The Ukrainian ambassador to Belarus, Anatoly Dron, appealed yesterday to the host country to ratify the bilateral treaty which recognizes the existing Ukrainian-Belarus borders. Signed by Presidents Leonid Kuchma and Alyaksandr Lukashenka in May 1997, and ratified by the Ukrainian parliament the following month, the treaty has yet to be ratified by the presidentially appointed parliament of Belarus.
Lukashenka, for his part, stated in a speech yesterday that Belarus will not ratify the treaty until Ukraine recognizes and pledges to repay a “debt” of $215 million to Belarus. But Lukashenka also pinpointed a deeper reason for blocking the ratification of the border treaty: “the establishment of state borders is one way of separating the fraternal Slavic peoples,” he said in his speech. In the absence of the Belarusan ratification, Ukraine is unable to proceed to demarcating the border on the ground. (Ukrainian agencies, May 5)
COAL STRIKE IN UKRAINE.