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1 September 1998
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Verkhovna Rada Speaker Tkachenko Meets With Parliament’s Leaders

On August 31, Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Tkachenko met with his deputies, heads of parliamentary committees, and leaders of all parliamentary factions. Opening the meeting, Mr. Tkachenko stated the problems the people of Ukraine face now, and emphasized the importance and roles and of parliamentary committees and factions in drafting the legislation necessary for resolving these problems. Mr. Tkachenko also stressed the need to create a single working organ including representatives of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Presidential Administration, and the Cabinet of Ministers to draft national programs aimed at reviving Ukraine. The Parliament's main task, according to Mr. Tkachenko, is to lead the nation out of the current crisis and improve the well-being of the Ukrainian people. "And we have to do everything necessary for this," Mr. Tkachenko said. The speaker underlined the need to abandon confrontation, and focus all efforts on achieving mutual understanding and constructive work. The parliament has to consider about 290 draft laws and up to 50 alternative draft laws during its second session. Participants in the meeting discussed issues concerning the current parliamentary session, including the timetable for the September 1-18 session, agendas of sessions, press coverage procedures, and Ukraine's accession to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Participants also discussed the economic situation of Ukraine, the state budget, and social welfare. The parliament's session was scheduled to open at 16:00 on September 1.

Ukrainian And Uzbek Presidents Agree On Deportees' Citizenship

On August 22, President Leonid Kuchma signed a directive removing the obstacles that have thus far prevented the returning Crimean tartar deportees from obtaining Ukrainian citizenship. This was disclosed by Yevhen Kushnaryov, head of the Presidential Administration, at a press conference held in Simferopol on August 28. The directive stipulates measures aimed at resolving the problems facing deportees and their children returning from Uzbekistan. According to Mr. Kushnaryov, the procedures for relinquishing the Uzbek citizenship that remained the main problem the deportees faced, have now been simplified, following the signing of the relevant Ukrainian-Uzbek agreements. He disclosed that the signing of the agreements was made possible as a result of direct talks between the presidents of Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The presidential directive orders the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, and the Justice Ministry to determine before September 10, the procedures for implementing the Ukrainian-Uzbek agreements. According to President Kuchma's Crimean representative, 104,724 Crimean tartars have returned to the Crimea since the signing of the November 13, 1991 Ukrainian Law on Citizenship. Out of these people, 97,435 do not have Ukrainian citizenship while 15,593 have no citizenship at all. According to official data, a total of 260,000 former deportees presently reside in the Crimea.

Crimean Tartar Leader Praises Presidential Measures Simplifying Citizenship Procedures For Deportees

Crimean Tartar leader Refat Chubarov has praised the Ukrainian presidential decree "On Measures for Resolving Issues Involving Deportees and their Descendants Returning from Uzbekistan." Addressing journalists in Simferopol on August 31, Mr. Chubarov described the decree as "a breakthrough in efforts aimed at resolving the issue of citizenship for over 80,000 Crimean Tartars and other former deportees resettling in the Crimea." However, he said that the issue could be resolved far quicker, since its resolution is based on a personal agreement between the presidents of Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma signed a directive on August 22 removing the obstacles that have thus far prevented returning Crimean tartar deportees from obtaining Ukrainian citizenship.

First Deputy Foreign Minister Buteyko Meets With Greek Officials

The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers' special representative on European and trans-Atlantic integration, First Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko, held several meetings in Athens on August 31, as part of a series of consultations in the capitals of European Union member states. Mr. Buteyko met I Kapis, chairman of the Greek Parliamentary Commission for Legal Norms and Openness, T. Sotiropulos, head of the Greek Prime Minister's Diplomatic Office, and P. Apostolidis, secretary-general of the Greek Foreign Ministry. During the meetings, Mr. Buteyko presented the main aspects of Ukraine's Strategy for Integration Into the European Union. He stressed that the goal of the document, which was approved by President Kuchma on July 11, 1998, is to implement Ukraine's strategic policy of attaining full membership of the European Union. He emphasized the importance which Ukraine attaches to the political significance of its policy of integration into the European Union. The Ukrainian diplomat and his hosts agreed that the European Union summit scheduled for Vienna in October this year will be an important stage in the development of Ukrainian-European Union relations. Mr. Buteyko departed for Rome on the same day for further consultations.

Ukraine And European Union Discuss Summit's Agenda

Ukraine and the European Union have begun preparing for their summit to be held on October 16, in Vienna, Austria. As Ukrainian Foreign Ministry officials disclosed at a news briefing on September 1, the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers' special representative on European and trans-Atlantic integration, First Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko, has met with the chairman of the Austrian National Council Heinz Fischer and Austrian Foreign Ministry's state secretary B. Ferrero-Waldner to discuss preparations for the summit. Mr. Buteyko stated the main aspects of Ukraine's long-term strategy for development of relations with Europe. He noted that the Ukrainian strategy is aimed at securing associate membership and ultimate full-fledged membership of the European Union.

Ukraine And France To Strengthen Relations

Ukraine and France have reached such a level of political mutual understanding that high-level dialogue has become a necessity. This statement was made on September 1, by Viktor Nahaychuk, head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's Information Department at a news briefing at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. Mr. Nahaychuk said Ukraine is optimistic about realizing the full potentials of its bilateral relations with France, particularly trade and economic relations. He described as historic French President Jacques Chirac's first visit to Ukraine due to take place on September 2-4. He stressed that President J. Chirac will be the first French president to come to Ukraine on a state visit. As Mr. Nahaychuk disclosed, Mr. Chirac is to hold talks with Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Tkachenko, and Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko. The two nations' ministers for foreign affairs, foreign economic relations, and health are also expected to have separate talks. The two presidents will meet Ukrainian and French business executives. Mr. Chirac will deliver his address to the Kiev National University’s students and faculty. According to Mr. Nahaychuk, the list of documents expected to be signed during the visit demonstrates the significant range of mutual interest between the .two nations. Among the documents are intergovernmental and inter-departmental agreements on cooperation on peaceful use of nuclear energy, on nuclear safety, on cooperation of law enforcement bodies, and on cooperation in the energy sector.

President Chirac Calls On French And Ukrainians To Jointly Build United Europe

On the eve of his first state visit to Ukraine, France's President Jacques Chirac has sent a message of friendship and solidarity to the people of Ukraine. Mr. Chirac told journalists that Ukrainians and the French belong to two ancient European nations who have strong roots on the own lands and are proud of their history and culture. He said that he will go to Kiev to demonstrate the French people's support for independent Ukraine. Noting Ukraine's foreign-policy achievements and Ukraine's recognition as one of the major players in preserving European security, Mr. Chirac said " I am aware that the economic reforms in Ukraine are difficult but they are necessary, and must be completed so that they can yield real benefits, and enable Ukraine to fully use its numerous international economic advantages. France wants to assist Ukraine to bring these transformations to a successful completion and assert itself in the European family, to which belongs." Mr. Chirac called on the peoples of Ukraine and France will build a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous united Europe, about which the previous generations dreamed.

International Conference On Human Rights To Be Held In Yalta On September 2-4

An international conference "Human Rights for Human Development" will be held in the Ukrainian city of Yalta, Crimea, from September 2 to 4. The conference is of particular significance to Ukraine since it will be held exactly fifty years after the Universal declaration of Human Rights and will be the epicenter of discussions on issues that are very important to Ukraine. Hosting the conference is aimed at demonstrating Ukraine's achievement on the road to building a democratic society and protecting the rights of its citizens. The Yalta conference will be organized by the European and CIS regional bureau of the United Nations Development Program in conjunction with the Ukrainian government, the Ukrainian Office of the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, other United Nations agencies, and the Association of Western European Parliamentarians. The conference will be attended by representatives of governments, parliaments, and public organizations from 25 countries. Ukraine's delegation will be headed by deputy Prime minister Valeriy Smoliy. The opening ceremony will be held at the venue of the historic Yalta conference of the leaders of the USSR, the United States, and Great Britain back in 1945.

Peace Shield 98 To Be Held At Lviv Training Ground As Multinational Command-Post Exercise

The annual Peace Shield 98 military exercise that the Lviv training ground will play host to on September 14-24, will be conducted as a multinational brigade headquarters-scale command-post exercise. According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the exercise's scenario envisages an armed conflict in the border area separating two hypothetical belligerents named Norania and Exland, and provides for the multinational peacekeeping force's intervention in the conflict. The exercise's rationale is to train commanders of different nationalities whose armies differ in terms of materiel and organizational structures, in jointly planning and carrying out peace keeping and policing operations in war-torn regions. A total of 938 staff officers are supposed to be involved in the Peace Shield 98. The exercise's computer wargame part will involve 400 officers from a score of countries. The UK, Russia and Uzbekistan will delegate their military observers. The mixed Polish-Ukrainian battalion of peacekeepers will be the only combat unit at the Lviv training ground at the time with its mission stated outside the framework of the Peace Shield 98.

Sea Breeze'98 Manoeuvers To Be Held In October

The Ukrainian-US naval exercise "Sea Breeze'98" will be held in Ukraine on October 25 - November 4, 1998, on the subject "Carrying out of peacekeeping operations, providing of humanitarian relief and carrying out of search/rescue operations on the territory of a country having suffered from an earthquake." The Sea Breeze'98 maneuvers will be held according to the Ukrainian-US cooperation program and in the spirit of the Partnership for Peace Program. NATO members and partners have been invited to participate in the Sea Breeze'98, with Bulgaria, Great Britain, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Turkey and France having already confirmed their participation. Over 30 ships and vessels will be involved in the exercise, as well as one submarine, 10-12 planes, and 10-12 helicopters. The exercise's naval phase will be held in the Black Sea's northern area, the coastal one will be staged on the Shyroky Lan playground near Mykolaiv. During the exercise, an international peacekeeping and humanitarian relief team is planned to be formed with a purpose to create a safety zone, deliver humanitarian relief to the population, evacuate patients and wounded. Peacekeeping forces will have a task to ensure an embargo on illegal arms supplies to a country dubbed "The Coastal Republic", and to be ready to resort to arms to protect peacekeeping forces.

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