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TURKMENISTAN SIGNS ANOTHER MAJOR GAS CONTRACT. The Turkmen government signed contracts on 11 July with the Ukrainian state gas firm Naftohaz Ukrayina for the sale of 36 billion cubic meters of Turkmen natural gas and with the Russian firm Itera for the sale of up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas in 2004, RIA-Novosti reported. Both purchasers agreed to the price of $44 per 1,000 cubic meters -- the same price agreed to in the 25-year gas deal with Gazprom that was signed in April (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 April 2003). The Ukrainian and Itera sales will bring total Turkmen natural-gas sales to more than $2 billion. However, as is usual in Turkmen gas deals, half the amounts of the latest deals will be paid in hard currency and half in goods and services. Niyazov also suggested that he and the heads of state of Russia and Ukraine should get together at the September CIS summit to discuss the construction of a new gas pipeline along the shore of the Caspian Sea to carry enough gas to meet existing and future contracts. Niyazov added, according to RIA-Novosti, that the purchasers of Turkmen gas, Gazprom and Naftohaz, should determine the route and financing of the new pipeline. BB
UKRAINIAN, POLISH PRESIDENTS HONOR VICTIMS OF 1943 VOLHYNIA MASSACRE... President Leonid Kuchma and his Polish counterpart Aleksander Kwasniewski attended a reconciliation ceremony in Pavlivka on 11 July to commemorate ethnic Poles murdered by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and local Ukrainians in Volhynia in 1943, Ukrainian media reported. The ceremony was preceded by a statement aimed at reconciliation that was adopted by both the Ukrainian and Polish parliaments (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 July 2003). "The Volhynia events are still awaiting a thorough historical study," Kuchma said in his address. "We must not under any circumstances allow scientific labs to be turned into a scene of competition in mutual offenses and claims," he stressed. "I am sure that historians will have enough scientific honesty and conscience to reach agreement on the interpretation of complex and sad pages of history," he added (see Polish item below). AM
POLISH PRESIDENT SPURNS IDEA OF COLLECTIVE GUILT FOR 1943 MASSACRE. "The Ukrainian nation cannot be blamed for the massacre perpetrated on the Polish population. There are no nations that are guilty," Kwasniewski said in Pavlivka, western Ukraine, at an event to commemorate the 1943 Volhynia massacre (see Ukrainian item above). "It is always specific people who bear the responsibility for crimes." Kwasniewski made a reference to UPA activities in 1943 and stressed, "No aim and no value, even one as noble as the freedom and sovereignty of a nation, can justify genocide, the butchery of civilians, violence and rape, [and] the imposition of cruel suffering on neighbors." AM