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CIS RATIFIES PLAN TO REPAY FOREIGN DEBTS, POSTPONES MILITARY, ECONOMIC ISSUES

Commonwealth leaders Friday ratified a foreign debt repayment plan and discussed a joint peacekeeping force but postponed the most pressing economic and military issues.

"The people are now demanding to know what we have done," Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk said in the gloomy keynote speech of the fourth summit of the struggling Commonwealth of Independent States. "Not one major military question has been resolved within the framework of the commonwealth."Ukraine held firm against sending its nuclear warheads to Russia for destruction.

The leaders, meeting for one day in the Ukrainian capital, reached agreement on some minor military issues and ratified an accord reached last week among commonwealth prime ministers on joint responsibility on the external debt of the former Soviet Union, estimated at $89 billion.

Despite grave questions about who will control the military, the leaders said they needed a joint peacekeeping force to help enforce cease-fires in trouble spots such as Nagorno-Karabakh in the Caucasus and Trans-Dniester in Moldova.

However, Ukraine and Azerbaijan later withheld their approval of the tentative agreement, saying their legislatures would have to consider them, according to a Kazakh presidential spokesman, Seitkazi Matayev.

More pressing problems facing the former Soviet Union - including weapons disputes, the assets and debts of the Soviet State Bank, and the division of state property - were not addressed.

President Boris Yeltsin of Russia rebuffed Ukraine's efforts to discuss the holdings of the state bank and the division of property, such as factories and plants, said a commonwealth spokesman, Ivan Plashkevich.

The leaders also put off discussion of dividing the Black Sea Fleet, which is claimed by both Ukraine and Russia.

On another crucial military dispute between the commonwealth's two strongest members, Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov, speaking to reporters during a break, reiterated that Ukraine would keep control of its nuclear warheads.

Last week, Kravchuk said Ukraine would dismantle the tactical nuclear weapons itself by July, as promised. Unconfirmed Ukrainian news reports said it had sent only about half of its estimated 4,100 warheads to Russia.

"The missiles deployed on Ukrainian territory will be destroyed. This will depend on how a mechanism of international (commonwealth) supervision will be implemented," Morozov said.

Kravchuk faces growing pressure to sever ties with the commonwealth.