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With the kind permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, InfoUkes Inc. has been given rights to electronically re-print these articles on our web site. Visit the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service page for more information. Also visit the RFE/RL home page for news stories on other Eastern European and FSU countries.
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Biweekly review of RFE/RL reporting and analysis about Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova.
ORIGINS OF 'REVOLUTIONARY DEVELOPMENT' IN RUSSIA-UKRAINE RELATIONS A MYSTERY
By Roman Kupchinsky
Russian President Vladimir Putin stirred up a hornet's nest when he publicly announced earlier this month that the Ukrainian government had approached Russia with the idea of unifying the countries' respective gas-pipeline networks.
"RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine & Moldova Report" is compiled on the basis of a variety of sources.
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GEORGIA CONTINUES EFFORTS TO REPLACE RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS. Georgia is working on a package of proposals that would constitute the legal basis for changing the existing format of talks aimed at reaching a political solution of its conflicts with the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and for replacing the Russian peacekeepers deployed in both conflict zones with international contingents, RFE/RL's Georgian Service quoted Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili as saying in Tbilisi on February 21. Bezhuashvili admitted that doing so would be "difficult, but not unrealistic." Foreign Ministry spokesman David Dondua told RFE/RL that in the case of Abkhazia, the existing agreement provides for the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping force at the request of one or other conflict side. The Georgian parliament called last year for the Russians' withdrawal, and Ukrainian, Polish, Romanian, and Baltic leaders have expressed readiness to send substitute peacekeepers. In South Ossetia, Dondua continued, securing the Russians' withdrawal may prove problematic insofar as they were deployed on the basis of a quadripartite agreement between Russia, Georgia, the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia, and North Ossetia, which is a Russian Federation subject. LF
...DISCUSSES HIV/AIDS SITUATION... Kazakh Health Minister Anatoly Dernovoi told a news conference after the Security Council meeting that the HIV/AIDS situation in Kazakhstan "is growing rather tense," Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. Dernovoi said that he briefed the council on measures being taken to fight an HIV/AIDS outbreak in the Southern Kazakhstan region (see "RFE/RL Newsline," October 11, 2006), noting that 93 children and 14 mothers have tested HIV-positive in the region, with over 56,000 people tested in the wake of the outbreak. Dernovoi said that more than 50 specialists from Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Cuba, and such organizations as UNICEF and the World Health Organization are helping to combat the outbreak. On the overall HIV/AIDS situation in Kazakhstan, Dernovoi said, "The country has 7,557 registered cases of HIV infection and AIDS, with 1,745 [new] registered cases last year." DK
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE FOR FOREIGN MINISTER. The Verkhovna Rada on February 22 failed to approve Volodymyr Ohryzko as the country's new foreign minister, Ukrainian media reported. Ohryzko was supported by 196 opposition deputies, with at least 226 votes required for approval. President Viktor Yushchenko nominated Ohryzko for the post on February 5, following the resignation of former Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk on January 30 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," January 31 and February 6, 2007). Also on February 22, the parliament rejected the presidential nomination of lawmaker Viktor Korol for the post of chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Korol's nomination was backed by 190 opposition deputies. Under the constitution, the nomination of the defense and foreign ministers as well as of the SBU chief is a presidential prerogative. In theory, President Yushchenko can submit Ohryzko's and Korol's candidacies once again. The law on the cabinet adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in January stipulates that the parliamentary majority shall appoint the defense and foreign ministers on its own if the president fails to submit their candidacy "within 15 days." President Yushchenko filed a protest against this law to the Constitutional Court. JM
KYIV BLASTS MOSCOW MAYOR'S PRONOUNCEMENTS IN SEVASTOPOL. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on February 22 that Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov's statements in Sevastopol the previous day were intended to stir up "tension in society" and undermine "good-neighborly relations," Ukrainian media reported. The ministry also said that Luzhkov publicly cast doubt on the status of the Crimean Peninsula as an integral part of Ukraine. "We should talk today about many problems that have appeared due to the processes that involved you in our time and tore Sevastopol away from Russia, tore Crimea away from Russia," Ukrainian media quoted Luzhkov as saying at a news conference in Sevastopol. "[Sevastopol] is a city that needs support in order to let all Russians, including those with Ukrainian passports, feel that they are close to their motherland," Luzhkov added. JM