CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS MEET IN YEREVAN. The defense ministers of the six CIS states that have confirmed their continued adherence to the 1992 CIS Collective Security Treaty (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) attended a session of the CIS Defense Ministers' Council in Yerevan on 20 May chaired by Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau and Russian agencies reported. Georgia and Ukraine were represented by deputy ministers, while Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan did not send representatives. The ministers discussed adapting the Collective Security Treaty to the present geopolitical situation and also tackled problems arising from the establishment of unified CIS military systems, including the air defense system, of which Armenia is a member. Sergeev told journalists that his fellow ministers expressed support for Russia's insistence that the Kosova conflict must be resolved by political, not military means, according to Interfax. LF

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT TIGHTENS CONTROL OVER CENTRAL BANK. The Supreme Council on 20 May approved a law on the National Bank introducing a 14-member supervisory council that will draft monetary policy guidelines, AP reported. Half of the council will be appointed by the parliament and the other half by the president. If the National Bank and its chairman do not abide by the policies drawn up by the council, the president is authorized to ask the parliament to fire the country's chief banker. National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko criticized the law, saying the bank "may no longer be able to take responsibility for the stability of the national currency. If the council has the most authority, then logically it should bear the greatest responsibility." The law must be approved by President Leonid Kuchma. JM

COUNCIL OF EUROPE BODY MOVES TO SUSPEND UKRAINE. The Monitoring Committee of the Council of Europe on 20 May voted to suspend Ukraine's membership in the council owing to the country's poor human rights record, Reuters reported. The committee's decision opens the way for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to vote on Ukraine's suspension next month. The assembly had announced in January that it would suspend Ukraine unless the country made substantial progress on human rights. The abolition of death penalty was one of its requirements. JM