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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PREMIER WANTS FOREIGN MINISTER DISMISSED. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych called on President Viktor Yushchenko and parliament in a television interview on November 11 to dismiss Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, Interfax-Ukraine reported. "How can I react to a minister who says he is in opposition to the government? What does this mean? This means he disagrees with the program the government is fulfilling. If you are a man, if you have principles, resign. Do this on your own. But if you are not, if you don't want to -- we'll help you, of course. This is certain," Yanukovych said. Yanukovych also alleged that the "unscrupulous and irresponsible" Tarasyuk prevented a meeting between the Ukrainian prime minister and Council of Europe Secretary-General Terry Davis last week. Earlier this month, the Verkhovna Rada passed a resolution demanding that Tarasyuk and Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko on November 15 deliver reports on their performance (see "RFE/RL Newsline," November 3, 2006). Ukraine's defense and foreign ministers are nominated by the president and confirmed by parliament, which also has the right to dismiss them. JM

UKRAINIAN PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY ELECTS LEADING BODY. The pro-presidential Our Ukraine People's Union (NSNU) held the second stage of its congress on November 11, Ukrainian media reported. At the first stage of the NSNU congress last month, President Yushchenko, who is also NSNU honorary chairman, called on the party to profoundly reform itself and elect new leaders (see "RFE/RL Newsline," October 23, 2006). The November 11 convention elected an NSNU Council composed of 214 activists, including current NSNU leader Roman Bezsmertnyy and his close associates: Petro Poroshenko, Mykola Martynenko, David Zhvaniya, Oleksandr Tretyakov, Yevhen Chervonenko, and Roman Zvarych. The NSNU also confirmed its earlier stance that it will remain in opposition to the government of Prime Minister Yanukovyvh. The NSNU Council is expected to appoint a new party leader in the near future. JM