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Friday, July 23, 1999 Published at 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK

World: Europe

Chernobyl to dominate EU Ukraine summit

The Ukrainian President, Leonid Kuchma, is today meeting representatives from the European Union in Kiev, including the current EU President, the Finnish prime minister, Paavo Lipponen.

Correspondents say the talks are likely to be dominated by the issue of the Chernobyl nuclear plant -- the scene of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986 -- which is scheduled for closure next year.

Kiev is deeply in debt to Russia for natural gas imports and is expected to repeat demands for the release of funds to build two new nuclear reactors, before it closes Chernobyl.

Release of the funds has been held up by Germany which has tried unsuccessfully to persuade Ukraine to build non-nuclear power plants instead.

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