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NATO: Kuchma Says Ukraine May Boycott Summit


Kyiv, 15 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma (pictured) today said no one from Ukraine will attend a NATO summit next week in Prague if he is not allowed to go. NATO officials have not invited Kuchma to a meeting of partner countries due to take place on the heels of the summit on 21-22 November. NATO says the meeting will be held on a ministerial level.

But Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatoliy Zlenko appeared to contradict Kuchma's threat, as a ministry statement said he agreed to participate in the summit in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Kuchma has been under pressure from the United States, which charges that he approved the sale of an aircraft-detection system to Iraq in breach of UN sanctions. He today reiterated that he is innocent, and that the charges have not been proven.

U.S. officials have said they were dissatisfied with the level of cooperation Ukraine authorities gave last month to a U.S.-British team that visited Ukraine to check into the allegation.

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