From Uzbekistan, an ailing Yeltsin proceeded to Kazakhstan for his first-ever state visit to that country. Repeatedly postponed and rescheduled, the eagerly awaited visit had to be cut short because of Yeltsin’s medical condition (see the Monitor, October 12, 13). The agenda of Yeltsin’s talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev included major issues left unresolved from their previous meetings in Moscow, notably the July 5-7 meeting (see the Monitor, July 9; and the Fortnight in Review, July 10). Those controversial issues include the legal status of the Caspian Sea, border delimitation in that sea, mutual debt settlement, financing of the Baikonur space launch center, ethnic and migration problems, and investment issues. In the event, only several minor agreements were signed, notably one on opening cultural-information centers of either country in the capital of the other.
Most of the larger issues were left to be settled at future meetings. Officials reported the signing of an agreement on Baikonur, without disclosing specifics. Politically, the most significant moment of the talks came when Yeltsin endorsed Nazarbaev’s recent bid (see the Monitor, October 13) to extend his presidential mandate well after the year 2000: “May you lead Kazakhstan in the future. I am confident that this will be” (Russian agencies, October 12-13).–VS
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