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Events from May 14 to 20, 2004


Political Developments

Ukraine To take Part In Talks On Iraq In Washington. Countries participating in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, including Ukraine will hold multilateral talks on the situation in the country in Washington today, on 20 May. Deputy Foreign Minister Oleh Shamshura will represent Ukraine at the talks.

Comment: The talks are expected to focus on the planned shift of sovereignty in Iraq to the Iraqi provisional authority on 30 June. The coalition’s temporary administration will be disbanded at that time.

Ukrainian Troops To Remain In Iraq. In a closed session on 19 May Ukrainian parliament rejected an opposition proposal to withdraw Ukrainian troops from Iraq. The motion was tabled the Communist Party and was backed by the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc, the Socialist Party and a large number of deputies from Victor Yuschenkos "Our Ukraine" party. Lawmakers at the session heard reports on the situation in Iraq from the country’s Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, the head of National Security and Defense Council and the chief of Security Services. Only some 130 out of 450 deputies in the Parliament backed the motion.

Comment: Ukrainian 1,800 men-strong peacekeeping contingent is the fourth-largest non-US contingent there. The Ukrainian troops are serving in south-central Iraqs Wacit province where they provide security to the Iraqi regional administration, secure two key highways and key rail bridges over the Tigris river and patrol Iraqs long border with Iran.

Six Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in Iraq since they were deployed there last August.

Crimean Tartars Mark 60th Anniversary Of Deportation. From ten to twenty thousands people took part in a meeting in Simferopol on 18 May to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the forced deportation of Tatars from Crimea to Central Asia. The deportation, ordered by soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who accused Crimean Tatars of collaboration with the Nazis, began on 18 May 1944 and affected some 200,000 people. Crimean Tatars were officially rehabilitated by the Kremlin in 1967, but allowed to return to Crimea only in 1989. Participants in the commemorative march demanded that the Tatar language be made an official one in Crimea and that Tatar returnees be given land plots for settlement.

Comment: Some 250,000 Tatars have returned to Crimea in 1980th and since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Economic Developments

Economics Ministry Forecasts Exports and Import Growth In 2004. Deputy Economics Minister told the journalists on 17 May that Ukraine is expected to boost its exports by nearly 13 percent and imports by over 14 percent this year. According to the Ministry, the surplus of Ukraine’s foreign trade in commodities and services in 2004 is projected at $971 million, and in 2005 is expected to be about $820 million.

Comment: the surplus of Ukraines trade and services in the first three months of 2004 was estimated at $837 million, while the surplus of trade in commodities was at $857 million.

Russian Premier Calls For Removing Barrier In Trade with Ukraine.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has called for removing barriers in trade with Ukraine. Fradkov did so at a meeting in Moscow over the past weekend with his Ukrainian counterpart Victor Yanukovich. Russia’s President Putin also took part in the meeting.

Comment: Russia is Ukraines largest trading partner.

Journalist Oleh Lyashko (the editor-in-chief of the small-circulation paper Svoboda (Freedom) was acquitted by Ukraine's Superior Court (May 19). The verdict charging him with resistance to police was called off.

The CNSD (Council of National Security and Defense) Secretary Volodymyr Radchenko and first deputy of SCU (Security Service of Ukraine) Yuri Zemlyansky said at the closed session of Ukrainian parliament that according to their opinion there was a threat of terrorist acts in the country related to Ukraine's participation in military operations in Iraq. The session dealt with the issue of Ukrainian troops' deployment in Iraq.

Ukraine's economy growth is on ascendancy again

The growth of the GDP in Ukraine in April of 2004 compared with April 2003 was 13.3% and in January-April 2004 against January-April of 2003 was 11.5%.

The GDP increase over four months of the current year was secured, first of all, by the increase of added value in construction - 31.9%, manufacturing industry - 21.2%, wholesale and retail trade - 18.2%.

The Ministry of Economy improved its forecast for the GDP growth in 2004 from 4.8% to 9.5% (many Ukrainian experts believe that at the end of the year with the account of good prospects for the grain harvest the GDP increase will be recorded in excess of 10%. This will be the highest indicator over the years of Ukraine's independence).

The GDP growth substantially exceeding the prediction indicators causes certain apprehensions in Ukraine.

As is known, China recently has taken serious measures to limit the growth of its economy with the goal to prevent its "overheating" and mitigate aftermath of a possible rebound.

However, in Ukraine the necessity of such measures so far is rejected. In particular, spokesmen of the National Bank of Ukraine critically assessed the IMF's proposals to limit crediting of economy just because it may adversely affect the pace of its growth. The IMF's relevant recommendations were turned down.

Keeping up high growth rates still remains a main priority of the Ukrainian Government.

Ukraine's Government sharply criticises the U.S. Trade Mission's findings about insufficient protection of intellectual property

The Ukrainian Government proposes the U.S. side to hold re-assessment of the country's activities in the area of intellectual property protection.

According to its spokesmen the picture has cardinally change recently, the situation has fundamentally improved while the U.S. side has completely ignored it.

Ukraine has already signed 18 international copyright agreements and its legislative framework today is in full conformity with the WTO standards. In particular, a law was adopted on the regulation of manufacturing, export and import of compact disks.

The authorities also effectively combat the manufacturing and spreading of bootlegged products. Last year 86 criminal cases were opened against clandestine companies engaged in production of laser disks.

Under these conditions the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine statement says the conclusions of the U.S. Trade Mission "cannot be classified other than as political".

They do not reflect the actual state of affairs, which is corroborated by the absence of U.S. experts' corresponding calculations and cases in support of violation of property rights in Ukraine..

Ukrainian independent experts emphasize that the U.S. actually ignores much greater violations of intellectual property in China, Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria and a number of other countries and in the U.S. proper having declared Ukraine as a world leader in these infringements.

Since all these accusations are lacking even a slightest likelihood a conclusion about a political rationale behind what is going on is logical the Ukrainian government's statement says.

Current Commentary

Events from June 6 to June 12, 2004 - [17.06.2004]

Events from May 30 to June 5, 2004 - [07.06.2004]

Events from May 21 to 28, 2004 - [05.06.2004]

Events from May 14 to 20, 2004 - [25.05.2004]

Events from May 8 to 13, 2004 - [24.05.2004]

Events from May 1 to May 7, 2004 - [11.05.2004]

Events from April 24 to 30, 2004 - [02.05.2004]

Events from April 18 to 23, 2004 - [23.04.2004]

Events from April 1 to 8, 2004 - [08.04.2004]

Events from March 19 to March 26, 2004 - [29.03.2004]

Weekly briefing on key developments in Ukraine - [18.03.2004]

Events from February 1 to 6, 2004 - [08.02.2004]

Events from January 24 to 30, 2004 - [02.02.2004]

Events from January 15 to 23, 2004 - [24.01.2004]

Events from January 5 to January 15, 2004 - [21.01.2004]

Events from December 20, 2003 to January 1, 2004 - [21.01.2004]

Events from December 16 to December 20, 2003 - [25.12.2003]

Events from December 8 to December 15, 2003 - [15.12.2003]

Events from December 1 to December 5, 2003 - [06.12.2003]

Events from November 22 to December 1, 2003 - [02.12.2003]

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