He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mind, receives light without darkening me. - Thomas Jefferson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 130, 12 July 1993




CIS


RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT DECLARES SEVASTOPOL A RUSSIAN CITY. On 9 July,
the Russian parliament voted nearly unanimously to declare the
Crimean city of Sevastopol part of the Russian Federation, Reuters
and ITAR-TASS reported. The move came after a joint session of
parliament which debated Sevastopol's status and the situation
in the Black Sea Fleet. Evgenii Pudovkin, the head of a special
parliamentary committee that studied Sevastopol's status, claimed
that experts had asserted that Russia did not transfer its sovereignty
over Sevastopol when the Crimea was transferred to Ukraine in
1954. Deputies instructed the parliament's constitutional commission
to begin preparing the necessary constitutional amendments to
change the city's status. The declaration passed despite the
strong opposition of parliamentary leader Ruslan Khasbulatov,
yet another sign of his diminishing influence in the legislature.
Dominic Gualtieri and John Lepingwell

PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR RUSSIAN FINANCING OF BLACK SEA FLEET. The
Russian parliament on 9 July issued a declaration to the personnel
of the Black Sea Fleet supporting their call for the retention
of a unified fleet, ITAR-TASS reported. The parliament also passed
a resolution calling for the Russian government to take over
direct financing of the fleet and to open negotiations with Ukraine
concerning the use of Sevastopol as the main base for a unified
fleet. Ukraine and Russia have wrangled in the past over which
side should pay for the fleet, and the issues of salaries has
been an especially contentious one. By taking over full financing
of the fleet, Russia would be advancing a de facto claim to the
ownership of the entire fleet. The declarations also make it
clear that the Moscow agreement to divide the fleet between Russian
and Ukraine will not be ratified by the Russian parliament. John
Lepingwell

YELTSIN CONDEMNS PARLIAMENT'S ACTION. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin told reporters upon arriving in Irkutsk on 10 July that
he was "ashamed" of the Russian parliament's decision on Sevastopol,
according to Radio Mayak. Yeltsin asserted that the problems
of the Black Sea Fleet must be solved gradually and calmly. Following
suit, on 11 July the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement
criticizing the parliament's action and saying that the declaration
"deviates from the line adopted by the president and the government,"
Western agencies reported. Suzanne Crow

UKRAINIAN REACTION. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk responded
to the Russian parliament's decision on Sevastopol with an official
statement read over Ukrainian television on 9 July. Kravchuk
characterized the decision as a gross violation of generally
accepted norms and principles of international law, overt interference
in Ukraine's internal affairs, and an infringement on Ukraine's
territorial integrity and borders. Kravchuk called on international
bodies, including the UN Security Council, to persuade Russian
lawmakers to reconsider their activities in the interests of
peace and stability in the world. The Ukrainian leader, while
characterizing the decision as a continuation of the Russian
parliament's "anti-Ukrainian policies," expressed the conviction
that the Russian people as a whole do not support the decision.
Kravchuk's statement was handed to a representative of the Russian
embassy in Kiev by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that the Russian parliament
will be responsible for "all possible consequences" of its decision.
The presidium of the Ukrainian parliament issued a separate statement
condemning the action. Roman Solchanyk

US REACTION. In a statement issued in Kiev on 10 July, US Ambassador
to Ukraine Roman Popadiuk said Washington regards Sevastopol
as "an integral part of Ukraine," and characterized the Russian
parliament's decision as "untimely." The United States, he said,
supports the Helsinki accords on the inviolability of borders.
Noting Ukraine's intention to improve relations with Russia,
Popadiuk said that this was not the time for Russian lawmakers
to attempt to strain those relations. Popadiuk's comments were
reported by Radio Mayak and Western agencies. Suzanne Crow and
Roman Solchanyk

TOWARD THE INTEGRATION OF RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN, AND BELARUSIAN
ECONOMIES? THE PRIME MINISTERS OF RUSSIA, UKRAINE, AND BELARUS
MET ON 10 JULY OUTSIDE MOSCOW, ITAR-TASS, UKRINFORM, AND WESTERN
AGENCIES REPORTED. They pledged to move towards economic integration
and to elaborate a draft agreement before 1 September. Within
a "joint economic space," citizens of any of the three states
could live, work, and buy property freely. The joint statement
issued after the meeting called for the creation of a customs
union and a single market in goods, services, and capital, with
a unified policy on prices, investment, and taxes. The Russian
prime minister said that the agreement goes further than the
proposed CIS economic union signed in mid-May. Other former Soviet
republics will be permitted to join under certain, unspecified,
conditions. Keith Bush

KUCHMA STRESSES DECLARATION WILL NOT LEAD TO REVIVAL OF UNION.
After signing the declaration on economic integration, the prime
ministers of the three Slavic states offered differing assessments
of its significance, Reuters reported on 11 July. Russia's Viktor
Chernomyrdin hailed it as a "great event" which would lead to
the signing of a "historic agreement." Belarus' Vyacheslau Kebich
described it as victory for common sense. Not surprisingly though,
Ukraine's Leonid Kuchma, was more circumspect. "No one is talking
about restoring the Soviet Union," he told journalists on his
return to Kiev. "It looks more like the creation of some kind
of European Community. No document was signed, just a declaration.
All the work remains to be done in the future." Bohdan Nahaylo


RUSSIA AND UKRAINE AGREE ON OIL PRICE. Russian Fuel and Energy
Minister Yurii Shafranik announced on 10 July that Moscow and
Kiev have agreed on the prices for Russian oil deliveries to
Ukraine, Reuters reported. Russia will supply 20 million tons
of oil to Ukraine in 1993 at a price of $80 a ton now and $100
a ton starting in December. (The current world price for crude
oil is roughly $120 a ton.) Keith Bush

RUSSIA



CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY MEETS FOR ITS LAST SESSION. On 12 July,
the Constitutional Assembly is meeting for what is scheduled
to be its last plenary session. The session is expected to discuss
the final draft constitution that is to be sent to leaders of
Russia's republics and regions for approval. On 11 July, Ekho
Moskvy radio quoted the chief of the presidential administration,
Sergei Filatov, as saying that republican and regional leaders
would need at least two weeks to consider the final draft. After
the leaders give their approval to the draft it could be submitted
to the Congress of People's Deputies, Filatov added. According
to Filatov, an emergency session of the Congress could convene
at the very end of July. So far, President Yeltsin has maintained
that he does not want the Congress to adopt a new constitution,
despite the fact that it is what the current Russian legislation
requires. In contrast, many republican and regional leaders have
spoken in favor of the adoption of a new constitution by the
Congress. Vera Tolz

YELTSIN, KOHL MEET AT BAIKAL. Russian President Boris Yeltsin
and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl held a two-day summit at Lake
Baikal starting on 10 July to discuss bilateral relations, Russian
troop withdrawals, and integration of Russia into Europe. Yeltsin
assured Kohl that Russian withdrawals from eastern Germany would
be complete by the end of August 1994. Yeltsin and Kohl also
discussed the situation of the ethnic Russian population in the
Baltic states, Western agencies reported. Suzanne Crow

YELTSIN ON TIES WITH US. At a news conference on 10 July in Tokyo,
Boris Yeltsin characterized his meetings with US President Bill
Clinton as "very meaningful" and expressed approval for the development
of US- Russian relations since the Vancouver summit. Yeltsin
said he and Clinton had "synchronized" their watches during meetings
in Tokyo, and asserted that the US-Russian friendship is becoming
stronger, ITAR-TASS reported. Suzanne Crow

RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK UNDER FIRE. On 9 July, parliament discussed
the operations of the Russian Central Bank in 1992. According
to ITAR-TASS of 9 July, and The Financial Times of 9 and 10 July,
the bank was criticized on a number of counts. Its lax controls
permitted the embezzlement of more than 3 billion rubles by the
use of forged documents. A report by a Western accountancy firm
highlighted "distortions, mistakes, and possible abuses." In
his report to parliament, the bank's chairman, Viktor Gerashchenko,
painted a gloomy picture of the economy which contrasted with
recent upbeat portrayals by government spokesmen. Keith Bush


INDIA ADAMANT ON ROCKET DEAL. A representative of India's space
agency told ITAR-TASS on 11 July that New Delhi considers the
acquisition of sophisticated Russian rocket technology critical
to the success of its space program and said that it would insist
Moscow honor the terms of a sale of two cryogenic engines to
India as agreed upon earlier. The deal has foundered on the opposition
of the US government, which has argued that the technology has
military applications and represents a violation of the Missile
Technology Control Regime. Reuters reported on 10 July that the
Russian and American presidents had discussed the issue in Tokyo
following the G-7 Summit, but had failed to reach a resolution.
The conflict is particularly difficult for Russia, which is desperately
in need of hard currency earnings. A failure by Russia to honor
the deal could harm its relations with India, which is one of
Moscow's most important arms markets, while completion of the
sale could sour relations with the US and cost Moscow lucrative
cooperation agreements with the US space program. Stephen Foye


TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



UN SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVES SENDING OBSERVERS TO GEORGIA. The
UN Security Council on 9 July unanimously approved sending fifty
military observers to Georgia as soon as a ceasefire holds, Reuters
reported. The unarmed observers will try to establish communication
between the warring sides to prevent ceasefire violations. Meanwhile,
peace talks mediated by Russia in Moscow have reached a standstill,
the leader of the Georgian delegation Aleksandr Kavsadze stated
on 10 July. Georgian Parliament Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze
told journalists on 11 July in Sukhumi that perhaps the solution
to the Abkhaz conflict lies in a combination of military and
peaceful means. He added that Georgia could not acquiesce to
the Abkhaz precondition for a ceasefire, that all Georgian troops
withdraw from Abkhaz territory, Reuters reported. Catherine Dale


MULTILATERAL COMMISSION TO DEAL WITH TAJIK-AFGHAN BORDER SITUATION.
The creation of a multilateral commission to deal with the unstable
situation on the Tajik-Afghan border was announced by Tajikistan's
head of state, Imomali Rakhmonov, on 10 July, ITAR-TASS reported.
Tajikistan's government is particularly concerned about penetration
into Tajikistan by armed members of the Tajik Islamic opposition
and their Afghan supporters. In addition to seeking solutions
to the problem of illegal border crossings, the commission, consisting
of representatives from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Afghanistan,
is to seek to speed up the return to their homeland of Tajik
refugees in Afghanistan. Most of the refugees fled to Afghanistan
at the beginning of 1993 after the present government of Tajikistan
took power, and attempts to persuade them to go home have met
with limited success. The Tajik government has claimed that Afghan
fundamentalists have prevented the return of some Tajik refugees.
Bess Brown

RUSSIAN COMMANDER IN TAJIKISTAN REPLACED. The commander of Russia's
201st Motorized Rifle Division in Tajikistan, Major General Mukhriddin
Ashurov, has been replaced by Colonel Viktor Timofeev, who was
previously a division commander in Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast,
KHOVAR-TASS reported on 9 July. The 201st has played a central
role in Tajikistan's affairs since the beginning of the civil
war in May 1992; while it officially maintained neutrality and
guarded vital installations, the Islamic- democratic coalition
accused it of siding with the pro-Communist forces. Maj. Gen.
Ashurov, an ethnic Tajik, is to study at the Russian General
Staff Academy, the first Tajik to do so. Col. Timofeev, who was
born in the northern Tajik city of Khodjent and whose family
still resides there, is believed to have been the preferred candidate
of Tajikistan's Prime Minister, Abdumalik Abdulladzhanov, who
is also from Khodjent. Keith Martin

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY DECIDES ON PARTITION. International media
reported on 11 July that the republic's executive body endorsed
setting up regional units, but said they could not be based on
ethnic criteria. The decision is unlikely to please the Serbs
and Croats. The presidency also underscored that the constituent
regions in the federation could not conduct relations with other
states, Hina added. At first glance, it is difficult to see any
major difference between this decision and President Alija Izetbegovic's
long-standing position that Bosnia could become a federal state
but only with units based on geographic and economic criteria.
The Serbs and Croats favor a very loose confederation of three
nationally-based departments. Patrick Moore

CROATIAN UPDATE. Vecernji list on 10 July reports that the Croatian
Helsinki Committee has appealed to Prime Minister Nikica Valentic
to slow down the privatization of the media. Critics of the government
have charged that the present and often vague privatization regulations
are enabling persons close to the ruling party to establish a
firm grip on the media. The Helsinki Committee wants new measures
enacted to give editorial staffs and other employees priority
in acquiring shares in the newspapers or magazines where they
work. Meanwhile, discussion continues over the possibility of
a land exchange between Croats and Serbs. A novel and sharply-worded
article in Vecernji list on 10 July defends the idea, arguing
that no outside party will help Croatia get its occupied territories
back and that the best alternative is to strike a deal with Belgrade.
Most Croatian politicians and commentaries, however, have taken
the stand that Croatia should go to war if the UN fails to enforce
the Vance plan on the Serb-held lands. Finally, the Belgrade
Politika of 12 July discusses some concrete ways in which the
swap might be carried out. Patrick Moore

MILOSEVIC PARDONS DRASKOVIC. Belgrade and international media
report on 9 July that Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic pardoned
the leader of the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) Vuk
Draskovic and his wife Danica. Milosevic overruled a Belgrade
Court decision earlier that day which denied the couple's release
pending trial. Milosevic's order said the turn of events was
harming Serbia's image and had to be stopped, contradicting his
earlier insistence that the matter was strictly in the hands
of the court. The couple has been pardoned on the count of inciting
the riots, but Draskovic must still face the charge of assaulting
a policeman. A SPO spokesman told an RFE/RL correspondent that
Milosevic's tactics were well applied, but might have been prompted
by concern over the mass opposition rallies planned throughout
Serbia for 17 July. Danica Draskovic said the protests would
probably be canceled but that all democratic forces must "step
up efforts to topple this [Milosevic] dictatorship." Milan Andrejevich


MONTENEGRO DISAGREES WITH SERBIA OVER CSCE OBSERVERS. Radios
Serbia and Montenegro reported on 9 July that the Montenegrin
government disagrees with a decision reached earlier by the federal
government of the rump Yugoslavia banning CSCE monitors from
further activities in Kosovo, Sandzak and Vojvodina. Montenegro's
Foreign Minister Miodrag Lekic expressed regret that Montenegro's
opinion had been disregarded. He added that CSCE representatives
can travel unimpeded in Montenegro in order to see first-hand
that international human rights standards are genuinely respected
in interethnic relations. Milan Andrejevich

SERBS SEE POVERTY AS CAUSE OF CIVIL WAR. In an opinion poll,
carried out by the Institute for Social Sciences of the Belgrade
University in April and May, 35% of the respondents said that
poverty and unemployment are most likely to cause a civil war
in Serbia-Montenegro. Other potential sources named were: the
Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija (30%); clashes between the ruling
authorities and the opposition (15%); the Serbian Radical Party
with Vojislav Seselj (11%); and conflicts over Serbian involvement
outside rump Yugoslavia (3%). Some 49% of the respondents thought
the financial situation is much worse than last year and 37%
expect it to become still worse, although 60% estimate their
personal situation to be the same as others'. The study was published
in Vreme on 21 June 1993. Fabian Schmidt

CZECH PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON ILLEGITIMACY OF COMMUNIST REGIME.
The Czech parliament adopted a Law on the Illegitimacy of the
Communist Regime, Czech TV reported on 9 July. The law states
that the CPCS and other groups were criminal organizations whose
ideology was designed to suppress democracy and basic human rights
and that the CPCS leadership and its members were responsible
for the decline of the country from 1948 to 1989. The law invalidates
the statute of limitations for the 41 years of communist rule
to allow prosecution of some crimes committed during that period.
At the same time, the law declares all anti-communist resistance,
even that carried out "in cooperation with a foreign democratic
power," to have been legitimate and just. According to CTK, 129
deputies voted in favor of the law, while 34 were against and
three abstained. Jiri Novak, the Czech Minister of Justice, said
in an interview that passage of the law did not mean a new wave
of purges in the Czech Republic. Jan Obrman

CDA DISSATISFIED WITH THE WORK OF THE COALITION. Jan Rejzek,
the spokesman of the Civic Democratic Alliance told journalists
that his party is "seriously dissatisfied with the increasing
number of breaches of coalition agreements," CTK reported on
9 July. Other CDA officials indicated that the unity of the coalition
is in serious jeopardy and that internal disputes over "foreign
policy and nominations to the Supreme Control Office and the
Constitutional Court" hinders the coalition parties' work in
the parliament. The criticism was dismissed by Deputy Chairman
of the Civic Democratic Party Petr Cermak, who declared that
the coalition was functioning well. Jan Obrman

SLOVAK GOVERNMENT COALITION TALKS CONTINUE. On 10 July representatives
of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and the Slovak
National Party (SNS) met for further negotiations, TASR reports.
According to SNS Chairman Ludovit Cernak, his party submitted
its proposal on 5 July, and the MDS "has had enough time for
arguing." If the two parties do not reach agreement by 24 July,
"the SNS will not enter the coalition," Cernak said. In a 10
July press conference Premier Vladimir Meciar said the MDS is
"looking for a coalition partner for at least 3 years." Neither
Meciar nor Cernak would comment on specific staff positions being
discussed. Sharon Fisher

SLOVAKS DEVALUE CURRENCY 10%. On 9 July the Slovak National Bank
announced that the Slovak koruna would be devalued by 10% in
relation to hard currencies beginning on 10 July. The bank's
Vice Governor Marian Tkac, who has been strongly opposed to such
measures, said the decision was made because of "contradictions
between money supply and money demand" and because "the development
of the Slovak economy does not yet have the required dynamism,"
TASR reports. The devaluation is expected to heighten inflation;
however, the country's trade balance and hard currency reserves
should be positively affected. Premier Vladimir Meciar and Slovak
National Party Chairman Ludovit Cernak agreed that no further
devaluation is expected. Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT VOTES FOR HIGHER TAXES. In its 9 July session
the Slovak parliament approved a modification of the law on the
Slovak state budget, raising the value added tax on most goods
from 23 to 25% and the service tax from 5 to 6%, TASR reports.
The measures come as a result of a sharp increase in the country's
budget deficit, which rose from 11 billion koruny in March to
a current 14 billion koruny. According to Slovakia's June agreement
with the IMF, the deficit must not surpass 16 billion koruny.
The higher taxes are expected to raise 3.4 billion koruny in
extra revenue. Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY TO SIGN NEW IMF AGREEMENT SOON. According to a joint
IMF and Hungarian Finance Ministry and Hungarian National Bank
statement issued on 9 July, the IMF delegation in Hungary does
not see any obstacles that would prevent the conclusion of an
agreement with Hungary soon. The IMF deal would make about $700
million in fresh loans available to Hungary in 1993 and 1994,
ending a freeze on new credits imposed by the IMF last year to
punish the Hungarian government for its large deficit spending,
Reuter reports. The loan would also restore Hungary's standing
in the international finance world and pave the way for additional
World Bank loans. During the past two weeks of talks, IMF officials
reviewed Hungary's fiscal policy, discussed the state of the
economy, and met labor leaders to discuss spending on the social
safety net. Judith Pataki

INTELLECTUAL PIRACY THREATENS POLAND'S MFN STATUS. A high-ranking
official from the Polish Foreign Affairs Ministry warned on 9
July that the lack of suitable copyright protection legislation
has jeopardized Poland's most-favored-nation trade status with
the US. In an interview with PAP, American Department director
Zbigniew Lewicki said that the US could take steps to withdraw
Poland's MFN this fall because of losses caused by pirated videos,
tapes, and computer programs. The foreign ministry had been able
to forestall US sanctions for two years by arguing that legislation
was in preparation in the parliament, but the need to begin the
legislative process anew after the September elections means
that another two years' delay is likely. In this case, Lewicki
said, Poland would be forced to "ask the Americans, since they've
already tolerated two years of theft, to wait out another two."
He warned that the US government would likely face stiff pressure
from business lobbies to impose effective sanctions. Louisa Vinton


ROMANIAN RULING PARTY CHANGES NAME. On 10 July the Democratic
National Salvation Front decided to change its name to the Party
of Social Democracy in Romania and to amend its statutes. The
decision was taken at a two-day national conference which debated
the party's activities since June 1992 as well as its future
strategy. The DNSF, which ranked first in last year's general
elections with 28% of the votes, was the main political force
behind the re-election of Ion Iliescu as Romania's president
in 1992. In a message to the congress, Iliescu urged the party
to preserve its unity. Among the main speakers were DNSF Chairman
Oliviu Gherman, first Deputy Chairman Adrian Nastase, and Deputy
Chairman Ion Solcanu. Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu, who is not officially
affiliated with the party, also addressed the delegates. The
conference approved a merger with three minor parties: the Republican
Party, the Democratic Cooperatist Party and the Romanian Socialist
Democratic Party. The PSDR's National Council reconfirmed Gherman
as party Chairman, and elected Nastase as executive chairman.
Dan Ionescu

DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION OF ROMANIA CALLS FOR RADICAL CHANGE. The
Executive Committee of the Democratic Convention of Romania,
an alliance of the main opposition forces, issued on 9 July a
nine-point declaration-program calling for radical change and
vowing to take the country out of the current political and economic
crisis. It includes suggestions for halting inflation, ensuring
economic recovery, creating new jobs, and improving social protection.
It also pays special attention to problems of local government.
Predicting the imminent collapse of the government, CDR President
Emil Constantinescu described the document as offering an alternative.
A spokesman for President Ion Iliescu promptly stated that, for
the time being, the president saw no need for a new government
formula. Dan Ionescu

UKRAINE SIGNS TRANSPORT AGREEMENT WITH IRAN. The Ukrainian and
Iranian transportation ministers signed a series of accords in
Teheran, Ukrainian Radio reported on 11 July, quoting ITAR-TASS.
Each side agreed to allow the other use of its ports and to set
up flights between Teheran and Kiev. Ukraine has also granted
Iran transit rights on Ukrainian territory on favorable terms.
AFP reported on 10 July that the new route to Central and Western
Europe will be shorter and cheaper for Iran and decrease its
dependence on Turkey. Iran has concluded similar agreements with
Russia and Azerbaijan in the past year. Susan Stewart

RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM LITHUANIA. On 8 July National Defense
Minister Audrius Butkevicius and chief of staff Colonel Stasys
Knezys held a press conference, broadcast live by Radio Lithuania.
Knezys noted that the completion of the withdrawal might be completed
several days ahead of the 31 August deadline signed in September
1991 except for an artillery depot near Klaipeda. The number
of troops has decreased from 34,000 at the beginning of 1992
to about 7,000. Butkevicius said that in practical terms the
Russian army had withdrawn, although uniformed men remain loading
and guarding equipment. The armed forces now only have basic
weaponry; any further purchases require a political decision.
Such purchases have been discussed with Russia, the Czech Republic,
and Poland. He noted that a Kalashnikov sub-machine gun costs
about $200 while comparable Western models more than $1,000.
Saulius Girnius

RUSSIA RESTORES GAS SUPPLY TO LITHUANIA. On 9 July Petr Rodionov,
the director general of Lentransgaz, told a press conference
in Vilnius after meetings with Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius
and energy officials that the shipment of natural gas to Lithuania
would be restored, Radio Lithuania reports. Lithuania has repaid
some of the more than $40 million debt to Lentransgaz and promised
to supply gas only to households and 115 enterprises able to
pay for it. The two sides discussed the creation of joint ventures;
the Russian Gazprom has expressed an interest in buying 50% shares
of the Lithuanian gas-main, 20% of the oil refinery at Mazeikiai,
and a controlling share in the Azotas fertilizer plant in Jonava.
Saulius Girnius

CSCE HIGH COMMISSIONER IN ESTONIA. On 11 July CSCE High Commissioner
on National Minorities Max van der Stoel on his third visit to
Estonia in the last two weeks held talks in Narva with the mayors
of Narva and Sillamae, Vladimir Chuikin and Aleksandr Maximenko,
Baltic media report. Even though the Estonian parliament amended
the law on aliens on 8 July, the planned referendums on local
autonomy in the cities on 16 and 17 July have not been canceled.
The mayors called on the Estonian authorities not to interfere
with the referendums, but said that the cities would respect
the "territorial integrity" of Estonia and comply with any decisions
of the Estonian Supreme Court. Saulius Girnius

WEIZSAECKER VISITS ESTONIA. On 11 July German President Richard
von Weizsaecker arrived in Tallinn after a four day visit to
Finland, Western agencies report. This is his first official
visit to Estonia and any part of the former USSR after its collapse.
He was met at the airport by President Lennart Meri and Prime
Minister Mart Laar. Weizsaecker said that his visit should strengthen
the sovereignty of Estonia and help its reform process. He noted:
"Estonia is as much a part of Europe as Germany is." A central
part of his visit will be to gain a better understanding of the
status of the country's Russian minority who are complaining
about discrimination. Saulius Girnius

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Anna Swidlicka and John Lepingwell



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