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RUSSO-GERMAN SUMMIT CONTINUES IN YEKATERINBURG... President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder continued their summit in Yekaterinburg on 9 October, Russian and international media reported. The two men are expected to sign several economic and trade agreements, including one on the construction of the North Baltic natural-gas pipeline, which will cross the Baltic seabed from Western Siberia to Germany. The project would allow Russia to ship gas to Europe without crossing Belarus and Ukraine. Speaking to journalists on 8 October, Schroeder said there are no political differences between Russia and Germany and so both sides are focused on economic and trade relations, RIA-Novosti reported. Putin commented that Schroeder's words do not mean that there are no problems between the countries, but emphasized that good personal relations enable the leaders to resolve them effectively. Putin added that Germany is Russia's main trading partner and that annual trade volume between the two countries is worth 24 billion euros ($28.4 billion). VY
TNK-BP URGES UKRTRANSNAFTA TO START FILLING ODESA-BRODY OIL PIPELINE. The Russian oil company TNK-BP, formed by the Tyumen Oil Company (TNK) and British Petroleum (BP), is still waiting for Ukrtransnafta, Ukraine's oil pipeline operator, to decide to sign an accord on filling the Odesa-Brody pipeline with Russian crude, Interfax reported on 8 October, quoting a TNK trade representative in Ukraine. Previously the TNK-BP said it will abandon its plans to ship 9 million tons of Russian oil annually through the pipeline to Odesa if Ukrtransnafta makes no decision on the issue by 8 October. The Ukrtransnafta supervisory board reportedly voted 4-3, with one abstention, last week to allow TNK-BP to fill the Odesa-Brody pipeline with 380,000-420,000 tons of Russian crude to be shipped to Odesa. Fuel and Energy Minister Serhiy Yermilov and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych subsequently denied such a decision has been made (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 and 8 October 2003). Odesa-Brody was originally built to ship Caspian oil to Europe. JM
POLISH TROOPS IN IRAQ TO COOPERATE WITH U.S. WEAPONS EXPERTS. Polish troops in Iraq will cooperate with U.S. experts in identifying arms found in Iraq in order to avoid blunders such as the recent Roland missiles controversy (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 October 2003), Polish Radio reported on 8 October. An agreement to this effect was reached during a meeting the same day between Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the U.S. city of Colorado Springs. Szmajdzinski reportedly said a "lack of professionalism" caused the erroneous identification of the production date of four Roland-type missiles that Polish soldiers found in Iraq (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 7 October 203). JM
MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT BLAMES JUDICIARY FOR BAD CORRUPTION RATING. According to the Macedonian chapter of the anticorruption watchdog Transparency International -- which presented its "Corruption Perceptions Index [CPI] 2003" on 7 October -- the country now ranks 106th among the 133 countries surveyed, RFE/RL's Macedonian broadcasters reported. Macedonia's CPI was 2.3 on a 10-point scale, thus placing the country in a group along with Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, and Honduras. A Macedonian government spokesman said the government does everything in its power to fight corruption, "Dnevnik" reported. He added that the biggest problem is that the courts are dragging their heels in following up on the criminal charges filed by the government. Immediately after it took power in the fall of 2002, the government formed an Anti-Corruption Commission including lawyers, economists, and members of Transparency International's Macedonian branch (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 November 2002). UB