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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VISITS ITALY. President Leonid Kuchma on 26 November traveled to Italy for a three-day official visit, UNIAN reported. Kuchma told journalists in Rome that his visit attests to the fact that "today it is impossible to build Europe and European security without Ukraine." The same day, Kuchma met with Italian President Carlo Ciampi, who reportedly expressed Italy's support for Ukraine's efforts to join NATO and the World Trade Organization. Addressing a business forum in Rome on 27 November, Kuchma said that "Ukraine cannot live under circumstances of uncertainty" and called on European leaders to determine the place of Ukraine in the future Europe. Kuchma also said Ukraine is interested in Italian investment in its economy, particularly in aviation, machine building, communications, transport, and agriculture. JM
LAWMAKER SAID TO HAVE QUIT OUR UKRAINE UNDER PRESSURE. Lawmaker Petro Dyminskyy has left the Our Ukraine parliamentary caucus headed by Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian media reported on 26 November. "He found himself in a very difficult situation," Our Ukraine lawmaker Yaroslav Kendzor said in comments posted on the caucus's website (http://www.razom.org.ua/). "The appointment of [Viktor] Yanukovych to the post of prime minister influenced [Dyminskyy's] decision to leave our faction. It is well known what furious pressure has been applied for the past eight months to businessmen who support Our Ukraine," Kendzor added. Meanwhile, Dyminskyy told the Lviv-based "Vysokyy zamok" on 25 November that the reason for his pullout was different. "I am quitting not Viktor Yushchenko, but the diktat that is being exercised by his entourage," Dyminskyy said. "In my opinion, recent resolutions adopted by the caucus were detrimental to both Our Ukraine and our region," he added. Dyminskyy was elected to the Verkhovna Rada on the Our Ukraine ticket from a constituency in Lviv Oblast. He headed the supervisory board of the oil refinery in Drohobych prior to the parliamentary election. JM
POLISH RIGHT-WING LAWMAKERS ATTACK DOCUMENTARY ABOUT CATHOLIC BROADCASTER. Thirty-four lawmakers from the right-wing League of Polish Families, Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland, and the Catholic-National Circle have protested the airing of a documentary about the Catholic radio station Radio Maryja and its head, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, by state-owned Polish Television on 25 November, PAP reported on 26 November. The documentary alleged that Father Rydzyk was involved in major tax evasion while setting up and running Radio Maryja. The protest slams the television station, saying the documentary was an action to besmirch "the good name" of Radio Maryja and its director. Radio Maryja is an influential, radical Catholic media outlet claiming a regular daily listenership of 1.4 million and a weekly audience of 5.9 million. The station is known for spreading strongly worded anti-EU and xenophobic messages. Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland, has sought to diminish the clout of Radio Maryja among believers by banning the operation of its bureaus at parishes in Warsaw Diocese (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 3 and 17 September 2002). JM
'TOMATO THROWERS' LIKELY TO HAVE LEFT CZECH REPUBLIC. The two members of Russia's National Bolshevik Party who threw tomatoes at NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson on the last day of the alliance's Prague summit (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 November 2002) have probably left the Czech Republic, CTK reported on 26 November, citing a police spokeswoman. Eva Miklikova said the two men, a Russian and a Ukrainian citizen, were offered several options by police, including to prolong their visas, until a Czech court could examine their case. Miklikova said the two were charged with disturbing the peace and, if convicted, face up to two years in prison or a fine. MS
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES OSCE... Meeting on 26 November with Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov in Chisinau, President Voronin said that Moldova cannot agree to see "OSCE delegations saying one thing in Tiraspol and another thing in Chisinau," RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. In an apparent reference to a recent visit by an OSCE delegation to Moldova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 and 22 November 2002), Voronin added, "They come and they go, and no results are seen." Voronin said the policies of separatist leader Igor Smirnov "are not directed only against Moldova; they are also directed against the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and mankind as a whole." He said Russia would have been able to abide by the end 2002 withdrawal deadline set by the OSCE 1999 summit if a political solution had been found for the Transdniester conflict before that deadline. The president added that even after an agreement is reached, a Russian contingent would have to be temporarily stationed in Moldova to "mediate" the integration of the two sides' armed forces. MS