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23 September 1998
For immediate release
[Press Releases Home]

President Kuchma Meets With Regional Media Editors In Kiev

On September 23, President Leonid Kuchma met with high-profile regional mass media editors with a view of discussing the mass media's role under the current situation, and inform the meeting's participants about the President's and Government's anti-crisis steps. As President Kuchma admitted, current forecast of the national monetary unit's performance vis--vis Russia's financial crisis tend to portray a bleaker picture than what was originally expected, though the IMF's and the World Bank's financial aid to Ukraine has allowed the National Bank of Ukraine to keep the hryvnia's exchange rate versus the US dollar benchmark within the set trade band, for the time being. Touching on Ukrainian-Russian relations, President Kuchma referred to them as Ukraine's top priority. He also called his recent informal meetings with the Russian Head of State and the newly appointed Russian Head of Government a big success.

EU Confirms Its Interest In Promotion Of Political And Economic Partnership Relations With Ukraine

A memorandum on behalf of the European Union was circulated at the UN General Assembly's 53d Session underway in New York, which devotes significant attention to Ukraine as an important factor in a new emerging Europe's collective security architecture. In particular, the memorandum notes that promotion of close and solid political and economic partnership between Ukraine and the European Union is among the EU's major goals. The document states the EU's continued support for Ukraine's democratic and market-oriented economic transformation effort and the nation's bid for integration with the global economic system. Ukraine's independence and stability, and the nation's unswerving course toward democracy are "key factors to ensure stability in Central and East Europe.", the document says. It also notes that since the EU-Ukrainian Partnership and Cooperation Agreement came into effect on March 1, 1998 and the Council for EU-Ukrainian Cooperation was instituted, a solid legal-political basis has been created to promote partnership relations between the two signatories.

Government Needs National Revival Program, Says Speaker Tkachenko

On September 22, Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Tkachenko met with the chairman of the Crimean Supreme Soviet and heads of regional and municipal administrations to discuss their roles in overcoming the current economic crisis. In particular, the meeting focused on how to combine the efforts of regional and municipal authorities with the central government's efforts to overcome the financial crisis, what regional and municipal authorities can do to revive local industries, and how to improve the existing legislative process. Mr. Tkachenko stressed that the Verkhovna Rada would continue to explore ways of cooperating with the government and president. According to him, it is not the time to raise the issue of the government's resignation. The parliamentary leader added that Parliament must first hear the government's report on its activities in the first nine months of this year. He raised the possibility of dismissing some minister unable to cope with their jobs. Mr. Tkachenko made an emphasis on the need for a national revival program to pull the nation out of the current crisis. According to him, parliament is already working on the program in conjunction with scientists, entrepreneurs, and businessmen. He urged regional and municipal leaders to draft their own national revival programs so as to generate "initiatives from below." Mr. Tkachenko disclosed that parliament will consider proposals on eliminating power struggles in the regions with the goal of amending the Ukrainian Constitution accordingly. The speaker expressed grave concern over the present situation in the agricultural industry.

Government's Resignation Will Not Change Situation In Ukraine, Says Deputy Speaker

Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Deputy Chairman Adam Martyniuk believes that resignation of the present government "will not change the situation in Ukraine." Addressing a press conference in Kiev on September 21, he disclosed that the parliament favored further cooperation with the government, and expressed his opposition to campaigns for the government and president to resign. He called for the country's social and economic policy to be changed. Mr. Martyniuk told the press conference that parliament would wait till October 15 for the government to submit a realistic draft Y1999 budget, warning that the parliament will not accept "populist" documents. He disclosed that the government's report to parliament on its activities in the past nine months and implementation of its anti-crisis measures has been postponed till early October at the request of Prime Minister Pustovoitenko. In Mr. Martyniuk opinion, the parliament's activity in September could hardly be described as constructive. A total of 49 issues were debated, resulting in 36 resolutions and five laws, including the ratification of three international agreements, he said.

4th Session Of Joint Ukrainian-Russian Commission For Borderline Delimitation Gets Underway In Kiev

On September 23, the 4th session of the joint Ukrainian-Russian Commission for Borderline Delimitation got underway in Kiev. Igor Savolski, the Russian Foreign Ministry's 2nd CIS Department Director, and the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's Ambassador-at-Large Yuriy Kostenko are leading their respective nations' delegations to the session. As of today, the two parties have virtually completed the delimitation job for a third of the 2,400-km-long Ukrainian-Russian land borderline. The Commission is expected to be through its task next year, sources with the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry say. Kiev is known to keep insisting on delimitation of the Ukrainian-Russian sea borderline, too. As the Ukrainian party maintains, this must not be interpreted as Ukraine's desire to seal its borders, rather the border between Ukraine and Russia will remain the one of good-neighborliness. So far, the two sides' views have been divergent with regard to delimitation of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.

Peace Shield-98 Military Exercise Ends In Lviv Region

The Peace Shield '98 military exercise have ended in the Lviv region. The exercise involved soldiers from 16 Eastern European and NATO troops, including 338 soldiers from a joint Ukrainian-Polish peacekeeping force. The exercise took place at Ukraine's largest training ground, Yavorivsky. The Peace Shield '98 military exercise, first held in 1995, is part of the US-Ukrainian defense cooperation in the spirit of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. The exercise simulated peacekeeping operations aimed at protecting peace in a country stricken by ethnic conflict. It was observed by defense ministers from Ukraine, Poland, and other countries. Ukraine is expected to host naval exercises Sea Breeze-98 this year.

USAID Launches Center For Alternative Fuels In Kyiv

On September 22, a ceremony was held in the Ukrainian capital to inaugurate the Center for Alternative Fuels through financial support from USAID. The nascent institution's mission is to upgrade methane, found in Ukrainian coal-mines, to the alternative fuel status. Ukraine's stocks of this carbohydrate fuel are believed roughly equal to those of the USA. Tentative estimates assess Ukraine's methane stocks at about 12 trillion cu. m., Borys Tulub, Ukraine's Minister for Coal-Mining Industry, says. In Mr. Tulub's opinion, extraction of methane will both enhance labor safety standards in Ukrainian coal-mines and improve the overall ecological situation in Ukraine. Spontaneous ignition of methane is the major cause leading to accidents in the Ukrainian coal-mining industry. Methane emissions pose much greater perils than those of carbon dioxide, the minister says. As US Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat noted on an earlier occasion, Ukraine might earn billions upon billions of dollars through selling its extra quotas for atmospheric emissions, as a result of by-gas utilization.

MBA In Banking Program Begins Third Year In Ukraine

On September 16, the International Management Institute of Kiev launched the third year of the US government-funded Master of Business Administration in Banking program. 28 Ukrainian bankers and professors will begin this innovative 10-month program, which is designed to prepare them to teach international finance and banking in Ukraine. The program was developed by the National Center for Training of Bank Personnel and IMI with funding by the United States Agency for International Development to train Ukrainians interested in teaching Western banking, finance, and business principles. The program aims to blend the best practices of Western managerial education with the Ukrainian business environment. Seventy-seven people have graduated from the program to date. The National Center for Training of Bank Personnel is a non-profit institution co-founded by the National Bank of Ukraine and the Association of Ukrainian bank and funded by USAID. Since 1992, USAID has provided over $ 1.2 billion in support of Ukraine's economic, democratic, and social transition.

Health Minister And Head Of State Committee For Medical And Microbiological Industries Speak On Health Care System's Tasks And Problems

The September 23s press conference's major purpose was to familiarize journalists with concrete measures to be implemented in line with directions recently given by President Leonid Kuchma. In particular, the president had instructed experts to consider the expediency of setting up a medical sub-commission within the framework of the Kuchma-Gore Binational Commission with further establishment of the Ukrainian-US Health Care Center on the basis of one of Kiev medical institutions. Besides, it is necessary to determine the amount and list of medicines and medical equipment provided to Ukraine as a humanitarian relief through critical import, as well as the mechanism of extension of investments meant for further stages of the medical-sanitary aid's reform, introduction of the "family doctor institute", opening of three departments for marrow transplantation and a juvenile cardiosurgery center for Chornobyl-affected children. The ministers did not confine themselves to the issues connected with the president's instructions. Responding to journalists' questions, they dwelt upon the health care system's burning problems caused by the financial instability in Ukraine. In particular, the both officials came out against the raise of prices for Ukraine-made medicines and medicinal preparations. We are trying to freeze prices for medicines, because we are aware that it would impose a heavy burden on population and budget, and mean a real catastrophe for producers, said Mr. Korotko.

Kievan And Muscovite Police Jointly Working Toward Tracking Down Hit Men And Plotters Involved In Vadym Hetman's Murder

Speaking at a press conference in Kiev on September 23, after his talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Stepashin, Ukraine's Minister of the Interior Yuriy Kravchenko said that Kiev and Moscow homicide experts have joined their efforts toward tracking down the hit men and those who had plotted the assassination in April, 1998 of Vadym Hetman, the then chairman of the Ukrainian Interbank Currency Exchange. As the Ukrainian Interior Minister said, huge sums of money meant for Russia are believed to have been behind this murder. According to him, the mechanism behind the drive-by airport murder of MP and business figure Yevhen Shcherban has become quite transparent by now with both the perpetrators and instigators having been established.

Minister Of Interior Kravchenko: There Are No Political Implications Behind Ukraine's Gas Consortium CEO Syvulsky's Arrest

Speaking to Ukrainian journalists in Kiev on September 23, Yuriy Kravchenko, Ukraine's Minister of the Interior, refuted speculations circulated by leaders of certain political parties and parliamentary factions about alleged political reasons behind the recent arrest by Ukrainian law enforcement bodies of Mykola Syvulsky, CEO of the Ukrainian Gas Resource Consortium. Mr. Syvulsky, who was arrested on September 17, is suspected of having illegally transferred 10,411,000 hryvnias to the company Unified Power Systems of Ukraine. The charges brought against Mr. Syvulsky may well lead to Ukrainian mafia dons, which prospect has made some parliamentarians apprehensive and uneasy. According to the Interior Minister, they have been trying to bring pressure to bear on the law enforcement bodies. The situation would have been quite different, though, if the members of parliament had been stripped of their notorious immunity, Mr. Kravchenko said.

World Congress Of Ukrainian Jurists Holds Its 4th Convention

On September 21, Lviv, played host to the 4th Convention of the World Congress of Ukrainian Jurists which addressed the spectrum of problems relating to Ukraine's legal-judicial reform. The Convention elected Valeriy Yevdokimov, a Merited Jurist of Ukraine and Chairman of the Ukrainian Lawyer Association, President of the Congress of Ukrainian Jurists.

President Kuchma Congratulates Ukrainian Jews On New Year

Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma has congratulated Ukrainian Jews on the Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In his congratulatory message, Mr. Kuchma said "our government highly values the efforts of the best representatives of the Jewish people to develop a democratic society, preserve inter-ethnic peace, and strengthen harmony and mutual understanding among people." Ukraine has since independence recognized the rights of each of its citizens to freely express their ethnic, cultural, lingual, and religious distinctions, he further said in the message.

Lutsk To Play Host To Jewish Arts Festival On October 3-4

The ancient West Ukrainian city of Lutsk will host a Jewish arts festival on October 3-4. The Ivan Franko Musical Drama Theater will be the venue of the festival dubbed "Sholom, Ukraine!" The Ukrainian Jewish Foundation, the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress, the Volyn Regional Administration and the Lutsk City-Hall together with the US-based committee "Joint" were reported to sponsor the cultural event in which individual performers and ensembles from Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and the USA are expected to participate.

Romanian Foreign Minister Disavows Romanian Media Allegations About Ukrainian Authorities' Discrimination Against Romanian Ethnic Minority

Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Plesu held a press conference in Bucharest to disavow the Romanian media's reports about Ukrainian authorities' alleged discrimination against the Romanian ethnic minority as lacking any factual foundation. As the Romanian Foreign Minister disclosed, his government has formed and endorsed the Romanian part of the joint Romanian-Ukrainian intergovernmental commission for cooperation in matters of ethnic minorities.



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