|Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. - Thomas Carlyle|
No. 218, 11 November 1992
SUCCESSOR STATES TO THE USSR RUSSIAN FORCES ENTER INGUSHETIA. Russian troops entered Ingushetia on 10 November to enforce the state of emergency, ITAR-TASS and other agencies reported. They took up positions on the Ingush-Chechen frontier without incident, but Major Tangiev, commander of a Russian self-defense unit in Nazran, warned on Russian TV of the possibility of partisan attacks by the Ingush against the Russian army. He said that Ingushetia could mobilize up to 20,000 fighters. On the same day, Acting Russian Prime Minister Egor Gaidar arrived in Vladikavkaz to get first-hand information on the North Ossetian-Ingush conflict, and the presidium of the Russian parliament met in closed session and adopted a resolution setting out additional measures to resolve the conflict. Sergei Shakhrai, Russia's deputy prime minister in charge of nationalities policy, plans to arrive in Vladikavkaz on 12 November. (Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.) DUDAEV THREATENS RETALIATION AGAINST RUSSIA. On 10 November Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev threatened retaliation against Russian troops if they did not withdraw from land claimed by Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported. Dudaev had earlier imposed a state of emergency and ordered the mobilization of Chechen defense forces. ITAR-TASS quoted Dudaev as giving Russian forces until the morning of 11 November to withdraw; otherwise, "the Chechen people will rise up in war." Russian troops have taken up positions on the frontiers of three raions inhabited primarily by Ingush, but part of which belonged to Chechnya before Chechnya and Ingushetia were merged in 1934. (Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.) YELTSIN ON DANGER OF PUTSCH, CAUCASUS. In an address on 10 November before the British Parliament, Russian President Boris Yeltsin warned that radical left- and right-wing political forces in Russia favored a coup, but that the Russian government would not permit "reaction" to succeed, Western agencies and ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin said that the challenge stemmed from unreformed former Communists and from militant nationalists. The Russian president stressed that his government was in control of the situation, and that it would prevent a radical victory. Concerning his market-oriented modernization program, Yeltsin said that "Despite the hysterics of the opponents of reform, Russia will not stop and will not turn back." He condemned policies that discriminated against Russian minorities in former Soviet republics, and he defended the recent deployments of Russian troops in the North Caucasus, arguing that "timidity and delay" would make the situation there worse. (Hal Kosiba, RFE/RL, Inc.) OPPOSITION FAVORS CHANGES. St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak told Interfax on 10 November that changes in the composition of the government at the forthcoming Congress are necessary. Sobchak, siding with the Civic Union, said he favors the preservation of state control over the economy as well as a more gradual transition period leading to a market economy. He praised Grigorii Yavlinsky as the country's leading economist. The leader of the faction "Smena," Andrei Golovin, did not rule out the possibility that the secretary of the security council, Yurii Skokov, might replace Egor Gaidar as prime minister at the Congress. Meanwhile, parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov called for parliamentary support for President Yeltsin and the latter's reforms, and he suggested a meeting between Yeltsin and the parliamentary presidium prior to the Congress. The leader of the Russian National Assembly, Aleksandr Sterligov, rejected a possible alliance between his right-wing opposition movement and the Civic Union on the grounds that the latter was too close to Yeltsin. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) KRAVCHUK PESSIMISTIC. During his first press conference since the recent cabinet change, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told journalists that he was not fully satisfied with the current situation in Ukraine, DR-Press reported on 11 November. The "only plus," he said, is that there is no confrontation and no bloodshed. On the economy, the Ukrainian leader said that the situation is such that a change for the better is dependent on conditions not exclusively under Kiev's control. The negotiations on the Black Sea Fleet, in spite of the agreements in Dagomys and Yalta, "remain difficult." Kravchuk informed journalists that he may talk with President-elect Bill Clinton on 11 November. (Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL, Inc.) KRAVCHUK ON STRATEGIC MISSILES. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk predicted on 10 November that Ukraine would ratify the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), but only after receiving additional security guarantees and financial assistance. Reuters quoted him as saying that Ukraine "must have some material benefit and fixed guarantees for its security." He said that his country could not afford to transfer to Russia the strategic missiles on its territory "without recompense" as it had earlier done with the former Soviet tactical nuclear weapons. In London, President Yeltsin acknowledged that Russia was having a difficult time reaching an agreement with Ukraine concerning these missiles. He urged Great Britain and "other countries" to "use their powerful influence" to help the process. (Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.) YELTSIN LOSING TOUCH WITH DEMOCRATS? An independent group of experts instructed by President Yeltsin to investigate the mood of parliamentary deputies has concluded that only about 20% still support Yeltsin and his government, Interfax reported on 10 November. The group recommended that Yeltsin resist being pushed into debates on government personnel changes and that he instead put the issue of private land ownership on top of the Congress agenda, since with respect to this issue, he will enjoy broad support. It also recommended against any rotation in the make-up of parliament, since, under present circumstances, the democratic faction would be further weakened as a result. Finally, the group criticized Yeltsin and his ministers for neglecting its supporters in parliament by not meeting with them regularly. The lack of communication between the government and democrat parties on the parliamentary level has led many democrats to join the opposition, the group concluded. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) MURASHOV REPLACED. Arkadii Murashov, a co-leader of the Democratic Russia Movement who had been put in charge of the Moscow police after the failed August 1991 putsch, has now been replaced by Vladimir Pankratov, a professional police officer, Russian news agencies reported on 10 November. The replacement was announced, unexpectedly for Murashov, at a session of the Moscow city government. Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov offered Murashov a position as head of the Moscow media and information department, but he refused. Murashov is the second democratic figure, after Galina Starovoitova, to be suddenly relieved of duty in the past few days. Pankratov formerly headed the Moscow Street Transport Inspection Administration (GAI) and was one of Murashov's deputies. Murashov's replacement had been a principal demand of hardliners. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) STANKEVICH MEETS CARTER. Presidential advisor Sergei Stankevich said during a Kremlin meeting with former US President Jimmy Carter that no changes in the reform strategy should be expected at the forthcoming Congress. Interfax on 10 November quoted Stankevich as saying that a "balance of interests" must, however, be found at the Congress, and that certain "corrections" in the economic reform program would have to be considered. He did not rule out personnel changes in the government. He also complained to Carter about "discrimination" against the Russian-speaking minority's civil rights in Latvia and Estonia. Carter also met with State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis and with leaders of the Civic Union. (Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN LIVESTOCK DOWN BY 30%. According to a representative of the U.S. Feed Grains Council, Alexander Kholopov, livestock herds in Russia are 30% lower than last year's level, the Journal of Commerce reported on 10 November. Kholopov says the marked increase in the relative price of grain had cut the profitability of maintaining herds. "When you free up grain prices and maintain low animal prices, you end up destroying the [livestock] industry," he said. The impact of a reduction in herds on the food market is not altogether certain as demand for livestock products has also dropped considerably as a result of the decline in real incomes. (Erik Whitlock, RFE/RL, Inc.) PRIVATIZATION OF HOUSING. The Moscow city government has published figures which show that over 340,000 apartments have been privatized in Moscow, and approximately 1,300,000 in the Russian Federation, Interfax reported on 10 November. If one considers that about 25 million families in Russia live in separate flats, the numbers privatized are still low, but they represent an increase of the November 1991 figure of 8,900, and show that the process of setting up a housing market in Russia is at least underway. (Sheila Marnie, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIAN DECREES ON SELF-DEFENSE MEASURES. Two presidential decrees have been signed that permit the carrying and use of certain weapons and self-defense devices, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 10 November. One of the measures allows farmers to use sporting weapons for the purpose of defending life, health, and property. The other permits citizens to acquire and to use gas sprays and similar devices. Licenses for the more powerful gas pistols must be obtained from local internal affairs agencies. The measures will remain in effect until the passage of the Russian Federation law on weapons. (Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUBLE FALLS FURTHER. On the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange on 10 November, the ruble fell to a new low. It traded at 403 to the US dollar, down from 399 on 5 November. Volume was $28 million. (Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.) DIVISION IN TAJIKISTAN TO BE FIRST TO CONVERT. General Eduard Vorobyev, deputy commander of Russian ground forces, indicated on 10 November that the 201st Motorized Rifle Division, serving in Tajikistan, would be the first unit to be manned by contract soldiers rather than conscripts. According to Interfax, Vorobyev said that the process could commence within a month. He said the servicemen would sign contracts to serve for at least two years. (Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.) EUROPE AND RUSSIA TO STUDY JOINT SPACE SHUTTLE DEVELOPMENT. The European Space Agency (ESA) on 10 November agreed to conduct a three year study of the possibility of building a space shuttle together with Russia. Thirteen countries belong to the ESA, and France, one of the largest contributors, has continued to press for a shuttle program despite the misgivings of other member nations. The agency faces budgetary difficulties and Russian participation might help to lower shuttle development costs. The new shuttle is unlikely to be based on the Soviet Buran shuttle, however, as the Buran was based on 1980s technology and its development has been halted. The agreement is also unlikely to produce an immediate boost to the Russian space industry, since no major funding will be provided until the study is completed. The ESA decision was reported by Reuters. (John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.) CHIEF OF RUSSIAN SPACE AGENCY REPORTS PROBLEMS. In an appearance before a Russian parliamentary committee, the general director of the Russian Space Agency, Yurii Koptev, warned that the space program is "on the brink of crisis." Koptev noted that highly skilled personnel were leaving the field and that research and development funding had declined. Out of a planned 25 civilian and 70 military launches this year only 14 and 27, respectively, had been carried out. According to Koptev, 123 Soviet or Russian satellites are now in operation, of which some 35% are for civilian applications. Koptev called for the Supreme Soviet to pass the legislation "On Russian Space Activities," which would provide a legal basis for developing the Russian space program. His remarks were reported by ITAR-TASS on 10 November. (John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.) NEW ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER APPOINTED. The 36-year-old historian Arman Kirakosyan has been appointed Armenian Foreign Minister to succeed Raffi Hovanisian, who resigned last month at the request of Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, ITAR-TASS reported. Kirakosyan was appointed first deputy foreign minister in December, 1991, and was subsequently designated Ambassador Plenipotentiary, in which capacity he had participated in Armenia's official negotiations with the Russian Federation. His father, Dzhon, had held the post of Armenian Foreign Minister for ten years until his death in 1986. (Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.) TAJIK GOVERNMENT RESIGNS. Tajikistan's Cabinet of Ministers and Supreme Soviet Presidium resigned on 10 November, Interfax reported, so that the Supreme Soviet session scheduled for 16 November can choose a new presidium and government. All sides in the ongoing conflict in Tajikistan have promised to abide by the decisions of the Supreme Soviet. The resignation of the Cabinet marks the demise of the coalition government formed in May, in which members of the opposition were appointed to a third of the posts. The Tajik legislature will also discuss the legality of President Rakhmon Nabiev's forced resignation in September. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.) ATTEMPT TO ORGANIZE TALKS FAILS. Interfax reported on 10 November that supporters of the anti-government Kulyab Popular Movement refused to meet with Tajikistan's Acting President Akbarsho Iskandarov and Acting Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdullodzhanov. The meeting had been arranged by Major-General Mukhriddin Ashurov, commander of the Russian division stationed in Tajikistan. The Kulyab group, which has occupied the Hissar Valley near Dushanbe since being driven out of the capital on 26 October, issued an appeal for new parliamentary elections and the banning of all political parties, especially those--the Islamic Renaissance Party, Democratic Party and Rastokhez Movement--that made up the coalition opposed to Nabiev. (Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.) CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE ARMY HEADQUARTERS ATTACKED IN KOSOVO. Tanjug reports on 11 November that three unknown assailants attacked the federal army command headquarters for Kosovo in Pristina. A military spokesman told reporters that one attacker was killed and two soldiers were wounded. A police official stated the situation remains quiet but tense after the attack. He expressed hope that the attack was not the start of a campaign against the army and police and warned that the security forces know how to deal with any violence. There has been no independent confirmation of the story, but the German media have picked it up. Ethnic Albanians make up more than 90% of Kosovo's population and in 1991 their leaders declared independence from Serbia after the province's autonomy was abolished in 1990. (Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc.) BOSNIAN UPDATE. International media on 10 November said that Bosnian government, Serb, and Croat leaders had agreed on an unconditional ceasefire to take effect at midnight local time. Most previous such agreements have either been still-born or have broken down quickly, either due to bad faith or to the inability of nominal superiors to control forces on the ground. Meanwhile, the first group of about 1,500 Croat and Muslim refugees from Sarajevo reached Split in a convoy, although there were problems in finding busses and drivers to transport Serb refugees to Belgrade. The special evacuation of mainly sick, wounded, children, and elderly is continuing. Finally, the UN Security Council voted to send observers to airports across the former Yugoslavia to help monitor the no-fly zone over Bosnia. (Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.) TYPHUS OUTBREAK AMONG BOSNIAN REFUGES. The 11 November Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Croatian authorities had registered 25 cases of typhus among newly arrived Bosnian refugees from Jajce, who had drunk water from the Pliva River. Croatia cares for up to 800,000 refugees from its own republic, Bosnia, and elsewhere; relief costs constitute the second largest item in the state budget after defense. The paper added that international relief agencies again pleaded for countries to open their borders to Bosnians released from Serbian camps. About 10,000 people are waiting to leave the camps, but only about a quarter of them have assured refuge abroad. International officials said that there had been an outcry in the West over the camps during the summer, but that offers to give refuge to the victims are grossly insufficient. (Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.) US SEEKS TO TIGHTEN SANCTIONS AGAINST SERBIA-MONTENEGRO. The 11 November New York Times reported that US officials are trying to secure support for measures to tighten existing sanctions against Serbia-Montenegro and ban transit shipments of commodities. Intelligence reports have long suggested that goods allegedly in transit to Bosnia or elsewhere "disappear" while in Serbia. The 6 November Christian Science Monitor reported that smugglers and other shadowy elements are doing a booming business in gasoline and other goods imported in violation of the sanctions. Bosnian booty is laundered in private banks giving generous interest rates, and the streets of Belgrade have been likened to those of Chicago in the 1930s thanks to gang warfare. (Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.) ALBANIANS BLAME MACEDONIANS FOR RIOTS. Albanians and Macedonians continue to trade charges and countercharges over the cause of the rioting on 6 November in Skopje, in which four people were killed. What actually triggered the riot remains unclear. Police say a routine arrest of cigarette smugglers set off the violence after rumors spread that police had badly beaten an ethnic Albanian boy. On 9 November, Interior Minister Ljubomir Frckovski told journalists that Albanians from Kosovo and Albania took part in the rioting, and claimed as proof the fact that 16 Albanians from Kosovo and 11 from Albania had been arrested, although many Albanians from Kosovo and Albania live in Macedonia. Macedonia's Albanian leaders have appealed for calm, but have also criticized the police for using "extreme and unwarranted actions." On 10 November, ATA quoted an Albanian foreign ministry statement saying that the violence demonstrated the "anti-Albanian" sentiments felt by Macedonian police and said they acted in an "anti-democratic" manner. Both Macedonian and Albanian leaders continue to fear an outbreak of violence. Macedonia's coalition government includes Albanians, who make up between 20 and 40% of the republic's population, depending on whose figures are used. (Milan Andrejevich, RFE/RL, Inc.) RUSSIA FORMS COMMISSION ON BALTICS. The Russian government on 10 November formed a new commission to deal with troop withdrawals from the Baltic states. According to BNS, citing Interfax, the commission will be led by Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko. The other members of the commission are Deputy Minister of Defense Boris Gromov, Deputy Minister of Finance Astakhov, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Materov and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vitali Churkin. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN ARMY FROM LITHUANIA. Egidijus Bickauskas, Lithuania's charge d'affaires in Moscow, noted that the Russian army has stopped sending applications for the further withdrawal of troops scheduled to depart Lithuania, indirectly indicating that the army is complying with the suspension of the withdrawal ordered by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, BNS reported on 10 November. The Lithuanian National Defense Ministry, however, reported that the army had been continuing to withdraw. In September-October the 384th heavy artillery brigade in Plunge, the 5191st ammunition base in Pabrade, the 170th medical unit in Kaunas, and the 63rd aviation equipment commandant headquarters in Raseiniai departed, as had the 96th specialized mechanic repairs battalion on 1 to 6 November. Eleven other units were also departing Lithuania on schedule. There were, however, five naval and aviation units that had not started withdrawing although they are supposed to do so by the end of the year. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.) LATVIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CONFIRMED. The Latvian Supreme Council on 10 November confirmed Georgs Andrejevs as the country's new Foreign Minister, BNS reports. Andrejevs, an ethnic Russian, told the legislature that Latvia's foreign policy would not change substantially but would continue to focus on strengthening statehood, ensuring the observance of human rights of ethnic minorities and foreign nationals living in Latvia and protecting the interests of the titular population. Andrejevs replaces Janis Jurkans, who resigned last month over a dispute with Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) FINLAND BULLISH ON THE BALTICS. In terms of humanitarian aid and financial assistance sent since 1990, Finland alone has aided the Baltic states nearly as much as have all EC member states combined. According to BNS of 10 November, citing the Finnish Embassy in Riga, EC member states have donated 110 million ECU, whereas Finland has provided 107 million ECU in aid. Of that 107 million, about 56 million has gone to Estonia, 33 million to Latvia and the remaining 18-odd million to Lithuania. Among the other Nordic countries, Sweden weighs in as the second largest donor (36 million ECU), with Denmark (some 17 million ECU) following. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) ESTONIAN ECONOMIC INDICATORS. Experts expect the Estonian economy to bottom out by the end of 1993 or early 1994. According to a study by the Estonian Academy of Sciences Economics Institute, inflation will continue rising through next March, with a threefold increase from pre-currency reform prices expected. Production will also continue to fall in 1993 to a third of the 1991 level. On 10 November BNS reported the results of the study. (Riina Kionka, RFE/RL, Inc.) LITHUANIAN-POLISH COOPERATION AT LAZDIJAI CUSTOMS POST. In compliance with agreements reached in September by their governments, starting on 9 November Lithuanian and Polish customs officials at Lazdijai have begun to work jointly, BNS reported on 10 November. Joint Lithuanian-Polish teams will process everyone leaving Lithuania at the Lithuanian customs post and those leaving Poland at the Polish customs post. The changes should speed up customs procedure especially since the number of lines working on both sides has been doubled to ten. The second customs post at Kalvarija that had opened on 29 October was closed on 9 November until 1 July 1993 to allow Poland to build a new road and necessary buildings on its side of the border. (Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.) POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER IN WASHINGTON. On an official visit to the United States, Janusz Onyszkiewicz met yesterday with Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney and the National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft. According to an RFE/RL Washington correspondent, Onyszkiewicz and Cheney signed a mapping and charting agreement, calling for an exchange of information between the two countries, and discussed Poland's participation in the US International Military Education and Training program. In 1992 Poland received $400,000 in US training program funding and that amount will increase to $600,000 in 1993. During the next six days, Onyszkiewicz is scheduled to visit military installations in Colorado and Wyoming as well as the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower in its Norfolk, Virginia home port. (Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc.) HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES 1992 SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET. MTI reported on 10 November that parliament approved, with a two-thirds majority, the increase of the 1992 government budget deficit from 78 billion to 200 billion forint. The government was authorized to issue 130 billion forint (about $1.6 billion) worth of treasury bonds. Expense reductions or direct revenue increases were not included in the budget correction. The 1993 budget discussions promised to be heated as even some government coalition members expressed reservations about the record high planned budget deficit. (Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.) BUNDESTAG PRESIDENT IN BUDAPEST. Rita Sussmuth payed a one-day official visit to Budapest, MTI said on 10 November. She was received by Prime Minister Jozsef Antall, President Arpad Goncz and Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky. She also visited a refugee camp, where some of the 80,000 refugees in Hungary are housed. She said that the German parliament will approve Hungary's association treaty with the EC after the Christmas holidays. (Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.) SHIPPING RESUMES ON THE DANUBE. CSTK reports that traffic on the Danube -- halted three weeks ago by Slovakia to divert water to the Gabcikovo dam -- resumed on 10 November on an artificial canal built to take ships around the dam. Four Slovak ships tested the canal on 9 November. A Slovak official told reporters that it would take another 10 days before 147 ships backed up since 20 October could all pass through the new artificial channel. (Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.) CONSULTATIONS ON NEW BULGARIAN CABINET. On 10 November Prime Minister and UDF chairman Filip Dimitrov presented a general plan for a new government to the UDF parliamentary group, BTA reported. UDF leaders said Dimitrov had also been in contact with the coalition's separate member organizations but that names of ministers would not be discussed until the next meeting of the caucus, slated for 15 November. The leader of the mainly Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom, Ahmed Dogan, told journalists that the UDF's decision to back another Dimitrov candidacy was "risky." Dogan said his party had not finally decided on whether to support Dimitrov, but he stressed that any cabinet had to produce a detailed action program with a strong commitment to deal with the country's social problems. Today Dimitrov is expected to get a formal request from President Zhelyu Zhelev and would then have one week to form his cabinet. (Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.) STOLOJAN EXPRESSES CONFIDENCE IN HIS SUCCESSOR. Romania's outgoing prime minister, Theodor Stolojan, said his appointed successor, Nicolae Vacaroiu, is the best man to advance reform in the country. In an interview on Radio Bucharest on 10 November, Stolojan came to the defense of Vacaroiu, after doubts had been raised concerning his suitability. He said those underestimating Vacaroiu were "very wrong" and added that his successor had made an important contribution to the country's economic reform. If Vacaroiu was incompatible with anything, Stolojan said, this was only "incompatibility with corruption." Stolojan added that although the new government will be headed by a non-partisan specialist and might include some other experts, it will clearly be a government of the Democratic National Salvation Front. (Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.) ROMANIAN TRUCK DRIVERS STAGE WARNING STRIKE. The Romanian Truck Drivers' Union staged a warning strike in Bucharest on 10 November, Radio Bucharest and Rompres reported. Some 130,000 drivers gathered in one of the capital's main squares, blocking traffic. They were protesting against the rise in fuel prices implemented since 22 October. The union's vice president said that negotiations with the government will continue on 11 November and added that if fuel prices are not brought back to the previous levels the union will stage a general strike on 16 November. Protest meetings were also held on 10 November in several other cities. (Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.) [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Hal Kosiba & Patrick Moore
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