Jul 16, 1987


GENEVA, JULY 14 (IFDA/CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN) – The Soviet Foreign Trade Minister, Boris Aristov, made clear Tuesday that the Soviet ratification of the common fund agreement would follow in a very short time".

Aristov was replying the questions after a ceremony where he signed the agreement present on the occasion were, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and chair of the non-aligned movement, Robert Mugabe, the secretary-general of UNCTAD, Kenneth Dadzie, and the UN director-general for international economic cooperation and development, Jean Ripert, and delegates from the Group 77 countries.

Aristov's response about ratification in a very short time came when he was asked about the doubts cast Monday by EEC commissioner Cheysson about the Soviet ratification.

Other soviet sources later explained that the Soviet Union would use one of the simplified procedures provided in the agreement (for ratification, acceptance or approval) to complete the legal processes, perhaps even before UNCTAD-VII ends on July 31.

Aristov earlier said the Soviets had taken the decision on the assumption that "our accession to the agreement will be decisive in its entry into force", and it would enhance effectiveness of existing international commodity agreements (ICAS), particularly those for stabilisation of markets like the cocoa or natural rubber agreement. The soviets also hoped it would help negotiate and conclude new agreements.

The Soviet Union, he reminded newsmen, was a member of several ICAS, and viewed promotion of stable and predictable conditions on commodity markets as in the interest of both products and consumers, and an effective guarantee for international economic security as well as implementing the programme for establishment of the neo.

Earlier, in welcoming the Soviet action, Dadzie said it was particularly noteworthy because it was by one of the major contributors to the fund, and would break the deadlock, which had help up entry into force of the fund.

Dadzie noted that USSR was the 115th country to sign the agreement, and the ceremony for the Soviet signature did not mean the actions of the other 114, the 94 among them who had ratified were not appreciated.

Third world diplomats later interpreted the Dadzie’s remark as a response to the unhappiness of western countries, reportedly conveyed to the secretariat, at the prominence being given through a signing ceremony. Eastern countries have been particularly embarrassed, since it has given the Soviets considerable boost at the Conference, particularly because of the U.S. indifference and the inability or unwillingness of other western governments to do anything concrete here.

With the Soviet ratification, Dadzie was hopeful of getting the additional ratifications to bring the directly contributed capital of ratifying countries to two-thirds.

Dadzie said that the Soviet action was also of considerable political importance, not only because it brought the fund within reach of operation, but as "timely boost" for international cooperation for solutions to the commodity economy.

Dadzie was sure it would give fresh vigour to UNCTAD efforts to promote the objectives of the integrated programme for commodities, and it would also give an impulse to the deliberations at UNCTAD-VII, leading to further constructive results in this and other areas.

Looking beyond the Conference, and to arena of international economic cooperation, Dadzie saw the Soviet action as "a symbol of its readiness to contribute more actively and constructively to such cooperation and in particular multilateral cooperation for development".

The Soviet decision, he said, had to be seen against the background of new policy trends in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries of Eastern Europe. It was being followed with great interest throughout the international community and would lead to greater promises of mutually beneficial east-west and east-south cooperation.

Asked about any further financial contributions by the Soviet Union, and for any projects, Aristov said the initial capital contribution of the Soviet Union was fixed and well-known.

The Soviet ratification was only part of the process, and further steps would be carefully studied in depth, before any decisions were taken and announced.

Mugabe saw the Soviet decision as support to the initiative of third world countries for a fair deal in the totally of international economic relations, and the need to stabilise commodity markets and secure remunerative prices for commodity producers, rather than the present situation where the so-called laws of demand and supply seemed to work always in favour of the industrial countries, the old colonial masters of the third world.

Mugabe noted that the U.S. had refused to ratify the fund, but hoped there would come a time when views in the U.S. would change, and they too would join the fund.