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KAZAKH, RUSSIAN PARTIES SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Kazakhstan's Otan Party and Russia's Unified Russia, the two countries' main pro-presidential parties, signed a memorandum of cooperation in Almaty on 12 June, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. Russian State Duma First Deputy Speaker Lyubov Sliska, who headed a delegation of Duma deputies, signed for Unified Russia. Mazhilis Chairman Zharmakhan Tuyakbai signed for Otan. Noting that Russia and Kazakhstan are the "most closely integrated countries in the post-Soviet region," Sliska stated that the two countries need to develop further cultural and economic cooperation. For his part, Tuyakbai stressed that the goals and tasks of the two countries' pro-presidential parties coincide and that their political platforms are similar, "Kazakhstan Today" reported. At a meeting with Almaty Mayor Viktor Khrapunov, Sliska said that she would like to see Belarus and Ukraine "follow the example of Kazakh President [Nursultan Nazarbaev], who always proposes very serious and new solutions for economic reforms," "Kazakhstan Today" reported. DK

UKRAINE UPBRAIDS NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY FOR 'INTERFERENCE.' Vasyl Baziv, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, told journalists on 11 June that the press communique released by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on 1 June after its recent session in Bratislava represents interference in Ukraine's domestic affairs, Interfax reported. The communique, which says that NATO parliamentarians urge the Ukrainian authorities to ensure "free, fair, and transparent" presidential elections this fall, also includes a phrase saying that President Leonid Kuchma is due to step down after his second term expires in October. Noting that Kuchma "has the right to run according to a Constitutional Court ruling" but "has decided not to do so," Baziv said that it will be up to the president and the Ukrainian people to decide when the president must leave. "Today, they instruct Kuchma; tomorrow, they will instruct another president," he said. "To command who must and who mustn't take part in elections has nothing in common with a call for transparent and fair elections. This is a case of interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state." JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW CHIEF TAX INSPECTOR. President Kuchma on 11 June appointed First Deputy Finance Minister Fedir Yaroshenko as head of the State Tax Administration (DPAU), Interfax reported. Yaroshenko will replace Yuriy Kravchenko, who resigned from the post the same day, following Kuchma's criticism that the DPAU has failed to enforce legislation regarding value-added taxes on major enterprises. JM

OUR UKRAINE TO SIGN COALITION ACCORD WITH YULIYA TYMOSHENKO BLOC. Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko said at a meeting with voters in Poltava Oblast on 13 June that his bloc will sign a cooperation agreement with the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc within a week, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported. According to Yushchenko, the two opposition blocs have reached "full understanding" regarding the accord, which will pertain to their cooperation during the presidential-election campaign and joint reformist measures after the presidential election. Yuliya Tymoshenko said on 11 June that the coalition accord will also include a section referring to who will run the future government following an anticipated election victory. "We will clearly define what personnel responsibility is being sought by each of the teams forming the coalition," Interfax quoted her as saying. JM

OSCE TO STEP UP EFFORTS TO SOLVE TRANSDNIESTER CONFLICT... A delegation of 25 ambassadors to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that visited Tiraspol and Chisinau (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 June 2004) on 12 June told journalists in the Moldovan capital that the OSCE intends to step up its efforts to solve the Transdniestrian conflict, Flux and ITAR-TASS reported. The delegation also urged the separatist authorities to adopt a more constructive stand in the negotiations with Chisinau. Bulgarian Ambassador Ivo Petrov, who also represents the OSCE chairman in office, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi, said the delegation has told the Tiraspol authorities that the OSCE considers the current situation to be unacceptable. Petrov said the OSCE "believes the conflict resolution plan elaborated by the mediators from Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE, which is based on an asymmetric federation, may serve as a good basis for preparing a document on the state system of the future federal state of Moldova," ITAR-TASS reported. Irish Ambassador to Moldova Brandon Moran said his country has paid a lot of attention to the Transdniester conflict since it took over the EU rotating presidency. MS