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CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS FAIL TO AGREE ON BANNING PORTABLE ANTIAIRCRAFT WEAPONS. At a 9 June meeting in Almaty of CIS defense ministers or their deputies, the Azerbaijani, Georgian, Uzbek, and Ukrainian representatives declined to endorse a proposed ban on sales of portable antiaircraft missile launchers, Russian news agencies reported. It is not clear why those four countries, all members of the unofficial GUUAM alignment, rejected the ban, which was proposed by Russia. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov explained the proposed ban is intended to prevent international terrorists from obtaining such weapons. LF
FSB HEAD CITES INTELLIGENCE GAPS REGARDING SUICIDE BOMBERS. Speaking during joint Russian-Ukrainian antiterrorism exercises in Kerch, Ukraine, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Nikolai Patrushev complained on 10 June of a failure by foreign security services to provide adequate "preemptive information" that might help thwart suicide bombings in Russia, ITAR-TASS reported. "Suicide bombers are not trained on the territory of Russia," he said, "and for this reason, interaction with security services of other states becomes very important for the FSB. We will fight this evil together." He added that "there are difficulties for us just in receiving...preemptive data, as analysis of terrorist acts that are being investigated or have been prevented shows those suicide bombers are trained abroad," according to ITAR-TASS. Patrushev, who heads Moscow's "antiterrorism operations" in Chechnya, said the use of suicide attackers "is an exceptionally dangerous and very urgent problem." Patrushev rejected the possibility of a "Palestinian scenario" in Chechnya, saying the Russian secret services "will not allow it." He added that Moscow will work to improve the socioeconomic situation in Chechnya to usher in a general normalization, the agency reported. VY
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CONFERS WITH PARLIAMENTARY LEADERS ON POLITICAL REFORM. President Leonid Kuchma met with leaders of parliamentary groups on 10 June to exchange opinions about the constitutional-reform bill he submitted to the Verkhovna Rada in March (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 11 March and 15 April 2003), Interfax and the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported. Kuchma reportedly suggested that he is prepared to back down on his proposals to introduce a bicameral legislature, reduce the number of legislators, and adopt laws directly via referendums. Yuliya Tymoshenko, who heads the eponymous political bloc, told journalists after the meeting that Kuchma failed to respond to her questions whether he will support a fully proportional parliamentary-election law and withdraw his proposal to hold presidential, parliamentary, and local elections in the same year, as well as whether he will run for a third term as president. Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz and Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko spoke against the idea of holding presidential, parliamentary, and local elections in the same year. "I want to declare that the next presidential election will take place on the last Sunday in October 2004," Kuchma said in summing up the meeting. JM
UKRAINIAN PROSECUTORS RESTART CASE AGAINST TYMOSHENKO. The Prosecutor-General's Office resumed its investigation on 10 June into a criminal case involving opposition leader Tymoshenko and four former executives of Unified Energy Systems (EES) of Ukraine, which Tymoshenko headed in 1995-97, Interfax reported. In May, the Kyiv Appeals Court ruled to close all criminal cases launched by the Prosecutor-General's Office against the five, but the Supreme Court annulled this ruling on 10 June. Prosecutors accuse Tymoshenko, her husband, father-in-law, and two other EES colleagues of misappropriating state funds. JM
MAJOR POLISH OPPOSITION CAUCUSES SET TO VOTE AGAINST CABINET. The leaders of five major parliamentary opposition groups -- the Civic Platform, Law and Justice, Self-Defense, the Peasant Party, and the League of Polish Families -- have said their lawmakers will vote against Premier Leszek Miller's cabinet in a vote of confidence that is expected to take place in the Sejm on 13 June, Polish media reported on 11 June. The vote of confidence was proposed by Premier Miller in an apparent effort to reinforce his minority cabinet's position following the "yes" vote in the EU referendum on 7-8 June (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 10 June 2003). Those five opposition parties control a combined 205 votes in the 460-seat Sejm, while the ruling Democratic Left Alliance-Labor Union bloc has 209 votes. The fate of Miller's cabinet thus appears to hinge on the 46 votes held among six smaller groups and 15 independent deputies in the parliament. JM