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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ORDERS FOREIGN MINISTER TO STAY... President Viktor Yushchenko on December 5 issued a decree ordering Borys Tarasyuk to continue performing the duties of foreign minister, the presidential website (http://www.president.gov.ua/) reported. The Verkhovna Rada on December 1 voted to dismiss Tarasyuk, who subsequently claimed that his dismissal was illegitimate (see "RFE/RL Newsline," December 4, 2006). Yushchenko said in the decree that his decision is based on Article 106, Part 3 of the Ukrainian Constitution, which stipulates that the president "administers the foreign political activity of the state." "It is irresponsible to try to cancel such decisions," Reuters quoted Yanukovych as saying in Washington about Yushchenko's decree regarding Tarasyuk. JM
...BUT THIS MAY PROVE PROBLEMATIC. Borys Tarasyuk told an RFE/RL Ukrainian Service correspondent in Kyiv on December 5 that he was not allowed to attend a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers earlier the same day. Tarasyuk said Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers Anatoliy Tolstoukhov prevented him from entering the meeting room. "I was told [by Tolstoukhov that] I wasn't on the list and [I was barred from meetings] until further clarification, even though I showed them the court decision and the presidential decree. This is outrageous. I will press for my rights as a cabinet member to be respected," Tarasyuk said. Also on December 5, Tarasyuk told journalists that a district court in Kyiv has ruled to suspend the Verkhovna Rada's resolution on his dismissal. Tarasyuk, who was appointed to his post directly by the president, argues that only the president has the right to submit a motion for his dismissal, which was not the case in his dismissal vote. JM