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January 30, 1998
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We are ready to enter into a new stage of practical implementation of the Armed Forces' and conventianal arms' reduction as the continuation of our course, which started with Ukraine's nuclear disarmament. The statement to this effect was made by President Leonid Kuchma in his speech at a traditional meeting with heads of diplomatic missions held at the Mariinski Palace in Kiev on January 27. President Kuchma briefly analysed major achievements in home and foreign affairs of Ukraine. In particular, he noted that in 1997 Ukraine succeeded in solving the majority of problems in its relations with all neighboring states on a legal base. The Ukrainian President referred to the signing and ratification of the large-scale Treaty on Friendhsip, Cooperation and Partnership with the Russian Federation, as well as endorsement of the package of documents on the BSF division. We have succeeded not only in finding mutual understanding on complicated issues, but also in entering a new stage of cooperation, first and foremost in the economic sphere, said the Ukrainian leader. He also referred to the signing and ratification of the Good- Neighborhood and Cooperation Treaty with Romania, as well as the State Border Treaty with Belarus as major accomplishments. Leonid Kuchma gave a high appraisal of the joint Statement by Presidents of Ukraine and Poland "To Mutual Understanding and Unity". He expressed opinion that each of these documents could be nominated as the "highlight of foreign policy of 1997" due to its historic significance and political and economic consequences.

Among Ukraine's most active partners Leonid Kuchma named Germany and China, Great Britain and the Republic of Korea, Italy and Brazil, the Netherlands and Indonesia, Kazakhstan and France, Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. The Ukrainian President placed a special emphasis on the dynamic nature of the developing strategic partnership relations with the US and noted Ukraine's enhancing relations with NATO and European Union. At the same time Mr. Kuchma said that Ukraine cannot be satisfied with the pace of development of its relations with the European Union. He frankly admitted that Ukraine had awaited more from the EU's Luxemburg summit. In his words, the philosophy of caution should be replaced by the philosophy of attraction, and antidumping processes and visa restrictions are not the best contributions to the formation of a new, large Europe, of which Ukraine is an integral part.

The meeting was attended by VR Chairperson Oleksandr Moroz, members of government, other officials.


Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 30 through February 1, where a special meetings will be devoted to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Head of Government is expected to address the meeting attendants. Valeriy Pustovoitenko has been invited as a guest of honor to attend the gathering of members of the world economic leaders' informal group and heads of international corporations, which will focus, in particular, on issues involving Ukraine's trade and economic contacts, its investment prospects and so on. Mr. Pustovoitenko is expected to address the meeting on the priorities of Ukraine's social and economic policies and the major aspects of the Ukrainian government's 1998 action program. He will also discuss the latest legislative acts regulating privatization, business activities, attraction and protection of foreign investment, liberalization of foreign trade, etc. The program of the Premier's stay in Davos also envisages a round of bilateral meetings, in particular, with Panamian President Ernesto Perez Balladares, Vice Presidents Jorje Ramires of Bolivia and Tabo Mbeki of the South African Republic, as well as with foreign ministers of Canada and Iran. The Ukrainian Head of Government is expected to discuss concrete financial and economic projects with the WB, IMF, EBRD and OECD representatives.

Among the issues expected to be addressed at the forum are economic instability, the financial turmoil on world markets, and the effects of economic globalization.


An agreement on Turkmen natural gas supplies to Ukraine, as well as on Ukrainian experts' participation in prospecting the Capsian shelf and in large construction projects for the Turkmen side was reached by Presidents Leonid Kuchma and Saparmurat Niyazov during their January 28 meeting, which lasted longer than scheduled. During the meeting the two Presidents also agreed on the necessity to develop a large-scale program, which would form a basis of the two states' relations on the third millennium's threshold and embrace all spheres of bilateral relations. The Presidents of the nations decided to attach a larger scale character to them as it meets strategic interests of the both nations.

On the same day the task forces were set up for drafting of the document which is expected to be signed in Kiev in 1999, during the Turkmen President's return visit to Ukraine. The current official visit by Ukrainian President to Turkmenistan was referred to as very fruitful. Leonid Kuchma noted that the two sides had succeeded in finding fresh approaches to the solution of basic problems. During the confidential meeting the parties discussed, in particular, an issue involving supplies of and payment for Turkmen natural gas. Saparmurat Niyazov expressed satisfaction with Ukraine's regular repayment of its indebtedness for restucturized debts for the gas supplied during the period of 1991-1994. As of today, Ukraine has paid off 185 million US dollars. The parties continue negotiating extinguishment of the debt for the years 1996 and 1997. Neither Ukraine nor Turkmenistan are to blame for Turkmen natural gas supplies' interruption in April of 1997, stressed Saparmurat Niyazov. He expressed his country's readiness to increase gas supplies up to 20 b.cu.m. The transit of the Turkmen gas via Russia will be among other topical issues to be discussed during Leonid Kuchma's forthcoming meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

The two presidents touched on a quite novel project of development of basaltic fiber production in Turkmenistan based on the most up-to-date Ukrainian technologies. Saparmurat Niyazov also noted opportunities for Ukraine's participation in prospecting oil and gas fields at the Turkmen Caspian shelf. A great importance was attached to Ukrainian experts' involvement into construction of large projects in Turkmenistan, for which purpose, as suggested by Leonid Kuchma, private capital should be attracted. The Ukrainian party has already constructed 80 kilometers of the gas pipeline in Turkmenistan, with new projects including the construction of a railway, a bridge across the Amu Darya River and a soda works at the cost of 400 million US dollars.

On January 28, Ukraine and Turkmenistan signed a package of bipartite documents, including the agreements on cooperation in standardization, metrology and certification, on cooperation in governmental communication line, on scientific and technological cooperation, health care and health resort service, tourism, information and culture, as well as a number of interdepartmental documents. On January 29, a number of bipartite documents on economic cooperation were signed. As noted by Leonid Kuchma, the signing of these documents will practically complete the formation of the legal base of bilateral relations, which will number over 100 documents. Now, the main task is to implement them, to try to make them a stable foundation of the two nations' friendly relations in the 21st century, stressed the President of Ukraine.


Ukraine's stable presence on the Turkmen market may be secured through rendering services to Turkmenistan in exchange for the latter nation's natural gas supplies. Arrangements for setting up such settling mechanisms in trade and economic relations between Ukraine and Turkmenistan were among the goals the two parties set starting their negotiations in Ashgabad on January 28, within the framework of Ukrainian Presidentís two-day official visit to Turkmenistan. Ukrainian experts are in no way novices there, though, having been rendering for some time construction services to the Tashauz Pipe-Rolling Works in Turkmenistan. As Ukraine believes, the assortment of such expert services could be made much broader to include prospecting and development of mineral deposits in Turkmenistan. Ukrainian experts might also be helpful in Turkmen natural gas exports to European markets. Contracts were reported brewing for Ukrainian construction workers in Turkmenistan to the tune of between 530 and 580 million dollars. It involves construction projects for a soda plant and a bridge across the Amu Darya River. Ukraine's AziyaBud ("Asian Construction") corporation was reported by its president, Serhiy Farenyk, as contemplating the said two projects' implementation within three years hoping to have a hand in Turkmen natural gas supplies to Ukraine and thus get rid of the need to hire any go-betweens for marketing Turkmen natural gas in Ukraine. As the corporation CEO maintained, settling procedures between the two nations have been very imperfect precisely because of too many agents in between. At times, such vicious chains number as many as two dozen sundry go- betweens, Mr Farenyk complained. In his words, the UkrAziyaBud alone would be able to send over 1,000 experts to Turkmenistan whose renumeration there could be both stable and relatively high averaging 400 dollars per worker per month.

The Ukrainian delegation which is negotiating contracts for Ukrainian experts with the host party included senior executives of UkrInvest, UkrResursy, UkrGasBud, UkrMontazh SpetsBud and several other major corporations.


Issues of political and economic integration within the framework of constructing Europe's common home, dominated a summit round-table attended by presidents of eleven Central European nations, who gathered in the Slovak town of Levoca on January 24. According to Anton Buteiko, Ukraine's First Deputy Foreign Minister, the informal summit basically dealt with the new political climate emerging in Central Europe and post-totalitarian Central European nations' efforts to evolve democratic civil societies and free market economies. The summit's attendants were reported unanimous in linking democratic transformations to successes in establishing market economic relations in those nations. Options were discussed for developing civil societies with and without market economies, with the Ukrainian Presidents accentuating Ukraine's younger generation's role in the society's democratization process.

The presidents of Slovakia and Italy stresses Ukraine's weighty role in the process of uniting Europe and the nation's praiseworthy development pattern free of interethnic strife. The summit heard an account by the Bulgarian President about his nation's experience of establishing democracy. The presidents made a decision to regularly convene in a body with Ukraine likely to be one of the venues.

On January 24, presidents of Central Europen nations held a joint press conference in Levoca, Slovakia, following their informal summit there. Appraising the summit, President Leonid Kuchma referred to Ukraine's participation in it as testifying to the nation's ability to be a full fledged member of the All-European House construction project. As the summit basically focused on problems post-Communist nations face in their efforts to develop civil societies, Mr. Kuchma made some comments on Ukraine's particularly hard road to democracy as its citizens had been taught too long to rely on the State and abandon any initiative. Mr Kuchma stated Ukraine's major goal as European integration, specifically with the Europen Union. In his opinion, Ukraine's permanent seat in the Council of Central Europen Presidents is most certain to facilitate Ukraine's effort to develop a civil society.

On January 24, President Kuchma returned home from the Slovak Republic. The visit's major outcome was an invitation to Ukraine to participate in Central European summits on a permanent basis. The presidents also reached an agreement to hold the next summit in Lviv, West Ukraine, the current year. Commenting on the visit's results, First Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteiko singled out three factors. First of all, he said, the President's visit has scored a political success, with the Central European nations having recognized Ukraine as an influential Central European power, whose opinion should be taken into account. Secondly, Leonid Kuchma has had an opportunity to closer familiarize himself with processes underway in neighboring states, as well as with their experience in the building of the state and society. The summit participants has ascertained their stands on problems involving ways to prevent differences between the European Union and new Central European states and to deepen integration between them. Finally, the summit has promoted the establishment of direct contacts between the heads of state by way of considering and resolving many concrete issues relating to the deepening of bilateral relations in political, economic and cultural spheres.

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