The president of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akayev, described the Russian Duma action as "a very hazardous step fraught with major international consequences" that was also damaging to the CIS. Akayev professed confidence that bilateral Kyrgyz-Russian relations and his own upcoming visit to Moscow would not be affected. He is expected to sign there with Boris Yeltsin an agreement on Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the CIS Customs Union. (Interfax, March 16) Adversely affected by Russian protectionism, Kyrgyzstan hopes to gain freer access to the Russian market by joining the customs union.
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