RUSSIA CONCERNED THAT CIS BORDERS NOT ADEQUATELY GUARDED. Lieutenant-General Aleksandr Manilov, who heads the International Treaties department of Russia's Federal Border Service, said in Moscow on 24 June that "polarization" within the CIS may weaken security along the borders of the CIS, Interfax reported. Manilov mentioned the creation of alternative alliances such as that between Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova, as an example of this trend. He said that almost all those CIS states that have scrapped agreements on jointly guarding their borders with Russian forces will find it difficult to train the personnel and acquire the equipment to do so on their own. Russian border guards are already withdrawing from Georgia, and Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan have both announced that they intend to take over full responsibility for guarding their own frontiers. Turkey and the U.S. are helping Georgia train and equip its own border troops. LF

FOUR CENTRAL ASIAN PRESIDENTS MEET IN KYRGYZSTAN. The presidents of the four member-states of the Central Asian Union - Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbaev, Kyrgyzstan's Askar Akaev, Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov and Tajikistan's Imomali Rakhmonov - met outside Bishkek on 24 June, RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported. According to a joint declaration issued after the summit, the four presidents agreed on strengthening economic cooperation between their countries and on taking "practical steps" to form a common Central Asian economic space that would include a free trade zone and a common market for goods, services, and capital. As expected, the presidents also agreed to extend the term of the rotating presidency of the union, which is currently held by Kyrgyzstan, from one year to two years. They also granted Georgia and Turkey observer status in the union. However, Ukraine did not receive such status although it was reportedly seeking it (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 June 1999). LF

UKRAINIAN CABINET REMOVES FOOD PRICE CONTROLS. The Ukrainian government on 24 June canceled last week's order to impose rigid controls on the price of bread, wheat and rye flour, sugar, cereals, and vegetable oil. "Prices remain liberalized, depending only on demand and supply. We think there is no need to regulate food prices," First Deputy Economy Minister Viktor Kalnyk commented. He added that Ukraine's food market is saturated with staples and prices have now stabilized following a recent jump. JM

COUNCIL OF EUROPE DELAYS DECISION ON UKRAINE. The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly voted on 24 June to put off until January a decision on whether to suspend Ukraine's membership because of the country's poor human rights record. The Council of Europe put off the decision in order to recognize the country's recent reforms aimed at improving its judicial and political systems. JM

UKRAINIAN MOGUL BANNED FROM ENTERING COUNTRY. The Ukrainian State Security Service on 24 June prohibited Vadym Rabynovych, a Ukrainian-Israeli business tycoon whose assets are estimated at $1 billion, from entering the country for five years. The Security Service said that Rabynovych, an Israeli citizen and a leader of the Jewish community in Ukraine, was banned for causing "considerable damage to Ukraine's economy" through his business activities. JM

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT POSTPONES NUCLEAR FUEL TRANSITING RATIFICATION. The parliament on 24 June postponed a vote on ratifying the 1997 agreement on the transit of nuclear fuel from the Bulgarian Kozloduy nuclear plant. This is the second time that the legislature has refused to ratify the agreement, which was signed by Moldova, Bulgaria, Russia, and Ukraine in 1997. The decision was taken at the initiative of deputies representing the Christian Democratic Popular Front and the Party of Moldovan Communists, Infotag reported. Several Moldovan NGOs on the same day appealed to the parliament to reject the government's request for ratification, saying Moldova must remain an "environmentally clean island" in an otherwise contaminated Europe. MS