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GUUAM COUNTRIES HOLD SUMMIT IN YALTA. The presidents of the fivecountry alliance known as GUUAM -- Georgia's Eduard Shevardnadze, Ukraine's Leonid Kuchma, Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov, Azerbaijan's Heidar Aliev, and Moldova's Vladimir Voronin -- gathered for GUUAM's summit in Yalta, Crimea, on 7 June, Interfax reported. Opening the summit, Kuchma said GUUAM "does not pose a threat to anybody's interests" and seeks "to promote the creation of a zone of stability and prosperity" on the territory of its member states. Kuchma stressed the need to create a free-trade zone within GUUAM. According to the Ukrainian president, GUUAM's "main tying idea [as well as] historical destination" is to take advantage to the maximum possible extent of international transport and communication routes traversing its member countries. Kuchma also voiced the need to change the name of the alliance, saying that he "is always somewhat embarrassed" by its current name. JM

GUUAM TO EXPAND? Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko does not rule out that GUUAM may be joined by other countries, Interfax reported on 6 June. According to Zlenko, interest in GUUAM has been shown by "some countries in Eurasia [and] Latin America, the U.S. [sic], and those on the territory of the former Soviet Union." Zlenko added that if GUUAM expands, its name may be changed. "GUUAM is an alliance that is not directed against somebody. It signifies the intention of nations that cannot resolve questions within the CIS to seek another framework for solving primarily economic issues," Zlenko added. JM

U.S. PRESIDENT CONGRATULATES NEW UKRAINIAN PREMIER. Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh on 5 June met with U.S. Ambassador to Kyiv Carlos Pascual, who passed on a congratulatory letter from U.S. President George W. Bush pledging to support Ukraine's market reform efforts, AP reported. Pascual said Bush voiced hope in this letter that reforms will turn Ukraine into a flourishing country. Kinakh, in turn, assured Pascual that his government "has no doubts about the necessity to deepen market and democratic reforms." At the first meeting of his cabinet, Kinakh said cooperation with parliament; structural changes in the economy; creating an attractive investment climate and proper legal environment; and freedom of speech will be among the new government's priorities, Interfax reported. JM

'UKRAINE WITHOUT KUCHMA' GROUP READY TO TALK WITH AUTHORITIES. The "Ukraine Without Kuchma" civic committee believes it is "possible and expedient" to hold an "open public dialogue" between the opposition and the authorities, Interfax reported on 6 June. The statement was made by Volodymyr Chemerys, a leader of the committee, during his meeting the same day with Viktor Musiyaka, director of the parliamentary Institute of Legislation. Musiyaka, who was authorized by the president to seek contacts with the opposition, said he also wants to meet with two other opposition groups, the For the Truth movement and the National Salvation Forum. JM

MYSTERIOUS WEAPONS-LOADED PLANE ALLOWED TO LEAVE BULGARIA. The Ukrainian plane detained since April at Burgas airport in Bulgaria (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 May 2001) was allowed to take off on 6 June, after a Bulgarian prosecutor ruled that "no evidence of crime has been established," CTK and AP reported. The plane, which was carrying Czechmade weapons, was detained under suspicion that its destination was Eritrea rather than Georgia as the cargo papers indicated. Eritrea had been under a UN arms embargo, which was lifted on 15 May. The plane landed in western Georgia the same day with a consignment of six howitzers and spare parts, Caucasus Press reported. MS