|The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle 1975-1881|
No. 214, 05 November 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR SHAPOSHNIKOV ON BALTIC PULLOUT, WESTERN INVOLVEMENT. CIS Commander-in-Chief Evgenii Shaposhnikov told reporters on 4 November that the military withdrawal from the Baltic States should not be pushed because it could have explosive consequences for both Russia and the Baltic States. Shaposhnikov also criticized appeals by the Baltic governments to NATO and the CSCE on the issue, as well as the holding of referenda on it. He claimed that the "Bacilli of nationalism" had not yet infected the army. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN COMMENTATOR HITS WEST ON BALTIC WITHDRAWAL. Aleksandr Golts, a long-time political commentator for the Russian Defense Ministry newspaper Krasnaya zvezda, criticized Western governments on 4 November for reacting negatively to President Yeltsin's recent suspension of the troop withdrawal from the Baltic States. Golts wrote that a rapid movement to Russia of "a flood of Russians who have failed to obtain political, economic, and social rights in the Baltic area" would strengthen Yeltsin's extreme right-wing opposition. He also charged that Western pressure had served to raise tensions in the Baltic region and thus precluded reasoned discussion of the withdrawal, and that the withdrawal itself was wreaking havoc on Russian defense reforms. Golts also linked the withdrawal to the issue of safeguarding the rights of the Russian minority in the Baltic. (Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.) YELTSIN CONGRATULATES CLINTON. On 4 November, President Yeltsin cabled his congratulations to President-elect Bill Clinton for winning the US presidential election, Reuters and Radio Rossii reported. According to presidential press secretary Vyacheslav Kostikov, Yeltsin expressed the hope that the partnership established between Russia and the United States under the Bush administration will continue. (Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.) POPOV FAVORS EMERGENCY RULE. At a press conference on 4 November the leader of the Russian Movement for Democratic Reform, Gavriil Popov, called for the introduction of "temporary" presidential rule in the country from December 1992 until summer 1995. In a published statement, obtained by an RFE/RL correspondent, Popov proposed that the president obtain supreme power, the parliament become a consultative body, and that a government of "constructive forces" be set up. He recommended the formation of several other consultative bodies, consisting of representatives of all the major political forces. He suggested that an election be held to select representatives for a constitutional assembly, which would work out a new constitution that could be adopted in 1995. He noted that if parliament rejects such a way out of the crisis, the president should nevertheless implement this plan with the support of a referendum. Asked about possible reactions from the West, Popov said that the West has no morale right to interfere because it has done little to assist Russia. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) KHASBULATOV WARNS OF TALK ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL RULE. Parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov said in parliament on 4 November that calls by certain senior ministers for the introduction of emergency rule in the country are "unconstitutional" and should be investigated by the Procurator General, participants of the session told an RFE/RL correspondent. Khasbulatov stated that if calls for presidential rule are halted, the Congress would be conducted without any "excesses." In other statements, the speaker denied that he had full knowledge of the activities of the now dissolved presidential guard, adding that it was not he but President Yeltsin, who in the capacity of chairman of the Supreme Soviet, had set it up two years ago. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) POLITICAL LIFE EXPECTANCY OF GAIDAR AND HIS ADMINISTRATION. Adding to growing speculation that Russian acting Prime Minister Egor Gaidar may be asked to retire, presidential Adviser Galina Starovoitova said that the president is looking around for a suitable candidate for the post, Reuters reported on 4 November. She said that the Civic Union had proposed the appointment of Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi as prime minister, with Gaidar accepting a lesser cabinet position. Meanwhile, an opinion poll conducted by the Russian Center for Public Opinion and Market Research found that 38% of those asked in October thought that the Gaidar government should resign, up from 28% in August, Interfax reported on 3 November. (Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.) CEASE FIRE AGREED IN NORTH OSSETIA BUT SHOOTING CONTINUES. At talks on November 4 in North Ossetia between Russian deputy premier Georgii Khizha, head of the temporary administration in North Ossetia and Ingushetia, and Isa Kastoev, President Yeltsin's representative in the Ingush republic, it was agreed that a cease-fire should go into effect from 2000 hours on 4 November, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 November. Under its terms Russian MVD troops were instructed to occupy a whole series of settlements in North Ossetia, illegal military formations were to be disarmed, there was to be free passage for refugees, and all prisoners and hostages were to be exchanged. ITAR-TASS reported, however, that shooting continued all night. Interfax reported on 4 November that dozens of people had been killed on the Ossetian side. No figure was given for Ingush losses. (Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.) NORTH OSSETIAN AND INGUSH STATEMENTS. Speaking after a meeting in Moscow with President Yeltsin, North Ossetian Supreme Soviet chairman Akhsarbek Galazov said that Ingush militants must be cleared out of North Ossetia, and there could be no question of acceding to Ingush demands for the return of Prigorodnyi raion to the Ingush. An Ingush spokesman, Ibrahim Kostoev, maintained that the actions of the Ingush were an attempt to force Russia to recognize the rights of the Ingush people, Interfax reported on 4 November. Yeltsin's spokeswoman on ethnic affairs, Galina Starovoitova, speaking to Interfax on 4-November, blamed the crisis on the failure to demarcate borders and designate a capital for the Ingush republic whose creation was decreed in June. She also called on the Russian authorities and media to take a less pro-Ossetian stance. (Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.) GERASHCHENKO CONFIRMED AS CENTRAL BANK HEAD. The Russian parliament formally approved Viktor Gerashchenko's appointment to the chairmanship of the Russian Central Bank on 4 November, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Gerashchenko used the occasion to criticize what he sees as the contradiction in government policy of insisting on a strict monetary policy while doing nothing to reduce the state budget deficit. He added that the government was pinning too much hope on the Russian economy being able to get through the current crisis on its own. He suggested that the Central Bank should take on a more active role in economic development by offering various incentives to commercial banks and enterprises to invest. (Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.) PROGRESS OF RUSSIAN PRIVATIZATION. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais told a news conference on 4 November that the privatization program was on schedule, Reuters and Interfax reported. Only 12-13% of the privatization vouchers had so far been distributed, but the process was expected to speed up later this month when large-scale auctions of privatized enterprises will be held. Among the enterprises to be auctioned are the Vladimir tractor factory and some of the larger hotels and hard-currency stores. (Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.) REGIONAL LEGISLATORS CRITICIZE CENTER. A major conference of leaders of local legislators from the Volga region took place in Samara on 27-28 October, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 3 November. The conference participants appealed to President Yeltsin and to the parliament to ensure that the central government authorities stop violating the Federative Treaty and halt their continuing direct interference in local economic affairs. They also criticized the fact that up to 70% of the tax revenues collected in the regions are being taken away by the center. They urged Yeltsin to create by December appropriate mechanisms for cooperation between the center and the regions, thus fulfilling the requirement of the Federative Treaty, and they also requested that fewer local tax revenues be transferred to the center. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS' STRIKE. The Russian Federation of Air Traffic Controllers has confirmed its intention of striking effective midnight 29 November, Interfax reported on 3 November. The strike will cover the entire territory of the Russian Federation. Exceptions will be made only for emergency, rescue, and ambulance flights. Prospective travelers are asked to refrain from booking flights as of 30 November. (Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN AIRPORTS TO BE PRIVATIZED. The Russian Ministry of Transport has announced that seventy of the 120 airports owned by Aeroflot on the territory of the former Soviet Union are to be privatized by the end of the year, according to a Reuters report on 2-November. An Aeroflot representative described a proposal whereby the airports would be 30% owned by state authorities, 30% by local authorities, and 40% by employees and other investors. Two foreign consortia have submitted proposals for the development of four of Moscow's airports, including Sheremetevo. (Sheila Marnie, RFE/RL, Inc.) DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT SUPPORTS STUDENT PROTESTS. The Political Council of the Russian Movement for Democratic Reforms published a statement on 2 November expressing full solidarity with the National Union of Youth Organizations' protest against President Yeltsin's planned decree on drafting students for military service. In recent years, during periods of liberalization in the USSR and Russia, full time students were allowed to postpone military service until they finished their studies. In an effort to please his generals, Yeltsin now plans to abolish such student privileges. The Movement argued that such a step would not lower military costs. It also said that if the decree comes into force, the Movement will join student protest actions in Moscow. The chairman of the Movement, Gavriil Popov, has called a press conference for 4 November. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES START TREATY. The Russian Supreme Soviet voted overwhelmingly on 4 November to ratify the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks treaty (START) with the US, but only after heated debate. Hard-line deputies called for a delay in ratification, some arguing variously that technical problems in the treaty remained unresolved, that the treaty favored the US, and that Russia should not rush to present ratification as a gift to the American president-elect. According to Radio Rossii, a Russian Foreign Ministry representative cautioned that the treaty was likely to run into problems in Ukraine where, he claimed, there was sentiment to retain nuclear weapons. Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan have yet to ratify the START treaty. (Stephen Foye & Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.) NO AGREEMENT ON CIS STRATEGIC FORCES. CIS military officials preparing for the 5-November sitting of the Council of Defense Ministers failed to agree on a document establishing the composition of the CIS strategic forces. CIS commander-in-chief Marshal Yevgenii Shaposhnikov repeated to journalists his view that the strategic forces should be Russian. According to Interfax on 4 November, he said that the positions of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan on these forces were close, but that the Ukrainian position had "several peculiarities." Lt. General Valerii Manilov, Shaposhnikov's press secretary, reported that the signing of the strategic forces agreement had been postponed until the next Council meeting. He said that the draft text narrowed the definition of strategic forces to "strategic nuclear forces and military formations providing their functioning." Manilov claimed that this formula satisfied all the participants, including Ukraine. (Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIA TO KEEP LISTENING POST IN CUBA. Russia and Cuba signed an agreement in Moscow on 3 November allowing Russia to continue operating an ex-Soviet electronic intelligence-collecting facility in Cuba. The joint communique, quoted by Reuters, said that the two sides "confirmed their reciprocal interest in the existence of the Russian radio-electronic center on Cuban territory." It referred to the listening post at Lourdes, near Havana, that was the largest such facility outside the USSR. Over 2,000 intelligence specialists are believed to man the site, designed to monitor US communications. Interfax reported that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin, who headed the Russian delegation, revealed that Russia would not supply Cuba with any new arms in return, but would supply spare parts and components for arms already purchased by Cuba. (Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.) ABKHAZ CASUALTIES HIGH AS GEORGIANS HOLD SUKHUMI. ITAR-TASS reported on 4-November that Georgian forces were still in control of Sukhumi and the surrounding area, after Abkhaz and North Caucasian units suffered heavy casualties and serious material losses during an attack on Georgian positions. There was no confirmation of this by the Abkhaz side. Meanwhile, Colonel Bakhtang Kobalia, a member of the Georgian military forces loyal to ousted former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, denounced as "disinformation" statements by Georgian officials in Tbilisi that there would be cooperation between his military units and those of the Georgian government in Abkhazia, ITAR-TASS reported on the same day. (Hal Kosiba, RFE/RL, Inc.) ALMA-ATA MEETING ON TAJIKISTAN. The leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan met in Alma-Ata on 4 November to discuss how to end the fighting in Tajikistan. Western and domestic news agencies reported that the participants issued a five-point statement, calling for the Russian motorized division stationed in Tajikistan to continue its peacekeeping role until a CIS peacekeeping force can be formed and for the creation of a governing council in Tajikistan that would include representatives of all factions and parties. A delegation of deputy foreign ministers is to control distribution of humanitarian aid in Tajikistan. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev attended the meeting as an observer. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN AND CROATIAN REACTIONS TO CLINTON ELECTION. Reuters reported on 5-November that all the major parties to the Bosnian conflict welcomed the victory of President-elect Bill Clinton. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic said on 4 November: "Let me remind you that President Clinton was somehow determined when it came to military intervention," and his vice-president added: "I hope Mr. Clinton will stop this aggression and ethnic cleansing." Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic congratulated Clinton, and added that he hoped the new president would support "a solution that takes account of the interest of all those who live here." The Croatian media reacted favorably to the Democratic victory, stressing that Clinton was the candidate of youth and change. President George Bush and his closest foreign policy advisors James Baker and Lawrence Eagleburger have long been regarded in Croatia as being pro-Belgrade and Croatia now clearly hopes for a more sympathetic hearing in Washington. (Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.) SERBIAN REACTION TO CLINTON VICTORY. Milan Panic, Prime Minister of the rump Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro) stated on 4 November that the election of Bill Clinton as U.S. President would have a positive impact on attempts to speed the resolution of the crisis in former Yugoslavia. Panic, a naturalized US citizen and, like Clinton, a Democratic Party member, added he was confident Clinton would assist in bringing "real democratic reform" to Serbia-Montenegro and restoring peace in the region as soon as possible so that international sanctions might be lifted. Foreign Minister Ilija Dukic remarked that Clinton's victory would not alter US policy on Serbia-Montenegro. Mihailo Markovic, Vice President of Serbia's ruling Socialist Party stated that he expected Clinton's administration to adopt a fresh approach and stop blaming Serbia for the crisis in the region, Radio Serbia reported. (Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc.) POLISH REACTIONS TO CLINTON VICTORY. Poland's political leaders have welcomed Bill Clinton's election with hopes for continuing U. S. interest in East European and Polish affairs. President Lech Walesa said in his congratulatory message to Clinton that American involvement in the economic development of East Europe was essential to the success of those changes, while Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka said she expected that Polish-US relations would further "expand" during Clinton's presidency and that the two countries would "strengthen their cooperation in [developing] European security." Other leading politicians were cited in a PAP report of 4 November as saying that any "lessening of American interest would be bad for Poland" and expressed hope that Clinton's victory would not affect Polish-US relations, which "have recently been very good." Commenting on Clinton's election and the forthcoming change in U. S. policies, Sejm Speaker Wieslaw Chrzanowski emphasized that to ensure Clinton's continuing attention to Eastern Europe and Poland "would require a great effort on our part." (Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc.) OTHER EAST EUROPEAN REACTIONS. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus sent a telegram expressing his conviction that the traditionally close ties between the US and the Czech Republic would continue under the new administration, adding that they constituted the cornerstone of Czech foreign policy. Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar called Clinton's victory a logical reaction to world developments and said that the change of administration would have little impact on the region. Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall said that outgoing President George Bush had played an important role for the countries of Eastern Europe, enabling the development of close ties between Hungary and the US. Congratulating Clinton, Antall assured him that Hungary would remain a partner for the US in settling conflicts and in creating democracy. Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev told Trud daily he welcomed Clinton's election as a sign that "a new generation would enter American politics." At the same time, Zhelev said he had always been sympathetic to George Bush, who had developed a fine relationship with Bulgaria. Romanian President Ion Iliescu expressed the hope that Romania and the US would cooperate closely during the forthcoming "period of change." (RFE/RL ARD Staff.) BALTIC LEADERS CONGRATULATE CLINTON ON ELECTION. On 3 November Lithuanian Supreme Council Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis sent a telegram to Bill Clinton congratulating him on his victory in the US presidential elections, Radio Lithuania reported. Landsbergis wrote: "I believe that the constant US help for Lithuanian independence will remain firm and gain new dynamics during your administration." Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar called on president-elect Bill Clinton to use his authority to achieve an early and complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltics. In a congratulatory telegram sent on 4 November, Laar said he hoped Clinton would support democratic forces in Russia, including Russian President Yeltsin and invited Clinton to visit Tallinn, BNS reported. Latvian Supreme Council Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs congratulated Clinton and expressed the hope that Latvian-US relations "will continue to develop into a still deeper friendship and partnership between our countries and peoples based on our joint commitment to democracy and individual liberty." (Saulius Girnius and Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) SERBS REPORTED INCREASING PRESSURE ON BOSNIAN TOWNS. International media, primarily quoting Bosnian and Croatian radios, said on 4 November that Serbian forces had shelled and otherwise tightened their grip on several Muslim- and Croat-held towns across Bosnia, including Gradacac, Maglaj, Brcko, Bihac, Tuzla, Olovo, and Gorazde. Bosnian radio also reportedly said that the Serbs were using helicopters in violation of the UN flight ban in some areas, but there has been no independent confirmation of the story. On 5 November, the Los Angeles Times reported that local Serbian officials in Banja Luka were insisting that Canadian UN peace-keepers pay a $250,000 "security deposit" before being allowed to pass through the area. The paper said that UN officials considered this a demand for a bribe, which they refused to pay. (Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.) MONTENEGRO WARNS OF CONFLICT IN THE SANDZAK. On 4 November the pro-Montenegrin government daily Pobjeda reiterated a warning by Montenegrin officials of a possible extension of fighting from Bosnia-Herzegovina into the predominantly Muslim region of the Sandzak which lies in both Serbia and Montenegro. The daily also reiterated Serb-Montenegrin claims that about 3,000 Sandzak Muslims were fighting in Bosnia. Reports in the Serbian and Croatian media have said that both Sandzak Serbs and Muslims were well-armed. In August Sandzak Muslim leader Sulejman Ugljanin called for the deployment of UN peace-keeping forces. During the course of the year Belgrade has deployed many police and army troops to the region, numbering more than 30,000 men, according to Muslim accounts. Ugljanin said that 70,000 Sandzak Muslims had left their homes under pressure from Serbian paramilitary groups which had also threatened local Serbs and Montenegrins sympathetic to their Muslim neighbors. Radio Serbia reported on 4 November that several Sandzak Serb organizations had accused Ugljanin of "openly declaring war" on Serbia and demanded his arrest. (Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc.) NEW ROMANIAN PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED. On 4 November Romania's President Ion Iliescu named Nicolae Vacaroiu, a 49-year-old economic expert, as prime minister. Vacaroiu's designation came as a surprise, since he was not among the personalities earlier tipped for this position. In announcing the appointment, Iliescu praised Vacaroiu as a man of "high professional integrity, honesty and correctness," favoring dialogue and reform. Radio Bucharest quoted Vacaroiu as saying that he had been among those involved in working out the blueprint for the transition to a market economy. He also pledged to continue reforms and the democratic process in Romania. During Nicolae Ceausescu's era, Vacaroiu was a director in the State Planning Committee which oversaw the communist command economy. He currently heads a tax department in the Economy Ministry. (Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.) MIXED REACTION TO PRIME MINISTER DESIGNATE. Rompres carried on 4 November comments from party leaders on Vacaroiu's appointment as prime minister. One of the leading figures of the opposition, Corneliu Coposu, President of the National Peasant Party--Christian Democratic, said that he had never seen Vacaroiu and expressed dismay over Iliescu's decision to appoint a non-political figure to head the next cabinet. Similar views were expressed by the leaders of the Liberal Party-Young Wing and the Party of Romanian National Unity. On the other hand, Petre Roman, former prime minister and leader of the National Salvation Front, said he was pleased with Vacaroiu's statement on reform "in principle." (Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.) NEW MECIAR STATEMENTS ON HUNGARY, PRESS. At a meeting with Bratislava residents on 4 November, Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar declared that Slovakia's recently won sovereignty would "not be abandoned to Hungary" and his government would prevent "Hungarians from harming Slovaks," CSTK reported. Meciar also said that he would not allow "journalistic scribblers to besmirch" him. The Prime Minister indicated that the freedom of the press had its limits and that the Slovak state would occasionally have to intervene in the media's work. (Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.) FORMER BULGARIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL SAYS DOGAN EX-AGENT. In the 4-November issue of Otechestven vestnik a former Bulgarian intelligence official claimed that Ahmed Dogan, chairman of the mainly Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, was a secret service agent for more than fifteen years. According to the allegations, which were raised by former Deputy Director of the National Intelligence Service Radoslav Raykov, Dogan was first recruited by State Security officials in 1974 and has since then remained under their influence. In an interview with RFE/RL, Dogan denied the accusations, saying his three-and-a-half-year prison term in the late 1980s should be enough evidence of his innocence. He also declared he would file a lawsuit against Raykov. (Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.) GABCIKOVO DISCUSSED AT U.N. Hungarian and Czechoslovakian ambassadors to the United Nations traded charges and accusations on the controversial Gabcikovo dam project on 4 November, according to news reports. At a General Assembly debate on environmental issues, Hungarian representative Andre Erdos said the unilateral diversion of the Danube to Slovakia contradicted the spirit of the CSCE process and the U.N. Charter; that the action threatened drinking water reserves; and infringed upon Hungarian sovereignty. Czechoslovak Ambassador Eduard Kukan replied that the diversion was "provisional and reversible." He denied that the navigational channel at Gabcikovo had resulted in any border change. (Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.) CZECHOSLOVAK WEAPONS TO SUDAN? The Czechoslovak army is apparently trying to sell some of its surplus hardware to Sudan. CSTK reported on 4 November that a Czechoslovak air force transporter delivered an armored personnel carrier to Sudan. According to the agreement on conventional disarmament in Europe, Czechoslovakia may sell some surplus equipment, including 500 main battle tanks; 710 personnel carriers; 778-pieces of heavy artillery; and 88 military aircraft. It is still unclear who gave the order to begin negotiations with the Sudanese military on a possible arms deal, but the federal interior ministry declared that it gave no permission to do so. But the federal Minister of Defense, Imrich Andrejcak claimed that such a permit had been issued. Sudan is considered a "risk area" by the Czechoslovak government and all arms deliveries to the country require a special permit. Observers believe that the Czechoslovak arms deliveries to Sudan might be financed by Iran. (Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.) ERBD LOAN TO LITHUANIA TO RECONSTRUCT ENERGZ. On 3 and 4 November European Reconstruction and Development Bank representatives Mark Tomlinson and Ellen Dyvik held talks in Vilnius with the Ministry of International Economic Relations about an ERDB loan for immediate investment in Lithuania's energy industry, BNS reported. The 7 year loan not exceeding $30 million must be spent in about 17 months to purchase equipment to refit and reconstruct energy enterprises. The agreement on the loan should be signed in London on 12-13 November. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.) ASSURANCES ON RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM BALTIC STATES. On 4-November US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters that Acting US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger had received assurances from the Russian ambassador to Washington Vladimir Lukin that Russian troops would be withdrawn from Lithuania according to the agreed timetable, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. Boucher reiterated that the Russian troops should be withdrawn from Estonia and Latvia as soon as possible without any linkage with resettlement problems or the treatment of minorities. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIA RULES ON BORDERS. The Russian Supreme Soviet overrode government objections on 4 November and unilaterally declared the current administrative borders with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as the official state border. Interfax said deputies rejected the suggestion that the border should be the subject of a negotiated interstate treaty, a position the Baltic states hold as well. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Anna Swidlicka
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