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BELARUS HOSTS MEETING ON CIS SINGLE ECONOMIC SPACE. On 20 August in Minsk, representatives of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine adopted a list of 29 agreements that the four countries are to draft and sign in order to develop a Single Economic Space (SES), Belapan reported. Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Sauat Mynbaev told journalists that these accords are to be drafted by the end of the year. "We hope that the sides will manage to sign the first package of agreements by mid-2005," he added. According to Mynbayev, the agreements will provide for a uniform approach to the appraisal of goods, standard rules concerning the origin of goods, uniform principles of policy regarding competition, and the removal of trade quotas. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko expressed hope that the next summit of the four countries, scheduled for 15 September, might result in an agreement on the universal use of the country-of-destination principle in trade among all SES participants starting 1 January 2005. "It would be a good step, the first stage of which has already been implemented by Russia and Ukraine," he said. JM
UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT VOWS TO INCREASE LOWEST PENSION, SUBSISTENCE MINIMUM IN 2005. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said on 21 August that the government in 2005 will increase the current minimum monthly pension of 137 hryvnyas ($26) to the subsistence minimum for disabled persons, which now stands at 285 hryvnyas, Interfax reported. The average subsistence minimum in Ukraine was established by the government in May and equals 362 hryvnyas. The government is planning to increase this minimum to 382 hryvnyas in 2005. JM
OUR UKRAINE HEAD TOURS DNIPROPETROVSK REGION WITH ANOTHER OPPOSITION LEADER. Presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, who heads the opposition Our Ukraine bloc, arrived in Dnipropetrovsk on 22 August for a two-day presidential-campaign tour of the region, Ukrainian news agencies reported. In Dnipropetrovsk, Yushchenko was met by Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of the eponymous opposition bloc and his election ally. In Yushchenko's presidential campaign, Tymoshenko and her bloc are responsible for preparing his meetings with voters in Ukraine's eastern regions (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 10 August 2004). Tymoshenko told the 21-27 August issue of "Zerkalo nedeli" that her bloc is ready to lead a "real revolt" in the event of "large-scale falsifications" in the 31 October elections. JM
UKRAINIAN LAW ENFORCERS WARN AGAINST OPPOSITION'S 'PROVOCATIONS.' The Prosecutor-General's Office, the Security Service of Ukraine, and the Interior Ministry have not issued a joint statement pledging to apply timely "preventive measures" against what they call possible "various dangerous provocations" on the part of the opposition, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported on 22 August. "Some representatives of the opposition have announced that if they lose the presidential elections, they will call on Ukraine's population to express protest in the most extreme forms -- a revolt," the statement read. "We deem it our duty to state that Ukraine's constitutional authorities will in no way yield to provocations and blackmail. We are fully resolute to prevent the hazardous ventures that are being organized by opposition staffs." JM
UKRAINIAN LAWMAKER URGES MARGINAL CANDIDATES TO QUIT PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Our Ukraine lawmaker Mykola Tomenko, head of the parliamentary Committee for the Freedom of Expression and Information, on 21 August called on presidential candidates with low popularity ratings to quit the presidential race voluntarily, Interfax reported. Tomenko said that, according to surveys, support for 18 out of the 26 presidential candidates does not exceed 1 percent. Furthermore, he specified that these 18 candidates include 10 hopefuls with zero backing. "I request that these 10 unpopular candidates make the Ukrainian people happy and withdraw their presidential bids," Tomenko told journalists. According to Tomenko, such a large number of candidates in the presidential campaign makes it very difficult for the media to observe the principle of equality in reporting on presidential-campaign developments. JM
PROSECUTORS INVESTIGATE DETERIORATION OF SITUATION IN TRANSDNIESTER. The Moldovan Prosecutor-General's Office on 20 August launched an official investigation into the closing by Transdniestrian separatists of schools teaching in Moldovan (Romanian) with Latin script, BASA-Press reported. The office said the measure amounted to a "violation of equal rights" stipulated in the Moldovan Constitution. The office is also investigating the blockade of rail traffic in Bendery-Tighina and the smuggling of goods to Ukraine on the Slobodka-Rybnitsa railway, which links Ukraine with Transdniester (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2, 4, and 19 August 2004).