Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 150

Teams headed by Prime Ministers Valery Pustovoytenko and Ion Ciubuc agreed yesterday in Kyiv on rectifications of the post-Soviet border between Ukraine and Moldova. The Moldovan side cedes to Ukraine several short highway and railway stretches which ended up in Moldova in 1991, but which form parts of Ukrainian transport arteries. Ukraine, in return, cedes to Moldova several railroad installations which had ended up on Ukrainian territory after the breakup of the USSR.

In the most important decision at the meeting, Ukraine recognizes Moldova’s possession of several hundred meters of Danube shoreline. The site, at the Danube-Prut confluence near Giurgiulesti, has been chosen for construction of a Moldovan oil terminal. The installation is intended to reduce or even end Moldova’s dependence on Russian oil, which currently arrives in Moldova by rail via Ukraine. That arrangement is expensive and also offers Russia political leverage. As an alternative, Chisinau seeks to import Caspian oil on tankers across the Black Sea and up the Danube Delta to the Moldovan terminal. (Ukrainian agencies, Basapress, Flux, August 4)

Construction at Giurgiulesti began in 1997 on credits supplied by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. However, Ukraine’s adjacent Odessa Region opposed the plan, which was seen as detrimental to the interests of its own Danubian ports Reni and Izmail. Earlier this year, Ukrainian border guards moved their posts deeply into what Moldova regards as its outlet to the Danube. The move resulted in a suspension of construction work and of the credits for the oil terminal. In the meantime, President Leonid Kuchma has changed the Odessa regional leadership. He also recently agreed with his Moldovan counterpart, Petru Lucinschi, to settle the issue amiably. Yesterday’s decision in Kyiv means a green light for the oil terminal.