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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES PROBE INTO ALLEGED ASSASSINATION PLOT... President Leonid Kuchma told journalists on 25 February that an investigation has been launched after the detection of a plot to kill him during his stay in the German spa town Baden-Baden from 26 December to 17 January, Interfax and RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported. Kuchma said the Ukrainian Embassy in Germany received a "quite well-founded" letter warning against the plot, with the names of plotters and the organization to which they belong. According to Kuchma, General Valeriy Kravchenko, who recently defected from the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 February 2004), was assigned a task in investigating the plot but refused to perform it. "He said that it was not his business," Kuchma said of Kravchenko. Kuchma added that Kravchenko's recent revelations that the president ordered the SBU to spy on the opposition are a lie. JM

...SAYS UKRAINE NOT ON MONEY-LAUNDERING BLACKLIST ANY LONGER... The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) has taken Ukraine off its blacklist of non-cooperating countries and territories, President Kuchma told journalists on 25 February, according to Interfax. "I've received a note that FATF members unanimously decided to remove Ukraine from the blacklist," Kuchma said. Ukraine was placed on FAFT's blacklist in December 2002 (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 11 February 2003). At that time, the organization advised its members to check all financial transactions conducted with Ukrainian partners. In February 2003, FAFT canceled these sanctions against Ukraine, but left the country on its blacklist. JM

...AND REJECTS POSSIBILITY OF PREMIERSHIP AFTER 2004 ELECTION. President Kuchma also said on 25 February that he is not planning to accept a potential offer to head a cabinet following the presidential election in 2004, Interfax reported. He said he is not interested in serving as a prime minister for a period of "1 1/2 years or even less." "I have practically organized a foundation of my own," Kuchma said. "I will deal quietly with politics and I will say what I think about everybody." Kuchma disclosed earlier this month that after leaving office he will set up a nongovernmental research institute dealing with Ukraine's economic policy (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 February 2004). JM

LITHUANIA, UKRAINE SIGN TRAVEL AGREEMENT. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis and his Ukrainian counterpart Kostyantyn Hryshchenko signed a bilateral travel agreement on 25 February in Vilnius, ELTA and BNS reported. Under the agreement, Ukrainian citizens will be issued visas free of charge and without the previous requirement of an invitation. Lithuanians will be allowed to enter Ukraine without visas. At a press conference following the signing, Hryshchenko noted that similar agreements have been signed with Poland and Hungary and said that "Ukraine will not suffer any negative consequences from the European Union's enlargement." Valionis said they also discussed issues concerning greater Ukrainian integration with Europe. Hryshchenko is was scheduled to meet with on 26 February with parliament Chairman Arturas Paulauskas and President Rolandas Paksas, as well as give a report at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University. SG

MOLDOVAN CAIC REJECTS MEDIATORS' NEW FEDERALIZATION PLAN. The parties and organizations forming the Committee for the Defense of Independence and the Constitution (CAIC) approved on 25 February a resolution rejecting the latest plan for the country's federalization proposed by the three mediators in the conflict -- Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE, Flux reported. The resolution was approved after considerable bargaining between the Our Moldova alliance and the Popular Party Christian Democratic (PPCD). The PPCD intended to include in it a considerably stronger attack on Russia and its presence in Transdniester, but the alliance said the proposed wording might alienate its electorate. The resolution describes the latest plan as a minor variation of the "Kozak Memorandum" proposed by Russia and rejected by Moldova. The resolution says the proposed document ignores the "fundamental aspect of the Transdniester conflict," which it said stems from the existence of a regime set up by an "anti-constitutional rebellion" and owes its continuation to "mafia interests in several countries" and the exploitation of Russia's geopolitical objectives. MS