In separate statements yesterday in Washington and Minsk, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk and First Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko offered a highly restrictive definition of the country’s membership in the CIS. The two officials listed a total of six negative conditions. According to Tarasyuk, Ukraine regards the CIS as a “consultative framework in which independent countries conduct bilateral relations with an emphasis on economics.” According to Buteyko, Kyiv “excludes from the CIS agenda any discussion of political-military, security and legal-humanitarian issues.” (Ukrainian agencies, July 7)
Tarasyuk’s statement means no executory decisions, no multilateral undertakings and no politicization of relations. Buteyko’s statement implies no CIS diplomatic initiatives, no discussion of collective security and no special legal treatment for selected groups (“legal-humanitarian issues” is the usual Russian label on proposals to grant special rights to Russians or “Russian-speakers” in former Soviet republics).
MOSCOW SEEMS TO REPUDIATE FLANK LIMITATIONS ON CONVENTIONAL FORCES.