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POLISH PRESIDENT EXPLAINS HALT OF CONTROVERSIAL TENDER TO UKRAINIANS. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski said in Kyiv on 31 March that a tender to select an investor for the Huta Czestochowa steel mill has been halted in connection with a government examination of Polish privatization to date, PAP reported. Kwasniewski added that a report on the examination will be completed in a few days. "Then it will be possible to make a decision whether to annul the tender and announce a new one or whether there will be a different solution," the Polish president said. Ukraine's Industrial Union of Donbas lost the tender to privatize Huta Czestochowa to the Indian-Dutch-British holding LMN and charged that the winner was selected based on political rather than economic considerations (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 March 2004). Kwasniewski, who came to Kyiv to inaugurate the "Year of Poland in Ukraine" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 March 2004), reportedly discussed border and visa policies, migration, the fight against organized crime and terrorism, and the Polish and Ukrainian peacekeepers in Iraq with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma. Kwasniewski also met with Viktor Yushchenko, leader of the opposition Our Ukraine bloc. JM
SOROS MEETS WITH LEADING UKRAINIAN STATESMEN. U.S. financier and philanthropist George Soros met in Kyiv on 31 March with Ukrainian President Kuchma, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, Ukrainian media reported. According to Ukrainian Television, Kuchma and Soros exchanged views on a broad range of geostrategic issues, including an enlarged Europe and Ukraine's European-integration prospects. They also reportedly discussed the development of open societies among former Soviet republics and freedom of speech. Meanwhile, the radical nationalist organization Brotherhood has accused Soros of financing "subversive acts by the opposition and its attempts to overthrow the government according to the Georgian scenario," Interfax reported. Brotherhood confirmed on 31 March that two of its activists threw packets of mayonnaise at Soros during a human rights forum in Kyiv earlier the same day. Ukrainian news agencies initially reported that Soros was splashed with water and glue (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 March 2004). JM
POLISH CANDIDATE FOR PREMIER VOWS CONTINUITY IN FOREIGN POLICY, FISCAL REFORM. Marek Belka, the recently nominated candidate for prime minister, told journalists on 31 March that he would like to include the present Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz and National Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski in his future cabinet, Polish media reported. Belka stressed that Poland must continue its policies in significant international areas, including European integration and Polish military participation in Iraq. Although Belka did not mention Economy Minister Jerzy Hausner as a possible member of his cabinet, he suggested that he would proceed with fiscal reforms prepared by Hausner and dubbed by Polish media the "Hausner Plan" (see RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 27 March 2004). "The government that will be formed in May will implement the program concepts of [outgoing Prime Minister] Leszek Miller's government, including the implementation of particular components and the entirety of the program that is in general terms called Jerzy Hausner's program," Polish Radio quoted Belka as saying. JM