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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE WILL NOT SEEK THIRD TERM... Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said on 23 November that he is not going to seek a third presidential term, UNIAN and Interfax reported. Kuchma also denied press reports saying he is preparing a successor for himself. "Not the president but life itself should prompt a new leader," he added. JM

...PRAISES ADMINISTRATION CHIEF FOR LEADERSHIP OF ELECTION BLOC... Kuchma also said he approves of the intention of presidential administration chief Volodymyr Lytvyn to head the For a United Ukraine election bloc. Kuchma called Lytvyn "a professional and a decent, honest man," and added that "today such people are few on the political scene." The leaders of the four parties constituting the For a United Ukraine bloc -- Valeriy Pustovoytenko (Popular Democratic Party), Serhiy Tyhypko (Labor Ukraine), Mykola Azarov (Party of Regions), and Mykhaylo Hladiy (Agrarian Party) -- said earlier that Lytvyn gave his consent to lead their bloc. Another Kuchma aide, Roman Bezsmertnyy, joined the Our Ukraine election bloc of former Premier Viktor Yushchenko as election staff leader. JM

...MAKES NEW APPOINTMENTS. Kuchma has appointed Valentyna Dovzhenko as head of the State Committee for Family and Youth Affairs, Mariya Bulatova as head of the State Committee for Physical Culture and Sports, and Mykola Kalenskyy as head of the State Customs Service, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on 22 November. JM

SLOVAK PREMIER OPPOSES CHANGE IN BORDER REGIME WITH CZECH REPUBLIC. Premier Dzurinda told journalists in Trieste, where he participated in the Central European Initiative summit on 23 November, that he is opposed to changing the border regime between his country and the Czech Republic as well as to increased border security in line with EU demands, CTK reported. Dzurinda said attention should instead be focused on tightening security on Slovakia's border with Ukraine. MS

MOLDOVAN FOREIGN MINISTER DEFENDS NEW YORK JOINT DECLARATION. Foreign Minister Nicolae Dudau on 23 November dismissed criticism of the declaration he recently signed in New York with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on ways to settle the Transdniester conflict as inaccurate, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. The declaration calls for a continuation of negotiations within a forum that includes the Transdniester and the OSCE as well as the three signatory states. Dudau said this does not signify that Chisinau wants to resume high-level negotiations with the present leadership in Tiraspol, and that President Vladimir Voronin rules out this possibility. He said the five-structure forum refers to negotiations "at expert level." Observers quoted by RFE/RL pointed out that the New York declaration fails to mention for the first time Moldova's "sovereignty" alongside the mention of its "territorial integrity," which may open the path for guaranteeing Transdniester's special status by a foreign power. MS