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GEORGIAN NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL DEBATES ABKHAZIA. At five-hour meeting on 26 January, Georgia's National Security Council adopted a statement stipulating that Tbilisi will agree to extend the mandate of the Russian peacekeeping force deployed under the CIS aegis in the Abkhaz conflict zone only if the zone is expanded to encompass the whole of Abkhazia's southernmost Gali Raion and if Russia halts the recently resumed passenger train service between Sochi and the Abkhaz capital, Sukhum, and the distribution of Russian passports to citizens of Abkhazia, Caucasus Press reported. President Shevardnadze and National Security Council Secretary Tedo Djaparidze had earlier warned that the Russian peacekeepers should not be withdrawn until a substitute for them is found. Shevardnadze hopes to reach an agreement with President Putin on the peacekeeping force at the 28-29 January CIS summit in Kyiv. But Russian presidential administration deputy head Sergei Prikhodko told Interfax on 25 January that the planned meeting between the presidents might be thwarted by scheduling difficulties. LF
UKRAINIAN PREMIER SOLICITS FOREIGN INVESTMENT. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 25 January, Premier Viktor Yanukovych said Ukraine is ready and willing "to reach cardinal growth of foreign investments" into its economy, Interfax reported. Yanukovych said that Ukraine's investment climate is relatively attractive and that legislation is in place to protect investors' interests. He also said Ukraine hopes for closer cooperation with the EU following its enlargement. "Today Ukraine is able to make [a] significant contribution to improve the EU's competitiveness in the field of security, economy, science and technology, [and] ecological safety," he said. He noted there are three basic motives for such a conclusion: "First, we have gone through the most difficult stage of transformation," Yanukovych said. "Second, the existing critical mass of reforms yields positive results. Third, Ukrainian society is getting more and more consolidated around the idea of integration into the family of European nations." JM
UKRAINIAN RIGHT-WING PARTY HOLDS CONGRESS, CHANGES NAME. The moderate nationalist Ukrainian Popular Rukh led by Yuriy Kostenko held a congress in Kyiv on 25 January and changed its name to Ukrainian Popular Party (Ukrayinska Narodna Partiya), Ukrainian media reported. Kostenko was elected leader of the new party. Kostenko told the congress that the Ukrainian Popular Rukh failed to unify with the Popular Rukh of Ukraine led by Hennadiy Udovenko because of "essential differences of opinion" regarding the principles of such unification. According to Kostenko, Udovenko's faction suggested that the Ukrainian Popular Rukh disband itself and its members join the Popular Rukh of Ukraine. The previously monolithic Rukh split into Kostenko's and Udovenko's factions in 1999. JM
LATVIAN PRESIDENT ATTENDS DAVOS ECONOMIC FORUM. Vaira Vike-Freiberga is the only Baltic leader attending the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on 23-28 January. On 25 January, Vike-Freiberga held talks with EU Commissioner for Education and Culture Viviene Reding on preserving Latvia's cultural heritage, LETA reported. Recalling her visit to Riga 10 years ago, Reding called the Latvian capital part of European culture and, like her homeland, Luxembourg, deserving of EU support for the preservation of historical monuments and cultural environment. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych asked Vike-Freiberga to share Latvian experience in the run-up to EU accession. The Latvian president also discussed the situation in Iraq with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. SG
POLISH ARCHBISHOP ATTACKS CATHOLIC DAILY FOR ANTI-EU POSITION. The metropolitan archbishop of Lublin, Jozef Zycinski, on 25 January criticized the "Nasz Dziennik" daily for "seeking to combine faith in God with political pathology," PAP reported. "On the pages of 'Nasz Dziennik,' everyday news is combined with a frivolous concern for the political interest of Russia and with an obsessive prejudice against Europe, the United States, and Israel," Zycinski said. "Nasz Dziennik" is controlled by Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, the head of the ultra-Catholic and fiercely anti-EU broadcaster Radyjo Maryja (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 17 September 2002). "Granting air time or space in the press to politicians who praise the charms of life inside Auschwitz remains contrary to the evangelical responsibility for truth and constitutes a betrayal of that clear, patriotic tradition that was taught throughout his whole life by the primate of the millennium [Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, 1901-81)]," Zycinski said. The archbishop said there will be no pro-European campaigning in churches but added that the future of Europe cannot be a matter of indifference to the Catholic Church. "It is sometimes suggested that a priest who speaks positively of Europe is practicing politics, whereas those who make a scarecrow of Europe are supposed to be the true Catholics. Meanwhile, their fear is one that is completely alien to Christian spirituality," Zycinski stressed. JM