DRUZHBA PIPELINE CROSSING BELARUS NEEDS REPAIRS. Officials at the Novopolotsk and Homel oil transit enterprises told Belapan on 29 September that the Druzhba pipeline carrying oil from Russia to Central Europe is at risk unless repairs are made soon. But the officials, whom the news agency did not name, said they do not have the money to repair the line. "Gudok" on 27 September reported that unnamed Western companies engaged in exploiting Caspian oil have already agreed to finance repairs to the stretch of the Druzhba pipeline that crosses Ukraine.

KUCHMA WELCOMES RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN ACCORD. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said on 29 September that Moscow and Kyiv have no fundamental differences in approach to foreign policy questions, ITAR-TASS reported. He was speaking after representatives to the newly established Ukrainian-Russian Consultative Council handed him a document calling for the two sides to raise their "relations to the level of strategic partnership." Kuchma also said he will make an informal visit to Moscow to meet with Russian President Yeltsin before his official trip to the Russian capital in January.

LATVIAN, UKRAINIAN LEADERS BACK REGIONAL SUMMIT PLANS. Ukrainian President Kuchma said that several European countries have backed his call for a 1999 Baltic-Black Sea summit in Yalta, Interfax reported on 29 September. His remarks came during a visit to Kyiv by Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis, who said he too supports the idea. The 1999 meeting would be a follow up to the European security conference held in Vilnius in early September.