UKRAINIAN REFORM PROPOSALS COULD SCUPPER CIS. The Ukrainian delegation to the working group that is preparing proposals for a fundamental reform of CIS structures has advocated drastically reducing areas of cooperation between CIS member states, "Izvestiya" reported on 23 July. It proposes excluding from such cooperation political, military, border protection, military-technical, humanitarian, legal, exchange of information, ecology, and collective security issues. Instead, the Ukrainian representation wants to transform the CIS into a mechanism for economic cooperation, provided that its structures do not duplicate those of other European and international bodies and hinder the integration of CIS member countries into those bodies. Fundamental disagreements have also arisen between the various CIS member states over the best approach to reforming and redefining the duties of the CIS Inter-State Economic Committee and the Executive Secretariat. LF

KUCHMA, GORE DISCUSS ECONOMIC COOPERATION... At a 22 July session of the Ukrainian-U.S. Cooperation Commission chaired by Ukrainian President Kuchma and Al Gore, the U.S. vice president said that economic reforms are most critical to Ukraine now and that the U.S. will assist Kyiv in implementing them, ITAR-TASS reported. Kuchma called on Gore to support a Ukrainian project to transport Caspian Sea oil to the West. He also appealed for more cooperation in aircraft, space, and missile technologies, AP reported. With regard to Kyiv's appeal for financial assistance, Kuchma said that "Ukraine's financial crisis is no less complex and [no less] threatening than [that] in Russia." Ukraine is negotiating a $2.5 billion loan from the IMF and hopes for U.S. support. Gore promised that the U.S. will seek to help Kyiv receive that loan, but he added that "bold reform is critical for Ukraine's ability to reach a successful conclusion in its negotiations with the IMF." JM

...AND CHORNOBYL. Kuchma and Gore also discussed the closure of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. Ukraine has pledged to shut down Chornobyl's only working reactor by 2000 in return for $1.2 billion to compensate for lost energy. At a joint news conference with Kuchma on 22 July, Gore said the U.S. "will be able to help [Ukraine] replace that power." Kuchma confirmed that Ukraine has decided to close the plant but remained non-committal about the date. During their talks, Kuchma and Gore agreed to set up a joint commission to study the effects of radiation at Chornobyl. On 23 July, Gore will visit the nuclear plant site and the nearby town of Prypyat, all of whose residents were evacuated following the April 1986 accident. JM