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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VISITS THAILAND, BRUNEI. President Leonid Kuchma has wound up a visit to Thailand, where he has been staying since 9 March, Interfax reported on 11 March. In Bangkok, Kuchma held talks with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The two sides signed accords on avoiding double taxation and preventing tax evasion, as well as an airways agreement. Before visiting Thailand, Kuchma went to Brunei on 6 March, where he reportedly discussed a wide range of issues with Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah. Kuchma's trips to Brunei and Thailand were the most senior-level visits in the history of Ukrainian relations with those states. JM
'SLAVIC FOUR' MEET IN POLAND TO DISCUSS ENERGY SECURITY. National-security officials from Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia -- the countries dubbed the "Slavic Four" in their respective media -- met in Krakow on 10 March to discuss cooperation in fighting terrorism and preventing crime in border areas, as well as in ensuring their energy security in light of the recent halt of Russian gas supplies across Belarus to Europe (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 2 March 2004), PAP reported. The meeting was attended by Belarusian Security Council Secretary Henadz Nyavyhlas, Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Oleg Chernov, Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Volodymyr Radchenko, and Polish National Security Bureau head Marek Siwiec. Siwiec told journalists that the four officials will submit recommendations to their presidents on how to avoid such gas cutoffs in the future. "The partners in the talks constitute a unique composition for discussion on this subject: the three countries that control the entire transit and the one that controls the entire production," Siwiec said. "Nothing else is required so as to draw all the conclusions on the subject of the enormous consequences that have already appeared." JM