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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

SPEAKER SEEKS U.K. SUPPORT FOR UKRAINIAN ROLE IN IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION... Verkhovna Rada speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn on 29 April said he hopes that Great Britain will support Ukraine in its attempts to participate in the postwar reconstruction of Iraq, Interfax reported. Lytvyn was speaking at the Royal Institute of International Relations in London within the framework of his three-day visit to the United Kingdom. Lytvyn stressed that his country possesses vast experience in the oil sector, a highly developed engineering structure, and experts who have worked on oil deposits in Russia. He said a Ukrainian delegation is to visit Washington on 4-5 May to raise the same issue. JM

...AND CLAIMS UKRAINE WILL ACCOMPLISH POLITICAL REFORM WITHOUT REFERENDUM. Lytvyn told the same forum in London on 29 April that there will be no referendum on political reform in Ukraine, thus contradicting such a suggestion by President Leonid Kuchma at a news conference last week, UNIAN reported. Lytvyn said an appropriate decision to reform Ukraine's constitutional system will be adopted by the parliament with a two-thirds majority before October 2004, when the next presidential elections are scheduled to take place. Lytvyn said he hopes the president and lawmakers will arrive at a compromise on a political-reform bill. In particular, the Ukrainian opposition is against Kuchma's proposals to introduce a bicameral parliament and give the president the right to appoint some ministers (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 15 April 2003). JM