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KYIV ENCOURAGES INVESTORS AT INTERNATIONAL FORUM... Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said at an international economic forum in Kyiv on 16 June, which was dubbed a "mini-Davos" by media, that Ukraine will launch reforms in the second half of 2005, Ukrainian and international media reported. "The next year will become the peak of reforms," Yushchenko pledged, predicting that this year Ukraine will see reduced but healthy economic growth of 7-8 percent, down from more than 12 percent in 2004. Yushchenko also promised that privatization "will be continued and pursued more actively." Speaking at the forum earlier the same day, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Oleh Rybachuk said the government will abandon its earlier plan to publish a list of enterprises subject to reprivatization, leaving some questionable privatizations for reviews by the courts. The economic forum in Kyiv was attended by Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Estonian President Arnold Ruutel, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joachin Almunia, and some 150 international businessmen. JM

...AND PLEDGES TO GUARANTEE PROPERTY RIGHTS. President Yuschhenko, Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, and Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn on 16 June signed a memorandum guaranteeing property rights in Ukraine, in an apparent move to ally fears over the government's earlier reprivatization plans, Ukrainian and international media reported. "The memorandum signed right now means that Ukraine is putting a full stop in the discussion of privatization processes that has been pursued for several recent months," Yushchenko commented. "The memorandum means that starting from now all privatizations in Ukraine will be made exclusively in accordance with the law.... The properties that have been privatized with violations of privatization tenders or the law in force will be contested in the courts." JM

TRANSDNIESTER THREATENS TO BLOCK MOLDOVAN TRAFFIC TO UKRAINE. The authorities of Moldova's secessionist region of Transdniester are going to prohibit Moldovan automobiles from entering and crossing the region in transit to Ukraine if Chisinau refuses to issue special permits allowing Transdniester passenger and cargo transport operators to enter Ukraine, Infotag reported on 16 June, quoting a transport official from Tiraspol. Earlier this month, the Ukrainian transport authorities withdrew such permits from Transdniester transport agencies, bringing to a halt virtually all regular line buses from Transdniester to Ukraine. The permits are issued through the Moldovan Transport Ministry. Under a 1999 transport agreement, Chisinau obliged itself to allocating 20 percent of Ukrainian permits to Transdniester operators. The withdrawal of Ukrainian transport permits from Transdniester transport operators appears to be Kyiv's move toward fulfilling its pledges to cooperate with Chisinau in curbing smuggling through the Ukrainian-Moldovan border (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 13 May 2005). JM