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RUSSIA'S SECURITY COUNCIL CHIEF BRIEFS KUCHMA ON PLANE CRASH. Russia's Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo on 3 November reported official findings regarding the 4 October crash of a Russian airliner to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Interfax reported. Rushailo said a Russian investigative commission completed its work and confirmed that a Ukrainian S-200 missile was responsible for the accident. First Deputy Premier Oleh Dubyna told journalists later the same day that Kyiv will begin paying compensation to victims' families "in the near future." JM

KUCHMA SLAMS PARLIAMENT FOR FAILURE TO AMEND CONSTITUTION. President Kuchma on 2 November criticized the legislature for the failure to implement the results of the constitutional referendum of 16 April 2000, Ukrainian television reported. In particular, those results provided for introducing a bicameral legislature and abolishing the immunity of deputies. Kuchma called on the parliament to approve relevant constitutional amendments next year. Addressing journalists in Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast, Kuchma accused lawmakers of pursuing their own interests, rather than thinking about the people. "The deputies are afraid and they were afraid of one question most of all -- the immunity of deputies. Let us see now how many people will run to secure a deputy mandate in the constituencies. Why? ... Everybody is actually going there to become immune," Kuchma said. JM

MAJORITY OF UKRAINIANS GLOOMY ABOUT SITUATION. In a poll conducted by the Oleksandr Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Studies from 1-25 October among some 11,000 adult Ukrainians, 57.7 percent of respondents said the current situation in the country is difficult, Interfax reported on 3 November. Of those polled, 19.2 percent said the situation in the country is "disastrous" and only 2 percent said it is "good." According to 13.7 percent of Ukrainians, the situation will "significantly worsen" in the near future, while 18.8 percent said it will "somewhat worsen." JM

POLAND AWAITS 16 PRESIDENTS FOR CONFERENCE ON TERRORISM. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski has invited 16 presidents from Central and Eastern Europe to participate in a conference on terrorism that is due to open in Warsaw on 6 November, PAP reported. The presidential office said the presidents of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Macedonia have confirmed their attendance. Kwasniewski also invited observers from the United States, Russia, Belarus, and Turkey, as well as from the UN, OSCE, NATO, and EU. U.S. President George W. Bush is expected to address the conference via satellite. JM

SLOVAK PRESIDENT, SELEZNEV DISCUSS COOPERATION. Visiting Russian State Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev and Rudolf Schuster agreed on 2 November that cooperation between their countries must be expanded in all spheres and that visa requirements should be eased as much as possible, CTK reported. Schuster told journalists that his country "unfortunately acted rashly" in imposing visa requirements on Russian and Ukrainian citizens under EU pressure, and now seeks to ease those requirements as much as possible. Schuster also said the future of Europe is "unimaginable without Russia," but Seleznev commented that the "EU-Russia express train is gaining speed" and that Moscow "will be glad if Central and East European carriages will also be part of this train" -- a hint that, in his opinion, Russia is further along than Slovakia in the process of EU integration. Seleznev also said Slovakia's quest to join NATO "does not scare Moscow off" from pursuing "fraternal relations" with Bratislava. Both politicians denounced international terrorism. MS

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENCY DRAFTING NEW 'FOREIGN POLICY CONCEPT.' Experts working for the Moldovan presidency have drafted a new "foreign policy concept" that interferes with the government's prerogatives, Flux reported on 3 November. The report has not been confirmed by the presidency. According to Flux, the concept calls for Moldova to "ignore Bucharest's attitude, which regards Moldova as being a second Romanian state." For this purpose Moldova should seek a rapprochement with the political forces in Romania that are "democratic, not nationalist and not irredentist." The guidelines also stipulate that Moldova must work to convince the United States of the importance of Chisinau's "traditional links and strategic partnership" with Russia, and convince Moscow of the "strategic necessity for a balanced U.S. presence in the region." The guidelines also warn that both Romania and Ukraine have economic interests in Moldova and that pursuance of those interests, particularly in the case of transit pipelines for Russian oil, may clash with Moldova's intention to build its own oil terminal at Giurgiulesti, on the Danube River. MS

MOLDOVA, TRANSDNIESTER RESUME NEGOTIATIONS ON 'SPECIAL STATUS.' The negotiations on a "special status" for the Transdniester resumed on 2 November in Chisinau with the participation of the OSCE and Russian and Ukrainian "mediators," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The discussions were stopped last month by Tiraspol after Moldova introduced a new customs seal. Chief Moldovan negotiator Vasile Sturza described the discussions as "difficult, but useful." He said that when agreement is not reached, two or more alternatives are introduced in the draft for later consideration. Sturza also said Chisinau will under any circumstances preserve the prerogatives of the "central government" over foreign and defense policies. MS