Vital IMF negotiations continue
Renewal of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) credit program remains one of the major topics in Ukrainian economic life (see back issues). IMF loans have become essential to the survival of country's ailing economy, and an end to this assistance could easily provoke a complete collapse of the country's economic system.
In upcoming meetings with senior IMF officials in Washington, Prime Minister Victor Yushchenko hopes to reach an understanding with the international body that would allow him to return to home with a final solution to the problem.
Generally speaking, the IMF appears to have a rather positive attitude toward renewal of Ukraine's credit program, but final approval is likely to be contingent on the completion of the ongoing Ukrainian internal audit and on promises that similar problems will not recur. For its part, the Ukrainian government is trying to convince the IMF that the country accepts its responsibility for the present situation and will never again give the world financial body cause to doubt its use of IMF credits.
In the course of negotiations, Prime Minister Yushchenko appears willing to accept early repayment conditions, but not all members of his government seem to approve. First Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy Ekhanurov, for example, has said that he would work to secure the best possible repayment terms for Ukraine, claiming Ukraine would never be able to fulfill the renewal conditions proposed by the IMF, which he called unrealistic.
A delegation from the second European department of the IMF began work in Kyiv this week, and the Ukrainian side hopes negotiations will lead to an agreement by the middle of June as opposed to the previous target of the end of July.EU cooperation talks continue
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yushchenko led a Ukrainian delegation to Brussels this week for the third meeting of the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council. Afterward, Yushchenko told reporters he was very satisfied with the results of his two day visit to EU headquarters.
Yushchenko noted that EU chief Romano Prodi has agreed to significantly increase the level of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU through negotiations on a possible free trade agreement. Prodi and Yushchenko also discussed the prospect of Ukraine's admission to the World Trade Organization. (Ukraine is currently an observer nation)
Although Ukrainian EU membership is obviously not on the current agenda, Yushchenko noted that Ukraine's integration into European Union structures is not a question of choice but rather one of time.Crimean government dismissed
Ukrainian political life focused this week on the situation in Crimea, where the parliament voted to dismiss the current Crimean government during a 24 May plenary session.
The vote came after Premier Serhy Kunitsin presented a report on his government's work. Parliament responded with a resolution declaring inadequate the performance of the premier and his cabinet, with 68 of 94 deputies present voting in favour of the resolution.
Crimean parliamentary speaker Leonid Hrach must now submit the resolution to President Kuchma for approval.
According to Kunitsin, there are no "economic arguments" to support his dismissal, noting that the republic's rate of production has increased by 24 percent during the last four months while his government has, at the same time, made positive advances in repaying salary debts.
Oleksandr Martynenko, Kuchma's press secretary, said that Kuchma is aware of the situation and has the right to veto the Crimean parliament's decision which, he claims, was adopted in violation of the Ukrainian constitution.
Natalya Krasnoboka, 28 May 2000
Den', daily national newspaper
Kyiv Post, weekly national newspaper
Facty, daily national newspaper
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
UA Today, on-line information agency
Ukrainska Pravda, on-line independent daily newspaper