President Leonid Kuchma paid a state visit to Russia from February 26 through March 1, the first such visit in more than six years of Ukrainian independence. Accompanied by a numerous governmental delegation, Kuchma held talks with President Boris Yeltsin and other Russian officials at Zavidovo outside Moscow on the first two days of the program, and went on to visit Kemerovo oblast where the Ukrainian government signed an economic cooperation agreement with the oblast leadership, focusing on Kuzbass coal deliveries to Ukraine in return for Ukrainian industrial goods.
The main documents produced by the Yeltsin-Kuchma talks were a political communique and an economic cooperation program for the period 1998-2007. The former document appeared to represent a compromise between Russian and Ukrainian positions on bilateral and European security issues, with some verbal concessions by Kyiv. The published summary of the economic program appeared largely declarative, but some of its unpublished points have run into serious political resistance in Kyiv. The political communique also faces an uncertain political reception in Ukraine. (Russian and Ukrainian agencies, February 27 through March 1; see also Monitor, February 27)
Aliev Brings Home Oil Contracts and Credit Agreements from Japan.