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RUSSIA SUBMITS APPEAL BY UNRECOGNIZED STATES TO UN. Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the UN, formally unveiled on November 21 an appeal to UN member states adopted on October 4 by the unrecognized republics of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transdniester, Caucasus Press reported. That appeal, which is available on the Abkhaz website apsny.ru and was signed by the foreign ministers of the three republics in question, condemned the initiative by GUAM member states (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) to try to persuade the UN General Assembly to include on its agenda a debate on the so-called frozen conflicts on their territory. It argued that the decision to raise the issue with the UN General Assembly, rather than the UN Security Council, reflects a desire to enlist support for their bid to use force "to quash the legitimate aspiration of our peoples to live in...peace and equality." It noted Russia's role in bringing to an end what it termed "aggressive wars of a colonial character" unleashed by the authorities of Georgia and Moldova, and accused Georgia of violating the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe by engaging in an unprecedented arms buildup. Finally, the statement argued that any debate on the so-called frozen conflicts should not take place in the absence of representatives of the unrecognized republics. LF
EU SAID TO HAVE NEVER MULLED POLITICALLY MOTIVATED ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST BELARUS. Ian Boag, head of the Kyiv-based Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine and Belarus, told journalists in Minsk on November 21 that the European Union has never considered imposing politically motivated economic sanctions against Belarus, Belapan reported. Boag was commenting on discussions earlier this year in the European Commission to temporarily suspend benefits for Belarus under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) (see "RFE/RL Newsline," September 27, 2006). Those discussions were terminated after some EU members spoke against such a measure. According to Boag, one of the conditions for enjoying the GSP benefits is the appropriate treatment of trade unions and their rights. "If those matters are not correctly treated, the GSP benefits can be temporarily withdrawn.... But this is a purely objective judgment; it is not a political judgment. It is not an economic sanction based on a political judgment," he argued. Boag visited Minsk to officially present the EU's offer of economic and other incentives to Belarus in exchange for progress toward democratization (see "RFE/RL Newsline," November 21, 2006). JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WANTS TO AMEND CONSTITUTION IN ROUNDTABLE ACCORD... Viktor Yushchenko said in an interview with three nationwide television channels on November 21 that he wants political leaders to discuss possible amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution in roundtable talks. "There is something wrong in what has been happening in the country over the past months. The country systematically suffers relapses, which may cost very dearly with years. The authorities often lack will, and the president lacks leverage to resolve topical issues," Yushchenko said. "Maybe we should gather at a roundtable, maybe we should initiate changes to the constitution and, by consensus, remove these problems," he added. According to Yushchenko, the constitution currently in force does not ensure "a balance of stability" between the president and the government and therefore "needs improvement." JM
...URGES 'NEW POLITICAL PROJECT' TO UNITE DEMOCRATIC FORCES... President Yushchenko also said in his television interview on November 21 that one of his goals is to consolidate the country's democratic forces around a "new political project." "I would like to see consolidation, [I would like] Our Ukraine and other political forces to realize that they should become basic players in democracy," he said. Yushchenko noted that there already is a leader of such a potential political union. "But if you want me to pronounce a name, I would say the following: Today we should discuss principles and procedures, while the confirmation of the leader should take place in the final stage of this electoral process. And this will take place at a congress," Yushchenko added. JM
...AND INVITES 'BLOOD BROTHERS' TO MARK ORANGE REVOLUTION ANNIVERSARY. President Yushchenko said in his television interview on November 21 that he wants to invite those involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution to a party at the presidential place on November 22 in order to celebrate the event's second anniversary. "I would like to invite all those involved in the events that took place on the Ukrainian Maydan [Independence Square in Kyiv], first of all, my blood brothers from different political forces," Yushchenko said. According to the presidential press service, Yushchenko has invited Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, his main rival in the 2004 presidential election, as well as cabinet ministers, foreign diplomats, and public figures to the presidential palace to mark the Orange Revolution anniversary. Earlier, Yushchenko pledged to celebrate the anniversary with his associates and allies on Independence Square, where several political parties are to hold a rally on November 22. Yuliya Tymoshenko, Yushchenko's staunchest ally in the Orange Revolution, is currently in Brussels and is not expected to appear at the celebrations in either the presidential palace or on Independence Square. JM