Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 42

The presidents of Russia and Belarus, Boris Yeltsin and Aleksandr Lukashenko discussed "reintegration" in the Kremlin yesterday. They signed an agreement on settling mutual financial debts and claims, mainly Belarus’ debts to Russia for energy supplies and overdue Russian reimbursement to Belarus for cleanup at former Soviet/Russian military sites in Belarus, upkeep of remaining Russian troops, and the value of uranium in warheads of ex-Soviet missiles removed from Belarus to Russia. The presidents also agreed to hold regular annual summits; to set up a joint governmental committee on economic integration; and to instruct their two governments to draft within a month a document on the principles and main directions of their economic integration.

Yeltsin noted the shared goal of "military, military-technical, and military-political integration" of the two countries and joined Lukashenko in "categorically opposing" NATO’s enlargement. Defense Ministers Pavel Grachev and Leonid Maltseu signed an agreement on military cooperation and scheduled a meeting of the two ministries’ top brass in March in Belarus. Lukashenko declared that he would favor recreating the USSR as a solution to the successor countries’ problems; but Yeltsin distanced himself from that idea, and both presidents agreed that reintegration must proceed from state independence and sovereignty. Lukashenko and Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin signed agreements on trade, price policy, and cooperation in building the Belarus stretch of a planned Moscow-Berlin highway. (12)

Transit Route to Koenigsberg via Poland Sought.