Today, in Warsaw, leaders of 17 Eastern European countries gathered to discuss their role in the war on terrorism. The conference, which is opening tomorrow, will be greeted by George Bush through satellite communication. Russia has sent its observer to the conference, Vladimir Rushailo, secretary of Russian Security Council. The day before the conference, Vladimir Rushailo had negotiations with Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma hastened to participate in the conference himself, to show his support of today’s Washington administration. This is practically one of the first Kuchma’s appearance among other state leaders since the so-called “cassette scandal." He is expected to do his best to be notable for Americans, for Ukraine and its president personally have been exposed because of selling weapons. On one hand, some reports state terrorist sub-units of Osama bin Laden are armed with Kalashnikov submachine guns, mobile missile systems, and grenade launchers, which arrived from Ukraine. This summer, the Vecheny New York newspaper reported about Leonid Kuchma’s connection with businessman Alexandr Zhukov, who is accused by the Turin police (Italy) of illegal arms deliveries for the Balkans as well as for Sicilan Mafia. As if the weapons were supplied from Ukraine as well. In addition, yesterday, Leonid Kuchma’s ex-guard Nikolai Melnichenko, who recorded conversations in the Ukrainian president’s office, received a summons. It looks like soon he will receive the US authorities’ order to hand over all the recordings of the Ukrainian president’s conversations directly referring to arms sales and hiding “dirty” money. Therefore, there is something for which Leonid Kuchma should deserve forgiveness from the US. The Ukrainian president is expected to speak at the conference’s plenary sitting. Russia, the European Union, and the United States sent their representatives to the Warsaw conference, which is expected to consider a plan of strengthening security measures in the region. High representatives of 17 countries are expected to pass this plan, which will include the strengthening of border controls, a closer cooperation of intelligence services, and stricter control of the banking sphere to fight against money laundering. According to observers, there is a danger that insufficient control could make Eastern Europe suitable for international terrorist organizations. This question worries the countries carrying out the war on terrorism. President George Bush addressed the conference through satellite communication, expecting support from his allies in this region. Eastern European countries are intending to show that they are real allies of the West, while hoping to strengthen their efforts directed to joining the European Union and NATO. Recently, some of the states’ leaders of the region stressed the the September 11 events proved tthat these processes should be accelerated.
Alexandr Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine
France Press photograph
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2001/11/06/33477.html