UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PRAISES CABINET FOR ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE... Leonid Kuchma on 19 September said he is happy with the economic performance of Viktor Yushchenko's cabinet, Interfax reported. "We should look at the government's activity through statistics, which are positive," Kuchma said, noting that Ukraine's GDP is expected to rise from 3- 3.5 percent after a decade of economic slump. Kuchma added that industrial output grew 11 percent from last year and that a 0.2 percent growth was also registered in the agricultural sector. "Considering the situation of the economy, we should be pleased with these achievements," he said. JM

...BUT CHIDES GOVERNMENT FOR ENERGY PROBLEMS. However, the president criticized the cabinet for failing to resolve the problems in the fuel and energy sector. Kuchma recalled that Ukraine has not concluded an agreement on gas deliveries from its main supplier, Russia. Kuchma also slammed Deputy Premier Yuriya Tymoshenko for the protocol she signed on Turkmen gas deliveries in July during her trip to Turkmenistan. Kuchma said it was inadmissible for Tymoshenko to have signed the protocol and subsequently made known its terms when "Russia is forced to buy gas from Turkmenistan." "The East is a subtle thing, and it would be better if men, not women, traveled there," Kuchma added. JM

WORLD BANK PRESENTS NEW LOAN STRATEGY FOR UKRAINE. World Bank official Dusan Vujovich has presented a three-year aid strategy for Ukraine that the bank adopted earlier this month, Interfax reported. Kyiv may obtain $1.8 billion in credits from 2001-2003 if the government enhances transparency in private property rights, improves the protection of those rights, introduces discipline in the financial sector, upgrades social services and government regulations, and improves the monitoring of business activities. Vujovich said Ukraine will receive only $461 million if the bank deems the government's performance to be poor. "The real aid level will depend now upon tangible results of the implementation of the Ukrainian government's reform program," the agency quoted Luca Barbone, the bank's representative for Ukraine and Belarus, as saying. JM

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT MEETS NEW COUNCIL OF EUROPE RAPPORTEUR. Lucinschi also met with Ernst Muehlmann, the new European Council rapporteur for Moldova, on 19 September. The president told Muehlmann that unlike other conflicts in Europe, the Transdniester dispute is a "purely political one and its solution is entirely dependent on the will of Russia and Ukraine." He also said Moldova cannot accept a solution based on the country's federalization, which, he said, would only end in "exacerbating existing differences between the different ethnic groups" in the country. MS

Ukraine____________2_______3_______3_______8 Bulgaria___________3_______1_______1_______5 Slovakia___________1_______3_______1_______5 Romania____________2_______1_______1_______4 Czech Rep._________1_______0_______3_______4 Belarus____________0_______1_______3_______4 Hungary____________1_______1_______0_______2 Poland_____________1_______1_______0_______2 Croatia____________1_______0_______0_______1 Lithuania__________1_______0_______0_______1 Yugoslavia_________0_______1_______0_______1 Estonia____________0_______0_______1_______1 Latvia_____________0_______0_______1_______1 Albania____________0_______0_______0_______0 Bosnia-Herzeg._____0_______0_______0_______0 Macedonia__________0_______0_______0_______0 Moldova____________0_______0_______0_______0 Slovenia___________0_______0_______0_______0