CHERNOMYRDIN MEETS WITH CAMDESSUS IN CRIMEA. Chernomyrdin, following orders from President Yeltsin, flew to Crimea in the evening of 26 August to meet with IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, Interfax reported. According to the Russian government information department, the two men discussed Russia's steps to minimize the impact of the financial crisis on the Russian economy and its efforts to stabilize the country's finances. Chernomyrdin also met with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and visiting Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, whom he informed about the situation on the Russian financial market (see related items in Part II). He stressed the need for concerted action by the three countries since their economies are closely integrated. JM

IMF TO DECIDE ON LOAN TO UKRAINE 'IN A FEW DAYS.' The IMF will decide on a $2.2 billion loan to Ukraine "in a few days," ITAR-TASS reported on 27 August, quoting the Ukrainian president's press service. That pledge was made by IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus to Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma at their meeting on 26 August in Crimea. According to the press service, Camdessus positively assessed Kuchma's recent economic decrees to stabilize and reform the Ukrainian economy. JM

LUKASHENKA, KUCHMA MEET IN CRIMEA. Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka met with President Kuchma in Crimea on 26 August to discuss bilateral relations and the financial crisis in Russia, Interfax reported. According to Kuchma's press service, the Ukrainian leader stressed the importance of finalizing the demarcation of the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, developing mutually beneficent economic ties, and reforming the CIS. Lukashenka told journalists before the meeting that the Belarus-Ukraine partnership "needs dynamics. We have even frozen trade turnover," he commented. He also said he disagrees with Ukraine's proposals to make the CIS a consultative body rather than a decision-making one and to focus on expanding bilateral ties between post-Soviet countries. JM

KUCHMA WELCOMES RUSSIA'S INTENTION TO EXPAND REGIONAL TIES. Commenting on his meeting with Lukashenka and acting Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin in Crimea later on 26 August (see Part 1), Kuchma welcomed Russia's striving to develop regional cooperation with CIS countries, calling it a "good form of integration," ITAR-TASS reported. Kuchma said that "Kyiv is always ready for [the] closest cooperation" within the CIS. Kuchma added that Ukrainians are also worried by Russia's financial plight and realize that it may soon have a "serious impact" on Ukraine as well. "A successful overcoming of that difficult situation will have a decisive influence on the stability of state power," the agency quoted Kuchma as saying. JM

LUKASHENKA SAYS RUSSIA SHOULD CHANGE COURSE. The Belarusian leader said in Crimea before meeting with Kuchma and Chernomyrdin that Russia "should change the course of its policy, and it does not matter who is put in charge of that course," Interfax and AP reported on 26 August. Lukashenka added that he could accept neither the course pursued by former Russian Premier Sergei Kirienko's government nor "the people who implemented" it. He did not comment directly on the appointment of Viktor Chernomyrdin as Russian acting prime minister, saying that individuals are not important in such circumstances. JM

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT PROMISES IGNALINA CLOSEDOWN. Valdas Adamkus told AP in an interview on 26 August that he is committed to closing down the Ignalina nuclear power plant, which uses Soviet-era reactors like those at Chornobyl. Neighboring countries, expressing fears that an accident like the one in Chornobyl could occur at Ignalina, have urged that the plant be shut down. A former official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Adamkus said the plant will be phased out over the next 15 years. At the same time, he stressed that safety at the plant has improved. "I believe Lithuanians are not now exposed to any emergencies, nor is Ignalina a threat to any of our neighbors," he commented. JC

ROMANIAN-UKRAINIAN TENSIONS IN OFFING. Foreign Minister Andrei Plesu on 26 August told the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee that the teaching of Romanian in minority schools in Ukraine is to be replaced by the teaching of the "Moldovan language." He said textbooks printed in Romanian are to be replaced by ones using the Cyrillic alphabet in response to a proposal made by the chairman of the Association of Ukrainian Romanians. Plesu said he has asked Romania's Department for Minorities to present counter-proposals, which will then be handed to the joint Romanian-Ukrainian Commission on Minority Problems. The same day, the opposition Party of Social Democracy in Romania protested the Ukrainian decision, saying it is a "continuation of the denationalization policies pursued by the former Soviet
authorities." MS

UKRAINIAN PEACE KEEPERS TO TRANSDNIESTER SECURITY ZONE. The Joint Control Commission, which is observing the truce in the security zone in the Transdniester, has approved bringing 10 Ukrainian peace keepers to the security zone, Infotag reported on 26 August. The decision to bring the Ukrainian peacekeepers was taken at the March summit in Odessa, but Chisinau and Tiraspol both failed to approve the plan until now. MS