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PARTY OF REGIONS HEAD BELIEVES UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WANTS TO POOL EFFORTS. Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych said on July 20 after meeting with President Viktor Yushchenko that he believes the president wants to consolidate the efforts of Ukraine's political forces, Interfax reported the same day. "I saw in the president's eyes a big desire to consolidate efforts and that was enough for me," Yanukovych told reporters. However, Yanukovych was apparently unable to determine whether Yushchenko will submit his candidacy for prime minister to parliament. Yanukovych did claim that Yushchenko is not considering dissolving parliament, and that the president is not considering any other candidates for the premiership. "The talks concerned the stabilization of the political situation, the stabilization of the parliament's proceedings, and the creation of the effective system of power," Yanukovych said. AM

TYMOSHENKO BLOC ACCUSES COALITION OF PAYING OFF UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS... Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of the eponymous bloc in the Verkhovna Rada, said on July 20 that the anti-crisis coalition intends to expand its support to the 300-vote constitutional majority by paying off lawmakers, Interfax reported. Tymoshenko suggested that lawmakers have been offered millions of dollars to join the coalition comprising the Party of Regions, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party. The coalition needs a constitutional majority in order to complete a reform that would transfer presidential powers to the prime minister, Tymoshenko said, adding that the coalition also plans to form its "own" Constitutional Court. "I'm convinced that the president will not surrender the country to Yanukovych and criminal groups," Tymoshenko said. AM

...AND INTENDS TO GIVE UP ITS SEATS IN UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT SOON. Yuliya Tymoshenko announced on July 20 that her bloc will make public on July 24 a document detailing its intention of giving up its seats in parliament, which could force the parliament's dissolution, Interfax reported the same day. The Ukrainian Constitution states that the 450-seat parliament is legally invalid if it cannot assemble at least two-thirds of active seats. Tymoshenko, whose bloc has 129 votes, admitted that "we will not manage without Our Ukraine [80 lawmakers] to announce early elections," but "we are ready to announce our stance." Tymoshenko said that her bloc will appeal to Our Ukraine to join forces and sign the document announcing the withdrawl. AM

RUSSIA TO EVACUATE 260 MORE PEOPLE FROM LEBANON. A spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry told Interfax in Moscow on July 21 that about 260 Russian citizens living in Lebanon and an unspecified number of citizens of Ukraine and Kazakhstan will soon be evacuated via Latakia, Syria (see "RFE/RL Newsline," July 20, 2006). An additional 150 Russian and CIS citizens will be flown out of Cyprus, to which they have already fled from Lebanon. Yury Brazhnikov, who heads the ministry's international operations department, said on July 20 that the ongoing evacuation was "unique" and had been launched in record time. He added that the ministry is considering starting a humanitarian operation in Lebanon "that may follow the operation to evacuate Russian citizens." PM