UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ON RUSSIA-UKRAINE TREATY. Leonid Kuchma said on nationwide radio on 7 June that the political treaty with Russia, signed in Kyiv on 31 May, was a victory for "reason" and "common sense." Kuchma noted the treaty has been internationally acclaimed and rejected accusations that the agreements reached were to the detriment of Ukraine's national interests. Besides signing the treaty, Kuchma and Yeltsin concluded a deal on the division of the Black Sea fleet and the use of port facilities in Sevastopol. Ukraine's lawmakers have asked Kuchma to explain the treaty and clarify the Black Sea deal (see RFE/RL Newsline, 6 June 1997).

FOREIGN VISITORS IN UKRAINE. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati arrived in Kyiv on 8 June for talks on expanding relations. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry told journalists the purpose of the visit is to discuss future political and economic cooperation between Kyiv and Iran. Ukraine halted the sale of tanks to Iran last year following protests by Israel. Meanwhile, Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Olexander Kuzmuk, and other officials in Kyiv on 6 June at the start of his five-day visit to Ukraine. He is also scheduled to meet with President Leonid Kuchma and Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko.

ROMANIAN PARTICIPATION IN NEW REGIONAL FORMATIONS. Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel has submitted his country's proposals for the mechanism of the Austrian-Romanian-Hungarian "trilateral." Schuessel met with his Romanian counterpart, Adrian Severin, and Hungarian Deputy Foreign Minister Matyas Eoersi on 8 June in Sarajevo, where the three also attended a meeting of the Central European Initiative. The "trilateral" was officially launched when the three countries' foreign ministers met in Sintra, Portugal, one week earlier. Also in Sarajevo, Severin agreed with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko and Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Aurelian Danila to set up a "trilateral" of their countries. Meanwhile, it was announced in Bucharest that the presidents of Ukraine, Moldova, and Romania will meet in Izmail, Ukraine, in early July to officially launch the two "Euroregions" provided for in the recent Romanian-Ukrainian basic treaty, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported on 8 June.

MOLDOVAN TRADE WITH CIS DECLINING. Moldova's trade with CIS countries has dropped by 2.6% to $392 million since the beginning of 1997, a Ministry of Economy spokesman told journalists on 6 June. He added that Moldova now has a trade deficit with CIS countries totaling $52.2 million, saying that this poor performance was largely due to the tax deposits imposed by Ukraine for Moldovan exports transiting the country. The spokesman said the taxes--which are intended to guarantee that goods will not be illegally sold in Ukraine--have "paralyzed" trade with CIS countries for many weeks.