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...AND AZERBAIJANI AUTHORITIES CONFIDENT OF GETTING HIM. In Baku, Azerbaijani Interior Minister Ramil Usubov predicted that the Ukrainian authorities will agree to Azerbaijan's request to extradite Quliev, reported. But Djalaloglu claimed that Quliyev's arrest was illegal as he has been granted political asylum in the U.S. and he cannot, therefore, be extradited. Crimean police official Oleksandr Dombrovsky told RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service on 18 October that the Ukrainian authorities have 40 days to decide whether or not to extradite Quliyev to Baku. Meanwhile, some 301 parliamentary election candidates have signed a statement in support of Quliyev and protesting the Azerbaijani authorities' stated intention of arresting him as illegal, reported. LF

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT SUPPORTS BAN ON PRIVATIZATION OF STEEL GIANT. The Verkhovna Rada on 18 October passed in the first reading two resolutions that prohibit the government from selling its stake in the metallurgical giant Kryvorizhstal, Ukrainian media reported. A bill proposing to include Kryvorizhstal in the list of state facilities than cannot be sold was backed by 256 deputies. The other, stipulating the introduction of a moratorium on the sale of the state stake in Kryvorizhstal, was supported by 255 deputies. It is not clear from reports whether the resolutions are binding or when they may be endorsed in their final versions. A presidential veto on a parliamentary bill can be overridden by no fewer than 300 votes. Earlier this year the government canceled the controversial privatization of Kryvorizhstal in 2004 and proposed a 93.02 percent stake in the enterprise for a new tender that must be concluded by 24 October. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PROMISES FAIR ELECTIONS IN 2006. President Viktor Yushchenko said in London on 17 October that his government's primary task next year is to hold honest and democratic parliamentary elections, Interfax-Ukraine reported. "This is a test that the previous authorities have not passed," Yushchenko said. "As the president I declare that no administrative resource will work in these elections." He was speaking at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where England's Queen Elizabeth II presented him with an award for what was officially described as a substantial contribution to improvement of international relations last year. JM

UKRAINIAN MINISTER SAYS PROSECUTOR-GENERAL SACKED FOR INEFFICIENCY. Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko said on Channel 5 on 17 October that President Yushchenko dismissed Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 October 2005) due to investigative ineffectiveness. "Following our motions, prosecutors have launched more than 1,000 investigations involving officials of various categories, but none of them has been brought to court," Lutsenko said. "You should agree that this looks like a system, not some odd errors. It is necessary to change the system. The president examined the situation and made the right decision." Meanwhile, Piskun said in an interview with the newspaper "Svoboda" on 17 October that his dismissal resulted from his resistance to pressure from the president. Piskun also suggested that Yushchenko harbors a grievance against him for the fact that the Prosecutor-General's Office had closed a criminal case against Yuliya Tymoshenko while she was prime minister. JM