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#17 - JRL 7038
Putin, Kuchma sign Russia-Ukraine state border treaty.

KIEV, Jan 28 /Prime-TASS/ -- Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma signed the treaty on the Russia-Ukraine state border in Kiev Tuesday, ITAR-TASS reported Tuesday.

"This is the result of a compromise between the two parties, which does not infringe upon the interest of either nation," Putin said.

He added that the status of the Sea of Azov remained uncertain, but voiced confidence it could be resolved in the future.

Ukraine wants to divide the inland sea which lies between Ukraine and Russia, while Russia wants both countries to have access to resources - mostly fish - throughout the sea.

The countries have resolved all the problems regarding the delimitation of the land border, but it remains unclear how the demarcation will be carried out.

The length of the land frontier between the two states is 2,053 kilometers. The process of delimitation has taken four years, ITAR-TASS reported.

However, the countries have not as yet released the text of the treaty.

Russia and Ukraine held opposing views as to how the border should be identified on the ground.

While the Ukrainian side believed that the border should be the same as any other international border, Russia insisted that borders within the CIS should be divided into "internal" and "external" ones.

CIS "internal" frontiers should in effect be the same as those that existed in the USSR, except that they may be now delimited on maps for greater clarity.

The next step in the border negotiations will be a meeting of the sub-commission on border cooperation in February, ITAR-TASS reported.

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