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UKRAINIAN PREMIER PUBLISHES PRESIDENTIAL PROGRAM... The "Ukrayinska pravda" website on 12 July published Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's presidential election program. Yanukovych pledged to improve comprehensively the economic situation for Ukrainians, including a 2-2.5-fold increase in average monthly salaries and to raise the minimum wage to the subsistence-minimum level. Yanukovych also promised to implement constitutional, judicial, administrative, and military reforms intended to "develop democracy [and] local self-government, protect civic rights and freedoms, and improve the national security of the state." In the foreign-policy sphere, Yanukovych promised to deepen Ukraine's "European integration advance [and] cooperation with the Russian Federation and other states that are our traditional partners." JM

...AS DOES COMMUNIST PARTY LEADER. On 12 July, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website also published Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko's presidential-election program. Symonenko asserted that the ruling regime has led Ukraine to "a national catastrophe that has no analogy in the world." He proposed "strengthening the role of the state" in achieving an "economic recovery," including the introduction of state control over prices of "essential goods," natural gas, fuel, electricity, and utilities, as well as the establishment of state monopolies in foreign trade and in the alcohol, tobacco, and medicine markets. Symonenko also proposed introducing a moratorium on the sale of state-run enterprises of "strategic importance" and reviewing previous privatizations. Symonenko pledged to create 1 million new jobs, increase the average monthly salary 2.5-fold, the minimum wage threefold, and the average pension 4.3-fold. Symonenko said he wants Ukraine to give up its intention to join NATO, pull its troops out of Iraq, and deepen integration with CIS countries, specifically within the Single Economic Space framework. JM

UKRAINE INVITES INTERNATIONAL MONITORS FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko has sent official invitations to heads of the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the UN asking the organizations to send monitors for the 31 October presidential election in Ukraine, Interfax reported on 13 July, quoting Foreign Ministry spokesman Dmytro Svystkov. Svystkov added that similar invitations were also sent by Verkhovna Rada speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn to the European Parliament and parliamentary structures of the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and NATO. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION CHIEF WON'T SEEK PRESIDENCY. Presidential administration chief Viktor Medvedchuk, who is also leader of the Social Democratic Party-united (SDPU-o), said on 13 July that he is sure Prime Minister Yanukovych will win the fall presidential election, Interfax reported. "[Incumbent President] Leonid Danylovych Kuchma has no desire to run [in the election]," Medvedchuk said. "Regarding myself, I have no such desire, either." A congress of the SDPU-o in Kharkiv on 10 July backed Yanukovych's presidential bid. Presidential candidates may be proposed for registration by the Central Election Commission until 28 July. JM

ROMANIA GIVES UKRAINE 'LAST CHANCE' BEFORE TURNING TO ICJ... Foreign Ministry State Secretary Bogdan Aurescu told journalists on 12 July that Romania will bring its dispute with Ukraine over the oil-rich Black Sea shelf surrounding Serpents Island (Zimiynyy Ostrov) before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague if no agreement is reached in bilateral discussions by next month, Mediafax reported. Bogdanescu said that a new round of talks ended in Yalta on 10 July without agreement between the representatives of Kyiv and Bucharest. A new round of negotiations is planned for August and, according to Bogdanescu, Bucharest will appeal to the ICJ if that round ends in a deadlock (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 February 2004). MS

...AND SAYS EU OFFICIALS 'CONCERNED' OVER UKRAINIAN DANUBE DELTA CANAL. Aurescu also said on 12 July that European Commission President Romano Prodi and Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten have expressed their concern over Ukraine's decision to proceed with its construction of a deep-water canal through the Bystraya estuary, Mediafax reported. Aurescu said that at last week's EU summit the two officials "firmly insisted" on the need for a study on the environmental impact the canal might have on the Danube Delta, adding that construction should be halted until the study can be completed. Aurescu said Ukraine has sent only a "summary" of its construction plans in response to Romania's demand that all documents pertaining to the project be released, in line with relevant international conventions. He said the canal is not just a Romanian-Ukrainian issue, as the Danube Delta is a site protected by UNESCO and other international organizations. He also said that Kyiv has yet to respond to a letter sent by European Environment Affairs Commissioner Margot Wallstrom (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 May, 4 and 24 June 2004. MS