With the kind permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, InfoUkes Inc. has been given rights to electronically re-print these articles on our web site. Visit the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service page for more information. Also visit the RFE/RL home page for news stories on other Eastern European and FSU countries.
Return to Main RFE News Page
InfoUkes Home Page
GEORGIAN PRESIDENT THREATENS ADJAR LEADER WITH ARREST. Speaking during an official visit to Kyiv on 27 April, Mikheil Saakashvili reiterated that Tbilisi's difficulties with the Adjar Autonomous Republic are concentrated in one individual, Adjar Supreme Council Aslan Abashidze, Interfax and Caucasus Press reported. Saakashvili warned that Georgian police will intervene to arrest Abashidze if he continues to exacerbate tensions or fails to comply with Tbilisi's demands, including that he disarm his supporters and private army. Saakashvili claimed that almost the entire population of the autonomous republic supports the central Georgian authorities and would be happy to see Abashidze ousted. In Tbilisi, former Batumi Mayor Aslan Smirba told journalists he fears bloodshed in Adjaria is inevitable unless Abashidze's militia is disarmed, Georgian media reported. Smirba added that Abashidze takes decisions in a virtual information vacuum as none of his entourage "will tell him the truth," Caucasus Press reported. LF
ORGANIZERS OF MINSK'S CHORNOBYL MARCH PUNISHED. A district court in Minsk on 27 April jailed Ales Mikhalevich, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front, for 10 days and imposed a fine of some $2,000 on Lyudmila Hraznova, a member of the United Civic Party's Political Council, for the organization of an unauthorized march in Minsk to mark the 18th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear accident (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 April 2004), Belapan reported. The court also jailed Andrey Kozel, a member of the United Civic Party, for seven days. Kozel was not among the official organizers of the banned demonstration, but police concluded that he was its instigator. JM
UKRAINIAN, GEORGIAN PRESIDENTS DISCUSS COOPERATION. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili in Kyiv on 27 April to discuss bilateral and multilateral cooperation, Ukrainian news agencies reported. Both presidents reportedly agreed to remove "restrictions" on free trade between their countries. They also agreed that the next summit of GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova) should be held in Tbilisi. Kuchma and Saakashvili confirmed that the Ukrainian and Georgian military contingents in Iraq will remain there until the end of their mission. The same day Saakashvili also met with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko, and opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SLAMS POLAND FOR INACTION OVER ODESA-BRODY PIPELINE. President Kuchma harshly criticized Poland on 27 April for what he sees as Warsaw's lack of cooperation in making the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline a route for transporting Caspian oil to Europe, Interfax reported. Kuchma said Poland has not made a "single poke of a shovel" and not allocated any funds to prolong the Odesa-Brody pipeline to Plock. Warsaw and Kyiv have signed an intergovernmental accord on extending the pipeline to Plock in 2004-05 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 January 2004). Kuchma also satirized the EU stance over the issue, saying that Brussels has pledged a "big sum" of 3 million euros ($3.5 million) for the Odesa-Brody-Plock project but the money still remains "on paper." "There have been no proposals from either suppliers of oil [to the Odesa-Brody pipeline] or potential buyers," Kuchma said. "This is an impasse scenario for Ukraine." JM
TIRASPOL DEMANDS 'DECLARATION OF GOOD INTENTIONS' FROM CHISINAU. On the first day of a new round of negotiations over the Transdniester conflict on 26 April, the separatist delegation demanded that a joint declaration be issued by Moldova and Transdniester stating that the sides are ready to work toward a "joint federal state," Infotag and Flux reported the next day. The delegation said its demand is based on lessons learned from previous negotiations, and particularly Moldova's refusal last year to sign the agreement stipulated in the so-called Kozak memorandum. According to Infotag, the Moldovan delegation was stopped by Transdniestrian border guards in Bendery-Tighina as it was driving to Tiraspol on 26 April. The guards said they had no official instructions to let the delegation pass. The incident was settled after officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and from mediator states Russia and Ukraine intervened. MS