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Kazakhstan/Ukraine: President Continues Almaty Visit


Almaty, 15 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma today continues his visit to Kazakhstan's capital, Almaty, with a series of meetings with legislators.

Yesterday, Kuchma met with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev who called the Ukrainian leader's visit the start of a "new era of possibilities." Nazarbayev said he and Kuchma had seen eye-to-eye on all global problems. Kuchma predicted "fair weather" awaited the countries' bilateral ties. Ten agreements were signed yesterday to bolster economic ties between Kyiv and Almaty.

Both leaders were critical of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the loose federation of twelve former Soviet republics. Nazarbayev criticized closer economic integration with Russia, saying there could be no economic equality, without "unified economic space." Kuchma said in its present form, the CIS, has grown outdated.

The two leaders' comments came a day after Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze criticized integration with Russia, saying he would not join with Russian proposals for closer economic integration.
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