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UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPOINTS NEW FOREIGN MINISTER... The Verkhovna Rada on March 21 overwhelmingly approved Arseniy Yatsenyuk as new foreign minister, Ukrainian media reported. His candidacy was backed by 426 lawmakers, while only 226 votes were required for approval. The opposition parliamentary caucuses, Our Ukraine, and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, left the session hall immediately after the vote on Yatsenyuk. Yatsenyuk, 32, was nominated for the post of foreign minister by President Viktor Yushchenko on March 20, following a failed vote on the approval of Volodymyr Ohryzko earlier the same day (see "RFE/RL Newsline," March 20, 2007). Yatsenyuk was economy minister in the cabinet of Yuriy Yekhanurov from September 2005 to August 2006. He previously served as deputy governor of the National Bank of Ukraine. JM
...AS WELL AS THREE OTHER MINISTERS. Also on March 21, the Verkhovna Rada confirmed the nominations of Anatoliy Kinakh, Volodymyr Yatsuba, and Oleh Popov for the posts of economy minister, regional development and construction minister, and housing and public utilities minister, respectively, Ukrainian media reported. Kinakh, head of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, was prime minister in 2001-02 and held a number of other senior positions in different cabinets, including the job of first deputy prime minister in Yuliya Tymoshenko's cabinet formed after the 2004 Orange Revolution. The Our Ukraine People's Union, a component of the propresidential Our Ukraine bloc, said in a statement published on the Our Ukraine website (http://www.razom.org.ua) that Kinakh's decision to join Prime Minister Yanukovych's cabinet constitutes a "political betrayal" and a "stab in the back" of the united opposition and the president. JM