Kuchma also noted in his state of the nation address that Ukraine’s relations with Russia are experiencing "difficulties" and "significant obstacles." Kuchma traced those problems to "influential forces [in Russia] which do not desire to build equal and mutually advantageous relations with Ukraine and other CIS member countries." Ukraine will in 1997 "limit or discontinue altogether its participation in those CIS activities that do not bring economic returns or [that] require excessive expenditures." Kiev’s foreign policy priority in 1997 is to "intensify efforts toward the strategic goal of integration with the leading European and transatlantic organizations, irreversibly codifying Ukraine’s status as a constituent region of East-Central Europe," Kuchma said. (Interfax-Ukraine, March 21) Ukraine last week began negotiations on a far-reaching special partnership agreement with NATO.
Belarusan Opposition Demonstrates on Independence Anniversary.