Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 78

At their summit in Moscow, the G-7 countries opened the door to practical and timely measures in support of Ukraine’s decision to close down the Chernobyl nuclear power plant by the year 2000. Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, who participated in one of the summit’s two sessions, reaffirmed that commitment. The state leaders confirmed pledges already made to Ukraine for a $3 billion assistance package, mainly in credits rather than grants. They also agreed on providing low-interest credits for the construction of nuclear and non-nuclear power generating capacities in Ukraine to compensate for the loss of Chernobyl’s output. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will finance the completion of power blocks at the Rovno and Khmelnitsky nuclear plants, while the World Bank will fund the overhaul of major hydropower and thermal power plants.

The G-7 leaders also agreed that experts of their countries would meet next month to map out specific measures for starting the closure process. A multilateral commission will determine measures to repair or rebuild the cracking sarcophagus built after the 1986 catastrophe and which causes concern today. (Western agencies, Itar-Tass, Interfax, April 19-21) The summit improved the outlook for a more timely fulfillment of the terms of the December 1996 G-7-Ukraine memorandum of understanding. However, it fell short of Kiev’s urgent pleas for the signing of an agreement that would define the sources and terms of the aid, as well as a schedule for the flow of aid.

Belarus President Chooses Inflationary Expedients.