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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT OUTLINES FOREIGN-POLICY PRIORITIES... President Leonid Kuchma said at a meeting with foreign diplomats in Kyiv on 6 February that Ukraine's priority foreign-policy tasks in 2004 are seeking to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO), proceeding toward integration with the European Union, and developing cooperation with Russia and the United States, Interfax reported. Kuchma said Kyiv wants to conclude its negotiations on WTO membership this year. He also pledged that Ukraine will make efforts to bring "all spheres of social life and primarily domestic legislation" into line with European standards. JM

...AND CREATES NEW MINISTRY FOR FAMILY, CHILDREN, AND YOUTH. President Kuchma has signed a decree ordering the transformation of the State Committee for Family and Youth Affairs into the Ministry for Family, Children, and Youth Affairs, Interfax reported on 6 February, quoting the presidential press service. The decree appointed Valentyna Dovzhenko to head the new ministry. The Ukrainian cabinet is to prepare draft regulations regarding the activities and personnel of the new ministry within two months. JM

OUR UKRAINE LEADER SAYS NEWSPAPER SHOULD APOLOGIZE FOR ANTI-SEMITIC ARTICLE. Our Ukraine Chairman Viktor Yushchenko said last week that the "Silski visti" newspaper needs "to find courage to apologize to those people whose ethnic sentiments were offended by its publications," the Our Ukraine website ( reported on 5 February. Yushchenko was presumably referring to an article on Jews in Ukraine that was published by "Silski visti" in November and prompted the recent court closure of the newspaper amid charges of anti-Semitism (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 February 2004). "There should be no discussion about this [apology]," Yushchenko said, noting that his father was a prisoner at Auschwitz in 1944 "jointly with Jews at a time when 25,000 people were [being] liquidated every day." Yushchenko claimed that, at the same time, his grandmother and mother were keeping three Jewish girls in hiding in his home in Ukraine's Sumy Oblast. Yushchenko repeated his assertion that the court, by ignoring other legal possibilities for dealing with "Silski visti" and ruling to close the newspaper, was following orders from the authorities to destroy the largest opposition publication in the country. JM