In separate meetings with Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Kyrgyz president Askar Akaev secured "assistance pledges," including supplies of Russian generators for the Naryn River chain of hydropower stations — an uncompleted Soviet-era project that represents one of Kyrgyzstan’s few assets with strong export potential. The Kremlin leaders further agreed to help modernize the major but dilapidated Horog (Tajikistan)-Osh (Kyrgyzstan) highway, which, Akaev stressed, is vital to supplying both eastern Tajikistan and Russian forces in that country as well as on the Tajik-Afghan border. Kyrgyzstan has agreed to buy Russian Tu-154M and Tu-204 airplanes for its national airline. "While other CIS countries are buying Boeings, we find the Tupolevs good enough for our airlines," Akaev modestly commented.
Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin praised Kyrgyzstan for agreeing to elevate the Russian language to official status and to establish a "Slavic university" in Bishkek; other CIS countries have resisted such steps. The Kyrgyz government, however, would need to circumvent the country’s constitution in order to institute a second official language. (RIA, RTR, Interfax, March 28-29)
Second Batch of Ukrainian Tanks for Pakistan Nearing Completion.