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U.S. BLACKLISTS UKRAINE OVER MONEY LAUNDERING. The U.S. government on 20 December labeled Ukraine and the South Pacific's independent republic of Nauru as of "concern" with respect to money laundering under the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, Reuters reported. "We are telling the world clearly that these jurisdictions are bad for business and that their financial controls cannot be trusted," U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Ken Dam said in a statement. "We are serious about ensuring that the international financial system not be abused by money launderers, terrorist financiers and other criminals." Earlier the same day, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced that it is seeking "countermeasures" against Ukraine for not enacting tough laws against money laundering (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 December 2002). The FATF made a similar move against Nauru in December 2001. AM
UKRAINIAN JOURNALISTS FORM NEW TRADE UNION IN ODESA. Journalists from four newspapers in Ukraine's Odesa Oblast -- "Yug," "Slovo," "Morskie vedomosti," and "Vikna" -- established an independent trade union on 21 December, UNIAN reported. The organization promises to represent and protect "labor and the socioeconomic rights and interests" of its members. The Odesa trade union is headed by Leonid Zaslavskyy of "Yug." The group hopes to send a delegation to a constituent congress of an umbrella group for independent journalists in Kyiv in January. AM
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SAYS RELATIONS WITH U.S. DO NOT COME AT EXPENSE OF TIES WITH 'TRADITIONAL' ALLIES. Summing up his recent visit to the United States, Vladimir Voronin told ITAR-TASS on 21 December that his country hopes to further develop its relations with the United States, but has no intention to reorient its policy toward the West. "Traditionally, we have had [close] ties with Russia, Ukraine, [and] other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and we plan to further develop these decades-old ties in the future as well, although some forces [in Moldova] might entertain different hopes," he said. Voronin also said the United States has no interest in changing Chisinau's foreign-policy priorities. He said his visit to the United States should not be perceived as "a display of opposition to anyone," as it was intended to demonstrate that Moldova is an independent state and to clarify its foreign policy. Voronin said he is content with the results of the visit, but that it is now important to ensure that the agreements he reached with U.S. President George W. Bush are implemented in practice. MS