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WILL OUR UKRAINE PROTEST ON 16 SEPTEMBER? "I support the protest actions [planned by the opposition to start on 16 September] because they are an adequate reaction to activities of the authorities who do not see or hear anything," UNIAN quoted Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko as saying on 3 September. Asked why Our Ukraine has not announced that it will join the "Rise Up, Ukraine!" protest campaign on 16 September, Yushchenko gave a vague answer. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Popular Rukh, a member of the Our Ukraine bloc, has reportedly decided to join the 16 September protest. Hennadiy Udovenko, the leader of the Popular Rukh of Ukraine (another constituent of Our Ukraine), told UNIAN that Our Ukraine regional branches have been given the right to decide on their own whether to join the protest campaign. Our Ukraine intends to hold a forum of democratic forces in Kyiv on 14-15 September, to which it invited President Leonid Kuchma and a number of opposition leaders, including Yuliya Tymoshenko, Oleksandr Moroz, and Petro Symonenko. JM
PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION WANTS UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT TO BE INDICTED IN GONGADZE CASE. The Verkhovna Rada's ad hoc commission for investigating the disappearance of Heorhiy Gongadze has decided to address a request to the Prosecutor-General's Office to instigate criminal proceedings against President Leonid Kuchma and other current and former top officials over the kidnapping of the journalist, UNIAN reported on 3 September, quoting lawmaker Hryhoriy Omelchenko, the chairman of the commission. "There is sufficient evidence indicating that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Verkhovna Rada head Volodymyr Lytvyn, former Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko, and lawmaker Leonid Derkach were collaborators in crime as organizers of the kidnapping of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze," Omelchenko said. Meanwhile, police have arrested Serhiy Obozov, the prosecutor of Tarashcha Raion where Gongadze's decapitated body was found nearly two years ago. "Obozov is not the last official to be arrested in the [Gongadze] case," Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun told journalists on 3 September. He did not comment on the charges against Obozov. JM
UKRAINE SEEKS MARKET-ECONOMY STATUS WITH EU. Ukrainian President Kuchma requested on 3 September that the European Union grant his country market-economy status as it did for Russia earlier this year, AP reported. Kuchma made the request at a meeting with European Commission President Romano Prodi at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. Prodi reportedly responded that the European Commission will issue its opinion in six months. JM