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New OSCE Chief Visits Ukraine

5 January 2005 -- The new head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, arrived in Ukraine yesterday for a two-day visit.

He is expected to meet opposition leader and President-elect Viktor Yushchenko in the western city of Lviv today.

Nearly 1,000 OSCE observers monitored voting across Ukraine in a repeat presidential runoff between Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on 26 December. Yushchenko won that election with nearly 52 percent of the vote, according to the official preliminary vote count.

Ukraine's Central Election Commission meanwhile delayed a scheduled meeting today to complete determining results of the presidential balloting in December.

A spokeswoman said the election commission will instead gather tomorrow. She gave no reason for the delay.

Slovenia is the new rotating chairman of the OSCE, and the Ukrainian visit marks Rupel's first foreign call as the OSCE's senior representative.


[For more on the recent political crisis in Ukraine, see RFE/RL's dedicated Ukraine's Disputed Election webpage.]