Ukraine's democrats fear the new project will put an end to independence
A summit of CIS president opened in the city of Yalta on September 18. The agenda of the first day included 17 problems, creation of the United Economic Area of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan is the most important of them. On the day of the summit opening the texts of the documents on creation of the area were published.
The very project of the United Economic Area has caused much dispute in Ukraine, but on the eve of the summit opening the Supreme Rada passed a decree to support the agreement on creation of the United Economic Area of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan "which will agree with the Constitution, the legislation and the international commitments of Ukraine." The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers (there were three ministries that had objected to creation of the Union) also approved of the concept of the United Economic Area but with the same stipulation that the Supreme Rada did. People's deputy of Ukraine, first deputy chairman of the Ukrainian People's Party (former Ukrainian Rukh) Ivan Zayets said at a press-conference in the city of Cherkassy that "the government had done put-up job." He says that together with a group of the party members he came to a session of the Cabinet of Ministers and asked why creation of the United Economic Area wasn't on the agenda.
After that, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich said "the decision on the problem was already passed". But a document that came from the Cabinet of Ministers couldn't be considered a decision of the government as it was bearing no stamp, registration number and didn't mention the place where the decision had been taken.
The position of Ivan Zayets is also supported by the national democratic forces (the Julia Timoshenko bloc and the Our Ukraine faction didn't participate in the voting on the project). He says the United Economic Area is liquidation of the Ukrainian state organization. The deputy thinks that both, the project for creation of the United Economic Area and the project of political reforming, are aimed to put an end to Ukraine's independence. The deputy adds that for realization of the plan the authority has set a whole industry of lies.
Ivan Zayets fears that President Leonid Kuchma may sign the project for creation of the United Economic Area ignoring the demands put forward by the parliament and the government. He claims that if it happens the Ukrainian People's Party will start a campaign to collect signatures and seek resignation of the president and the government.
National democrats say the project of the United Economic Area is "extremely dangerous for the present and for the future of Ukraine, as there will be not only the opposition and the authority, but supporters and opponents of independence." Opinion polls conducted in Ukraine revealed that supporters of the project of the United Economic Area make up a great share. 70 per cent of the respondents support Ukraine's joining the United Economic Area and only 19 per cent object to the idea. The communists of Ukraine offer to submit the issue for nation-wide consideration.
It is supposed that the United Economic Area will be a more rigid construction than the CIS because all decisions passed there will be obligatory for realization.
In addition to the United Economic Area participants of the CIS summit will also touch upon future plans for economic cooperation within 2003 - 2010; will report on the transfer of dues to the CIS single budget and discuss amendments to the CIS Charter.
Russia's news agency RIA Novosti reports with reference to the CIS Executive Committee that all 12 CIS members will take part in the summit; the countries will be mostly represented by presidents.