Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 100

Moscow and Kiev announced yesterday in separate statements that Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and President Boris Yeltsin will visit Kiev on May 28-29 and May 30-31, respectively. Chernomyrdin will co-chair a meeting of the intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation and prepare Yeltsin’s visit, which is expected to result in the signing of a good-neighborly relations treaty.

The two visits now seem likely to proceed on schedule despite the apparent failure of preparatory negotiations held in Kiev on May 19 by Russian deputy prime minister Valery Serov. The Russian delegation returned home prematurely after failing to obtain Ukrainian concessions on the basing of the Black Sea Fleet, border delimitation, trade issues, the apportionment of the former USSR’s debts and assets between the two countries, and the related issue of Ukrainian arrears for Russian fuel deliveries. These long-unresolved issues will be reconsidered at the meeting of the intergovernmental commission, chaired by the two prime ministers. (UNIAN, Interfax-Ukraine, Itar-Tass, May 19-20)

At a March 28 meeting in Moscow on the margin of the CIS summit, Yeltsin for the first time agreed with the view of his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, that the good-neighborly relations treaty ought to be de-coupled from the Black Sea Fleet issue and be signed as a matter of priority. The Kremlin had since 1993 conditioned the signing, and Yeltsin’s visit to Kiev, on a prior resolution of the fleet issue. The intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation has also been dormant during these years. Kiev for its part regards the commission as an important forum for promoting trade liberalization, and is above all interested in Yeltsin’s visit to sign a treaty that would recognize Ukraine’s borders.

Kazakstan Mining Update.