Kyrgyzstan’s Economics and Finance Ministry announced yesterday a “temporary” moratorium on the country’s contribution to the CIS budget. That budget, meager in the first place, supports the CIS joint bodies in Moscow and Minsk. Kyrgyzstan’s share for 1999 had been set at only US$1.5 million, proportionately far lower than other member country shares. Even so, yesterday’s announcement from Bishkek explained that the country was not in a position to pay (Itar-Tass, March 10).
The move may well be intended to express pique over the Kremlin’s arbitrary shake-up of the CIS Executive Secretariat in the Berezovsky affair. When Russian President Boris Yeltsin told him, by telephone, about the fait accompli, Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev “took the event with understanding,” his spokesman said (Itar-Tass, March 6), using the standard phrase which denotes grudging acceptance of an unwelcome development. Some member countries are in arrears to the CIS budget, a few of them chronically so. The recent financial crisis has aggravated the problem. Kyrgyzstan has become the first country to officially suspend payments.
BUT DID YELTSIN ACTUALLY TELEPHONE?