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Ukraine: President Presents New Government

Kiev, Ukraine; 22 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma today ceremonially presented the new government he appointed this month to implement new economic policy and introduce reforms.

In a the ceremony at his residence, Kuchma said the guiding principle in forming the Cabinet was professionalism and not personal links, and promised the government will be open to scrutiny. The new government, headed by Valery Pustovoitenko, has 21 ministers and is Ukraine's sixth government since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Pustovoitenko was named last month to replace Pavlo Lazarenko, who quit under pressure from Kuchma. In a year in the top government post, Lazarenko came to be identified with bureaucracy and corruption that have stymied reforms and kept Ukraine's economy from improving.

Ukrainian authorities promise economic growth next year. The country's economy has contracted steadily since 1991, with gross domestic product falling by 10 percent last year and by 6.9 percent in the first seven months of 1997.