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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS COUNTRY'S PLACE IS IN EU... Leonid Kuchma has congratulated the leaders of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia on joining the EU, Interfax reported on 4 May, quoting the presidential press service. "Ukraine has always welcomed the process of EU enlargement as a logical and inseparable component of [the policy of] strengthening common European values [and] expanding the area of stability, security, prosperity, and democracy on the European continent," Kuchma said in a congratulatory telegram. "At the same time, we are convinced that the large-scale project named 'United Europe' that is being implemented today will not acquire a logical completion without Ukraine." JM
...AS EU PRESIDENT SAYS UKRAINE, BELARUS HAVE NO PLACE IN UNION. EU President Romano Prodi has said there are no prospects for the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Belarus to become EU members, the "Financial Times" reported on 3 May. According to Prodi, who steps down in October, the EU would likely be complete after admitting the three outstanding applicants -- Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey -- and the countries of the western Balkans, including Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro. Instead of offering EU membership to other countries, Prodi predicted the creation of a "ring of friends" for Europe -- a zone of cooperation stretching from the Baltic Sea through the Middle East to North Africa. JM