KYRGYZSTAN REGISTERS LARGEST PRODUCTION INCREASE IN CIS. In a CIS Interstate Statistics Committee report on industrial production from January to June 1997, Kyrgyzstan came first ahead of the 11 other CIS countries, Interfax reported on 30 July. Kyrgyzstan's industrial production rose by 28.8 percent during that period. Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan, all registered increases, while the other five -- Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan -- saw declines in production. The report states that the largest decrease was in Turkmenistan (according to the Turkmen National Statistics Committee, industrial production dropped by 35.2 percent -- see also below). Kyrgyzstan also showed a 6.8 percent increase in GDP but ranked behind Georgia (14.7 percent increase) and Belarus (11 percent).

MORE GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS IN UKRAINE. President Leonid Kuchma on 30 July appointed former Economics Minister Yuri Yekhanurov to head the newly created committee on promoting business, Reuters reported. Oleksander Osaulenko was named as head of the state statistics committee. Kuchma reappointed Serhiy Osyka as minister of foreign economic relations and trade and Valery Kalchenko as emergency situations minister.

GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS UKRAINE CRUCIAL FOR EUROPEAN STABILITY. Klaus Kinkel said at the close of his visit to Kyiv on 30 July that Ukraine plays a key role in European stability. Speaking to reporters, Kinkel praised the recent diplomatic achievements of Ukraine, notably the conclusion of friendship treaties with Poland and Romania and a border agreement with Belarus as well as Ukraine's participation in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. Kinkel said Ukraine "is now much stronger than several years ago" and is becoming an increasingly important member of the international community. He said that "Germany supports Ukraine on its way to Europe, democracy, and a market economy." He also commented Europe recognizes the sensitivity of Ukraine's relations with Russia and will strive to prevent Ukraine from becoming a buffer zone between East and West.