NEW TANKS ON DISPLAY IN OMSK. New models of the T-80 tank, equipped with an anti-missile system, are on show at an international weaponry exhibit in the Siberian city of Omsk. The models were manufactured at the city's Transport Building Plant with financing provided by Rosvooruzhenie, South Korea, and Cyprus, according to the plant's chief designer, Boris Kurakin. An essentially new tank model produced by the Omsk plant is also on display. Many features of the so-called "Black Eagle" have been kept under wraps, but the tank has elicited much interest from West European and U.S. companies, Interfax reported. Military hardware produced by 126 Russian defense plants from 26 Russian regions, as well as Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, is currently on display at the exhibit, Interfax reported.

BELARUS PLANS TO SIGN CHARTER WITH NATO. Belarusian Foreign Minister Ivan Antanovich told journalists on 8 September that Belarus intends to sign a charter with NATO, despite Minsk's negative stance toward the eastward expansion of the alliance. Antanovich said that the document will be similar to the cooperation charters that Russia and Ukraine concluded with NATO earlier this year. According to Antanovich, the charter provides NATO security guarantees for Belarus. He said Belarus will take into account its relations with the alliance when it plans its defense policy. The charter will be discussed during a visit to Minsk by NATO SecretaryGeneral Javier Solana scheduled for 23-24 October.

NUCLEAR SAFETY CONFERENCE IN UKRAINE. An international conference on nuclear safety and security began in Odessa on 8 September, ITAR-TASS reported. Taking part in the meeting are representatives of several large Western firms, five Ukrainian nuclear plants, the Energoatom company, and Ukrainian government officials. Up to 48 percent of Ukraine's electricity is produced by nuclear plants. Because the nuclear industry suffers from a lack of funds, some facilities are unable to maintain safety standards and to replace outdated equipment. Among other things, the conference will discuss prospects for international cooperation in nuclear safety.

MULTINATIONAL PEACEKEEPING EXERCISES START IN POLAND. Two multi-national peacekeeping exercises began at Polish military training sites on 8 September. Some 350 soldiers from Poland, the U.S., Denmark, Finland, Hungary, and Ukraine are participating in a peacekeeping exercise, called Brave Eagle, using computers to help train a multinational brigade. In the Eagle's Talon exercise, Polish and U.S. airmen are carrying out peacekeeping maneuvers during simulated ethnic conflict. Both exercises will last until 9 September.