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Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Aleksandr Rumyantsev said cooperation with Eastern European countries in the nuclear energy field is likely. He said some East European countries, "having doing an analysis in this field, will probably make a choice in this cooperation in favor of Russia." Rumyantsev stressed that at present, the "nearest partner of Russia in this sphere is Ukraine," ITAR-TASS reported. He noted that Russia and Ukraine were on schedule to complete the building of Ukraine's Rovno and Khmelnitsk nuclear power plants. (JMR)

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ENDORSES GAS ACCORDS WITH RUSSIA... The parliament on 15 November ratified three government accords with Russia that regulate Russian gas supplies and gas transit across Ukraine, Interfax reported. One accord, relating to Russian gas supplies in 2001, sets the Russian gas price at the Ukrainian border at $80 per 1,000 cubic meters and the maximum monthly delivery quota at 1.5 billion cubic meters. This accord also allows Ukraine to postpone up to half of its payments for the gas deliveries, keeping them as state debt. Two other accords guarantee that no Russian gas will be siphoned off while traversing Ukrainian territory. The package also envisions rescheduling Ukraine's $1.4 billion debt to Gazprom over a period of 12 years (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 October 2001). JM

...BUT FAILS TO PASS BILL CURBING CD PIRACY. Only 140 deputies - - well below the required majority of 226 votes -- voted on 15 November in the second reading for a bill that would establish licensing for production of compact discs and thus put a barrier to widespread piracy of music CDs in Ukraine. According to estimates, illegal production of compact discs in Ukraine costs up to $300 million a year in damages to the global record industry. The U.S. has threatened to impose trade sanctions on Ukraine if it fails to curb this piracy. Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov told UNIAN that the government will insist on an additional hearing of the bill. JM

UKRAINE, RUSSIAN COMPLETE DELIMITATION OF LAND BORDER. "We have finally delimited the state border between Ukraine and Russia from Belarus to the Azov Sea. We have settled the disputes and signed a corresponding protocol," Ukrainian Foreign Ministry official Yuriy Serheyev told journalists in Sumy on 15 November, after the 12th meeting of the Ukrainian-Russian commission on the delimitation of the state border, UNIAN reported. Ukrainian and Russian experts will now work on the delimitation of the maritime section of the state border in the Azov Sea, the Black Sea, and the strait of Kerch. "This will be discussed by extended delegations, and the discussion is going to be heated," Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov commented. JM

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY 'SURPRISED' BY UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR'S STATEMENTS. The Romanian Foreign Ministry on 15 November said in a communique it was "surprised" by the statements made earlier that day by Ukrainian Ambassador to Bucharest Anton Buteyko and wants the Foreign Ministry in Kyiv to confirm whether Buteyko had "an official mandate" to make those declarations, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Buteyko said that Ukraine would be in a position to agree to arbitration by the International Court in The Hague in a dispute concerning the border in the Black Sea's continental shelf after Romania officially agrees to recognize that Ukraine inherits from the former Soviet Union all the rights over the state border with Romania. Observers say that in doing so, Bucharest would lose any claim to the continental shelf around the oil-rich Serpents' Island. Buteyko also said the delimitation of the border in the Black Sea is an issue concerning not only Ukraine and Romania, but also Turkey, Russia, and Hungary. Buteyko also accused Romania of spreading in the media "misleading and tendentious information" on the dispute. The Romanian Foreign Ministry said negotiations under way with Ukraine have so far yielded no results, and appealing to the court in The Hague would be in line with "European practice" and with the annex of the 1997 basic treaty between the two countries. It also expressed "perplexity" that Buteyko "involved other states in the region in the dispute, without those states having been consulted or having agreed to that involvement." MS

GUUAM FOREIGN MINISTERS CONCERNED ABOUT TRANSDNIESTER. The foreign ministers of the GUUAM states (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova), meeting at the 56th UN General Assembly in New York, strongly condemned all actions against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of GUUAM member states and expressed "particular concern" over the lack of progress in the Transdniester conflict settlement process, Infotag reported. The five ministers also condemned any "wrongful use of military force" and foreign backing of separatist and extremist forces "illicitly acting in some GUUAM states." MS


U.S. SENATE LINKS AID TO PROGRESS IN PROBES INTO JOURNALISTS' DEATHS. The U.S. Senate has adopted amendments to legislation providing for the U.S. government's assistance for the independent states of the former USSR in 2002, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported on 13 November. According to the bill, out of the $795.5 million appropriation proposed for the former Soviet republics, Ukraine is to receive $180 million, including $35 million to increase the safety of its nuclear reactors. The Senate makes assistance to Ukraine contingent on the Ukrainian government's progress in investigating the murders of Ukrainian journalists and obliges the State Department to submit a relevant report on this progress to the Congress. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 15 November)