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FOUR PRESIDENTS MEET IN CRIMEA TO MARK ARTEK ANNIVERSARY. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko met in Crimea on 18 August with his counterparts from Poland, Lithuania, and Georgia, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Valdas Adamkus, and Mikheil Saakashvili, respectively, Ukrainian and international news agencies reported. The formal reason for the meeting was the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the youth summer camp Artek in Crimea, which during the Soviet era was a much-coveted recreation and indoctrination center for members of the ideological scout organization Young Pioneers and their peers from the former socialist bloc. Yushchenko held bilateral talks with Kwasniewski and Adamkus. Yushchenko's press service reported that he expressed concern over the development of Polish-Russian and Polish-Belarusian relations, noting that the recent beating of Polish diplomats in Moscow and the Warsaw-Minsk spat over an ethnic Polish organization in Belarus "do not have a positive impact on bilateral relations." JM
UKRAINE RELAXES VISA REGIME FOR U.S. NATIONALS. President Yushchenko has amended his decree of June on visa-free travel for U.S. citizens, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 18 August. Under the amendment, starting from 1 July 2005, U.S. citizens will require no visas for entry into or transit across Ukraine if their stay in Ukraine does not exceed 90 days. Under the previous version of the decree, visa-free travel could only be enjoyed by those U.S. citizens who paid a repeat visit to Ukraine, which could not exceed 90 days, within six months of their previous visit. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS COAL MINISTER. President Yushchenko has appointed Viktor Topolov as Ukraine's coal-industry minister, Ukrainian news agencies reported on 18 August. Topolov was first deputy minister for fuel and energy prior to his current appointment. Yushchenko created the Coal Industry Ministry earlier this year, assigning to it part of the Fuel and Energy Ministry staff. JM