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POPE BEATIFIES UKRAINE'S SOVIET-ERA MARTYRS BEFORE OVER 1 MILLION FAITHFUL... Pope John Paul II on 26 June beatified 27 Ukrainian Greek Catholics (Uniates), most of whom were killed by Soviet secret police, world agencies reported. The beatification took place at a hippodrome near Lviv before a crowd of over 1 million people. In his homily during an Eastern-rite mass, the pope called for unity between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. "During the last centuries, too many stereotypic ways of thinking, too much mutual resentment, and too much intolerance have accumulated. The only way to clear the path is to forget the past, ask forgiveness of one another, and forgive one another for the wounds inflicted and received," AP quoted the pontiff as saying. JM

...URGES YOUNG UKRAINIANS TO BUILD PROSPEROUS NATION. The previous day, speaking to some 300,000 young people in Lviv, the pope urged them not to "go from the slavery of the communist regime to the slavery of consumerism." He also touched upon the problem of emigration, stressing that young people must not be attracted by illusions of an "easy life" abroad. "You are needed here, ready to make your contribution to improving the social, cultural, economic, and political situation of your own country," Reuters quoted the pope as saying. The meeting took place under a torrential rain, and the pope interrupted his address by singing a Polish folk song "Rain, rain, go away" and joking, "It's raining, so children will grow." JM

UKRAINIAN PREMIER URGES EU TO AVOID NEW DIVISIONS. Anatoliy Kinakh on 26 June urged the EU to avoid creating new economic barriers when it spreads into ex-communist Central and Eastern Europe, Reuters reported. "EU enlargement should not create artificial problems as regards economic integration toward the east and movement of people. I suggest that we should simplify visa regimes, that we look for better solutions so that integration does not suffer because of EU enlargement," Kinakh told journalists after talks with senior EU officials in Luxembourg. Kinakh also said the EU will provide Ukraine with funds to create a modern infrastructure along its eastern borders, including the training of customs and border troops officers. JM

EU COMMISSIONER ON HUNGARIAN STATUS LAW. EU commissioner for enlargement Verheugen on 26 June told journalists in Luxembourg that the EU is still examining the details of the recently passed Status Law, but that its provisions as formulated by the Hungarian parliament do not contradict those of the EU's association agreement. He explained that the Status Law contains a provision voiding the law's applicability to ethnic Hungarians who are citizens of EU countries. It thus does not infringe on the EU association agreement, which prohibits granting "inadmissible advantages" to any group of EU citizens after accession. Verheugen also said the EU has called on the Hungarian government to continue intensive consultations with Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia regarding the law. Those countries are not EU members and the Status Law will apply to ethnic Hungarians there. Verheugen made the comments following a meeting of the EU-Slovak association council, CTK and Reuters reported. MS

MOLDOVAN AGREEMENT WITH UKRAINE FACES OPPOSITION FROM AFFECTED VILLAGERS. Villagers in Palanca, southern Moldova, are opposed to a provision in a border treaty with Ukraine that would split their village and have staged demonstrations against it, dpa reported on 26 June, citing Interfax. Under an agreement reached by the two countries, Moldova is to give Ukraine a short stretch of the IzmailOdessa high road that passes through Moldovan territory in exchange for 500 square meters of swamp land that would give Moldova access to the Danube River, where it intends to build an oil terminal. The villagers, most of whose dwellings lie in northern Palanca, say this would split their village and leave them without fields. Their spokesman said that if the treaty is approved "Ukrainian border troops will send us and our cows to the Moldovan parliament to find grass." The two countries' parliaments are to debate the treaty on 28 July. MS