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UKRAINIAN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENTS MULL GAS CONSORTIUM. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and President Putin met in Zaporizhzhya on 6 October to mark the 70th anniversary of the Soviet-built Dniprohes hydropower station, Ukrainian and international news agencies reported. Putin said talks on forming an international gas-pipeline consortium in Ukraine are "not advancing easily," but he added that Russia is still interested in taking part in the deal. "If Russia stays out of this project, we will search for other options by building other pipelines; but doing so without taking into account Ukraine's national interests would be absolutely foolish," AP quoted Putin as saying. Kuchma said that an agreement on the consortium will be signed on 7 October, during a CIS summit in Chisinau. Some 300 representatives of the Socialist Party, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, and the Communist Party demonstrated against Kuchma in Zaporizhzhya under the slogan "Putin, Don't Give a Hand to Kuchma," UNIAN reported. JM
POLISH PREMIER PROPOSES TALKS IN WARSAW BETWEEN UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION. Polish Premier Leszek Miller proposed in Lviv on 4 October that Ukraine's ruling and opposition circles meet in Warsaw on 15-16 October at an international conference devoted to Ukrainian prospects amid NATO and EU enlargement, Polish and Ukrainian media reported. Miller, who attended an economic forum in Lviv, met with Ukrainian Premier Anatoliy Kinakh as well as with opposition Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz and Our Ukraine activists Viktor Pynzenyk and Borys Tarasyuk. "We will take part in this conference [in Warsaw] and are ready for discussion," UNIAN quoted Kinakh as saying. Our Ukraine reportedly said it is also ready to conduct a dialogue with the authorities outside Ukraine with the mediation of European leaders. JM
UKRAINIAN JOURNALISTS MOVE TO CREATE TRADE UNION TO RESIST CENSORSHIP. More than 100 journalists from various Ukrainian media outlets met in Kyiv on 5 October and formed a working group for creating an independent journalists' trade union to combat official coercion, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. "I know that only the top people have come today because the disaffection in journalists' circles with what's happening is very large. Therefore, I believe that in this hall we can have not just 100 people, but thousands of journalists who want to change things for the better," said television journalist Andriy Shevchenko, who resigned his job in September over what he said was official meddling and censorship. The meeting decided that apart from tackling the censorship issue through talks with the government, the new organization will provide legal and financial help to journalists who lose their jobs as a result of official pressure. The meeting demanded that parliament hold hearings on government censorship and that the prosecutor-general begin criminal investigations into government attempts at censorship. JM