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KUCHMA CRITICIZES OUR UKRAINE FOR OPPOSING CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said on 24 June that the 23 June parliamentary vote on a constitutional-reform bill shows that Our Ukraine is opposed to political change in Ukraine, Interfax reported. Kuchma said that Our Ukraine's decision not to participate in the voting on bill No. 4180 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 June 2004) did not participate exemplifies that the opposition party is "on the other side of the barricade." "Are they comfortable with such a confrontation of power in the country?" Kuchma asked. He also stressed that the main goal of the proposed constitutional reform is the creation of an effective state power. "The reforms are necessary for the whole country," Kuchma said. AM
UKRAINIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS BACK YANUKOVYCH FOR PRESIDENT. The Social Democratic Party-united's (SDP-o) Political Council has endorsed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's candidacy in the presidential election slated for 31 October, Interfax reported on 24 June, quoting the party press service. Yanukovych is running as a joint candidate of pro-governmental forces. "Public consent for us is the most important criterion of the success of reforms," Political Council members wrote in a statement outlining their rationale for supporting Yanukovych. The party also urged all political forces in the Verkhovna Rada to support the proposed amendments to the constitution that were approved by parliament on 23 June and are backed by Yanukovych. The SDP-o party intends to hold its congress on 4 July. AM
OSCE SAYS SERBIAN WOMEN INCREASINGLY AFFECTED BY HUMAN TRAFFICKING. The OSCE released in Belgrade on 23 June its latest two-year study on human trafficking in Serbia, Deutsche Welle's Serbian Service reported. The survey is based on research in 17 cities and towns, suggesting that at least 960 women were victims in about 750 cases of human trafficking. Most of the women were citizens of Moldova, Romania, or Ukraine between 18 and 30 years of age, but 96 women were from Serbia, including 15 Roma. In addition, the survey identified 94 children and 100 men who were victims of human trafficking, stressing that these statistics probably represent only the tip of the iceberg. PM