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Ukraine: Search Begins For New Prime Minister

Salzburg, 11 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma yesterday said he envisions naming a new Prime Minister in the very near future.

Kuchma, addressing journalists at the second annual Central and Eastern European Economic Summit in Salzburg, Austria, said he hopes to have a new candidate named before parliament recesses for vacation.

Asked whether a new Prime Minister would also mean a new economic policy for Ukraine, he responded that the country must pursue general reforms already underway. The previous premier, Pavlo Lazarenko, resigned last month because of health reasons.

Kuchma also hailed yesterday's signing of a partnership charter with NATO as a strong signal to the world that Ukraine is a welcome partner in the new Europe. The charter involves a special consultative mechanism in the event the second largest of the former Soviet Republics faces a crisis or external threat. It also pledges to support Ukraine's sovereignty and frontiers.