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29 September 1998
For immediate release
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Presidents Of Ukraine And Poland Meet In Crimea

During their brief informal meeting on September 28, in Crimea, Presidents Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine and Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland discussed sundry aspects of Polish-Ukrainian economic and political relations and specific ways toward implementing the two parties' joint Declaration which was signed as a result of President Kwasniewski's visit to Kiev. According to President Kwasniewski, the current financial turmoil in Russia was among the subjects he discussed with his Ukrainian counterpart. Specifically, problems relating to future transportation of Caspian oil to Europe via Ukraine's territory were discussed by the two leaders. As Mr. Kwasniewski said commenting on his nation's plan to join the EU, this won't be something to happen overnight. Commenting on Poland's prospective access to the EU and NATO, Mr. Kwasniewski stressed that if Poland benefits from this process, it will be beneficial for its neighbor-nations as well. When Poland joins the European Union, it won't turn away from Ukraine. Moreover, Poland will view its good neighborly relations with Ukraine and other limitrophe states as its duty and great contribution to the European community, President Kwasniewski said. He referred to his meetings with the Ukrainian President as "a special one" since this visit to Ukraine was made for an informal get-together. It can be viewed as yet another prove of a very favorable development of Ukrainian-Polish partnership.

Javier Solana: Independent, Stable, And Democratic Ukraine Strategically Important For Europe's Development

"An independent, stable, and democratic Ukraine is of great strategic importance to the development of Europe as a whole. This is the reason why Ukraine and NATO have established direct relations covering a broad range of issues involving cooperation in the sphere of security," NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said in a recent interview with the Tbilisi-based Svobodnaya Gruziya newspaper. Among the priority areas of cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, Mr. Solana named peacekeeping operations - including joint exercises - seminars, and exchange of experts. Mr. Solana said the alliance would seek to assist Ukraine in implementing military reform, adding that "development of direct contacts with NATO will help Ukraine achieve its rightful place as a loyal partner and reliable neighbor." According to Mr. Solana, each of the newly created cooperation mechanisms - the Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Council, the Partnership for Peace Program, the Russian-NATO Permanent Council, and the Ukrainian-NATO distinctive partnership - make their daily contributions to the ever broadening spectrum of activities aimed at bringing NATO member-states closer to its partner-states. "The success of this work shows that we are witnesses to the emergence of a new spirit of cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic region," Mr. Solana concluded.

Verkhovna Rada Chairman Meets With Russian State Duma Speaker

On September 28, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Tkachenko received in Kiev a Russian State Duma delegation led by Speaker Gennadi Seleznev. During the meeting, the host party raised the issue of the Duma's delayed action to ratify the broad political treaty between Russia and Ukraine. As Mr. Tkachenko put it, this places Ukraine in an awkward and ambiguous position, while Ukraine has been doing its best to make the treaty come into effect as soon as possible. As informed by the VR Chairperson, the Ukrainian Parliament is likely to ratify the Black Sea Navy agreement package proceeding from the Russian party's remarks and proposals. This is not a very hard problem to solve, Mr. Tkachenko said. However, he refrained from predicting that the Black Sea Fleet agreements will be ratified in one parcel with the Treaty, as insisted upon by the Russian party. Commenting on the meeting's outcome, the VR Chairman said that Ukraine's CIS full-fledged membership stood prominent on the meeting's agenda Mr. Tkachenko referred to the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada's accession to the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly as a key issue likely to be resolved this year, that is, during the Verkhovna Rada's ongoing plenary session.

Russian Duma Speaker: Clarification Of Positions And Bilateral Contacts Create Favorable Atmosphere For Ratification Of Russia-Ukraine Treaty

On September 29, during a press conference on results of the parliamentary visit to Ukraine, Russian State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev stated that the ratification of the wide-scale Russian-Ukrainian treaty would be submitted to Duma's consideration this year. Russian parliament ties no strings to the treaty ratification, Gennady Seleznev said. He also stated that there is no linkage between the ratification of Black Sea Fleet agreements in Ukraine and Duma's moves to the ratification of the Russian-Ukrainian treaty. Mr. Seleznev explained delays in the framework document's ratification by the Russian party as "different speeds" of the two parties' approach to the problem. According to him, Duma obtained all documents at once, the BSF agreement among them, while Verkhovna Rada considered only the major treaty. Mr. Seleznev added that parliamentarians of both countries had many doubts as for the Black Sea Fleet agreement. He disclosed that the idea to consider the ratification of the treaty and Fleet agreements in one package had been set forth by the Duma committees for defense and CIS affairs. Mr. Seleznev did not say how topical this idea remained for Duma today. In any case, the treaty ratification issue will be considered during Duma's autumn session, he said.

Joint Statement On Results Of Official Visit By Russian Parliamentary Delegation To Ukraine

The joint statement signed by VR Chairperson Oleksandr Tkachenko and State Duma Chairperson Gennady Seleznev has summed up the September 28-29 official visit by the Russian parliamentary delegation to Ukraine. During the visit, Mr. Seleznev held constructive talks with VR Chairperson Oleksandr Tkachenko, runs the statement. The Duma speaker has been received by President Leonid Kuchma, and met with Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko, Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, heads of the VR factions, as well as with Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Volodymyr. Mr. Seleznev addressed the plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada and met with heads of regional Radas at the Academy of State Management. During talks and meetings, it has been stressed that the official visit by Russian parliamentarians is an important stage in the development of all-round Ukrainian-Russian cooperation. The parties have spoken up for the need of providing practical dimension of the course towards strategic partnership between Ukraine and Russia, and noted an exceptional importance of coordinated steps aimed at overcoming financial and economic crisis, taken at the legislative level as well. Of a great importance to this end, is the activity of the bilateral anti-crisis group, runs the statement. The parties have expressed conviction that the deepening of Ukrainian-Russian relations will be furthered by the fulfillment of the long-term Economic Cooperation Program. In this connection, of highest priority is implementation of major bilateral projects in the field of nuclear engineering, aircraft construction, space exploration, agro-industrial complex. Considerable attention during the talks was paid to cooperation in the humanitarian sphere. The parties have addressed issues involving improvement of inter-parliamentary cooperation of the two nations. In this context, positive activities of deputy groups charged with developing relations between the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine have been noted. The parties have agreed to draw up a concrete program of inter-parliamentary cooperation aimed at harmonization of Ukraine's and Russia's legislation, first and foremost, in the economic sphere. This program could be signed during a return visit by a Verkhovna Rada delegation to Russia. The Ukrainian party has expressed hope for a speedy ratification of the friendship, cooperation and partnership treaty between Russia and Ukraine. The Russian party believes that Ukraine's entry into the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States will contribute to the creation of common economic space for the CIS countries and realization of the free trade regime. The visit has been held in the atmosphere of friendship, cordiality, mutual understanding and confidence, says the statement. Mr. Seleznev has invited VR Chairperson Tkachenko to pay an official visit to Russia. The invitation has been accepted with thanks.

Ukrainian-Russian Friendship And Cooperation Treaty To Be Ratified Separately From Agreements On Black Sea Navy

The leader of Ukraine's Social Democratic Party (United), Yevhen Marchuk, said on September 29, that Russia's Duma will ratify the Ukrainian-Russian Friendship and Cooperation Treaty separately from the agreements on division of the Black Sea Navy. Mr. Marchuk was speaking after a meeting with the speaker of Russia's Duma, Gennadi Seleznev. According to him, Mr. Seleznev agreed that the Russian parliament's initial decision to ratify all the agreements as a single package was wrong. Mr. Seleznev informed that the Russian parliament will try to ratify the Friendship and Cooperation Treaty separately because of the current financial crisis. Regarding the plan to create a union of Slavic nations, promoted by certain political forces in both countries, Mr. Seleznev expressed confidence that the idea would receive 70% support if referendums were held both in Ukraine and Russia. Mr. Seleznev, however, added that "we are not forcing anyone, we are merely prepared to consider Ukraine as a member of such a union."

President Kuchma Meets With Belarussian Prime Minister

According to the presidential press office, during the meeting the two officials analyzed the current state of bilateral relations and prospects for their development, and exchanged opinions about economic situation in both countries, as well as international problems, including the financial crisis in Russia and its effect on Ukraine's and Belarus' economies. Leonid Kuchma noted a great significance Ukraine is attaching to the deepening of traditionally good-neighborly relations with Belarus. He stressed, in particular, that the urgent ratification of the bilateral State Border Treaty by the Belarussian parliament meets interests of both nations. According to the Ukrainian president, settlement of these issues would contribute to the expansion of the trade and economic cooperation between Ukrainian and Belarussian enterprises. It was noted that the Ukrainian and Belarussian governments were completing drafting the Program of Long Term Economic Cooperation between Ukraine and Belarus. Sergey Ling expressed gratitude to the President of Ukraine for a consistent and active support for Belarus on international arena.

Ukrainian And Belarussian Premiers Reaffirm Two Nations' Strategic Partnership

On September 28, Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko met with his Belarussian counterpart. The two leaders were unanimous in stating that the scheme for clearance between Ukrainian and Belarussian partners should be adequate to the two nations' current economic condition and to Russia's crisis financial situation. The parties have agreed on the need to create parity conditions for Ukrainian and Belarussian exporters. They also ventilated prospects for signing a long-term program for Ukrainian-Belarussian economic cooperation. The talks in Kiev involved prospects of cooperation between Ukrainian and Belarussian engineering plants, emerging opportunities for setting up joint ventures and a likely international banking consortium composed of Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian industrial investment banks.

On September 29, during their joint press conference Mr. Pustovoitenko stressed that CIS countries should not protect their markets from one another as they have done in recent years. According to him, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and other CIS countries have lost their markets and cooperation among their enterprises has been disrupted as a result of such practices. Ukrainian and Belarussian governments should focus all their attention on broadening economic ties and strengthening their countries' economic potentials as well as those of their enterprises and entrepreneurs, Mr. Pustovoitenko said. According to him, the main problem hindering cooperation between the two countries is the flawed system of mutual settlement of payments for Ukrainian and Belarussian goods. He disclosed that the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has decided to lift the ban on barter operations in order to resolve this problem. Under the circumstances, barter operations are beneficial to both countries in view of financial crisis in Russia. The Ukrainian leader described as strategic the 10-year Ukrainian-Belarussian economic cooperation program, implementation of which is expected to begin next year. Among the two countries' priorities, Mr. Pustovoitenko named development of industrial cooperation, cooperation between the two nationís entrepreneurs, and cooperation of banking institutions. Mr. Pustovoitenko told the press conference that Ukraine began feeling the adverse effect of global financial crisis as far back as October, 1997. He said that the crisis started not in Russia but in other parts of the world, adding that Russia is rather a victim of the crisis. He disclosed that the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has drafted an anti-crisis program, under which the National Bank of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers, and the parliament are working towards boosting state budget revenues. According to him, the measures stipulated in the program have thus far enabled the government to stabilize the financial situation in Ukraine. As Mr. Pustovoitenko and Mr. Ling told the press conference, nearly all agreements reached during the Ukrainian Prime Ministerís last visit to Minsk have been implemented. A protocol signed at the end of negotiations between the two prime ministers outlines steps aimed at further developing bilateral economic relations.

As Belarus' Prime Minister Sergei Ling put it, the Ukrainian-Belarussian talks held during his visit to Ukraine were "anti-crisis in nature." In Mr. Lingís opinion, financial crisis in Russia has had a strong adverse effect on neighboring countries. Russiaís neighbors will require several months to stabilize their financial markets, he added. In this regard, Mr. Ling stressed the need for Ukraine and Belarus to take joint actions to boost their trade turnover and eliminate export barriers. The absence of political disagreements between Ukraine and Belarus would facilitate the broadening of Ukrainian-Belarussian bilateral trade and economic relations, Mr. Ling said.

Ukraine's Future Closely Connected With Europe, Says Deputy Foreign Minister Buteyko

Ukraine's First Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko has said that Ukraine's future is closely connected with Europe. He was speaking on September 29, while opening an international seminar on "Economic Integration into Europe and Ukraine's Economic Security." The seminar was part of the economic aspect of the Ukrainian-NATO Special Partnership Charter's 1998 working plan. It was organized by NATO's Economic department in conjunction with Ukraine's economics Ministry and the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Department of Economics. The seminar was attended by 32 experts from NATO and its member-states as well as by Ukrainian government officials. In their addresses, participants in the seminar stressed that Ukraine faces a security threat from the financial sector due to the Ukrainian economy's dependence on events taking place in neighboring countries. However, they believe that Ukraine is capable of resolving its problems and assuming its rightful place in Europe with assistance from international organizations.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Supports UN Resolution Calling For Immediate Cease Of Hostilities In Kosovo

On September 28, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs circulated its official statement in support of the UN resolution of September 28 demanding the immediate cease of hostilities in Kosovo. The statement reiterates Ukraine's interest in the speediest possible resolution of the crisis in Yugoslavia by political means and peaceable dialogue that should proceed from Yugoslavia's sovereignty, territorial integrity, respect for Kosovo residents' rights and principles of Kosovo's expanded autonomy.

US Assistant Defense Secretary Warner Leading Delegation To Ukraine

On September 28, a military delegation from the USA led by Assistant Defense Secretary Edward Warner visited a Ukrainian Air Force base in the vicinity of Pryluky, Chernihiv Region. The American delegation's prime objective was to witness the process of dismantling a TU-160 strategic bomber and examine an operative TU-160 capable of carrying cruise missiles. In keeping with its newest military doctrine, Ukraine needs no strategic bombers of the TU-160 class. Since there are no countries willing to buy Ukrainian TU-160s, the nation has had so far to cope with their dismantling and disposal single-handed. On September 29, the US military delegation visited an intercontinental ballistic missile base near Pervomaisk, Mykolaiv Region, where they watched the process of removal of an SS-24 ICBM from its silo # 15, the process of destruction of ICBM silo # 12 before making an inspection tour of the base' recultivated areas. Members of the delegation were guided around the facility by Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister, Commander of the Ukrainian Army's 43rd Rocket Division Col. Gen. Volodymyr Mykhtiuk. Ukraine inherited 46 SS-24 missiles after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and began decommissioning the missiles' warheads on July 1, 1998 under the terms of the Agreement on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The work is expected to be completed by December 4, 2001. Ukraine has already removed the warheads of all the 130 SS-19 rockets located on its territory and destroyed the 130 missile silos for them. Reclamation of the land occupied by the silos is expected to be completed next year. The United States pledged to provide the Ukrainian Defense Ministry $ 399.2 million to destroy the strategic weapons.

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