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OUR UKRAINE MINISTERS RESIGN FROM GOVERNMENT... Roman Bezsmertnyy, leader of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine parliamentary caucus, told journalists on October 19 that the five ministers belonging to the Our Ukraine quota in Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's cabinet have tendered their resignations, Ukrainian media reported. He specified that the resignations were submitted to the Verkhovna Rada by Justice Minister Roman Zvarych, Family and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko, Culture Minister Ihor Likhovyy, Health Minister Yuriy Polyachenko, and Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko. The first four ministers were attending the news conference with Bezsmertnyy and confirmed that they are going to step down. Bezsmertnyy noted that Lutsenko will hold a separate news conference to announce his resignation. On October 17, Bezsmertnyy officially announced that Our Ukraine is going into opposition over its disagreement with policies pursued by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych (see "RFE/RL Newsline," October 17, 2006). JM
...WHILE TWO MINISTERS APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT REMAIN. Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko said on October 18 that he and Defense Minister Borys Tarasyuk will remain in Prime Minister Yanukovych's cabinet, Ukrainian media reported. Hrytsenko was speaking shortly after Yushchenko's meeting with the ministers delegated to the government by Our Ukraine and appointed by him personally. Under the Ukrainian Constitution amended in December 2004, the president is obliged to appoint the defense and foreign ministers. "The two ministers appointed by the president are working and will continue to work. There will be no resignations," Hrytsenko said. JM
TALKS AIMED AT RESTARTING TRANSDNIESTER NEGOTIATIONS BEGIN. Talks aimed at persuading Moldova and Transdniester to resume negotiations began in Odesa, Ukraine, on October 18, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. On the previous day, officials from Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) began consultations on how to return the two sides to the negotiating table. "Yesterday, the mediators and observers discussed ways of encouraging the parties to begin full-scale negotiations," Russia's special envoy Vasily Nesterushkin said on October 18. "No unambiguous opinions exist [about] how that can be done. Everything will now depend on the...separate meetings with the representatives of the conflicting parties. There is hope, but a very cautious one, the parties will agree to some sensible solutions on the basis of a draft transit protocol," he added. BW