up its 2001 budget, intensifies privatization efforts, and maintains a "healthy" banking system. At the same time, he praised many improvements, including those in the energy and agricultural sectors, as well as overall economic stability and strong economic growth, which he predicted would reach some 3 percent by year's end. The IMF officials' comments seem to be bad news for the Ukrainian government: while meeting foreign financial obligations (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 September 2000), Kyiv has recently failed to pay some 80 million hryvni ($14.7 million) on domestic Tbills. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ATTENDS UKRAINE-EU SUMMIT. Leonid Kuchma held talks with French President Jacques Chirac, EU Commission Chairman Romano Prodi, and other EU officials at a 15 September EU-Ukraine summit in Paris. Kuchma repeated Kyiv's pledge to close the Chornobyl nuclear power plant by 15 December, while Chirac reaffirmed that the EU is prepared to contribute 430 million euros ($369.8 million) to help finance the shutdown. Kuchma commented after the summit that he also won EU support for Ukraine's efforts to join the World Trade Organization next year. JM

CHURCH ASKS CONSTANTINOPLE PATIARCH TO HELP UNITE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOXY. Last week's synod of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) asked Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew I "to take the lead in the process of consultations among the world's Ukrainian Orthodox community toward unifying [Ukrainian Orthodoxy] into a single local Church with the prospect of granting autocephaly [to it]," Interfax reported on 15 September. The UAOC expressed its readiness to enter into a dialogue with the two other Orthodox Churches in Ukraine--one subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate and the other to the Kyiv Patriarchate--on the possible unification. "If there is a [single autocephalous] Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Ukraine will leave Moscow's political orbit. If there is no such Church, what can be said about Ukraine's independence?" the UAOC's newly elected head, Metropolitan Mytrofan, commented. JM

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