We do not live an equal life, but one of contrast and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 53, 18 March 1993









RUSSIA

RUSSIA CALLS FOR CIS INTEGRATION. Russian President Boris Yeltsin
has issued an appeal to CIS leaders, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported
on 18 March. In the statement, read at a press conference on
17-March by Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Yeltsin stressed
Russia's "determined support for the Commonwealth" and Moscow's
appreciation of its "responsibility for ensuring close cooperation
on an equal basis with all the independent states." "Only through
joint efforts can the independent states emerge from their difficulties
and tribulations," the appeal said. Yeltsin's call reiterated
the need for support from the UN and CSCE for Russia to take
on the role of peacekeeper in the CIS: "First and foremost, we
need realistic instruments to eliminate trouble spots a nd prevent
the outbreak of fresh hotbeds of tension." The appeal introduced
the notion of "closer cooperation in the foreign policy sphere
and the coordination of the positions taken by Commonwealth member
states on very important questions of internation al affairs."
Russia also appealed for "new forms of cooperation" for CIS economies
and infrastructures. The statement's strong and explicit emphasis
on CIS integration leaves little doubt that Russian policy toward
the region has shifted radically. Suza nne Crow

YELTSIN URGED TO INTRODUCE PRESIDENTIAL RULE. A majority of the
members of the Presidential Council have urged President Boris
Yeltsin to introduce presidential rule, ITAR-TASS on 17 March
quoted presidential spokesman Vyacheslav Kostikov as saying.
He ad ded that members of the council told Yeltsin that he had
the moral and constitutional right to take "extremely tough measures"
in order to save democracy in Russia. Kostikov said that council
members think that the "coup" which began at the Seventh Congre
ss will be completed at the next Congress, the Ninth, if Yeltsin
does not take appropriate action. The Presidential Council is
an advisory body consisting mainly of liberal and centrist politicians
and academics, such as Anatolii Sobchak, Egor Gaidar, Ser gei
Kovalev, Evgenii Ambartsumov, Andronik Migranyan, Sergei Karaganov
and others. Alexander Rahr

GRUSHIN ON MEETING OF PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL. Another member of
the Presidential Council, sociologist Boris Grushin, was quoted
by the Washington Post on 18 March as saying that only two of
the council members wanted President Boris Yeltsin to introduce
pre sidential rule immediately. Others reportedly appealed to
Yeltsin to make a last attempt to convince the Congress to revoke
its latest decisions on curtailing presidential powers, and declare
presidential rule only if these proposals are rejected. Grushin
revealed that Yeltsin has agreed to address the nation on television
in the near future, presumably on Friday. He said that Yeltsin's
address to the nation may include the announcement of a popular
measure such as converting federally-held land to privat e property.
Alexander Rahr

ZORKIN CURTAILS VISIT TO US. The chairman of the Russian Constitutional
Court, Valerii Zorkin, was reported to have returned earlier
than intended to Russia from a visit to the US, Russian TV reported
on 17-March, because of the political situation in Rus sia. The
report gave no further details. Zorkin had left for the US after
the Congress of People's Deputies ended on 13 March. Zorkin had
been influential in negotiating the December compromise agreement
between the president and the legislature which was suspended
at the recent Congress. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev,
who had interrupted his visit to Helsinki to meet President Mitterrand
and attend a meeting of the Russian Security Council, left Moscow
on 17 March to rejoin the meeting of th e Council of the Baltic
Sea States. Wendy Slater

GRACHEV REAFFIRMS MILITARY NEUTRALITY. Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev on 17 March again stated that the military will
observe the constitution and remain out of politics, according
to Ostankino TV. Grachev noted that the recent decision to increas
e soldiers' salaries by 2.7 times had helped to reduce discontent
within the military. On 18 March Grachev left Moscow for a two-day
visit to Severomorsk, according to ITAR-TASS. Grachev's comments
were echoed by CIS Commander-in-Chief Marshal Shaposhniko v during
a visit to the offices of Literaturnaya gazeta on 17 March. The
statements suggest that the military is very reluctant to be
placed in a situation where it might again be called upon to
deploy forces on the streets of Moscow, even in support of a
decision by Yeltsin to dissolve parliament and impose presidential
rule. John Lepingwell

WORLD BANK POSTPONES LOAN TO RUSSIA. A World Bank official told
an RFE/RL correspondent on 17 March that the Bank has postponed
by at least one month consideration of Russia's next loan (amounting
to $500 million) because negotiations are behind schedule. The
loan is designed to provide about half of the necessary financing
for an oil and gas development project in Siberia. The remaining
financing would come from the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development and export credit agencies of G-7 countr ies.
Robert Lyle and Keith Bush

DEMOCRATS SUPPORT YELTSIN. Members of the Democratic Choice bloc
have appealed to President Boris Yeltsin to adopt a cooperation
agreement, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 March. The democrats want
closer ties with Yeltsin's presidential apparatus. The co-chairm
an of Democratic Russia, Lev Ponomarev, appealed to Yeltsin not
to dismiss reformist cabinet members. The co-leader of the Democratic
Choice bloc and a member of Yeltsin's inner circle, Sergei Yushenkov,
said that a new constitution should be adopted in a utumn of
1994, followed by presidential and parliamentary elections. Yushenkov
added that he thinks the democrats will endorse Yeltsin's candidacy
for the next presidential elections. He, however, also said that
Yeltsin would have to step down if he loses the forthcoming plebiscite.
Alexander Rahr

CIS COLLECTIVE SECURITY PACT DISCUSSED. Military and civilian
representatives from the six CIS states that signed the collective
security treaty in May 1992 met in Moscow on 17 March to discuss
the future of the treaty. The discussion reportedly centered
on the need for the CIS states to create a joint security zone
as a counterbalance to the nearby regional powers of China, Japan,
Iran, and Western Europe. So far, however, only three states,
Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Tajikistan have ratified the collectiv
e security treaty; Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan have not
yet done so. Reports of the meeting were carried by ITAR-TASS
and Ostankino TV on 17 March. John Lepingwell

MORE ON KOZYREV REMARKS IN HELSINKI. The Independent offered
more information about the content of Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev's remarks made at a closed meeting of the Council of
Baltic Sea States on 16 March in Helsinki. According to the newspaper,
Kozyrev said that since gaining independence from Moscow in 1991,
the Baltic states had increasingly turned toward "aggressive
nationalism and chauvinism." He said "a new Yugoslavia-style
situation could come about, necessitating the dispatch of enormous
numbers of troops to keep peace in the region." In response to
the council's 17 March decision to appoint a human rights commissioner
for the Baltic, Kozyrev said that Russia would try to achieve
at all international forums the creation of mechanisms to p rotect
the rights of national minorities not only in the Baltic countries
but also in other regions, ITAR-TASS reported. Suzanne Crow

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

RUMYANTSEV MEETS KARADZIC. Radovan Karadzic, the leader of the
Bosnian Serbs, held talks with Oleg Rumyantsev, chairman of the
Russian parliament's Constitutional Commission, on 16 March in
Moscow, Tanjug reported. According to AFP on 14-March, Karadzic
a nd other Bosnian Serb officials, were invited by the Russian
parliament to show its concern for the Serbian people. Tanjug
said that the talks resulted in agreement on future cooperation
with Russia. Suzanne Crow

RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY WARNS GEORGIA.
Ostankino TV on 18 March reported that the Russian Defense Ministry
had issued a statement claiming that Georgian shelling of Russian
forces located at the Eshera seismic laboratory and sanitarium
had resulted in fi ve deaths. It stated that the shelling was
part of an attempt to draw Russian forces into the conflict and
warned that in case of continued attacks Russian troops would
respond "more decisively" with all means at their disposal. John
Lepingwell

GEORGIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY PROTESTS AGAINST RUSSIAN INVOLVEMENT
IN ABKHAZIA. Abkhaz forces withdrew on 17 March to the positions
they had occupied prior to the 15 March offensive; Abkhaz military
spokesmen claimed the retreat was a voluntary action to avoi
d destruction of the town, while Georgian Defense Ministry sources
said the Abkhaz had been forced to retreat, according to ITAR-TASS.
Georgian Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani traveled to Sukhumi
to meet with Georgian commanders, AFP reported. The Georgi an
Foreign Ministry sent a protest note to the Russian Foreign Ministry
calling for an immediate end to "military action by Russian troops
on Georgian territory;" the Russian Foreign Ministry once again
denied any Russian involvement and called for the im mediate
resumption of negotiations on a peaceful solution to the conflict,
ITAR-TASS reported. Reuters quotes Georgian parliament chairman
Eduard Shevardnadze as telling journalists in Sukhumi on 17-March
that he could no longer guarantee the safety of Ru ssian troops
stationed in Georgia if they continued to support the Abkhaz.
The Georgian parliament passed a resolution on 17 March calling
for the withdrawal from Georgia of all Russian troops. Liz Fuller


MORE REFUGEES SENT HOME FROM DUSHANBE. On 17 March Tajik authorities
sent dozens of buses loaded with refugees back to their homes
in the southern part of the country after promising them assistance
to rebuild homes destroyed in the 1992 civil war, ITAR-T ASS
reported. The refugees had fled to Dushanbe to escape the fighting
when the capital was under the control of a coalition government
of democrats, Islamists, Tajik nationalists and communists; most
of the refugees were sympathizers of what is now the h eavily
persecuted opposition and presumably the present government is
eager to removed them from the capital. According to the report,
20,000-40,000 refugees are still in Dushanbe. Some refugees in
Dushanbe have told foreign visitors that many of their nu mber
have disappeared without trace; the disappearances were attributed
to roving gangs of government supporters over whom the government
authorities seem to have little control. Bess Brown

KAZAKHSTAN TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR BAIKONUR LAW ENFORCEMENT.
Russian authorities and their counterparts in Kazakhstan have
agreed that Kazakhstan's Ministry of Internal Affairs will assume
responsibility for law enforcement at the Baikonur space center, 
KazTAG reported on 17 March. In the flurry of discussions and
uncertainties over which authority was responsible for what in
connection with the former USSR space facility, thieves from
various parts of the former Soviet Union have converged on Baikonur
and helped themselves to valuable metals, even digging up communications
cables for the copper and lead they contain. One group of thieves
was caught in Uzbekistan with gold and other precious metals
extracted from technical equipment at Baikonur. The ne w law
enforcement system is intended to put a stop to such activities.
Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CERNAK RESIGNS. An RFE/RL correpondent reports on 18 March that
Slovak Economy Minister Ludovit Cernak will resign on 19 March.
The chairman of the Slovak National Party, Cernak is the only
minister in Vladimir Meciar's cabinet who is not a member of
th e ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia. The minister
would vacate his post in protest against the naming of Gen. Imrich
Andrejcak as defense minister. The SNP had warned repeatedly
that it would not tolerate Andrejcak's appointment because of
his com munist past and his allegedly profederalist views. It
has also argued that the minister of defense should be a civilian.
Speaking to reporters on 18 March, Cernak said that he is resigning
"to force the MDS to start cooperating in a constructive manner
wi th other parliamentary parties." Cernak's resignation could
create considerable problems for Meciar's government. With 74
legislators in 150-member National Council of the Slovak Republic,
the MDS is two votes short of an absolute majority. The possible
b reakup of the informal coalition between the MDS and the SNP
would turn the Slovak government into a minority government.
-Jan Obrman

KNAZKO ASKED TO RESIGN. On 17 March the Austrian Press Agency
reported that Slovak President Michal Kovac asked Foreign Minister
Milan Knazko to resign. Kovac warned that if Knazko does not
do so by 19-March, Prime Minister Meciar will offer his own resig
nation. An RFE/RL correspondent reports that Kovac said that
the conflict between Knazko and Meciar is bad for the image of
Slovakia abroad. According to Kovac, the resignation of the premier
would trigger a serious political crisis in Slovakia. Jozef Sitk
o, the head of the department for the media at the president's
office, confirmed to CTK on 18 March that Kovac has asked Knazko
to resign to avert the resignation of the premier. -Jiri Pehe


YUKHNOVSKYI RESIGNS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk issued
a decree on 17 March relieving Ihor Yukhnovskyi of his post as
first deputy prime minister "in connection with his transfer
to other work," Radio Ukraine reports. Yukhnovskyi told parliament
t hat he is resigning because bureaucratic red tape makes his
job impossible. According to a Reuters report of 17 March, conservative
deputies demanded a constitutional amendment that would have
forced ministers to choose between their ministerial portfolio
s and their parliamentary seats. Reports from Kiev suggest that
Yukhnovskyi's resignation was prompted by a conflict with Kravchuk
over high-level corruption. -Roman Solchanyk

INDZHEV MAY BE SACKED. BTA reports that Prime Minister Lyuben
Berov on 17 March said that if possible he will remove Ivo Indzhev
from his post as head of the Bulgarian Telegraphic Agency on
the 18th. Berov was commenting on newspaper reports warning that
Indzhev would be one of the victims in a series of sackings affecting
high-level state officials. In a commentary in Demokratsiya on
18 March, Panayot Denev, the editor-in-chief and Indzhev's former
deputy, writes that the Berov government is evidently try ing
to seize control over the last independent organ of the national
mass media, a reference to the ousting of TV General Director
Asen Agov in late February. Before Indzhev can be removed, however,
Berov will need the approval of President Zhelyu Zhelev. -Kjell
Engelbrekt

BOSNIAN UPDATE. Particularly fierce fighting was reported in
and around Sarajevo, with 2,000 Serb shells falling on the capital,
according to Bosnian military authorities as quoted in international
media on17 and 18 March. Intense combat took place in the v icinity
of the airport and nearby suburbs. US planes made their 18th
drop of food to eastern Bosnia, and spokesmen claimed that deliveries
were "right on target," but UN officials told Western news agencies
that Muslims were killing each other to take poss ession of the
food parcels on the ground. Finally, the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje
announced that on 19 March it will launch a weekly European edition
printed in Slovenia. The daily, whose offices are near the Sarajevo
airport, has managed to appear fairly regularly throughout the
conflict despite hair-raising conditions surrounding all aspects
of its production and distribution. Its staff consists of Muslims,
Serbs, and Croats, and the weekly will include a section to help
displaced persons find each other. Another weekly, BiH Ekskluziv,
began appearing internationally in late 1992 to promote the Bosnian
cause and to help refugees locate each other. -Patrick Moore


SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS SERB BOMBING FLIGHTS. International
media on 18 March reported that the UN Security Council voted
the previous night to censure Serb violations of the no-fly zone
over Bosnia and to demand that the authorities in Serbia-Montenegro
prevent any repetition of the 11 March bombing run. The leading
UN body did not, however, authorize any measures to enforce the
ban. Elsewhere at the UN, negotiators continued to try to bring
the Bosnian Serbs around to accepting the Vance-Owen plan, whi
ch has meanwhile been endorsed by the Montenegrin authorities.
-Patrick Moore

ROMANIA ASKS UN SUPPORT ON YUGOSLAV DANUBE SHIPPING. Radio Bucharest
reported on 17 March that Romania has asked the UN Security Council
to allow the passage of vessels belonging to rump Yugoslavia
through the Iron Gates Two dam on the Danube under intern ational
supervision. The radio said that the appeal follows a letter
addressed by Belgrade to the UN sanctions committee, in which
it is explained that the traffic involves the movement of ships
from one Serbian port to another. It was also stated that Rom
ania will continue to abide by the decision of the sanctions
committee -Michael Shafir

WHAT IS THE SERBIAN COMMANDER DOING IN IRAQ? BORBA OF 18 MARCH
SAYS THAT RUMP YUGOSLAV CHIEF-OF-STAFF GEN, ZIVOTA PANIC IS REPORTEDLY
VISITING BAGHDAD. The Serbian daily adds that Western news agencies
picked up the story in the Iraqi capital, but no news is forthcoming
from official Belgrade sources. His conversation partners supposedly
include the Iraqi defense minister, and speculation for the reason
for the trip centers on possible construction or tank-building
projects, as well as on purely political motives. -Patrick Moore


MILOSEVIC IN SANDZAK. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
17 March visit to the Sandzak region dominated the headlines
in the Belgrade media that day. Milosevic met with Serb and Muslim
leaders in Prijepolje and promised swift action to stop rampaging
Bosnian Serb and Muslim paramilitary groups from pillaging and
terrorizing local residents. Ethnic tensions in the region remain
high. Milosevic pledged that Serbian security forces will continue
to search for nearly two dozen passengers, mostly Muslims, who
were forcibly taken from a train in late February by Bosnian
Serb militiamen near Prijepolje. -Milan Andrejevich

KOSOVO UPDATE. Ibrahim Rugova, president of the self-declared
Republic of Kosovo commented on his recent visits to the US,
France, and Italy, where he presented a 10-point plan for resolving
the Kosovo conflict. Rugova said that the tour helped give "new
d imensions" to the Kosovo issue at "a higher international level."
He welcomed recent Albanian diplomatic efforts to advance the
Kosovo Albanian cause. The Serbian Radical Party has called for
Rugova's arrest, allegedly for "spreading false information"
on the situation in Kosovo. Pristina's Albanian-language newspaper
Bujku recently reported that 120,000 Kosovo Albanians have been
fired since 1991 on political and ethnic grounds and said that
Serbian police detained historian and human rights activist Zeke
ria Cana for two hours. Finally, the Kosovo Serb legislator and
militia leader Zeljko Raznjatovic, a.k.a. Arkan, promised local
Serbs that he will seek to relocate an ammunition factory from
a predominantly Albanian-populated area for security and economi
c reasons. Radios Serbia and Croatia carried the reports on 17
March. -Milan Andrejevich

CZECHS DENY PRIVATIZATION SHARES TO SLOVAKS. The Czech government
decided on 17 March not to issue shares in Czech companies to
Slovak citizens who acquired them in the first round of voucher
privatization before the breakup of Czechoslovakia, Czech TV
rep orts. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus explained after a session
of the government that no Czech shares will be transferred to
Slovaks until all outstanding property issues between the two
republics are settled. The tensions between the two governments
involve the division of a gas pipeline leading from the territory
of the former Soviet Union to both republics and a number of
other issues. The decision to punish private Slovak citizens
for their government's actions was sharply criticized by several
officials. CTK reported on 18 March that Slovak Premier Vladimir
Meciar told his parliament that the Czech government's action
constitutes a violation of international law as well as an agreement
between the two states on the mutual protection of investments.
He wa rned that the step could "trigger a trade war between the
Czechs and Slovaks." A number parties in the Czech republic as
well, including the Civic Democratic Alliance which belongs to
Klaus's coalition, indicated their unease with the decision.
-Jan Obrm an

CSURKA SEEKING POLITICAL POWER, SAYS ANTALL. In an interview
in Pesti hirlap of 17 March Prime Minister Jozsef Antall stated
that Istvan Csurka, Hungarian Democratic Forum presidium member
and the leader of the HDF's radical group, seeks "to seize politic
al power-.-.-. through a takeover and reorganization of the HDF."
Csurka intends to use the HDF's local organizations and infrastructure
to insinuate his movement, the Magyar Ut ("Hungarian Path") into
the party as a "cuckoo's egg" or "mistletoe in a tree ," Antall
said. [The HDF presidium has recently ruled that Magyar Ut circles
cannot be built upon HDF basic organizations]. Antall warned
that Csurka is preparing to execute his political program and
stressed that the political infighting in the HDF is not a "battle
between personalities or positions but [focuses] on the basic
question of political power." The interview was originally intended
for Magyar forum, the weekly that Csurka edits, but he allegedly
refused to publish it. -Edith Oltay

CONSENSUS ON HUNGARY'S NATIONAL DEFENSE PRINCIPLES. On 17 March
the parliamentary defense committee approved the basic principles
of Hungary's national defense, on which the six parliamentary
parties reached a consensus on 9 March, MTI reports. The draft
document, which is line with Hungary's national security concept
approved by parliament earlier this month, will be put before
the house next week. State Secretary for Defense Rudolf Goo also
announced staff reductions in both the Defense Ministry and the
Army Command and said the functions of the two bodies will be
redefined to eliminate duplication. The army's participation
in international monitoring and peacekeeping activities is to
be expanded, and a center to train the first Hungarian peacekeeping
com pany will be set up, Joo said. -Alfred Reisch

NEW LINKS BETWEEN POLAND AND GERMANY? ABOUT 20 COMMUNES IN THE
GORZOW VOIVODSHIP, WHICH BORDERS THE GERMAN STATE OF BRANDENBURG,
HAVE UNITED TO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLOSE ECONOMIC, CULTURAL,
AND ADMINISTRATIVE CONTACTS WITH THE GERMAN COMMUNITIES AC ROSS
THE BORDER. Reporting this development, PAP said on 18 March
that if and when approved by the Polish government, these contacts
would pave the way toward the establishment of a so-called "Euro-region"
in the area, facilitating economic development an d tourist exchanges.
Efforts to create similar Euro-regions have recently been mounted
by Polish communities bordering other German states and with
the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Ukraine. -Jan de Weydenthal


UDF CAUCUS ELECTS CHAIRMAN. The parliamentary group of the Union
of Democratic Forces on 17 March finally elected a new leader,
BTA reports. As replacement for Aleksandar Yordanov, who was
appointed Chairman of the National Assembly on 5 November, the
cauc us chose Stefan Savov, head of the UDF's influential Democratic
Party. Ironically, the two have thereby completed a full castling,
for Savov is Yordanov's predecessor as parliamentary chairman.
-Kjell Engelbrekt

ANNEXATION OF TRANSDNIESTRIA URGED ON RUSSIAN TV. Russian Television
on 16 March aired a lengthy discussion in which Igor Smirnov,
president of the self-proclaimed "Dniester republic" in eastern
Moldova, other local Russian leaders, Lt.-Gen. Aleksandr Leb
ed, commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, and the Russian
TV host urged that that part of Moldova be attached to the Russian
Federation. The participants described the area as "Russian soil"
but also claimed that the local Moldovans desire incorpora tion
in the Russian Federation. Two Russian Supreme Soviet deputies
interviewed on the program predicted "new Dniesters" in the Crimea,
Latvia, and Estonia. The participants urged the reconstitution
of a "unitary state" in the former USSR. The participant s in
the program described the area as "Russia's key to the Balkans"
and as a strategic crossroads affecting Ukraine, Romania, and
the Black Sea. "If Russia leaves this area it will lose its influence
on the whole region," Lebed added. The participants als o cited
"human rights" and "peacekeeping" as arguments for a permanent
Russian military presence on the Dniester. The population of
the area under discussion is 40% Moldovan and 25.5% Russian,
and the territory lies almost 1,000 km from Russia. -Vladimir
Socor

HUMANITARIAN AID TO UKRAINE MISAPPROPRIATED. A Ukrainian government
official said that large amounts of humanitarian aid from abroad
has been sent to bogus charities, The Daily Telegraph reported
on 17-March. Of 11,500 tons of aid registered by customs dur
ing 1992, only one third ended up with the Red Cross and state
authorities. It is intended to introduce a computerized data
bank linking customs with central and local government to track
the distribution of future aid, to pass legislation aimed at
monito ring charities, and to "militarize" the customs service.
-Keith Bush

ZLENKO TO WASHINGTON. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko
is scheduled to make an official visit to the United States on
23-26 March, Radio Ukraine reports on 17 March. Zlenko will have
talks in the White House and meet with officials from the State
Department and the Department of Defense. He will also be in
New York for talks at the United Nations. -Roman Solchanyk

BRAZAUSKAS IN DENMARK, ICELAND. On 17-March Lithuanian President
Algirdas Brazauskas flew to Copenhagen where he held talks with
Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and the head of the Danish
National Bank, and visited the Lithuanian embassy, Radio Lithuan
ia reports. He then flew to Reykjavik for talks with Iceland's
President Vigdis Finnbogadottir and Foreign Minister Jon Baldvin
Hanibalsson. This is Brazauskas's first foreign visit as president.
-Saulius Girnius

MIXED REACTIONS FROM BALTS TO BALTIC REGIONAL MEETING. Estonian
Foreign Minister Trivimi Velliste told Estonian Radio on 17 March
that he is generally pleased with the meeting of the Council
of Baltic Sea States that concluded earlier that day in Helsinki
. Velliste questioned the necessity of establishing-at the insistence
of the Russian delegation-the post of commissioner for ethnic
minorities and human rights since, he said, there is no such
crisis in Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania. Reservations were als
o expressed by the Lithuanian and Latvian Foreign Ministers,
who wondered if this post duplicates the functions of the CSCE
commissioner for ethnic minorities. In its concluding communique,
the council urged support for democratic and educational institut
ions and acknowledged efforts to assist the withdrawal of Russian
troops from the Baltic States. The next meeting of the council
will be in Estonia in March 1994, Baltic media report. -Dzintra
Bungs

LATVIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS RESUME. Baltic media report that the latest
round of talks on issues related to Russia's withdrawal of its
troops from Latvia resumed on 17 March in Moscow. They were preceded
by meetings of experts on 15-16 March. Though some report s from
Moscow suggest that Russia may agree to pull out all of its troops
from Latvia by the end of this year, other reports seem to indicate
that such progress is not yet in sight. -Dzintra Bungs

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Wendy Slater and Charles Trumbull













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