U.S. ECONOMIST URGES UKRAINE TO PASS REFORMS. Jeffrey Sachs says Ukraine must adopt a 1997 budget and an economic reform planwithin weeks or risk deepening its economic troubles and alienating foreign investors. Sachs, whose Harvard-based Institute for International Development advises the Ukrainian government, was speaking to journalists in Kyiv on 19 April. He said that more foreign firms appear to be leaving Ukraine's market than entering it, and he blamed that trend on current tax and regulation systems as well as widespread corruption. Ukraine's government and parliament have been deadlocked over budget and reform plans since last November. The IMF has conditioned a loan worth at least $2.5 billion on the passage of the budget.
UKRAINE, UZBEKISTAN FAIL TO REACH AGREEMENT ON TATARS. Meeting in Kyiv on 18 April, Uzbek Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Lazarenko, failed to reach an agreement on the return of Crimean Tatars deported to Central Asia by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin during World War II. Refat Chubarov, leader of the 250,000-strong Crimean Tatar community, told Reuters after the meeting that some "difficulties" remained on how to finance the Tatars' return. Uzbekistan wants only those who were actually deported to be given deportee status, while Crimean Tatars and Ukraine insist that all their relatives and descendants be included. Under Stalin, some 190,000 Crimean Tatars accused of collaborating with the Nazis were deported to Central Asia. While many have since returned to Ukraine, there is still a sizable Tatar population in Central Asia.
UKRAINIAN FOREIGN POLICY INITIATIVES. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel has told his Ukrainian counterpart, Gennady Udovenko, that it is advisable for Ukraine to reach a special agreement with NATO as soon as possible, RFE/RL's Ukrainian service reported. The two politicians met in Bonn yesterday. Meanwhile, Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz told Austrian politicians in Vienna yesterday that Ukraine would like to join the traditionally neutral states of Austria, Finland, and Switzerland in seeking to influence the evolving European geopolitical equation, Unian reported. He said the interests of neutral countries are being ignored as NATO prepares to expand eastward.
UKRAINE DISTANCES ITSELF FROM CHISINAU-TIRASPOL MEMORANDUM. Ukrainian Ambassador to Chisinau Evhen Levitsky says his country welcomes the readiness of Chisinau and Tiraspol to sign the memorandum on ways to settle the conflict in Moldova but cannot agree with all its provisions. Levitsky told Infotag that Ukraine objects in particular to the memorandum's inclusion of a provision saying the CIS "has experience" in settling such conflicts. Ukraine believes that the OSCE, rather than CIS, can provide the best mechanisms for such tasks. Ukraine is a guarantor of the memorandum, which is to be signed in Moscow on 8 May. Levitsky said Kyiv considers the text of the memorandum "still open" because it has not been consulted on all the provisions.
MORE TALKS ON RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN BLACK SEA FLEET. Another round of Ukrainian-Russian negotiations over the division of the Black Sea Fleet opened in Moscow yesterday, RFE/RL's Kyiv bureau reported. The Ukrainian delegation is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantyn Hryshenko and the Russian delegation by Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov. Hryshchenko told journalists yesterday there were no major breakthroughs at the outset of the talks. But Pastuhov confirmed Russian President Boris Yeltsin's statement last month that Russia will no longer make the signing of a friendship and cooperation treaty with Ukraine conditional on agreements on the Black Sea Fleet division and the status of Sevastopol.
RUSSIA'S BLACK SEA FLEET COMPLETES EXCERCISES . Russia's Black Sea fleet is concluding10-day exercises today with a major landing operation involving 5,000 men and 500 pieces of military hardware, Interfax reported. Ukrainian ships and aircraft are also taking part. Relations between Moscow and Kyiv have worsened because Russia wants to make the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol the base of its Black Sea Fleet.