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Romania/Ukraine: Negotiators Postpone Talks

Kyiv, 25 February 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Romania and Ukraine have postponed until tomorrow the start of negotiations which both sides hope will eventually culminate in a bilateral treaty governing their future relations.

Our correspondent in Kyiv says that the meeting, earlier reported due to begin today, has been delayed by the late arrival of the Romanian delegation.

Romanian President Emil Constantinescu recently said his country was prepared to make "historic sacrifices" to secure friendly relations with neighboring Ukraine, thereby promoting Bucharest's chances of gaining entry into NATO and the European Union (EU).

The two countries remain at odds over their common sea border. Romania has also long demanded that Ukraine publicly atone for the Soviet Union's 1940 seizure of parts of Romanian territory under the Nazi-Soviet pact.

Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi is due to arrive in Kyiv this evening to begin a two-day official visit. He will be accompanied by leading Italian business people.

During his visit, Prodi is scheduled to hold talks with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko and Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Moroz. Discussions are expected to focus on expanding bilateral economic ties.