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    KUCHMA ON BIASED COVERAGE OF UKRAINE AFFAIRS

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    KIEV, February 21 (RIA Novosti correspondent Yevgeny Alexandrov) - Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, and US former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Board of the National Democratic Institute Madeleine Albright have met to discuss the internal political and economic situation in Ukraine.

    According to the press service of the Ukrainian presidential administration, the sides stated the need for the upcoming presidential elections and political reform to be carried out in an open, transparent and democratic way.

    Kuchma stressed that at the current stage, it is important for Ukraine that its internal political processes are interpreted adequately outside the country. "We would like the international public representatives to stick to unbiased assessment of the internal political situation in Ukraine," said Kuchma.

    Kuchma and Albright touched upon international cooperation issues, in particular, the US-Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Russian and Ukrainian-EU interaction.

    Madeleine Albright arrived in Kiev yesterday to attend the international conference, Ukraine in Europe and the World.

    Presidential elections in Ukraine are due in fall 2004. The Ukrainian parliament is now waiting for the Constitutional Court to decide the legality of the draft amendments to the current Constitution.

    The blueprint of the political reform envisages that the president be elected by the parliament, and part of his authority be transferred to the parliamentarians, the term of deputies be extended from four to five years and elections of all power bodies be held on the same day.

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