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BELARUSIAN LYCEUM STUDENTS, TEACHERS START NEW SCHOOL YEAR IN OPEN AIR. Teachers and 141 students of the closed Yakub Kolas National Humanities Lyceum (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 19 August 2003) took part in an open-air ceremony on 1 September to mark the beginning of the new school year, Belapan reported. The lyceum is the only pre-university school in Minsk that provides instruction in all subjects in the Belarusian language. The government closed it in June. "We swear to see to it that educational institutions like our lyceum increase in number in our fatherland," read the oath taken by the students on the street in front of the building of their former school. JM
UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS MULL CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM. The leaders of Our Ukraine (Viktor Yushchenko), the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc (Yuliya Tymoshenko), the Socialist Party (Oleksandr Moroz), and the Communist Party (Petro Symonenko) met in Kyiv on 1 September to discuss cooperation regarding the recent political-reform plan proposed by President Leonid Kuchma (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 26 August and 2 September 2003), Interfax reported. Tymoshenko told journalists that the four want to pursue two tasks simultaneously: implement a constitutional reform, and "remove the clans from power." She said the constitutional changes proposed by Moroz and Symonenko have been "accepted in general" by the four, adding that there is a possibility of compromise on a "number of controversial issues." In particular, Tymoshenko said there is no agreement among them on whether the constitutional changes should be introduced in 2004 or 2006, or on whether the president should be elected by direct ballot or by parliament. JM
VERKHOVNA RADA CONVENES AFTER SUMMER RECESS. Ukrainian lawmakers gathered in Kyiv on 2 September for a new session following their summer recess, Interfax reported. They are expected to consider nearly 900 bills during the session, including one on amending the constitution in order to reform the country's political system (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 2 September 2003). This week lawmakers will work in parliamentary committees, while their plenary sitting is scheduled to begin on 9 September. JM
POLISH PRESIDENT SAYS GERMAN CENTER AGAINST EXPULSIONS IS POLITICALLY RISKY. President Aleksander Kwasniewski said in Warsaw on 1 September that the controversial idea to set up a Center Against Expulsions in Berlin (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 26 August 2003) carries a great moral and political risk, Polish Radio reported. In his address to former servicemen to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, Kwasniewski said this idea might place barriers on the way to Polish-German reconciliation. "One has to remember, however, the entire historical context of the expulsions which the German population experienced in 1944 and 1945," Kwasniewski noted. "One has to see the difference between causes and effects, remember who started the war, who was the aggressor and who was the victim of the attack." Prime Minister Leszek Miller said the same day that the Center Against Expulsions, if it is to be established, must have a European character and take into account expulsions of other European nations, PAP reported. JM