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KAZAKHSTAN WANTS IN ON PLANNED OIL PIPELINE TO CROATIA. Kazakh President Nazarbaev and visiting Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych discussed Kazakhstan's participation in the Druzhba-Adria oil-pipeline project during their meeting in Astana on 4 August, Kazinform reported the same day. The planned pipeline is intended to transport Russian and Caspian oil to the Croatian port of Omisalj. Kazakhstan has already expressed interest to Ukraine in the Odessa-Brody pipeline project. According to Yanukovych, he and Nazarbaev also discussed the possibility of expanding the pumping capacity of that pipeline as well as joint Kazakh-Ukrainian development of oil and gas fields. BB
KYRGYZ OMBUDSMAN INTENDS TO SUE NEWSPAPER. Before departing on a UN-sponsored trip to the Czech Republic and Estonia to study the working of ombudsman's offices in those countries, Kyrgyzstan's Ombudsman Tursunbai Bakir-uulu told a press conference on 1 August that he intends to sue the newspaper "Agym," akipress.org reported on 4 August. Bakir-uulu said that he had the necessary documents ready to launch the suit, but the "Agym" staff and the publication's chief editor were all on vacation. The ombudsman's claim that he was defamed arises from an article asserting that he had traveled to an OSCE Parliamentary Assembly session in Rotterdam and a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart in Kiev at government expense, statements that Bakir-uulu said are demonstrably untrue; his travel was paid for by an international human rights group. He managed to persuade the pro-government daily "Vecherniy Bishkek" not to publish the article, he said, by threatening that publication with a court case. Akipress.org did not mention the date when the article appeared in "Agym." BB
UKRAINE TURNS TO KAZAKHSTAN TO ALLEVIATE GRAIN CRISIS. Ukraine intends to purchase around 1.2 million tons of Kazakh grain in 2003-04 at a price of 600-750 hryvnyas ($112-140) per ton, Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yanukovych announced after a meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev in Astana on 4 August, according to Interfax. Yanukovych said 800,000 tons of grain will be supplied to Ukraine under an intergovernmental agreement, while the remainder will be delivered under contracts between Ukrainian and Kazakh enterprises. Ukraine, facing a harvest decimated by drought, reached a similar agreement with Russia on 1 August (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 August 2003). AM