Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid. - Dostoevsky
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 94, 18 May 1993







RUSSIA



REPUBLICS REJECT PRESIDENTIAL DRAFT OF CONSTITUTION. A document
published by Nezavisimaya gazeta on 15 May states that the heads
of the republics of the Russian Federation consider Yeltsin's
draft constitution unacceptable because, although it incorporates
the federal treaty, the first part negates the content of the
treaty. The draft does not recognize that the republics are sovereign
states and that their membership of the Russian Federation is
voluntary. It also contains no reference to the right to self-determination.
The heads of the republics say that to talk of the immediate
adoption of a new constitution is "more than premature;" measures
to implement the federal treaty must be adopted first. They also
say that any anticonstitutional way of adopting the constitution
is unacceptable for the republics. The newspaper comments that
the heads of the parliaments of 11 of the 21-republics (Adygeya,
Altai, Bashkortostan, Karelia, Khakassia, Komi, Marii El, Mordovia,
Sakha (Yakutia), Tuva, and Udmurtia) had signed the document
by the time it went to press. Given that Chechnya and Tatarstan
are unlikely to want to even discuss the draft, and that the
list above does not include most of the North Caucasian republics,
who voted against Yeltsin in the recent referendum, it does not
look as though Yeltsin's attempt to win the support of the republics
is paying off. -Ann Sheehy

COURTS STAND FOR PRESS FREEDOM? ON 17 MAY, RUSSIAN TELEVISION
REPORTED, A COURT IN MOSCOW'S SVERDLOVSKY DISTRICT REJECTED THE
REQUEST OF THE PRESS MINISTRY THAT THE COMMUNIST DAILY SOVETSKAYA
ROSSIYA BE CLOSED DOWN. The decision came after a similar ruling
last week by another district court in Moscow (Dzerzhinsky),
which declined to temporarily close down the conservative communist
weekly, Den. Altogether the Press Ministry has reportedly prepared
cases against some forty periodicals for violation of the Press
Law; it is yet unclear whether all of them are associated with
the hard-line opposition to Yeltsin. Meanwhile, according to
the same newscasts, on 18-May the Constitutional Court is expected
to rule on the case brought by the liberal daily Izvestiya, whose
staff opposes the decision of the parliament to deprive the paper
of its independence, and thus, it argues, turn the newspaper
into a mouthpiece of conservative deputies. -Julia Wishnevsky


COUP TRIAL RESUMES. The trial of the twelve men accused of treason
for their role in the attempted coup of August 1991 will resume
in the Russian Supreme Court's Military Collegium on 18 May after
a one-month adjournment, Krim-Press reported on 17 May. The trial
had opened on 14 April but was halted after two days because
of the poor health of one of the defendants, Aleksandr Tizyakov
[see RFE/RL Daily Report for 15-April]. The trial is expected
to resume with the defense's objections to the state prosecutors,
who, it is claimed, are prejudiced against the defendants. RFE/RL's
Moscow correspondent reported that there will be eight prosecutors
and 21 defense lawyers. Tizyakov was released from hospital on
13 May. -Wendy Slater

PARTIES DISCUSS ADOPTION OF NEW CONSTITUTION. The majority of
Russia's political parties, including the Movement for Democratic
Reforms and those groups that constitute the Civic Union, are
determined to get adequate representation in the Constituent
Assembly which, according to President Yeltsin's plan, should
approve a new Russian Constitution. On 15 May these parties held
a round-table discussion in Moscow on how a new Constitution
should be adopted. The Democratic Russia (DR) movement did not
take part in the round-table due to the participation of several
anti-Yeltsin groups. Radio Echo of Moscow quoted a leader of
the DR, Vladimir Bokser, as saying that DR did not want to take
part in a gathering together with the groups that "lost the 25
April referendum." The Communist Party also did not participate
in the round-table, because, according to its leader, Gennadii
Zyuganov, the very idea of a Constituent Assembly was unconstitutional.
-Vera Tolz

SHUMEIKO SUGGESTS CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM. First Deputy Prime
Minister Vladimir Shumeiko in Washington DC for talks with officials
said on 17 May that President Yeltsin is prepared to hold another
referendum, this time on the new constitution, if deputies refuse
to ratify a draft to be discussed in the assembly convened by
Yeltsin for 5 June, and if their refusal is supported by the
Constitutional Court, Reuters reported. Shumeiko said that a
referendum was the only way to break a future constitutional
gridlock, and predicted that the reform program would accelerate
once a new constitution was adopted. His remarks were echoed
by Constitutional Court chairman Valerii Zorkin who said on Russian
TV on 17 May that a new constitution could only be adopted by
the current legislature or by means of a national referendum.
-Wendy Slater

POLICY DECLARATION FOR IMF BEING PREPARED. Minister of Finance
Boris Fedorov is working with the Central Bank on a joint statement
which will serve as a pledge to the International Monetary Fund
that Russia will keep state spending and credit creation under
control, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported on 17 May. Such declarations
are viewed as a precondition for the IMF to lend member states
money. The Russian government and Central Bank have been at odds
over economic policy for some time now, but Fedorov evaluated
current negotiations with the bank in a positive light. "[They]
are going normally... The Central Bank is showing good will,"
he said. The declaration will presumably be similar to the memorandum
signed by then Prime Minister Egor Gaidar and Central Bank head
Georgii Matyukhin in March of last year. -Erik Whitlock

PARLIAMENT APPROVES BUDGET...AGAIN. The Russian parliament on
14 May passed a state budget for 1993 that envisages a 7-8 billion
ruble deficit, various Russian and Western news agencies reported.
This latest budget only slightly differs from the one given tentative
approval on 25 March and does not incorporate most of the changes
proposed by President Yeltsin in the interim. Parliament's action
does not mark the end of the process of formulating the budget
for this year, however. The budget's figures will reportedly
be revised at least one more time to account for changes in prices
expected for the rest of the year. -Erik Whitlock

OIL SECTOR SLATED FOR COMPETITION? RECENT PRESS REPORTS SUGGEST
THERE MAY BE PLANS AFOOT TO INTRODUCE COMPETITION IN THE RUSSIAN
OIL SECTOR AS A MEANS OF BOOSTING OIL OUTPUT. Reuters on 17 May
cited Alexander Putilov, the head of the state oil monopoly,
Rosneft, as saying that he envisaged the creation of "several"
companies, each with operations from extraction to retailing.
He gave no time frame for the restructuring. Kommersant on 14-May
reported that the State Property Committee has plans to structure
ownership of the energy complex in enterprises along regional
lines. The Minister of Fuel and Energy has opposed such ideas
saying that privatizing and restructuring the industry should
not be hurried as "there is no more efficient industry in Russia
than the fuel and energy complex." Russian oil production fell
15% between the end of March 1992 and end of March 1993, according
to the Russian State Committee for Statistics -Erik Whitlock


RUSSIA MOVES ON BOSNIA SETTLEMENT. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
started a tour dedicated to pushing through the Vance-Owen peace
plan on 17-May. Russia's chief negotiator for the former Yugoslavia,
Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin, asserted as Kozyrev
departed that Russia wields considerable influence over the Serbs.
Kozyrev's held talks in Berlin with his German counterpart Klaus
Kinkel and stressed that the decision to stop first in Germany
was not a matter of geographical convenience, "but the recognition
of new realities in the present-day world." He added: "We view
Germany as a reliable partner and are convinced that the way
to peace in Europe now runs through Berlin." Kozyrev's tentative
agenda includes stops in Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo, and Rome,
for meetings with members of the Western European Union, ITAR-TASS
and the Los Angeles Times reported. -Suzanne Crow

GRACHEV OPPOSES RUSSIAN TROOP DEPLOYMENT IN BOSNIA. Speaking
at a press conference in Moscow on 17 May, Russian Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev reviewed his recent trip to Turkey and answered
a wide range of questions. Commenting on the situation in Bosnia,
Grachev ruled out the introduction of Russian military forces,
a position which appears to contradict that taken by Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who has suggested that up to 2000 Russian
troops could be deployed for peacekeeping purposes. Grachev's
comments were reported by Ostankino TV, Radio Rossii, and ITAR-TASS.
-John Lepingwell

DISSOLUTION OF THE SDI PROGRAM WELCOMED. Grachev also commented
that the decision by US Defense Secretary Les Aspin to shut down
the Strategic Defense Initiative office and reorient ballistic
missile defense research, was a sensible decision that took into
account current military, political, and economic realities.
He did not reiterate earlier Russian calls for joint programs
in ballistic missile defense, a proposal that appears to have
been downplayed in the last few months. -John Lepingwell

GRACHEV ON THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION. According to ITAR-TASS, Grachev
denied reports that the Ministry of Defense opposes the current
presidential draft constitution. He noted that all ministries
and departments had been invited to submit comments on the draft
by 20 May, and that the Defense Ministry was preparing its submission.
Grachev stated that while defense issues were well covered in
the constitution, it should also have a section on "Defense of
the Fatherland" which would make such defense a duty of all citizens.
Other suggestions were that the sections dealing with the president's
prerogatives in ordering the armed forces to "repel aggression"
be strengthened, and that the armed forces be "provided with
everything necessary" to defend the state. The latter phrase
echoes defense debates from the pre-Gorbachev period and may
indicate that the Defense Ministry wants greater priority in
resource allocation. Grachev also noted that the new Russian
doctrine is "defensive" in nature, and will be unveiled soon.
-John Lepingwell

COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES



SHAPOSHNIKOV REITERATES NEED FOR COLLECTIVE SECURITY. Speaking
at a news conference on 17-May, CIS Commander Evgenii Shaposhnikov
stated that Russia and Uzbekistan do not oppose the creation
of a collective security system for the CIS, but that they have
their own approach to the problem. ITAR-TASS said Shaposhnikov
revealed that the CIS command will draft a proposal to increase
defense coordination and capabilities for submission to the 16
July meeting of CIS heads of state. He positively appraised the
meeting of CIS defense ministers, held on 14 May, noting that
most of the CIS states recognized the need for a collective security
pact, and that it marked the beginning of a new level of integration
for the CIS states. Despite Shaposhnikov's enthusiasm, however,
the states signing the collective security agreement remain only
a subset of the CIS, and the emerging Russian preference for
bilateral agreements leaves some doubt as to whether the integration
process will continue. -John Lepingwell

GRACHEV ON TURKEY, NAGORNO-KARABAKH. Speaking at a press conference
in Moscow on 17 May, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev reiterated
his charge (first made in Turkey) that both CIS and non-CIS states
were supplying arms to Azerbaijan, according to ITAR-TASS. While
this charge has been denied by Azerbaijan, Grachev stated "we
attentively follow the sale of arms and equipment to Azerbaijan
and don't miss any facts" and threatened to name the suppliers.
Russian arms sales to Turkey, according to Grachev, will carry
the condition that the weaponry not be re-exported to other countries.
-John Lepingwell

UZBEKISTAN RETALIATION TO KYRGYZ CURRENCY REFORM. Negotiators
for the governments of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan began a round
of discussions on 17 May on financial difficulties between the
two countries resulting from Kyrgyzstan's introduction of its
own currency, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, citing AFP, reported
on 18 May. Kyrgyz government officials were reported to be speaking
of "difficulties" in Osh and Dzhalalabad Oblasts bordering Uzbekistan
without giving details. The region was the scene of fighting
between Kyrgyz and Uzbek inhabitants in the summer of 1990, and
interethnic relations there remain tense. Fearing that Kyrgyzstan
will not meet its old debts, Uzbekistan has threatened to cut
off Kyrgyzstan's entire supply of gas. According to the report,
telephone connections between the two countries have already
been cut off. -Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



SUCHOCKA ADDRESSES THE NATION. Responding to the deepening political
crisis brought on by Solidarity's confrontation with the government,
Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka made a nationally televised address
on 17 May. She reiterated both the government's commitment to
negotiations and its determination to defend the budget. She
repeated the government's pledge to channel any surplus revenues
to education and health care, but reminded the unions that wage
increases for striking teachers and doctors will be possible
only in tandem with systemic reforms. Stressing the opportunities
for state workers provided in the "pact on state firms," Suchocka
expressed surprise that Solidarity is now calling for a no-confidence
vote in the government. Turning to the current turmoil in politics,
the prime minister proposed a non-aggression pact to prevent
rivalry among parties from undermining Poland's substantial achievements.
It is essential to recognize economic realities, she stressed.
The parties should agree on a "political calendar" up to the
next elections, she added, listing the government's five chief
priorities: implementing the "pact," reforming public administration,
fighting unemployment, reforming health care and education, and
building a stable pensions system. She closed with a message
of appreciation to "those whose voices go unheard," whose "normal,
calm labor" makes reforms possible, regardless of "political
ambitions and games." -Louisa Vinton

SOLIDARITY AGREES TO TALK. Solidarity's national leadership met
in Gdansk on 17 May to decide whether to accept the government's
offer of talks "without preconditions." The union interrupted
its deliberations to hear Suchocka's address. Although many union
activists expressed skepticism or even derision at the prime
minister's remarks, the leadership agreed, as a "good will gesture,"
to accept the government's invitation to talks. Negotiations
opened early on 18 May, with Suchocka and Solidarity Chairman
Marian Krzaklewski presiding. Krzaklewski told journalists beforehand
that the union is prepared to reach a consensus with the government,
provided the government is willing to contemplate "risky decisions."
Should the talks prove fruitless, he warned, the union would
submit its no-confidence motion and prepare to call a general
strike. Solidarity's decision to attend the talks suggests that
moderates may have the upper hand in the union leadership, at
least for the moment. The union issued a statement disavowing
a demonstration planned for 18 May in Warsaw by a radical union
faction that opposes President Lech Walesa. -Louisa Vinton

POLISH POLITICAL TURMOIL CONTINUES. Members of Solidarity's parliamentary
caucus announced on 17 May that they had collected 49 signatures
in support of a motion for a no-confidence vote in the government.
The required minimum is 46. The Confederation for an Independent
Poland has also collected enough signatures for a motion to bring
down the government, but Solidarity apparently does not wish
to associate itself with that party's radical demands. The former
communist Democratic Left Alliance announced it will support
the government in any no-confidence vote provided the ruling
coalition agrees to hold early elections and convinces the Sejm
to accept a concrete date. Meanwhile, President Lech Walesa met
with representatives of the Network, the dissident organization
of Solidarity locals that has traditionally supported his positions.
In a statement, Network representatives called for the formation
of a "presidential government" of nonpartisan experts, a new
constitution based on a "presidential-parliamentary system,"
and a lustration law. The president did not directly endorse
the Network's proposals, but scheduled further talks for 18 May.
-Louisa Vinton

DALAI LAMA, PRINCE CHARLES IN WARSAW. President Lech Walesa met
privately with the Dalai Lama on 17 May. Early press reports
had criticized the president for his alleged unwillingness to
meet with the exiled Tibetan leader. Chinese representatives
in Poland had made their displeasure with the visit known, Gazeta
Wyborcza reports. Scoffing at such reports, Walesa stressed that
"all nations have the right to freedom." The Dalai Lama is making
an unofficial visit to Poland at the invitation of Polish human
rights organizations. He laid wreaths at Warsaw sites on 17 May,
including the Ghetto monument and Father Jerzy Popieluszko's
grave. He praised Poland's struggle for independence and criticized
China for conducting a policy of "extermination" in Tibet, PAP
reports. Walesa also met with Britain's Prince Charles, who arrived
in Warsaw on 17 May for a four-day official visit. -Louisa Vinton


KUCHMA THREATENS TO RESIGN. In an interview on CIS TV on 16 May
Ukrainian Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma said he will resign if
the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet does not grant him extraordinary
powers to implement economic reform. The Supreme Soviet had granted
the government extraordinary powers six months ago to pursue
reform by allowing it to issue decrees on the economy, but these
powers expire on 18 May. Kuchma particularly wants the powers
to accelerate privatization. On 18 May an RFE/RL correspondent
quoted Taras Stetskiv, a political advisor to Kuchma, as saying,
"The situation is at a stalemate because the government can't
get a constitutional majority to extend its extraordinary powers
and parliament, at the same time, isn't strong enough to sack
the government." The prime minister has pursued a tough reformist
path since coming to power last October and western economists
in Kiev say Ukraine cannot not expect backing from foreign financial
institutions if Kuchma resigns or compromises his policies on
market reform. -Ustina Markus

BOSNIAN SERBS OVERWHELMINGLY REJECT PLAN. International media
and Radio Serbia report on 17 May that preliminary results from
the referendum from many districts in Bosnia-Herzegovina show
the Bosnian Serbs overwhelmingly rejecting the Vance-Owen peace
plan and supporting an independent Serbian state in Bosnia. Turnout
was reported to be over 90%. 90-99% voted to reject the plan.
Final results may be announced on 18-May. International reaction
has denounced the referendum. A spokesman for the French Foreign
Ministry questioned the legitimacy of the results and declared
them "null and void." Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
said he cannot accept the results, which he called "more than
disputable." Lord Owen expressed "consternation," saying that
although the "temptation" is to respond "with bombs," the West
should remain calm and preserve the "process of negotiation."
-Milan Andrejevich

MECIAR LINKS PROPERTY ISSUE WITH OIL SUPPLIES. In an interview
with the German weekly Der-Spiegel, published on 17 May, Slovak
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar said that the fact that the Czech
Republic's energy supplies pass through Slovak territory lends
weight to Slovak claims on former Czechoslovak property. The
prime minister argued that the Czech Republic could not survive
for more than ten days if its oil supplies through Slovakia were
disrupted. Asked by the interviewer whether he intends "to turn
off the lights for Klaus and Havel," Meciar responded that such
means should not be used in the dispute but that Slovakia's position
is strengthened by the reality of the pipeline. Jan Obrman

PYNZENYK SAYS UKRAINE'S FUEL PRICES MUST INCREASE. On 17 May
an RFE/RL correspondent reported that Deputy Prime Minister Viktor
Pynzenyk, in charge of economic reform, told the parliament that
fuel prices must rise to reflect the higher prices Russia will
be charging Ukraine. Earlier the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet had
blocked government-ordered price increases until it hears a report
on the economy from the cabinet which is due on 18-May. Pynzenyk
stated that only the government has the authority to determine
price increases, not the parliament. -Ustina Markus

COMMISSION TO SCREEN CZECH OFFICERS. The Czech Defense Ministry
issued an order to check the moral, physical and professional
qualifications of some 28,000 professional soldiers, CTK reported
on 17 May. Czech Defense Minister Antonin Baudys informed journalists
that the checks will be carried out in the form of interviews
and that the process should be completed by the end of 1993.
Among the criteria for continued employment in the Czech armed
forces will be a sufficient educational background, physical
fitness, and an unproblematic moral profile. Baudys indicated
that officers who participated in the purge of the armed forces
after 1968 or in the preparations for the military clampdown
on student demonstrations in 1989 will be fired. He also announced
that the personnel reductions would force 8,000 and 10,000 professional
soldiers to leave the armed forces or retire. Jan Obrman

BULGARIA WANTS TRANSIT CORRIDOR THROUGH RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. In a
memorandum addressed to the United Nations Security Council,
the Bulgarian government on 17 May proposed the opening of a
free transit corridor for goods traffic through rump Yugoslavia.
Speaking to journalists in Sofia, Prime Minister Lyuben Berov
said the cabinet is suggesting a corridor that would pass through
Nis and Belgrade, and then reach Hungary. Without elaborating,
Berov said there are ways to ensure that embargoed goods will
not end up in Serbian hands. State officials have argued that
Bulgaria so far has lost $1.8 billions as a result of UN sanctions
and stands to lose $2.5 billion annually following the tightening
of the embargo. Over the last few weeks Bulgarian-Romanian border
crossings have been jammed by goods traffic normally relying
on routes through Yugoslavia. -Kjell Engelbrekt

ILIESCU MEETS TUDJMAN, IZETBEGOVICH. Romania's president, Ion
Iliescu, arrived in Zagreb from Lubljana on 17 May, where he
is paying the first official Romanian visit to Croatia. He held
two session of talks on bilateral relations and the conflicts
in former Yugoslavia with his host, Franjo Tudjman. Also on 17
May, Iliescu met the president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Aljia Izetbegovic.
The encounter had been originally scheduled for 16-May in Lubljana,
but Izetbegovic was unable to attend it for what were said to
be "security reasons." After the meeting with Izetbegovic, Iliescu
said that both presidents were of the opinion that the Vance-Owen
plan was still the "only realistic solution" for solving the
conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, although Izetbegovic admitted
that the Bosnians had had "misgivings" about the plan. -Michael
Shafir

GENERAL STRIKE PLANNED IN SERBIA. At a news conference on 17
May, members of the large "Independence" association of branch
trade unions called a general strike for 19 May. The union demands
that the Serbian government pay the salaries of workers given
mandatory leaves of absence; that these salaries cover the cost
of basic daily expenses; and that the salaries of those working
be adjusted to the rate of inflation on basic food items. Members
of Serbia's teachers union and the Belgrade transit union said
they will join the strike. Organizers say the strike will last
until their demands are met, Radio Serbia reports-Milan Andrejevich


STRIKES IN ROMANIA. Romanian metal workers went on strike on
17 May to demand more pay to compensate for rising prices, Radio
Bucharest said. Reuters reported from Bucharest that the metal
workers union is demanding a minimum monthly wage of 50,000 lei
($81) for skilled workers. The current average is 34,000 ($55).
Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu immediately appointed a team of negotiators
to discuss the union's claims. Also on 17-May, the Free Trade
Union of Romanian Radio and Television announced a one-hour warning
strike for 18-May to protest against the government's refusal
to negotiate a labor contract. The union's leader told an RFE/RL
correspondent in Bucharest that Romanian TV still serves as "an
instrument of propaganda" for the political forces controlling
it.-Michael Shafir

STRIKES IN LITHUANIA. On 13 May teachers went on strike in Lithuania
to demand higher wages. On 14 May about 15% of all teachers working
in 142 schools, or 6.7% of the total, were on strike. Although
strikes ended in some schools on 17 May, the strike action remains
strong, BNS reports. Noting that teachers' wages had been increased
several times this year, Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius rejected
the teachers' demands as excessive and called the strike a "political
action" coordinated by Sajudis to destabilize the economy. The
sensitive nature of the strike showed in the government's failure
to go to court to stop it. A strike begun by trolleybus drivers
in Kaunas on 13 May ended on 17-May after the court ruled that
it should be postponed. The drivers also demanded wage increases.
-Saulius Girnius

POLISH UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS. The rate of registered unemployment
in Poland dropped by 0.2% in April, Deputy Labor Minister Michal
Boni announced on 12 May. The number of people out of work fell
by 6,200 to 2,642,000, or 14.3% of the work force. Unemployment
was higher in twenty voivodships in April, and lower in twenty-nine,
PAP reports. Of the 136,000 people removed from the unemployment
rolls, 72,000 (53%) found new permanent jobs and 30,000 (22%)
accepted employment in public works projects. The rest either
qualified for retirement or were struck from the rolls for refusing
an offer of work or retraining. Although a promising sign, Boni
cautioned that the drop in unemployment is not necessarily evidence
that the worst is over. -Louisa Vinton

HUNGARY'S FINANCE MINISTER ON BUDGET DEFICIT. Finance Minister
Ivan Szabo told the parliament on 17 May that new steps are needed
to address the growing budget deficit, in light of the recent
preliminary agreement with the IMF, MTI reports. Szabo said that
the 1993 deficit will reach 215 billion forint ($2.5 billion),
about 6.8% of GDP, exceeding the planned limit of 185 billion
forint. The main cause is the shortfall in privatization income.
Tax increases and spending reductions will be needed to remedy
the imbalance, Szabo said. His proposals included reducing child
benefits, postponing civil service wage increases, raising some
value-added-taxes, and "temporarily" changing income tax levels.
Business taxes, however, will be lowered from 40% to 38%. The
budget adjustment package will be submitted to the parliament
in the coming weeks. -Karoly Okolicsanyi

LATVIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL RESUME. On 17 May Latvian
and Russian delegations met again in Jurmala to discuss issues
related to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia. Leaders
of both sides said that they hope to sign several accords and
agree on the completion date for the troop withdrawals, Baltic
media report. In a related development, the Russian Baltic Fleet
command announced on 14 May that it had rejected Latvia's criticism
of its maneuvers in the Baltic Sea in mid-May and would go ahead
with plans for missile-launch training late in May. The Latvian
Foreign Ministry had termed the maneuvers an unfriendly act and
noted that they effectively halted foreign trade in Western Latvian
ports, BNS reported on 14 May. -Dzintra Bungs

SWEDISH HELP IN GUARDING LATVIA'S BORDERS. After meeting with
Latvian leaders, Sweden's Defense Minister Anders Bjšrck told
the press on 17 May that his country has decided to help Latvia
guard its borders, especially since some of the illegal immigrants
to Sweden use Latvia for transit purposes. Bjšrck also said that
Sweden expects to send to Latvia four border patrol boats, trucks,
radiation detectors, military equipment and a wide range of medical
aid. Sweden will also assist in the training of Latvia's defense
forces, BNS reported on 17 May. From Riga Bjšrck went to Tallinn
to meet with Estonian leaders. -Dzintra Bungs

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Erik Whitlock and Louisa Vinton









THE RFE/RL DAILY REPORT IS PRODUCED BY THE RFE/RL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
(A DIVISION OF RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, INC.) with the
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The report is available by electronic mail via LISTSERV (RFERL-L@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU),
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