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TAJIKISTAN, UKRAINE LOOK TO BOOST COOPERATION. Tajik Defense Minister Colonel General Khayrulloev and Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko met in Dushanbe on 24 June and signed a military cooperation agreement, Interfax-AVN reported. Hrytsenko invited Tajik military representatives to participate in multinational peacekeeping exercises held in Ukraine. DK

UKRAINE AGREES TO PAY CASH FOR TURKMEN GAS. Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov and Oleksiy Ivchenko, head of Ukrainian oil and gas monopoly Naftohaz Ukrayiny, reached an agreement in Ashgabat on 24 June to settle a dispute over Ukraine's payments for Turkmen gas shipments, reported. Beginning on 1 July, Ukraine will pay $44 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas, all in cash. Ukraine had previously paid half in cash and half in kind at an overall rate of $58 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2005. Ukraine also agreed to pay its accrued debt on payments in kind with goods shipments "at average world prices," Turkmenistan's Foreign Ministry said. The dispute began last week when Niyazov charged that Ukraine has run up nearly $600 million in debts on shipments of goods in payment for gas deliveries in 2004 and 2005 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 June 2005). Turkmenistan is contracted to sell 36 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine in 2005. DK

FORMER UKRAINIAN REGIONAL GOVERNOR WANTS TO UNITE OPPOSITION. The New Democracy party is going to initiate the creation of a coalition of opposition forces for the 2006 parliamentary elections, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 26 June, quoting New Democracy leader Yevhen Kushnaryov, who was Kharkiv Oblast governor during the premiership of Viktor Yanukovych. Kushnaryov, who was speaking to a New Democracy congress in Kyiv on that day, did not rule out that his party may also join a bloc or participate on its own in next year's elections. Earlier last week, the Prosecutor-General's Office said Kushnaryov has been accused of endangering Ukraine's territorial integrity. A similar charge has also been brought against Luhansk Oblast Council head Viktor Tykhonov (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 June 2005). Kushnyarov and Tykhonov participated in a convention of Ukrainian councilors in November 2004, at which separatist ideas were voiced (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 November 2004). JM

KYIV REPORTS NEW GAS SUPPLY CONTRACT WITH ASHGABAT FOR 2005-06. Naftohaz Ukrainy head Oleksiy Ivchenko told journalists in Kyiv on 24 June that earlier the same day he signed a contract with Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov in Ashgabat on Turkmen gas supplies to Ukraine for the second half of 2005 and the entire 2006, Interfax-Ukraine and ITAR-TASS reported. Under the contract, as of 1 July Kyiv will have to pay fully in cash $44 for 1,000 cubic meters of Turkmen gas, buying 15.5 billion cubic meters in July-December 2005 ($682 million) and 33 billion cubic meters in 2006 ($1.45 billion). Under the previous contract that was valid for 2002-2006, Ukraine obtained Turkmen gas for $58 per 1,000 cubic meters, paying 50 percent in cash and the other 50 percent in commodities. Ivchenko said both sides also signed three other agreements relating to a Ukrainian debt for Turkmen gas deliveries and the supply of the so-called "investment" Turkmen gas in 2005-06. Ivchenko said on the 1+1 television channel on 26 June that the new Turkmen gas contract is very favorable for Ukraine, as it allows a saving of some $20-$22 on the purchase and transit costs of each 1,000 meters of Turkmen gas in comparison with the previous contract. JM

UKRAINIAN, POLISH CATHOLICS CALL FOR RECONCILIATION. More than 500 priests of the Polish Roman Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic (Uniate) Church participated in a ceremonial liturgy in Lviv on 26 June, at which they appealed to Ukrainians and Poles for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation, Polish Radio reported. The bishops of the two churches made a similar call in Warsaw a week earlier. JM