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Ukraine: Kuchma Swears He Didn't Sell Radar System To Iraq

Kyiv, 8 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma today gave his "word of honor" that he had not sold military equipment to Iraq, a charge which recently suspended millions of dollars in aid from the United States. Kuchma appeared before the cameras at a ceremony opening a press center in his administration building and said: "Under no circumstances would I give the order to supply arms to Iraq. You have my word of honor."

Reports surfaced in Western newspapers that Kuchma, in violation of UN sanctions, had authorized the sale of the Kolchuha advanced radar system to Iraq. The radar can detect and target planes without alerting the pilots.

Kuchma also today rejected a Polish offer to host a roundtable discussion between his government and opposition politicians. Poland's Prime Minister Leszek Miller made the offer last week after Ukraine's opposition organized rallies that drew tens of thousands of people into the streets in September.

Kuchma said the offer looked like interference in Ukraine's internal affairs.