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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.
POLISH PRESIDENT VISITS KAZAKHSTAN. Following a meeting with Polish President Lech Kaczynski, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said in Astana on March 29 that Kazakhstan wants to ship oil through a proposed Odesa-Brody-Gdansk pipeline, ITAR-TASS reported. Noting that Kazakhstan hopes to double its oil production by 2012-15, Nazarbaev said that "for this reason, the Odesa-Brody-Gdansk project is a good alternative for us." Nazarbaev added, however, that Russia should be brought into the project, Interfax reported. "It's not a political, but an economic issue, because excess oil would be transported from Kazakhstan through Russia," Nazarbaev said. For his part, Kaczynski said that "Poland is ready to process Kazakh oil in our refineries, as well as to be a transit country so that oil can reach the European Union and other parts of the world," Khabar reported. The Odesa-Brody pipeline was originally built to ship Caspian oil, although Ukraine in 2004 approved a reversal to ship Russian oil through the pipeline, Interfax reported. Ukraine and Poland plan to extend the pipeline to Gdansk in Poland. DK
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SIGNALS POSSIBILITY OF DISSOLVING PARLIAMENT... President Viktor Yushchenko on March 29 accused the government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych of violating the constitution by forming a coalition based on individuals rather than political factions, Ukrainian media reported. Yushchenko's charges were linked to a recent defection of a dozen opposition lawmakers to the ruling majority (see "RFE/RL Newsline," March 23, 2007). Yushchenko slammed the ruling majority for a "barefaced revision of the will of the Ukrainian voters, a breach of the constitution, and a direct road to lawlessness." He suggested that he might respond by dissolving parliament. "I will never allow the parliamentary majority to be reformatted in violation of the constitution. If any political forces believe they can claim 300 seats [in parliament] and they declare repeatedly that there will be a 300-deputy coalition in parliament, then a political decision should be made and we should call early parliamentary elections," Yushchenko said. Yushchenko has reportedly invited Yanukovych and parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz as well as leaders of parliamentary factions for consultations on this controversial issue, but it is unclear when such talks could take place. Moroz is currently on a visit to China. JM
...AS PREMIER SLAMS HIM FOR 'IRRESPONSIBLE' STATEMENT. Prime Minister Yanukovych said on March 29 that President Yushchenko should not have hastened to threaten dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian media reported. "It is irresponsible to make such statements. There is a system in the country for interpreting laws, and that is the Constitutional Court, which draws conclusions and makes decisions. And in my view it is a mistake on the president's part to make such statements," Yanukovych said. Later the same day, lawmaker Raisa Bohatyryova, head of the Party of Regions parliamentary caucus, said in a television interview that if the president issues a decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada, the ruling coalition will appeal against it to the Constitutional Court. "If it is the president who wants early elections, they will take place, and we will help him win reelection," Bohatyryova added. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk revealed on March 30 that Yushchenko and Yanukovych discussed the current political standoff for several hours on March 29 and were expected to continue their discussion on March 30. JM
UKRAINE'S TYMOSHENKO PUSHES FOR EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of the eponymous opposition bloc, on March 30 called for new parliamentary elections and expressed confidence that opposition parties would get more votes in such elections than those from the ruling coalition, UNIAN reported. Tymoshenko was speaking at a meeting of the National Salvation Committee -- a coordinating body of opposition political parties and public organizations that existed in 2001 under the name of the National Salvation Forum and was reactivated by Tymoshenko earlier this month. "The mood has not changed, and people will once again choose democratic forces," Tymoshenko said at the March 30 meeting. "The Socialists, following their cynical betrayal [of the Orange Revolution coalition in July 2006], will not get any seats in parliament," she predicted. JM