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BRUSSELS URGES KYIV TO PUSH AHEAD WITH REFORMS. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told visiting Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov in Brussels on 6 October that Ukraine should stop talking about joining the EU and focus on pushing the political and economic reforms needed to bring itself closer to Europe, Reuters reported. "Our door remains open," Barroso said. "The future of Ukraine is in Europe. The best way to achieve it is not to discuss all the time European Union membership but to achieve concrete results, pragmatic results." Barroso added that the March 2006 parliamentary elections will be a "very important test for the credibility of all the democratic processes in Ukraine." Speaking at an investment forum in Brussels later the same day, Yekhanurov promised to create favorable conditions for foreign investors in Ukraine. Yekhanurov stressed that "speculations about reprivatization in Ukraine have been brought to an end," adding that dubious privatization deals will be viewed exclusively by courts, according to ITAR-TASS. "The state will be paid the real price for the underestimated facilities through amicable deals, but not a single effective holder will be harmed," Yekhanurov said. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT UPBEAT ABOUT WTO MEMBERSHIP. Speaking to an investment forum in Lviv in western Ukraine on 6 October, President Viktor Yushchenko said he believes Ukraine will win market-economy status from the European Union by the end of the year and join the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ukrainian and international news agencies reported. "The simplest of objectives in the months to come must be securing market-economy status and doing away with antidumping legal cases which have closed off markets to us," Reuters quoted Yushchenko as saying. "This is our first task and it must be accomplished this year no matter what. The second task is the World Trade Organization. I will do everything to complete this second step so that Ukraine joins the WTO in December." Speaking to a rally of some 20,000 in front of the opera theater in Lviv later the same day, Yushchenko said the dismissal of Yuliya Tymoshenko's cabinet and National Security and Defense Council Secretary Petro Poroshenko on 8 September was the only decision he could make under the circumstances "with a clear conscience," Interfax-Ukraine reported. JM
UKRAINIAN MINISTER THREATENS RESIGNATION OVER IMMUNITY LAW FOR LOCAL DEPUTIES. Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko told Ukrainian journalists on 6 October that he may step down if the Constitutional Court fails to cancel the law granting immunity from prosecution to local-council deputies, Interfax-Ukraine reported. President Viktor Yushchenko signed the relevant bill on 5 October (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 October 2006), but simultaneously declared that he will ask the Constitutional Court to rule whether the law is in line with the country's constitution. JM