The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine, Andrei Kozyrev and Hennady Udovenko, conferred in Moscow on pending bilateral issues.
On the Black Sea Fleet, Kozyrev urged the early signing of two agreements: on the fleet’s partition, and on the status of its Russian share (the larger by far) as a force based in Ukraine. Udovenko wanted those two documents accompanied by an agreement on the use of Sevastopol by both fleets, and another on Russian lease payments and usage fees to Ukraine, all four agreements to be signed as one package.
On the bilateral political treaty long delayed by Moscow, Udovenko suggested that it be signed at a Yeltsin-Kuchma meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly or of a CIS summit, rather than being linked to an official visit to Kiev by Yeltsin.
On peacekeeping in ex-Yugoslavia, Udovenko appeared to defer to Russian objections by saying that NATO had not "officially" invited Ukraine to join the NATO-led force and Kiev would in any case lack the means to finance its contingent. Despite the disagreements, Udovenko found a common language with Kozyrev in expressing concern over the possible nuclearization of some of Ukraine’s western neighbors who are candidates for admission to NATO. The two ministers went out of their way to describe the meeting as friendly. (7)
Moscow presses for the signing of the first two agreements, but resists the other two on the Black Sea Fleet because it demands exclusive use of Sevastopol and wants to avoid the high rentals and fees Ukraine plans to charge. In discussing the procedural aspect of signing the bilateral political treaty, the sides failed to publicly mention a major substantive obstacle–the Russian side’s refusal (in various forms since 1991) to recognize Ukraine’s present borders. A possible NATO deployment of nuclear weapons in Ukraine’s western vicinity has seemed to unsettle Udovenko considerably more than it has other Ukrainian officials.
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