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UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT PLANS BIG GRAIN IMPORTS. Deputy Prime Minister for Agriculture Ivan Kyrylenko told the Verkhovna Rada on 9 September that Ukraine imported 750,000 tons of wheat and 230,000 tons of rye this year, Interfax reported. He added that, in connection with this year's poor crop, the government deems it necessary to import an additional 2 million tons of grain by the end of the year. Kyrylenko urged deputies to allow the government to cancel value-added tax payments for grain importers until next August and continue waiving customs duties for wheat and rye imports until June 2004. JM
UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADER SUES PROSECUTOR-GENERAL FOR SLANDER. Yuliya Tymoshenko, head of the eponymous opposition bloc, has brought a lawsuit against Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun, charging that he defamed Tymoshenko's honor and business reputation in a recent interview with the "Delovaya nedela" weekly, Interfax reported. "The entire life of Yuliya Tymoshenko is built upon deception," Piskun reportedly told the weekly. "She deceives her family, the state, the people, the president, law-enforcement bodies, and her voters." The Prosecutor-General's Office recently requested that the Verkhovna Rada lift Tymoshenko's immunity so that she can be prosecuted for allegedly giving bribes (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 September 2003). JM
...AND POSITION ON EU CONSTITUTION. Also on 9 September, the government adopted a position for the upcoming intergovernmental conference in Rome concerning the proposed Constitution of the European Union (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 9 September 2003), Polish Radio reported. Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz told journalists that Poland wants to preserve the Nice Treaty system of vote shares in the EU Council. Cimoszewicz said Poland supports the provision that each EU member country has one commissioner as well as veto power on the joint union foreign, defense, and security policy. He also noted that Warsaw wants the EU Constitution to contain a reference to Europe's Christian traditions. JM
MOLDOVAN VETERANS DEMAND RELEASE OF TIRASPOL PRISONERS. The Transdniester War Veterans' Organization on 9 September demanded the immediate release of the three "Ilascu group" members who are in jail in Tiraspol, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. In an open letter addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, separatist leader Igor Smirnov, and OSCE mission head William Hill, the veterans said that, against the background of the current negotiations between Chisinau and Tiraspol, it is "senseless" to keep the three in prison. MS