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MINSK SEEKS EXPLANATION OF UKRAINIAN PREMIER'S STATEMENT ABOUT LUKASHENKA... Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ruslan Yesin told journalists on 3 November that Minsk has asked Kyiv to explain a statement Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov reportedly made about Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka two days earlier, Belapan reported. ITAR-TASS reported that Yekhanurov told journalists in Washington on 1 November that Lukashenka is a "talented propagandist," adding, "Now I understand why women in the 1930s shouted, 'I want a baby by the Fuehrer!'" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 November 2006). Yesin said the Belarusian government wants to know whether Yekhanurov actually made the statement and, if so, what he meant by it. JM
...WHILE MOSCOW IS 'PERPLEXED' BY WTO REMARK. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a televised statement on 3 November that Moscow was "somewhat perplexed" by a comment Yekhanurov reportedly made about Ukraine's potential WTO membership, Russian and Ukrainian media reported. According to Interfax-Ukraine, Yekhanurov told journalists in Washington on 1 November that Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organization would be "practically impossible" if Russia joined the organization first. "We can assure that if Russia joins the World Trade Organization ahead of Ukraine, it will do everything necessary to speed up our neighbor's entry into that organization," Kamynin added. JM
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT APPOINTS NEW PROSECUTOR-GENERAL... The Verkhovna Rada confirmed Oleksandr Medvedko as the country's new prosecutor-general on 3 November, Ukrainian media reported. Medvedko, who was a deputy prosecutor-general, was backed by 303 deputies, well above the 226 votes needed for confirmation following his nomination by President Viktor Yushchenko. "The Prosecutor-General's Office must quickly undertake steps easily understood by public opinion to show it wants to establish the truth and take legal measures in cases long subject to public debate," Reuters quoted Medvedko as saying in the parliament. Medvedko replaces Svyatoslav Piskun, whom Yushchenko sacked last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 October 2005). JM
...AS PRESIDENT URGES FASTER INVESTIGATION OF HIGH-PROFILE CASES. President Yushchenko welcomed the confirmation of Prosecutor-General Medvedko on 3 November and pledged to press the new prosecutor-general to step up probes in high-profile cases, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 3 November, quoting the presidential press service. Yushchenko has in mind the five-year-old case of the murder of Internet journalist Heorhiy Gongadze and vote rigging in last year's presidential election, according to his press service. "It is intolerable that one year after the Orange Revolution, during which millions of people protested the total falsification [of the vote], the Prosecutor-General's Office has not yet been conducting an active investigation into who organized those acts," Yushchenko was quoted as saying. JM
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT SAYS FOREIGN SUPPORT PROPPING UP EX-SOVIET SEPARATIST REGIMES. Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin told a GUAM security forum on 3 November that separatist movements in former Soviet states are supported "from outside" and would fail without such assistance, RIA-Novosti reported the same day. "The separatist regimes in the post-Soviet space exist at the expense of assistance from several of our regional partners, which actually support illegal activities there," RIA Novosti quoted Voronin as saying. "Without this outside assistance, these regimes would simply fall." Voronin added that banks operating in breakaway regions in the former Soviet Union are illegal and "represent an ideal mechanism for money laundering." In a joint statement released on 4 November, GUAM states Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova said Russia's continued military presence in Moldova and Georgia presents a serious obstacle to settling conflicts in those countries and urged Russia to withdraw, Moldpres reported the same day. BW