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8 September 1998
For immediate release
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President Kuchma To Attend Silk Road Summit In Baku

On September 7, President Leonid Kuchma left for Baku, Azerbaijan, to attend an International Conference on Restoration of the Historic Silk Route, to be held there on September 7-8. The President is accompanied by Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, First Vice Prime Minister Anatoliy Holubchenko, Presidential Administration Office Head Yevhen Kushnaryov, Transport Minister Ivan Dankevych and other Ukrainian top officials. Mr. Kuchma is expected to hold bilateral meetings with a number of foreign leaders including presidents Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan, Eduard Shevarnadze of Georgia, Emil Constantinescu of Romania, Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan. He will also address the participant of the summit which include representatives of as many as 33 countries and 12 international organizations.

EU And Azerbaijan Sponsor International Conference On Silk Road

On September 7, an international conference on the historic Silk Route's reconstruction opened in Azerbaijani capital, Baku. Jointly sponsored by the host nation and the European Union, the conference has drawn top-level officials from over 30 nations and twelve international organizations. The Ukrainian delegation to the Baku summit is led by President Leonid Kuchma. Within the framework of the Baku summit, a multipartite agreement is supposed to be signed on creating a transnational transport corridor, an essential element in a broader multinational project to link Europe to Asia via the Caucasus, and four additional technical documents, which are designed to launch the Great Silk Road's resurrection as a major economic integration artery. Presidents of eight nations, numerous Heads of Government, ministers and hosts of experts are attending the two-day international gathering in Baku, thus enlarging the EUís TRACECA program, geographically. TRACECA was launched in April, 1993 in Brussels by the European Union and eight post-Soviet nations (Azerbaijan, Kyrghyzstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan). In October 1996, Ukraine and Mongolia joined TRACECA in Athens, Greece. In December, 1996, Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan signed a tripartite agreement on creating a transnational EuroAsiatic transport corridor to link Ilichivsk (near Odesa, Ukraine) to Baku, Azerbaijan, via Georgia's Pontic port Poti and Tbilisi. It is precisely this segment that is regarded as a pivotal one for linking Europe to Asia. The Ilichivsk to Poti link is serviced by the Ukrainian shipping company UkrFerry. Last year, the company carried over 2,500 cars and trucks and about 63,000 tons of cargoes. Though Ukraine has no direct land links to the TRACECA network, Russia's territory and sea lanes are used to this end. The Baku summit is expected to take steps toward integrating the TRACECA transportation system with the Cretean Corridors, Baltic-Pontic routes and the EuroAsiatic Corridor (Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia) to form a larger transcontinental route liking Europe to Asia.

President Kuchma: Baku Summit Is An Event Hard To Overestimate

Upon arrival to Baku, President Kuchma and his party were met at the airport by Azeri President Heydar Aliyev. In his brief statement, Leonid Kuchma noted that there are many common problems that are particularly close to Ukraine and Azerbaijan. These include not only pan-European and global ones, but also those characteristic of post-Union nations including CIS members. According to the Ukrainian President, these issues are to be addressed by the Baku summit which is also certain to discuss problems involving Russia's financial crisis. In his opinion, they must be discussed on both bipartite and multipartite bases. In the Ukrainian President's words, the Baku summit's significance can hardly be overestimated since economic realities demand that the participant-nations get closer together. The transnational transportation corridor, which will link Europe to Asia via the Caucasus, will be the summit's focal agenda item in view of the multinational project's significance for making carriage of passengers and cargoes cheaper, easier and heavier. The project's implementation will make us closer than ever, economically and politically, President Kuchma stressed. Having praised the Azerbaijani President's active stance on the issue, Mr. Kuchma underscored the importance of economic integration ideas becoming a reality. Such pragmatic approaches are characteristic of the informal group GUAM which unites Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. Later in the day, Leonid Kuchma held a tÍte-ŗ-tÍte meeting with President Heydar Aliyev. Similar working meetings were scheduled for Monday evening with Presidents Petru Lucinski of Moldova, Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia, and Emil Constantinescu of Romania. The Baku summit is widely viewed as likely to add a Central Asiatic dimension to GUAM with Uzbekistan posing as the group's next member. President Leonid Kuchma is scheduled to meet with Uzbek President Islam Karimov on September 8.

Parliament Speaker Tkachenko Receives U. S. Ambassador

Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Tkachenko has said that an IMF loan con be considered only an insignificant compensation for Ukraine's non-nuclear status. He was speaking on September 4, during a meeting with the US Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer. According to Mr. Tkachenko, Ukraine gave up practically free of charge nuclear weapons worth over $30 billion, while obtaining an IMF loan has now become a problem due to the strict loan conditions. He called upon the West to "draft adequate relations with Ukraine." The two men stressed the need for comprehensive development of Ukrainian-American strategic partnership. They particularly stressed the need for a concrete program of cooperation between the Ukrainian parliament and the US Congress, and not limit relations between the two legislative organs to official visits. Mr. Pifer asked the Ukrainian parliamentary leader to accelerate ratification of the Treaty on the Ban of Chemical Weapons and the Open Sky Agreement. Mr. Tkachenko said the Treaty on Chemical Weapons would soon be ratified while Parliament has yet to reach a decision on the Open Sky Agreement. He described cooperation between Ukraine's parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers as a very important factor in overcoming the present economic crisis. Mr. Pifer expressed his country's satisfaction with efforts to achieve mutual understanding between President Kuchma and Mr. Tkachenko. Ukrainian speaker called for certain changes in the country's development program, stressing the need to adopt a national economic revival program.

Ukrainian Ambassador Yuriy Shcherbak Visits Boeing HQ In Seattle

Ukrainian Ambassador to the USA Yuri Shcherbak made a working trip to Seattle, Wash, to visit the Boeing Company's headquarters. The Ukrainian diplomat met with Boeing Chairman and CEO Philip N. Condit and Vice President Bohdan Bejmuk, who is in charge of the multinational space project "Sea Launch." Mr. Shcherbak's mission was stated as continuing negotiations with Boeing about the project which Ukraine views as the first large-scale practical manifestation of US-Ukrainian strategic partnership in scientific and technological cooperation. Last month, the project's implementation was suspended because of Boeing's violations of some of US export regulations and procedures. As Mr. Condit reassured the Ukrainian Ambassador, the company will exert every effort to eliminate this legal predicament and resume the project's implementation. Mr. Shcherbak visited the company's aviation plant in Seattle to probe for prospects of its cooperation with Ukrainian aircraft manufacturers. He also visited the Sea Launch vessel designed to launch and track rockets and spacecraft. Two Ukrainian Zenith missiles are already on its board meant for launches from a giant floating platform in the Pacific.

Agreement On Cooperation Between Ukrainian Government And UNICEF Signed In Kyiv

An agreement on cooperation between the Government of Ukraine and UNICEF was signed in Kiev by Valentyna Dovzhenko, Ukraine's Representative to the UNICEF Executive Council, and Ezio Murzi, the international organizationís Special Representative to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. UNICEF's Ukrainian Office has actively collaborated over the past two years with Ukrainian governmental institutions and NGOs in launching and implementing juvenile-related projects for Ukraine. The agreement signed in Kiev is expected to boost this collaboration.


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