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RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTERS SET OUT AGENDAS... On the sidelines of the three-day informal summit of the Eurasian Economic Community, to which Ukraine is an observer, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and his new Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych met in Sochi on August 16 to take stock of bilateral relations for the first time following the recent change of government in Ukraine, RIA Novosti reported (see End Note, "RFE/RL Newsline," August 15, 2006). Yanukovych said that "we have to eliminate disproportion in the relations between Russia and Ukraine," adding that both countries should "maintain and intensify intergovernmental contacts aimed at establishing a common economic space." For his part, Fradkov expressed satisfaction regarding Yanukovych's intention to make relations with Russia a foreign-policy priority. "Our governments have many objectives to accomplish: to increase trade turnover, coordinate efforts to join the [World Trade Organization] WTO, establish market relations in the energy sector, and develop cooperation in aerospace industry," Fradkov said. The Eurasian Economic Community consists of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, with Armenia and Ukraine as observers. The summit's agenda is expected to center on energy and water issues, the formation of a customs union, issues related to the WTO, and strengthening the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Uzbekistan's relations with it, the daily "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on August 16. PM
...AND REACH AGREEMENT ON GAS PRICES. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych said in Sochi on August 16 that Ukrainian and Russian delegations have agreed on "price parameters" for Ukraine's gas purchases from Russia through the end of 2007, Interfax reported. He added that the price, which will be announced at an unspecified later date, "will be market-based, but the price mechanism will be transparent and reflect the level of economic relations between Ukraine and Russia." Elsewhere, President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of coordinating plans for the formation of a customs union for members of the Eurasian Economic Community with plans to join the WTO, Interfax reported. PM
UKRAINE REPORTEDLY AGREES ON GAS PRICE WITH RUSSIA FOR 2006-07. Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said at a news conference following talks with his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Fradkov, in Sochi on August 16 that the two sides have agreed on the price of gas for Ukraine until the end of 2006 and for 2007, Interfax-Ukraine reported. "The price parameters have been defined and approved until the end of 2006 and for 2007. The price will be market-based, but the price mechanism will be transparent and reflect the level of economic relations between Ukraine and Russia," Yanukovych said. He did not name the price, adding that he will reveal it later. JM
KYIV DECLARES READINESS FOR 'CONSTRUCTIVE' DIALOGUE WITH MINSK. Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mykola Azarov declared to Belarusian Ambassador to Ukraine Valyantsin Vyalichka on August 15 that Kyiv is ready for "constructive political dialogue" with Minsk, Belapan and UNIAN reported. Azarov stressed that a key priority for Ukraine is to increase economic cooperation with Belarus and boost bilateral trade, which he said is expected to total more than $2 million this year. Azarov also emphasized the need to sign a bilateral agreement to ease border crossing formalities for employees of the closed Chornobyl nuclear plant residing in the town of Slavutych. Employees have to travel through Belarus to get to work as the road linking Slavutych with Chornobyl, as well as the rail route between them, run through Belarus's Homel Oblast. JM