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MINSK EXPELS BRITISH EXPERT IN RADIOLOGY. Belarusian authorities have invalidated a multiple-entry visa for Alan Flowers, an expert in radiology based at Kingston University in London, and banned him from visiting the country for the next five years, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service and Belapan reported on 31 July. Officials gave no explanation for the expulsion. Flowers, who came to Belarus earlier in July, must leave Belarus by 3 August. Flowers, who has spent years studying the fallout from the Chornobyl nuclear disaster, told journalists that his deportation might be linked to his contacts with the unregistered European Youth Parliament group in Belarus. "The main reason I believe the Belarusian authorities are not happy with my presence here is that this organization has become stronger and more Belarusian students have actively joined the debate," he said. JM
OUR UKRAINE, SOCIALIST PARTY LEADERS SIGN FAIR-ELECTION ACCORD. Our Ukraine head Viktor Yushchenko and Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz, two major candidates in the 31 October presidential candidates, signed an agreement for a "fair election" in Kyiv on 2 August, Interfax and UNIAN reported. The politicians pledged to pool efforts in monitoring the vote and exposing violations of the law during the election campaign. Yushchenko said he hopes to sign a similar agreement with another presidential candidate, Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko. Commenting on Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's decision not to run for a third term, Yushchenko said the option of making Kuchma the country's prime minister after the election has not been ruled out. JM
FOUR MILLION UKRAINIANS REPORTEDLY BACK PREMIER'S PRESIDENTIAL BID. Four million signatures have been collected to back the presidential candidacy of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Interfax reported on 31 July, quoting Serhiy Tihipko, the chief of Yanukovych's election staff. According to Ukraine's law on presidential elections, a registered candidate for the 31 October election must submit at least 500,000 signatures in support of his or her candidacy to the Central Election Commission by 20 September. JM
RUSSIAN OIL FLOWS INTO UKRAINE'S ODESA-BRODY PIPELINE. Ukrtransnafta, the operator of Ukrainian oil pipelines, has started pumping Russian crude through the Odesa-Brody pipeline in the "reverse" direction, from Brody to the oil terminal at the Yuzhnyy port in Odesa, Interfax reported on 2 August. The action follows the recent signing of a contract between Ukrtransnafta and the Russian oil company TNK-BP, which will ship 9 million tons of Russian oil annually for the next three years (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 July 2004). The West and Russia have long been engaged in a political tug-of-war over the Odesa-Body pipeline and the direction of the oil flow in it (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 20 July 2004). JM
...WHILE TIRASPOL ANNOUNCES RESTRICTIONS ON GRAIN EXPORTS... Reacting to the Moldovan economic sanctions, Transdniester separatist leader Igor Smirnov on 1 August signed a decree prohibiting agricultural enterprises in Transdniester with debts to the budget from exporting grain without the authorities' permission, ITAR-TASS reported. The decree also bans the sale of bread to buyers based outside the separatist region. On 31 July, the Tiraspol authorities proposed the resumption of negotiations with Chisinau. A statement issued by the separatist "Foreign Ministry" appealed to the Moldovan leadership and the three mediators (Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) calling for a "civilized dialogue" within the framework of the five-sided negotiations. At the same time, the statement accused Moldova of intending to settle the conflict by force and charged that Chisinau has escalated the dispute over the closed schools. On 1 August, ITAR-TASS cited Moldovan Reintegration Minister Vasilii Sova as saying, "If the leaders in Tiraspol want to begin negotiations, they must agree to the proposals made on 27 July by the mediators to diffuse tension." MS