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No. 213, 04 November 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR RUSSIAN FORCES FIRE AT GEORGIAN POSITIONS. The Russian Defense Ministry announced on 3 November that Russian artillery and aircraft had on the previous day attacked Georgian forces deployed in Abkhazia. According to an Ostankino TV report, the attack came in response to continued shelling by the Georgian forces of Russian positions. Moscow said that those Georgian forces responsible for the shelling had been neutralized, but that the Georgian attacks had been resumed on 3 November (presumably by other Georgian units). The Russian Defense Ministry said that its forces continue to respond with artillery and air attacks. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) GEORGIAN-RUSSIAN CONFRONTATION CONTINUES OVER AMMUNITION DUMP. Interfax and Reuters reported on 3 November that arms and ammunition seized by Georgian government troops from a Russian ammunition dump on 2 November have not yet been returned, and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev stated that "If talks fail to bring positive results I have no choice but to take a decision to unblock the dump using troops--aviation, tanks, artillery and infantry." Georgian Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani said on local TV that the dump had been seized on his personal orders and he accused Russian troops of selling arms and ammunition from the dump. In contrast to a statement by Eduard Shevardnadze that the Georgian military was "playing with fire" by seizing the dump, Kitovani said that "all this belongs to Georgia and we will not allow all this out of the Republic [of Georgia]." Georgian officials have repeatedly accused the Russian troops stationed in Georgia of supplying arms to the fighters in Abkhazia. (Bess Brown and Hal Kosiba, RFE/RL, Inc.) ABKHAZ FIGHTING GEORGIANS IN SUKHUMI. On 3 November Abkhaz forces were reported to be battling Georgian troops in the suburbs of Sukhumi, according to Interfax. The agency's correspondent was told that the Georgians were holding off the Abkhaz attacks, though an unconfirmed report said that the Abkhaz were already fighting inside the city. Georgia's State Minister for Abkhazia Georgii Haindrava was quoted by Interfax as warning the Abkhaz that if "atrocities" similar to the 1 November shelling of Sukhumi reoccur, the Georgian side will reciprocate. On 1 November an Abkhaz shell hit a Sukhumi bus station, killing three and wounding sixteen. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.) YELTSIN STATEMENT ON NORTH OSSETIA AND INGUSHETIA. In a statement to the country, issued by ITAR-TASS and broadcast on 3 November, President Yeltsin said that his decree declaring a state of emergency in North Ossetia and Ingushetia had been adopted because thousands of lives were threatened. He categorically rejected the idea that what had occurred was a clash between the Ingush and Ossetian peoples, maintaining that the conflict had been provoked by militant nationalists, who started it not to find a just solution to a complex territorial problem inherited from Stalin's time, but to drag the people into a fratricidal struggle that would engulf the whole of southern Russia. (Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.) DUDAEV, SOUTH OSSETIA REACT. Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev told reporters in Groznyi on 3 November that Ingush, Ossetian, and Russian forces must be pulled back from the conflict zone in North Ossetia, ITAR-TASS reported. He suggested that armed formations of the Confederation of Caucasian Peoples or even Cossacks could act as a buffer between the warring sides. In the meantime there are plans for a partial mobilization of Chechen forces to ensure that Chechnya can defend itself. An extraordinary session of the presidium of the South Ossetian Supreme Soviet on 3 November condemned the actions of Ingush extremists and warned that if Ingush armed formations were not immediately withdrawn from North Ossetian territory "the people of South Ossetia would ...take the necessary measures to repel the aggressors." (Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.) YELTSIN AND CENTRIST LEADERS ANNOUNCE COMPROMISE. On 3 November, President Yeltsin held talks with leaders of the Civic Union to discuss the situation in Russia as the 1-December starting date for the Congress of People's Deputies approaches. Vice President Rutskoi, who is also member of the Union, attended the meeting. The Union largely consists of managers of big state-owned enterprises, and it demands changes in Russia's economic reform policy. The Russian media quoted Yeltsin as stating after the meeting that the Union's position on economic reforms is now close to his own. Yeltsin told reporters that the Union appears ready for cooperation with the president on the eve of the Congress, at which heated debates between the president and the Communist and Russian nationalist opposition are expected. Ostankino TV quoted the leaders of the Civic Union as also saying that a "complete agreement" on the course of reforms was reached at the meeting. (Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.) CIVIC UNION DEMANDS CHANGES IN RUSSIAN CABINET. At the same meeting, the leaders of the Civic Union repeated their demand for changes in the Russian cabinet of ministers, Western and Russian media reported on 3 November. After some discussion, President Yeltsin and the leaders reportedly agreed that acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar should retain his position. The Union demanded, however, that many other top officials leave. According to Interfax, they are Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Privatization Minister Anatolii Chubais, Information Minister Mikhail Poltoranin, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin, International Economic Relations Minister Petr Aven and Minister of Economics Andrei Nechaev. The leaders of the Union also recommended the elimination of the "unconstitutional" position of Russian state secretary, held by Gennadii Burbulis, the agency reported. (Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.) CIVIC UNION ON ITS STRATEGY, YELTSIN, GAIDAR. Aleksandr Vladislavlev, one of the leaders of the Civic Union, told Komsomolskaya pravda on 3 November that although previously Gaidar had rejected any compromise, he now is prepared to alter his reform course along the lines proposed by the Civic Union. He stated that one of the major tasks of the Civic Union was to split the national-patriotic movement and to gain the support of more moderate, reform-minded members of such groups for a centrist policy. He argued against the introduction of presidential rule and moves to suspend the parliament. Russian TV reported on 3 November that Yeltsin agreed to participate in the congress of the Civic Union scheduled for mid November. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN ECONOMIC RELATIONS. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Pynzenyk announced on 3 November that Russia and Ukraine have concluded an agreement on settling debts, Reuters reported. The deal involved a credit of 227 billion rubles to Ukraine to pay for Russian oil, gas, and other key products through the end of 1992. It should preclude any shortfall in supplies of Russian oil at Ukrainian refineries. Talks are continuing on the sharing out of the convertible currency debt of the former Soviet Union. (Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.) THE RETURN OF ADMINISTERED PRICES? Both chambers of the Russian parliament on 3-November adopted on first reading a draft law "On the Principles of Price Formation," ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. The draft provides for the establishment of a federal price committee that would be fully empowered to conduct a flexible price policy. A member of the parliamentary reform coalition told Interfax that the draft legislation clearly contradicted market principles since it represented the virtual revitalization of Goskomtsen (the State Prices Committee). He stressed that the law was "totally unacceptable," since it stipulated the "rigid regulation of pricing at all levels of municipal and federal power." (Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN INTERENTERPRISE DEBT ON THE RISE AGAIN? Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko said in an interview on Russian TV on 2 November that, according to bank estimates, the sum of interenterprise debt may total a trillion rubles by the end of the year. The figure seems to contradict the previously reported reduction of such debt from over three trillion rubles in July to around 600 billion by the end of September achieved through a process of mutual debt cancellation sponsored by the bank. Gerashchenko did not provide a clear cause for the persistence of the problem, but hinted that it was the government's fault for not adequately recapitalizing financially troubled enterprises over the course of the attempted debt resolution. (Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.) COMMANDER PLAYS DOWN IRANIAN ACQUISITION OF SUBS. Captain Mikhail Abramov, commander of a Russian anti-submarine destroyer in the Persian Gulf, told reporters on 3-November that the acquisition by Iran of 3 Russian kilo-class submarines had not changed the military balance in the region and was not a source of concern to the Russian military leadership. (On 8 October Interfax had reported that at least some high ranking Russian defense officials had opposed the sale because they felt it did not serve Russia's national interests). Abramov's vessel, the Admiral Vinogradov, was in the Gulf participating in naval exercises with US, British, and French vessels as part of a UN effort to enforce sanctions against Iraq. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) MIRZAYANOV RELEASED FROM PRISON BUT STILL FACES TRIAL. Vil Mirzayanov, the Russian scientist arrested on 22 October for disclosing secret information concerning Russia's chemical weapons program, was released from prison on 2 November, but the charges against him apparently have not been dropped. Mirzayanov wasted little time before again blasting the authorities. He told Reuters that the $25 million promised by the United States to help Russia destroy its chemical stocks would probably be used by Russia for further illegal research in chemical warfare. Mirzayanov said he was confident he would be found innocent, claiming that he had not revealed "any serious state secrets." (Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.) NEW UKRAINIAN CABINET OF MINISTERS MEETS. Radio Ukraine reported on 2 November that the newly-formed cabinet of ministers met to discuss priority tasks. The government adopted a decision to prepare within ten days documents for the parliament concerning increasing minimum wages and pensions. It also focused its attention on the agricultural sector, instructing the appropriate ministers to deal with the problem of securing fuel in order to complete the harvest. Every minister was instructed to present proposals on economic reforms in his area of responsibility. (Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN NAVY WANTS TO USE UKRAINIAN SHIPYARDS. The Russian government collegium which met on 3 November was reported to have discussed an agreement with Ukraine on "Cooperation on the Construction and Repair of Vessels and Naval Equipment for the Russian Navy." ITAR-TASS quoted Admiral Feliks Gromov, the commander in chief of the Russian Navy, as saying that agreement had to be reached "very soon" on the proposal, which had been discussed in the context of the bilateral negotiations over the Black Sea Fleet. Six major shipyards which once supported the Soviet Navy are in Ukraine, including the only one in the former Soviet Union capable of building aircraft carriers. (Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.) KOZLOVSKY ON BELARUSIAN MILITARY REFORM. Belarusian Defense Minister Pavel Kozlovsky said in an interview published by Krasnaya zvezda on 3 November that while the Belarusian conscript army would remain multi-national, the proportion of ethnic Belarusians was gradually increasing within the officer corps. He said that by the middle of next year it was expected that approximately one-half of all the officers would be Belarusian. He also revealed that some 10,000 Belarusian officers currently serving outside the republic had filed requests to transfer to Belarus, but that Minsk was pursuing a policy of repatriating these officers gradually, over a period of six to seven years. Kozlovsky's comments were summarized by ITAR-TASS. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT ON DRAFT TATAR CONSTITUTION. The Russian parliament's Council of the Republic adopted a resolution on 2 November drawing attention to the fact that the draft Tatarstan constitution contains several articles enshrining the separation of Tatarstan from the Russian Federation, ITAR-TASS reported. The resolution urged the Tatarstan parliament to postpone adoption of the constitution until after Tatarstan had signed a treaty with Russia and to amend the draft to show that Tatarstan is part of the Russian Federation. (Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.) DUSHANBE UNDER RUSSIAN GUARD. Tajik General Mukhriddin Ashurov, commander of the Russian motorized division stationed in Tajikistan, told ITAR-TASS on 3 November that his troops had assumed responsibility for maintaining the curfew in Dushanbe, in addition to guarding key buildings and manning roadblocks on all approaches to the city. Ashurov said he had given orders that the troops were to use force against any group attempting to enter the capital. A Western agency reported the same day that some 70,000 residents of Dushanbe have fled to Badakhshan, the southeastern region that has stayed out of the fighting between pro- and anti-government factions. A meeting between Central Asian leaders and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev that was to have been held on 3 November to discuss the Tajik situation was rescheduled to the following day. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.) LEBED WANTS STRONGER "DNIESTER" STANCE. The commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, Maj. General Aleksandr Lebed, addressed on 31 October in Tiraspol the conference of the Joint Council of Work Collectives (OSTK), the Russian communist organization which forms the single strongest political force in the "Dniester republic", Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 3 November. Lebed denounced as "servile" the "Dniester" leadership's recent proposals to Chisinau concerning the delimitation of powers between them (which called for turning Moldova into a confederation, i.e. short of full and formal secession of the "Dniester republic"). Lebed further charged that the "Dniester" leadership was becoming bureaucratized while allowing its "republican guard" (its main military force) to "die a slow death." Lebed also urged OSTK to become a political party. (Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.) Central and Eastern Europe PANIC BARELY SURVIVES NO CONFIDENCE VOTE. Milan Panic, the Prime Minister of the rump Yugoslavia, has narrowly survived a second vote of no confidence. On 3 November, the Chamber of Republics, the upper house of the Federal Assembly, rejected a censure motion against Panic introduced by the ultranationalist Radical Party, which is close to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's ruling Socialists, one day after the Chamber of Citizens (lower house) adopted the no confidence motion by a vote of 93 to 24. The legislative action is widely regarded as part of a power struggle between the moderate Panic and Serbia's hardline president, Milosevic. The vote in the upper house fell four votes shorts of the 21 needed to carry the upper chamber, which is made up of 20 representatives from Serbia and 20 from Montenegro. The vote was 17 in favor of the censure motion and 18 against. Two deputies abstained, two were absent and there was one blank ballot. As in early September, Montenegrin delegates in the upper house backed Panic. Radio Serbia and international media carried the report. (Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc.) REACTIONS. Shortly before the vote, leaders of Montenegro's ruling Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) vowed to back Panic, who also received the support of federal President Dobrica Cosic and most opposition parties in Serbia. Radio Serbia reported that supporters saw Panic as Serbia-Montenegro's best hope for ending U.N. sanctions against the federation. Svetozar Marovic, general secretary of the DSP, said: "We don't see any reason to censure Panic." Milan Gajovic, leader of the DSP deputies, added that his 20-member group in the upper house would oppose Panic's ouster, saying his departure would be a "catastrophe." Panic has angered Serbian nationalists by his efforts to end the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as his pledge to restore some autonomy to Kosovo, a region with a 90% Albanian population. The latest move comes ahead of general and presidential elections slated to begin 20 December. (Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc.) BOSNIA ROUNDUP. Peace talks over the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina are to resume in Geneva on 4 November. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will attend despite earlier reports that he would pull out of the negotiations. Bosnian Serbs have rejected a UN-EC draft plan to set up autonomous regions chiefly on geographic and economic criteria and not on an ethnic basis. Karadzic has proposed dividing Bosnia into ethnic units, with the Serbs receiving the two-thirds of Bosnia's territory which they have taken in more than seven months of fighting. Radio Croatia reported on 3 November that Croatia's President Franjo Tudjman rejected UN appeals to accept some 4,000 thousand Bosnians who have fled the Bosnian town of Jajce. Tudjman explained his republic was already overburdened with 700,000 refugees and that outlays for refugees was already the second largest single item in the Croatian state budget. The Jajce refugees have been turned back by Croatia's border guards. Finally, EC mediator Lord Owen hinted on 3 November that it might be necessary to impose international sanctions against Croatia because of the "apparent ethnic cleansing by Croatian forces" perpetrated against Bosnian Muslims and Serbs. Owen made the comment on London's Channel Four TV news. (Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc.) SLOVAK EX-COMMUNISTS WILLING TO JOIN MECIAR'S GOVERNMENT. Petr Weiss, the Chairman of the Party of the Democratic Left (PDL--the former Slovak Communist Party), offered to form a coalition with the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (MDS) of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, Radio Bratislava reported on 3 November. Weiss claimed that the MDS had not "sufficient numbers of cadres to run Slovakia singlehandedly," and called on its leaders to admit their errors and alter somewhat their program of government. At the same time, Weiss criticized the Slovak government for allegedly damaging Slovakia's image by some "unprofessional and undiplomatic moves." The PDL is the second strongest party in the Slovak parliament. (Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.) CHARTER 77 CEASES TO EXIST. One of the best-known and most efficient democratic opposition groups in the former Communist Bloc, Charter 77, formally ceased its activities on 3 November. CSTK reported that many sympathizers of the group (it had no formal members) gathered in Prague and released a statement saying that the movement had played a pivotal role in opposing oppression under communism but that it "was no longer applicable in present day conditions." Although Charter 77 had tried to continue its activities after the toppling of the communist regime, public interest in the movement began to fade and funds became short after George Soros, who had provided considerable sums of money in the past, halted his financial support. Former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel, and a number of other high-ranking post-communist officials were among the signatories of Charter 77 that had been established in 1977 by Czech and Slovak dissidents. (Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.) DRAFT LEGISLATION ON PUNISHMENT OF 1956 CRIMES. Hungarian Justice Minister Istvan Balsai has reviewed a draft law to punish those who had committed crimes during the 1956 revolution, MTI and Radio Budapest reported on 3 November. Investigations would be initiated by the Budapest Prosecutor's Office ex officio. The draft would classify crimes committed in 1956 as war crimes and crimes against humanity which would mean that they were not subject to the statute of limitations. (Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.) POSSIBLE NEW APPOINTMENTS AT HUNGARIAN RADIO AND TELEVISION. After months of unsuccessful negotiations on the future of the Hungarian media between representatives of the six parliamentary parties, the government has now come up with a new proposal aimed at overcoming the continuing impasse. The current heads of Hungary's state owned radio and television would be dismissed on 9 November and deputies would temporarily run radio and television as acting chiefs. The present deputy chief of Hungarian Radio, Laszlo Csucs, would remain in his post while film producer Sandor Sara would be appointed to run television. No names of prospective candidates for chairmen were mentioned. The dismissals must be approved by President Arpad Goncz, who already on a previous occasion refused to sign. (Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.) FORMER BULGARIAN MINISTERS SENTENCED TO PRISON. Former Bulgarian Premier Georgi Atanasov and former Minister of Economics and Planning Stoyan Ovcharov were sentenced on 3 November to ten and nine years imprisonment, respectively, Bulgarian and Western agencies reported. Charged with gross embezzlement while serving in communist governments between 1986 and 1990, Atanasov and Ovcharov consistently claimed they were innocent and that the trial was politically motivated. Although they admitted having granted 210,000 leva (then $100,000) to orphans of communist partisans killed in World War II, the ex-ministers rejected all accusations concerning misappropriation of state funds. When the money was allocated in the late 1980s, the orphans were all above 40 years old. (Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.) ILIESCU RECEIVES DIPLOMATS. On 3 November Romania's re-elected President Ion Iliescu received heads of diplomatic missions in Bucharest. The reception was attended by outgoing Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan, Senate president Oliviu Gherman, Chamber of Deputies' president Adrian Nastase, and leaders of parties represented in the Parliament. In his address, broadcast by Radio Bucharest, Iliescu called for better relations with all countries with which Romania has diplomatic ties, and especially with other European states. Iliescu seized the opportunity to defend his government's program that had been read in the Parliament on 30-September. He also pledged to support democracy and market economy in Romania. (Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.) ESTONIA TO REVIEW CITIZENSHIP BILLS. The Estonian government plans to review the citizenship law with an eye to liberalizing that bill, BNS reports on 3 November. The government is reportedly to introduce a bill in parliament that will define more exactly the language skills required of would-be citizens in order to eliminate potential subjectivity in assessing the skills. The government-sponsored bill would also establish the conditions of state assistance for those learning Estonian. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) LATVIAN, ESTONIAN UNEMPLOYMENT UP. The number of jobless in Latvia continues to rise, BNS reported on 3 November. By the beginning of this month, some 6,300 people were unemployed in Riga alone. Meanwhile, Estonia reported that some 8,500 people officially registered as unemployed. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) IMF READY TO COMPROMISE ON POLAND'S DEFICIT. Michel Deppler, the deputy director of the IMF's European department and chief of its negotiating mission to Poland, said on 3-November that the chances for economic growth were as important as the size of the budget deficit in negotiations with the Polish government on a new agreement with the IMF. According to Gazeta Wyborcza of 4 November, Deppler added that the deficit is not as big an impediment to an agreement as is generally thought. Poland's 1992 deficit is expected to reach 8% of GDP, well over the 5% target set at the beginning of the year. The IMF's biggest worry, Deppler indicated, was inflation, now running at monthly rates exceeding last year's levels. The IMF wants assurance that rising prices are the consequence of the summer's drought rather than wage increases. Deppler met in Warsaw on 3 November with Finance Minister Jerzy Osiatynski.He told reporters that much detailed work still remained but that an agreement could be reached by the end of his visit, which is to last ten days. (Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.) FINANCIAL TIMES TO COOPERATE WITH BULGARIAN BUSINESS WEEKLY. On 3-November the British Financial Times signed an agreement on exclusive publishing rights for Bulgaria with the Balgarski Biznes weekly, BTA reported. Morris Gent, Deputy Director of the Financial Times Syndicate, said the reasons for selecting Balgarski Biznes as partner were the publication's "objectivity, seriousness and pragmatism." (Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.) CHURKIN TO BALTS: DISREGARD YELTSIN'S DECREE. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vitaly Churkin has advised Estonia to disregard the order issued by President Boris Yeltsin last week to halt the withdrawal of troops from the Baltic states. Churkin, who concluded his two-day visit to Tallinn with a press conference, made three points: first, that Yeltsin's decree did not change in principle the process of troop withdrawals; second, that the decree was part of a working document meant only for internal use and not intended for wider dissemination; and third, that Russia would not link troop withdrawals to alleged "human rights abuses." When asked whether Russia had found evidence of such abuses, Churkin said he trusted the Estonian government's ability to guarantee human rights. He declined to comment when asked why recent statements from the Foreign and Defense Ministries and the President's office appeared to contradict one another. The RFE/RL Estonian Service reported Churkin's remarks. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) SMUGGLING RAMPANT AT RUSSIAN-ESTONIAN BORDER. Russian customs officials at the Narva-Ivangorod frontier seized some 3.3 million rubles worth of unlicensed goods bound for Estonia in October alone. According to BNS of 3 November, most of the seized goods were metals, food, medicines and alcohol. This year, customs officials have stopped some 414 tons of mostly non-ferrous metals at the border. Estonia is currently the world's sixth largest exporter of non-ferrous metals. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) NATO OFFICIAL IN LITHUANIA ON PREPARATION OF SEMINAR. On 2 November Erika Bruce, the director of the NATO press and information department, visited Vilnius to make preparations for a seminar on "The Baltic Region in the New Europe" to be held on 26-28 November in Vilnius and gave a lecture at the Lithuanian National Defense Ministry. On 3-November she held talks with its deputy minister Sarunas Vasiliauskas who told the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service that she had expressed interest in the recent Seimas elections and noted that the agreements with the IMF on Lithuania's economic policies could not be changed. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN ARMY COLUMN HALTED AT LATVIAN BORDER. On 2 November a Russian column of 21 trucks and a bus heading for Riga were turned back at the Latvian-Lithuanian border because they did not have the necessary documentation for entering Latvia, BNS reported on 3 November. The Russians referred to an "agreement" with the Latvian Defense Ministry, but its officials denied any knowledge of such an "agreement." (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.) BORIS YELSIN TO VISIT HUNGARY. According to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Janos Herman, Russian President Boris Yeltsin will pay an official visit in Hungary on 10 November. Yeltsin is expected to sign several important documents during his Budapest visit: a declaration that guarantees the protection of minority rights, an agreement on the exchange of documents about the 1956 revolution, an agreement on the return of art, and an intergovernmental agreement on cultural and educational cooperation. Another document that should settle the disputed issues involving the cost of Soviet troop withdrawal will also be signed. The report was carried by MTI on 3 November. (Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Anna Swidlicka
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