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KYIV WANTS TO RESTORE COOPERATION WITH IMF. Ukrainian Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh said on 12 June that his government wants to resume cooperation with the IMF, Interfax reported. Kinakh noted that his government views the resumption of cooperation as a move intended both to obtain access to the fund's loans and to send a positive signal for investors. Kinakh made these statements during his meeting with Luca Barbone, the World Bank's director for Belarus and Ukraine. The previous day, an IMF mission arrived in Kyiv "to update [the IMF's] view of the economic situation in Ukraine and make the acquaintance of new government," according to an official statement. Meanwhile, Barbone said the World Bank can make a decision on its $750 million loan in September if the government resolves problems in reforming the country's largest bank, Ukrayina. The loan, if approved, would be dispersed in three $250 million tranches. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT DENIES THEFT OF RUSSIAN GAS. Leonid Kuchma said in Bratislava on 12 June that Ukraine has not stolen any Russian since it became independent in 1991, Interfax reported. Kuchma said allegations of illegal gas-siphoning are voiced to apply economic pressure on Ukraine. He noted that the problem of illegal gas-siphoning "is not on the agenda" of Ukrainian-Russian relations. Kuchma stressed that both governments have signed all documents regulating gas issues between Ukraine and Russia. "If Russian President Vladimir Putin were here, he would say the same," Kuchma added. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT BEGINS SLOVAK VISIT AMID CRITICISM. Kuchma on 12 June began a three-day visit to Slovakia at the invitation of his Slovak counterpart Rudolf Schuster, CTK and dpa reported. Reacting to media criticism for having invited Kuchma, President Schuster said his guest "is a democratically elected president of a country that is important to Slovakia." Kuchma said after talks with Schuster that journalists should come to Ukraine to see reality with their own eyes. He said that in Ukraine the president has fewer powers than anywhere else and cannot even dissolve the parliament. His measures, he said, are only aimed at "stabilizing power in the country during the change of governments." On East-West relations, Kuchma said that "Ukraine does not want to side with any party, it wants to stand on its own feet, but mainly does not want to abandon the intention to integrate into European structures." MS