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GEORGIA NO LONGER AMONG MOST CORRUPT COUNTRIES. Caucasus Press reported on 3 April that Georgia is no longer included in the World Bank's list of the five most corrupt post-Soviet states. Last year, it was No. 3 on that list, but this year, the top five consists of Azerbaijan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, and Latvia, the news agency said. Meanwhile, officials said the new anticorruption council should serve as a recruiting ground for future senior officials, Prime-News reported on 3 April. PG
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT RULES OUT RESIGNATION, TALKS WITH OPPOSITION... Leonid Kuchma on 3 April dismissed any possibility of his resignation or talks with the opposition, which is demanding his ouster, Interfax reported. "I will resign in November 2004 [when his second term ends]," Kuchma told a seminar of regional media representatives in Kyiv. Regarding talks with the opposition, he said: "Do I look so abnormal as to sit at a negotiation table with those insisting on my resignation?" Kuchma confirmed that he has ordered consultations with opposition members, but noted that "nobody knows with whom to hold [those consultations]." JM
...URGES UKRAINIANS TO MOVE BEYOND CRISIS... Kuchma called the political crisis in Ukraine a "well-planned action" and added that the country needs "to move on." Asked about the drop in Ukraine's image abroad due to the audio tape scandal and the purported murder of independent journalist Heorhiy Gongadze, Kuchma said: "There is nothing to comment about, we need to stand up and go on." JM
...AND DOUBTS TYMOSHENKO'S LEADERSHIP ABILITIES. In a telephone interview with RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service later the same day, Kuchma said he does not believe that former Deputy Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, now his staunch opponent, can lead Ukraine. "I rule that out as of now. There is no woman on the Olympus [of Ukrainian politics] who could attract attention with positive ideas, with a constructive position, with her work, with her devotedness to Ukraine, and not with her own interests," Kuchma told RFE/RL. JM