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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT HERALDS ERA OF POLITICAL STABILITY. President Viktor Yushchenko said during a news conference with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on September 7 that Ukraine now enjoys a period of political stability, Interfax-Ukraine reported. "Today Ukraine is in a stage of political stability," Yushchenko said. "The political forces that participated in the parliamentary elections have followed a fairly complicated path to form the parliamentary majority, the government, the basic views of nationwide values, and the attitudes to key issues that stirred the nation for many long years." JM

UKRAINIAN SPEAKER APPEALS TO WASHINGTON OVER WHISTLEBLOWER. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz said on September 7 that he has sent a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv asking the U.S. authorities to help organize a visit by former Ukrainian presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko to Ukraine, Ukrainian media reported. According to Moroz, Melnychenko may be a key witness in the criminal case involving the murder of Internet journalist Heorhiy Gongadze in Ukraine in September 2000. In November 2000, Moroz publicized recordings allegedly made by Melnychenko in then President Leonid Kuchma's office that suggested that Kuchma and other high-ranking officials might have been implicated in the slaying of Gongadze. Melnychenko, who left Ukraine in 2000, obtained political asylum in the United States in 2001. Moroz stressed that in urging the resolution of the Gongadze case, he is not guided by a desire to settle scores with Kuchma or former presidential administration chief Viktor Medvedchuk. "I have never said that they [Kuchma and Medvedchuk] had ordered to kill the man [Gongadze]. But the fact that this whole story originated in their office is beyond any doubt," Moroz added. Three former officers of the Interior Ministry are currently standing trial on charges of murdering Gongadze (see "RFE/RL Newsline," January 9, 2006). JM