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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT URGES NATO TO EXPAND RELATIONS... During his address on 29 June at the NATO summit in Istanbul, President Leonid Kuchma called on the Atlantic alliance to broaden its relations with Ukraine, Interfax reported. Kuchma said that Ukraine has undergone important changes over the past five years, adding that its pace of economic growth has been among the highest in Europe and that the country is characterized by "the stability of its political situation and ethnic tolerance." Kuchma also said that after a "period of loud but ineffective declarations," relations between Ukraine and NATO are headed in the right direction, "the way of practical actions." Kuchma assured the alliance that Ukraine intends to continue participating in joint projects -- in particular the scrapping of ammunition and light weapons -- and to take measures to make Ukraine's military standards compatible with those of NATO. AM
...AND PROMISES TO CREATE ACCEPTABLE CONDITIONS FOR ELECTION MONITORING. Kuchma on 29 June told participants at the NATO summit that Ukraine will "assure all necessary conditions" are made for observers' work during the country's presidential elections this fall, Interfax reported. Kuchma noted NATO members' recent interest in Ukraine's domestic politics, in particular the presidential election. He added that Ukraine expects "just one thing" from outside election observers: "To report objectively about events in the country and bring this information to the broad international community." AM
UKRAINE PRESSED TO SHARE NATO VALUES. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer reiterated on 29 June his stance that Ukraine should make greater efforts to absorb values shared by NATO members, Interfax reported. Among those values, according to de Hoop Scheffer, are the superiority of law, free and fair elections, and media freedom. He stressed the importance of NATO's partnership with Ukraine and praised the country's military reforms. "Ukraine does a good job," he said. "But do not forget that the further integration with NATO structures means the protection and the observance [of the] values on which the alliance was built." AM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR SPECIFIC PATH OF COOPERATION WITH EU. President Kuchma announced on 29 June that talks between Ukraine and the EU regarding the signing of a joint action plan should yield a specific program of cooperation, Interfax reported, citing presidential spokeswoman Olena Hromnytska. Kuchma said that Ukraine's highest priorities in the talks are achieving market-economy status, access to the EU's markets, and less stringent EU visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens. "If the EU proves unready for such decisions, talks should be extended" until Ukraine achieves more favorable conditions, Kuchma said. AM