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GUAM LEADERS IN KYIV DECLARE TO CREATE 'ORGANIZATION FOR DEMOCRACY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.' The presidents of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova (GUAM) -- Mikheil Saakashvili, Viktor Yushchenko, Ilham Aliyev, and Vladimir Voronin, respectively -- signed a declaration in Kyiv on May 23 to set up the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development -- GUAM, UNIAN reported. President Yushchenko said the objectives of the new organization are to promote democratic values, safeguard sustained economic development, strengthen international and regional security, and deepen European integration. JM

KYIV APPEALS TO WEST OVER RUSSIAN GAS PRICES. In an interview published in the May 23 issue of the "Financial Times," Ukrainian Economy Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged the United States and the EU to help secure Russian gas supplies to Ukraine at the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in St. Petersburg in July. "I hope the G-8 will raise this issue. It's very, very important to coordinate our concerns," he said. Yatsenyuk also noted that the January increase of the Russian gas price for Ukraine from $50 to $95 per 1,000 cubic meters will be felt by his country in slower economic growth and increased inflation. Referring to reports that Russia might seek a gas price increase to $230 per 1,000 cubic meters, Yatsenyuk said such a rise could lead to a 6-7 percent drop in gross domestic product and a leap in inflation to 25-30 percent. JM