Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 88

On September 3 and 4, during his first official trip abroad as British Foreign Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind visited Ukrainie and welcomed the recent improvements in relations between Kiev and Moscow. He said "mature Russian-Ukrainian relations" are a major prerequisite to Europe’s security, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

At the same time Rifkind endorsed early membership for Kiev in the Council of Europe, closer involvement by Ukraine in OSCE activities and in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, including consultation on nuclear issues. He also supported Ukraine’s offer to mediate in the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia, and praised the OSCE’s mediation effort in Moldova, which Ukraine seeks to join.

Rifkind’s comments are of a piece with other recent Western statements which place Ukraine well ahead of Russia in the queue of countries seeking admission to the Council of Europe. His latter three points implicitly accord Ukraine status nearly equivalent to that granted Russia regarding PfP and the Yugoslavia and Moldova mediations.

Moldova’s Majority Party Resists Presidential Power Bid.