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Soviet-Led Comecon Trading Bloc To Disband

May 19, 1991 GMT

MOSCOW (AP) _ Members of the moribund Soviet-led trading bloc Comecon agreed Saturday to disband after a June meeting to divvy up its assets.

Saying Comecon was ″no longer relevant,″ representatives from nine nations signed a pact to dissolve Comecon 90 days after the June 28 meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

Comecon members first agreed in January to disband the organization, which was rapidly losing usefulness as the former Soviet Bloc moved toward market- oriented economies.

The final accord was delayed by property disputes and disagreements over whether to replace Comecon with a new regional economic cooperation organization.

Executive committee chairman Bela Kadar, Hungary’s foreign economic relations minister, told reporters Saturday that Comecon members agreed to postpone talks on a new organization until after the old one was dissolved.

″The dissolution of Comecon should not mean the burial of cooperation,″ he said at Comecon’s Moscow headquarters following a two-day meeting. ″Comecon countries are determined to further develop mutually beneficial economic cooperation based on new realities. They have common problems adjusting to the new processes in Europe.″

Comecon - the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance - was founded in 1949 in response to the U.S. Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Europe. It links the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Vietnam, Cuba and Mongolia.

Albania quit in 1960 and East Germany was absorbed into West Germany last year.

Much of the agency’s work involved settling accounts for trade between the Communist centralized governments, since none had a convertible currency. On Jan. 1, members began trading using world prices and international currencies.

The Soviet government would like to buy other countries’ shares of Comecon property in the Soviet Union, Kadar said. He did not say how much property Comecon owned.

The demise of Eastern Europe’s trade organization follows the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact military alliance on March 31.