YELTSIN HAPPY WITH FOREIGN POLICY RESULTS. In a partly-televised meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister Chubais, Yeltsin hailed the government's achievements during the first five months of the year, especially in foreign policy, Russian news agencies reported on 3 June. Yeltsin noted that in May, Russia signed agreements or treaties with Chechnya, Belarus, Ukraine and NATO. He told Chubais that the government's next important task is paying pension arrears and other debts to Russian citizens. Government officials have repeatedly pledged that all back pensions will be paid by 1 July.
RUMORS OF IMPENDING TULEEV DISMISSAL. CIS Affairs Minister Aman Tuleev told Interfax on 3 June that a decree on his dismissal is on the president's desk, although he does not know whether Yeltsin has signed it. Tuleev did not accompany Yeltsin on his recent trip to Ukraine and criticized the agreement on dividing the Black Sea Fleet. Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev called for Tuleev's dismissal after Tuleev criticized the treatment of ethnic Russians in Kazakstan. Kommersant-Daily argued on 3 June that Tuleev has damaged Russia's relations with leaders of all CIS countries except Belarus. Appointed last August, Tuleev is the cabinet minister with the closest ties to the opposition. He supported Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov's presidential bid last year and is a leading figure in the Communist-led Popular-Patriotic Union of Russia.
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ASKS KUCHMA TO EXPLAIN TREATY WITH RUSSIA. Legislators have asked President Leonid Kuchma to explain the recently signed treaty with Russia and the deal dividing the Black Sea fleet. ITAR-TASS on 4 June quoted parliamentary chairman Olexander Moroz as saying lawmakers as well as all Ukrainians have differing views on the agreements. Moroz said legislators want further clarification on the Black Sea fleet deal. In particular, Kuchma has been asked to explain the leasing agreement under which Russia will pay for the use of port facilities in Sevastopol by writing off part of Ukraine's debt for gas deliveries.
U.S., RUSSIA CONGRATULATE UKRAINE, ROMANIA ON TREATY. The U.S. State Department on 3 June congratulated Romania and Ukraine on the signing of the bilateral treaty the previous day. Spokesman Nicholas Burns said the accord is an "important contribution to the construction of an undivided Europe rooted on the common values of democracy and cooperation." In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadii Tarasov also welcomed the signing of the treaty and told journalists it is in line with efforts aimed at creating a new atmosphere in Europe. He said the document will in no way influence the still pending bilateral treaty between Russia and Romania. He added that Russia was prepared to sign the treaty "when the Romanian side is ready to do so," ITAR-TASS reported. Talks on the Russian- Romanian treaty have stalled mainly owing to Romanian insistence on including a denunciation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in the document.
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPROVES DISMISSAL OF CRIMEAN PRIME MINISTER. Kuchma on 3 June approved the dismissal of Crimean Prime Minister Arkadi Demidenko, ITAR-TASS reported. The Crimean parliament has voted three times to dismiss Demidenko. Meanwhile, RFE/RL's Kyiv correspondent reported on 3 June that Kuchma has agreed to appoint Anatoli Franchuk as prime minister of the autonomous Crimean Republic.
UKRAINE TO PRIVATIZE SOME 4,000 STATE COMPANIES IN 1997. The parliament on 3 June approved a plan to privatize 4,222 large and medium-sized state enterprises in 1997, Interfax-Ukraine reported. The companies, some of which will be restructured before they are privatized, will be purchased either with cash or with the privatization or "compensation" vouchers. The vouchers given to citizens to make up for their financial losses during the years of hyper-inflation immediately following the country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
POPE MEETS WITH CENTRAL, EASTERN EUROPEAN LEADERS. Pope John Paul II was joined by the presidents of Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Ukraine at a mass in Gniezno on 3 June honoring St. Adalbert, a 10th-century Christian martyr of Czech origin. St. Adalbert, a bishop and missionary, who was killed by a non-Christian tribe in 997, is remembered for spreading Christianity in Poland, Bohemia. and Hungary. At the mass, the pope warned that there is a new "invisible wall" of selfishness and prejudice in Europe. He said that the years of fighting in the former Yugoslavia and this year's crisis in Albania show an increased insensitivity to the value of human life. At a meeting with the presidents after the mass, the pontiff called on European organizations to admit all states wishing to join. He said that "no nation, not even the poorest, should be excluded."
CHAIRMAN OF CZECH LOWER CHAMBER COMMENTS ON RUSSIA, NATO. Milos Zeman, chairman of the lower house of the Czech parliament, told journalists in Moscow on 3 June that Russia, as a democratic country, must respect other nations' bid to join NATO. Zeman is heading a Czech parliamentary delegation that recently visited Ukraine and is now in Moscow. Following his 4 June meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov, Zeman said that the recent Russia-NATO accord eliminates Moscow's "justified security doubts." He stressed that nations wanting to join the alliance will "in no way threaten Russia," adding he understands Russia's fears of deploying nuclear weapons and foreign troops on the territory of new NATO members.