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CONTEMPORARIES REMEMBER YELTSIN. Former Polish President Lech Walesa said in Warsaw on April 23 that "the world has forgotten, but it was [former President Yeltsin] who dissolved the USSR...not [former Soviet President Mikhail] Gorbachev," news agencies reported. Walesa added that if Yeltsin had not helped break up the Soviet Union, "then all of the processes then happening in the world would have stopped and receded. We have to thank Yeltsin for everything we have: the free world, and the age of intellect, information, and globalization," news agencies reported. Gorbachev, who was a rival of Yeltsin and with whom Yeltsin did not speak in recent years, said in Moscow that Yeltsin "leaves behind him great deeds to the benefit of his country and serious mistakes.... [He was] a tragic figure." Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin, who was one of Yeltsin's prime ministers, called his former chief "an epoch for Russia." Estonian parliamentarian Peeter Tulviste said that "it's largely thanks to Yeltsin that we got free [of the Soviet Union] without bloodshed." Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said in a statement that "fate gave [Yeltsin] a tough time in which to govern, but history will be kind to him because he was courageous and steadfast on the big issues: peace, freedom, and progress." Former British Prime Minister John Major said that Yeltsin will be remembered for his work in promoting democracy and not "the economic difficulties...[or] whether he drank too much." Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl stressed that Yeltsin's "contribution to Russo-German relations and to world peace should not be underestimated." PM
UKRAINIAN SPEAKER OFFERS PLAN TO RESOLVE POLITICAL CRISIS. Verkhovna Rada head Oleksandr Moroz told journalists in Kyiv on April 23 that he is going to offer President Viktor Yushchenko a plan to settle the ongoing political crisis in the country, Ukrainian news agencies reported. Moroz proposes to cancel simultaneously the presidential decree dissolving the parliament and the resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Verkhovna Rada that were passed in response to the decree. If the Constitutional Court recognizes the presidential decree as constitutional, Moroz proposes to postpone the date of the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada until this coming summer or autumn. If the Constitutional Court rules the presidential decree void, Moroz proposes that the Verkhovna Rada introduce a number of amendments in electoral legislation, the rules of procedure in the Verkhovna Rada, the constitution, the law on the Cabinet of Ministers, as well as introduce a number of other bills. On April 24, Moroz called on deputies from the opposition Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) and Our Ukraine to return to work in the legislature. Oleksandr Turchynov from the BYuT responded that lawmakers from his party will return to parliament only following early parliamentary elections. Lawmakers from the BYuT and Our Ukraine gave up their parliamentary seats last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 19, 2007). JM
U.S. URGES GREATER POLITICAL CONSENSUS IN MACEDONIA. Visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs Rosemary DiCarlo on April 23 urged Macedonia's governing and opposition parties to forge a consensus strong enough to carry through reforms needed to achieve the country's stated goals of joining the EU and NATO. According to reports by the MIA news agency, DiCarlo highlighted corruption, human trafficking, and religious rights as other key areas of concern (see "RFE/RL Newsline," April 23, 2007). DiCarlo, who met with President Branko Crvenkovski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, reiterated Washington's strong support for Macedonia's application to join both organizations. U.S. President George W. Bush on April 10 signed legislation affirming support for NATO's enlargement to include Macedonia, as well as Albania, Croatia, Georgia, and Ukraine. Macedonia hopes to receive an invitation from NATO in 2008, and to embark on preaccession talks with the EU next year. However, EU officials have voiced concerns at a perceived slackening in the pace of Macedonia's reform process and at the fractured nature of party politics, with tensions with ethnic Albanian parties being a particular concern (see "RFE/RL Newsline," February 1 and 9, 2007). Macedonia has troops on international missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and also Afghanistan and Iraq. AG