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UKRAINE GETS NEW FOREIGN MINISTER... President Leonid Kuchma on 2 September dismissed Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko and appointed Kostyantyn Hryshchenko to that post, Ukrainian media reported. According to the presidential press service, Kuchma released Zlenko under a law on state service that stipulates obligatory retirement for government officials over age 65. Zlenko served as foreign minister twice, from 1991-94 and from 2000-03. Hryshchenko, 49, has been Ukraine's ambassador to the United States since January 2000. Prior to that, he was ambassador to the Benelux countries and headed Kyiv's mission at NATO. The appointment of Hryshchenko, "whom many see as a pro-Western politician, may be a sort of compensation...to Europe and Washington for...Ukraine's surrender of its positions in talks with Russia, both bilateral and within the framework of the 'four' [CIS countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan]," Anatoliy Hrytsenko, head of the Kyiv-based think tank Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Studies, told Interfax. JM
...AND NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENSE COUNCIL CHIEF. Also on 2 September, President Kuchma appointed Volodymyr Radchenko as secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO), simultaneously releasing him from his post as chief of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Ukrainian media reported. The post of RNBO secretary has been vacant since the appointment of Yevhen Marchuk as defense minister in June. Radchenko, 54, served as SBU chief from 1995-98 and from 2001-03. JM
MILITARY PARADE MARKS TRANSDNIESTER 'INDEPENDENCE' IN TIRASPOL... Some 1,500 soldiers marched on 2 September in Tiraspol in a military parade marking 13 years since the proclamation of the separatist region's "independence," the RFE/RL Chisinau bureau reported. Stanislav Hajeev, who holds the portfolio of defense minister in the separatist executive, said in his speech that Transdniester opposes EU participation in peacekeeping operations in the region and would only accept Russian and Ukrainian troops. Hajeev said Western Europe and the United States have a strategic interest in Transdniester and are therefore attempting to force Russia to evacuate its troops and armaments. He demanded that Moscow stop the withdrawal of its forces. MS