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UKRAINIAN FIRM TO BUILD GAS PIPELINE ACROSS TURKMENISTAN'S KARA-BOGAZ INLET. Ukraine will pay off a portion of its debt for Turkmen natural-gas supplies by building a stretch of a pipeline that is to transport Turkmen gas to Europe, the Turkmen State News Agency and turkmenistan.ru reported on 21 May. The project, which envisions building a section of pipeline across the Kara-Bogaz inlet on stilts and which is valued at $16 million, will be carried out by the Ukrainian company Petrohazaziya under an agreement with Turkmenneftegaz, the Turkmen state oil-and-gas firm. The 1-kilometer elevated section of pipeline across Kara-Bogaz will be new, but the project also includes carrying out repairs and modernization to expand the capacity of the Soviet-era pipeline that transported Turkmen gas to Moscow. The Kara-Bogaz section is to be completed next year. BB
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ENDORSES CIS 'JOINT ECONOMIC SPACE'... The Verkhovna Rada voted 266-51 on 22 May to back the creation of a "joint economic space" to include Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan, Interfax reported. The presidents of these four countries signed a statement on 23 February declaring that their governments will prepare a draft agreement by September on the creation of such an economic bloc (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 February 2003). Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said last week that there is a "fundamental disagreement" over how those four countries view the formation of such an economic alliance (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 May 2003). JM
...AND URGES UKRAINE'S 'ASSOCIATION' WITH EU. The Ukrainian legislature also appealed to European parliaments, governments, and societies on 22 May to unite efforts to implement the socioeconomic and environmental goals mapped out by the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, Interfax reported. The appeal, endorsed by 371 deputies, also includes an assertion that there are already "objective grounds" for transforming relations between Ukraine and the European Union to "a qualitatively new level -- from partnership to association." JM