Prime Ministers Mikhail Kasyanov of Russia and Kasymzhomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan signed an intergovernmental agreement on the form and schedule of transactions concerning partly Russian 1999 rent payments for the Baikonur space centre. The US$65 million arrears will be paid in kind through Russian commodity exports with Russia to transfer to Kazakhstan money for commodity and equipment purchases, Mr. Kasyanov said to newsmen. A list of involved commodities has not been drawn yet, but it is clear even now that it will mainly concern aviation technologies. The arrangement is expected to involve Kazakh-based companies which currently import Russian-manufactured equipment--mainly corporate railway carriers and petroleum extractors.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart