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BELARUS INCREASES OIL TRANSIT FEES FOR RUSSIA BY ONE-THIRD. The Belarusian Economy Ministry's website on February 5 published a government resolution increasing tariffs for Russian oil transit via Belarusian pipelines to Europe as of February 15. The increase in the tariffs, which have been unchanged since 1996, will raise the transit price for oil bound for Germany and Poland to $3.5 from $2.6 per ton of oil, or by 34.6 percent. Tariffs to Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Ukraine will rise to $1.5 from $1.14 per ton of oil, or by 31.6 percent. The ministry said the latest fees are based on the rates charged by Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft on Russian soil. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT NOMINATES NEW FOREIGN MINISTER... President Viktor Yushchenko on February 5 submitted a motion to the Verkhovna Rada to appoint Oleksandr Ohryzko as the country's new foreign minister, Interfax-Ukraine reported. First Deputy Foreign Minister Ohryzko was appointed acting foreign minister after Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk tendered his resignation on January 30 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," February 1, 2007). Ohryzko, 50, has been in the diplomatic service in low-key posts since 1978. In 1999-2004, he served as Ukraine's ambassador to Austria. In February 2005, he was appointed first deputy foreign minister under Tarasyk. JM
...AND CHALLENGES LAW ON CABINET IN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. President Yushchenko told journalists on February 5 that he is appealing to the Constitutional Court to rule that the law on the cabinet enacted last week despite his two vetoes is unconstitutional (see "RFE/RL Newsline," February 2, 2007), Interfax-Ukraine reported. Yushchenko's announcement followed his meeting earlier the same day with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz, and opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko, where he tried to forge a compromise on the controversial cabinet law but apparently failed. JM