GEORGIA, AZERBAIJAN, UKRAINE SIGN BORDER PROTECTION AGREEMENT. The commanders of the Georgian, Azerbaijani, and Ukrainian border guard troops signed a cooperation agreement in Tbilisi on 16 September, Interfax and Caucasus Press reported. That agreement falls within the parameters of the Economic Consultation Agreement concluded by Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. Georgian Border Guard Commander Valeri Chkheidze told journalists that the Tbilisi meeting was not directed against other states, nor does the signed agreement run counter to CIS agreements on border cooperation. He added that Moldova will sign the agreement at a later date. LF

UKRAINE TO USE WORLD BANK LOAN FOR PRIVATIZATION, BANKING REFORM. Roman Shpek, head of the Ukrainian National Agency for Development and European Integration, has said Ukraine will spend its World Bank loan on boosting privatization and restructuring the banking sector (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 September 1998), dpa reported. Shpek called the World Bank loan "an extremely important decision that came at an extremely important time." He added that the loan underscored the World Bank's confidence in Ukrainian reforms. JM

KYIV CITY AUTHORITIES TO REIN IN PRICES ON STAPLE FOODS. The Kyiv city administration has introduced limits on the prices on a number of staple foods produced by domestic firms, Reuters reported on 16 September. The decision prohibits increasing the retail price of bread by more than 15 percent above its wholesale price. Retail prices for oats, pasta, butter, and milk are not allowed to increase by more than 25 percent over their wholesale prices. The move intends to soften the impact on consumers of the de facto devaluation of the hryvnya earlier this month. JM

ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON MINORITY IN UKRAINE. Andrei Plesu on 16 September appealed to journalists to display more "seriousness and responsibility" when reporting on the situation of the Romanian minority in Ukraine, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Referring to the campaign in the media on alleged infringements of that minority's rights, Plesu said reports are often "exaggerated, based on insufficient evidence, and even groundless." He said that the Romanian minority in Ukraine is "unfortunately divided into numerous rival factions" and that it was one of those groups that proposed changing the official designation of its language from "Romanian" to "Moldovan." The Ukrainian authorities, he noted, have not acted on that proposal. In other news, Valeriu Tabara, leader of the nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity, said on 16 September that Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban must be declared "persona non grata" in Romania for allegedly backing demands for Szekler autonomy in Transylvania. MS

FIRST TRANSPORT OF KOZLODUY NUCLEAR WASTE LEAVES BULGARIA. The first train carrying nuclear waste from the Kozloduy plant left Bulgaria on 16 September, Infotag reported. The cargo will be transferred to a special vessel on the River Danube and will transit Moldovan and Ukrainian territory en route to Russia. The four countries had agreed to the transit in agreements signed several months ago. The Moldovan parliament approved the transit after an acrimonious debate last month. In other news, the Bulgarian parliament on 16 September approved an article in a draft law that would ban tobacco advertising from radio and television and through sponsorship of televised sports events. The ban is part of a law restricting the advertising of addictive substances, including alcohol, which the parliament expects to finalize later this year, AP reported.