UKRAINE, BELARUS SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION ACCORD. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk and his Belarusian counterpart, Alyaksandr Chumakou, met in Kyiv on 2 March and signed a bilateral cooperation agreement for 2000. Kuzmuk noted that the two countries are facing the same problems in the military sector, in particular, in modernizing their armed forces, recycling obsolete weaponry, and improving military training. Chumakou told journalists that Minsk does not plan to have any Russian troops stationed in Belarus during peace time. Chumakou also noted that Belarus cooperates with NATO under the Partnership for Peace program but not on the scale "it would like to," according to Interfax. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES ACCORD ON NATO TROOPS' STATUS. The Supreme Council on 2 March voted by 228 to 10 to ratify an agreement that defines the status of NATO troops and servicemen from countries participating in the Partnership for Peace program in Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said the agreement will help promote the increased use of Ukraine's Yavoriv training range for PfP maneuvers. The parliament also ratified the Open Skies treaty, which allows its signatories to monitor flights over one another's territory. JM

UKRAINE, POLAND DISCUSS COOPERATION. Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek met with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk and Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko in Kyiv on 2 March to discuss boosting bilateral trade and plans to build an oil pipeline from Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa to Gdansk in Poland. Geremek said Poland is interested in the pipeline and will start talks on the issue. He noted that Poland will do everything in its power to delay as long as possible introducing visas for Ukrainians or avoid their introduction altogether. "We hope to convince the EU that we need to have special relations with Ukraine," AP quoted Geremek as saying. Geremek told Yushchenko that Poland is ready to share its experience in debt-restructuring with Ukraine and help Ukraine carry out reforms. Yushchenko said Ukraine wants to see Poland as a "strategic investor on the privatization market." JM