Monday May 12, 1997

UKRAINE, U.S. DISAGREE OVER SHORT-RANGE MISSILES . Volodymir Horbulin, the secretary of the Ukrainian Security Council, told reporters in Kyiv on 10 May that Ukraine cannot accept new U.S. demands that would restrict the production and use of tactical missiles in the country. The demands were made as a condition for Ukraine's joining a 25-state nuclear nonproliferation treaty called the Multilateral Missile Technology Control Regime. Horbulin argued that Ukraine, as a space technology country, cannot give up the right to produce and use missiles that are not linked to the agreement on medium- range missiles. He said the issue will be discussed during President Leonid Kuchma's visit to Washington next week.

Tuesday May 13, 1997

COUNCIL OF EUROPE OFFICIAL VISITS UKRAINE . Leni Fischer, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, arrived in Kyiv yesterday for talks with President Kuchma and Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko. Fischer told journalists she plans to discuss with the Ukrainian leaders issues that are likely to be discussed at a Council of Europe summit in October. Ukraine's failure to enact a law abolishing the death penalty is expected to be among topics for discussion at that summit.

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT IN KYIV .Alyaksandr Lukashenka arrived in the Ukrainian capital yesterday for a two-day visit. Speaking to journalists after a meeting with Lukashenka, President Leonid Kuchma hailed a border agreement signed by the two leaders during their meeting. Lukashenka said the agreement is as an example of how governments can and should solve disputes. The two leaders also signed documents on economic cooperation and overcoming the aftermath of the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear accident. Kuchma admitted that differences arose over Belarus's debt to Ukraine. Commenting on the proposed union between Moscow and Minsk, Kuchma said such an arrangement was the right of sovereign nations and their peoples.

CHISINAU, TRANSDNIESTER DISAGREE ON INTERPRETATION OF MEMORANDUM. President Petru Lucinschi says the 8 May memorandum on normalizing relations with the separatist Transdniester region commits both sides to developing "relations within the framework of a single state." Lucinschi spoke to reporters in Chisinau after his return from Moscow. But separatist leader Igor Smirnov said at a press conference in Tiraspol yesterday that the memorandum recognizes the existence of "two states." Lucinschi demanded the removal of border and custom guard posts along the Dniester River by 1 June and the setting up of joint check points along the Ukrainian border. He said Tiraspol must now allow schools in the region that offer "Moldovan-language" instruction to use the Latin script, BASA-press and Infotag reported yesterday.

Wednesday May 14, 1997

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT CRITICIZES TREATY WITH ROMANIA . The Ukrainian parliament has criticized the Ukrainian-Romanian Treaty on Cooperation and Good Neighborly Relations, which was initialed on 3 May, Interfax reported yesterday. Deputies said the treaty deviates from Ukraine's foreign-policy concept of protecting the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. They asked the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry yesterday to explain why the treaty was signed. In particular, the parliament is concerned that the Foreign Ministry might have exceeded its powers by making concessions to Romania on Serpents Island. The treaty states that no offensive weapons can be placed on the island. Meanwhile, President Leonid Kuchma starts a three-day official visit to the U.S. capital today.

Thursday May 15, 1997

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN U.S.. Leonid Kuchma arrived in the U.S. yesterday on a three-day official. Together with U.S. Vice President Al Gore, he will chair the first session of a bilateral commission that is to discuss prospects for the development of relations between the two countries. Kuchma is also scheduled to meet with U.S. President Bill Clinton, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, and World Bank President James Wolfensohn. Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns says the NATO- Russia agreement will not have a direct impact on a NATO charter being negotiated with Ukraine. Burns says the U.S. and NATO hope to establish a "singular" relationship with Kyiv.

UKRAINE, ARMENIA, GEORGIA ENDORSE CFE AMENDMENTS. Prior to his departure for Washington, Kuchma told journalists that Ukraine has joined the so- called Flank Agreement to the CFE treaty, Interfax reported. The Armenian parliament also ratified the agreement on 14 May, RFE/RL's Yerevan Bureau reported. The agreement increases the number of troops and tanks that Russia can deploy in the Caucasus and therefore requires Armenia to cede part of its quota to Russia. The Georgian parliament ratified the agreement on 13 May. Previously, Ukraine, together with Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, had expressed reservations about endorsing the new limitations.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE WILL NOT SUSPEND UKRAINE. Leni Fischer, the president of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, told reporters in Kyiv yesterday that the suspension of Ukraine "is not on the [council's] agenda," despite what she called Kyiv's inconsistent progress toward abolishing the death penalty. The Parliamentary Assembly warned Ukraine in January that it might suspend Kyiv if it failed to keep its promise, made when it joined the council two years ago, to end the death penalty. The Justice Ministry says executions ceased that month. Recently, Ukraine again pledged to abolish the death penalty by signing Protocol Six of the European Human Rights Convention. Kyiv reportedly put 169 criminals to death last year.

CRIMEAN TATARS DEMONSTRATE. About 250 Crimean Tatars picketed the Council of Ministers building in Simferopol yesterday, demanding the recognition of their rights as a national minority of Ukraine and the right to return to their homeland following forced deportation in the Soviet era, dpa reported. In particular, the protesters demanded the government grant Ukrainian citizenship, jobs, housing, and equal educational rights for the Tatars, many of whom recently returned from deportation in the 1940s. Organizers of the protest met with Arkadi Demidenko, the chairman of the Crimean Council of Ministers, who promised quick action.

Friday May 16, 1997

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT WELCOMES RUSSIA-NATO ACCORD . Leonid Kuchma says the Russia-NATO pact "corresponds with the interests of Ukraine because Russia supports the necessity of signing an analogous agreement...between Ukraine and NATO." Kuchma was speaking to journalists yesterday in Washington. Ukraine is currently negotiating its own charter with NATO, which U.S. officials expect to be completed soon. RFE/RL's Washington correspondent reported that Kuchma and U.S. President Bill Clinton will meet at the White House in Washington today for broad discussions on economic and security issues.

ECONOMIC NEWS FROM UKRAINE. Finance Minister Ihor Mityukov told journalists in the U.S. capital yesterday that even without the large, long-term loan Ukraine expects to get from the IMF soon, the country is doing better than the fund's targets, RFE/RL's Washington correspondent reported. Mityukov said the targets agreed with the IMF for 1997 are inflation no higher than 25% a year and a budget deficit of 4.2% of GDP. Mityukov said inflation was only 4.1% in the first four months, which, he added, means the economy can absorb the expected 3-4% hike in inflation that will be caused by the raising of tariffs on municipal services. Mityukov further said Ukraine is in the final stages of preparing to seek funds on the Japanese and European capital markets. Meanwhile, State Minister Anatoly Minchenko told a press conference in Kyiv yesterday that Ukraine plans to cut its purchases of Russian natural gas by more than half in the next few years.

UKRAINE'S CONSTITUTIONAL COURT MAKES FIRST RULING . The recently established Constitutional Court made its first decision yesterday, ruling that parliamentary deputies cannot simultaneously hold government posts or most private sector jobs, Ukrainian media reported. The ruling confirms a clause in the constitution, which was adopted last year. The tribunal ordered lower courts to review earlier decisions allowing legislators to government posts. Many officials may be forced to choose between parliament and their other occupations. However, that will not apply to Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko and a number of other senior figures, because the court ruling says those who were elected to the parliament before June 1995 and have held government posts continuously since then can keep both jobs.

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