Лишь очень немногие живут сегодняшним днем. Большинство готовится жить позднее. - Д. Свифт
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 153, 12 August 1993







RUSSIA



YELTSIN CALLS FOR EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. President Boris
Yeltsin said during his meeting with representatives of Russian
state television companies and leaders of the mass media on 12
August that new parliamentary elections "should take place in
the fall of this year," ITAR-TASS reported. He added that "should
parliament fail to adopt such a decision, the president will
take it." He emphasized that he regards new parliamentary elections
as one of the principal ways out of the present political crisis.
In an article in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 11 August, chief editor
Vitalii Tretyakov called for early parliamentary and presidential
elections. He suggested that parliamentary elections be held
this fall and presidential elections in spring 1994. -Alexander
Rahr

YELTSIN'S SPOKESMAN CONDEMNS KHASBULATOV. Presidential spokesman
Vyacheslav Kostikov said in a statement on 11 August that the
actions of the parliament and its speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov
had "become openly provocative." Referring to Khasbulatov's speech
at the conference on social problems in the military on 10 August,
in which he had called for close ties between the parliament
and the military, Kostikov said that the speaker's comments demonstrated
"not only the extent of his political extremism, but also a maniacally
unbalanced personality, whose outbursts are becoming ever more
dangerous for society," ITAR-TASS reported. Kostikov called on
parliament to consider its attitude to its speaker, and draw
the necessary conclusions. Khasbulatov's spokesman retorted that
Kostikov's remarks were "rude and groundless attacks," ITAR-TASS
reported on 11 August. -Wendy Slater

MORE ON SHAPOSHNIKOV RESIGNATION. In the 12 August Izvestiya,
Marshal Evgenii Shaposhnikov explained his recent unexpected
resignation as secretary of the Security Council. As was suspected,
Shaposhnikov cited the bitter opposition his nomination aroused
in parliament and the constitutional ambiguity that surrounds
the Security Council's future as two important reasons for his
decision. He also suggested that the appointment of an active
officer to such a key political post might be illegal. The Izvestiya
piece said, however, that Shaposhnikov had not met with Yeltsin
at all since 30 June, and suggested that his resignation letter
had already been prepared some three weeks earlier. It also said
that Shaposhnikov objected to the fact that the Security Council
was prohibited from meeting in the president's absence and that
he was upset by the continuing failure of the executive and legislative
branches to work together toward fashioning a concept of national
security. Finally, the newspaper noted that Shaposhnikov's wife
is an Ossetian and that many of her relatives live in the North
Caucasus; it suggested that the Marshal had been subjected to
charges of a conflict of interest in managing Russian policy
toward that troubled area. Shaposhnikov was himself quoted by
ITAR-TASS as saying that he had resigned for personal reasons.
-Stephen Foye

STEPASHIN CALLS FOR DEFENSE OF NATIONAL INTERESTS. In a lengthy
article published in Krasnaya zvezda of 11 August, the chairman
of the Supreme Soviet's Committee on Defense and State Security,
Sergei Stepashin, has outlined a national security concept emphasizing
a stronger defense of Russia's interests. Stepashin, considered
a centrist, argues for the maintenance of state power within
Russia, and particularly the prevention (or perhaps suppression)
of "islands of independence" within Russia, such as Chechnya.
He also criticizes what he calls the "syndrome of post-Soviet
repentance" and the basing of Russian foreign policy on "general
human values" which has resulted in a neglect of Russian interests.
While Stepashin does not explicitly call for a more confrontational
policy, his realist emphasis on Russian interests and the primacy
of geopolitics reflects a preference for a more coordinated and
tougher security policy both within Russia's borders and without.
-John Lepingwell

YELTSIN CHAIRS COMMISSION ON CRIME. On 11-August, President Yeltsin
chaired a meeting of the Security Council's Interdepartmental
Commission on the Struggle against Crime and Corruption, ITAR-TASS
reported. According to the presidential press service, the meeting
heard reports on the crime prevention effort from Deputy Interior
Minister Evgenii Abramov and Acting Security Minister Nikolai
Golushko. The commission concluded that, despite the efforts
of law enforcement agencies, crime was continuing to grow significantly.
Abramov told Rossiskie Vesti that crime and corruption were now
posing a threat to the country's national security. -Dominic
Gualtieri

CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS ON DEBT REPAYMENT. Finance Minister
Boris Fedorov told a news conference in Moscow on 11 August that
Russia is determined to repay the external debt of the former
Soviet Union that Russia has assumed, an RFE/RL correspondent
reported. "My personal position," said Fedorov, "is that nonpayment
of debt is the fate of weak states which cannot do anything with
their own economies." This runs counter to the statement made
by Konstantin Kagalovsky, Russia's representative at the International
Monetary Fund. On 6 August, Kagalovsky told Reuters that Russia
plans to ask for much or most of its debt to governments and
banks to be forgiven. Fedorov's assertion will also be queried
by many observers who doubt that Russia will be in a position
in the foreseeable future fully to service interest payments,
let alone principal. Fedorov added that Russia's position on
the debt is a long-term issue and "has not been formulated."
Keith Bush

MORE ON RUSSIAN MID-YEAR TRADE FIGURES. The mid-year total volume
of Russian trade with other countries decreased from $35 billion
dollars in 1992 to $27 billion dollars this year, according to
statistics reported in Ekonomika i zhizn (#32). This overall
decrease came entirely from a drop in imports from $17.2-billion
last year to $8.8 billion this year. The value of exports increased
from $17.7 billion to $18.2 billion. Russia has maintained its
overall exports with increased shipments of energy and lumber
products abroad. No source for the figures was given, and it
was not clear whether volumes of trade with nations of the former
Soviet Union were included. -Erik Whitlock

PARLIAMENT'S JOINT SITTING TO AMEND CONSTITUTION? PARLIAMENT
IS TO HOLD A JOINT SITTING ON 12-13 AUGUST, VITALII SYROVATKO,
SECRETARY OF THE PARLIAMENTARY PRESIDIUM TOLD ITAR-TASS ON 11
AUGUST. Among the topics under discussion will be amendments
to the law on the Council of Ministers that will increase parliament's
power over appointments and dismissals [see Daily Report no.
145]. Syrovatko also confirmed Radio Rossii's report of 9 August
that the parliamentary Constitutional Commission will submit
amendments to the current constitution to the parliament. The
amendments would apparently increase the powers of the regions
in economic matters, giving them equal rights to the constituent
republics of the Russian Federation, as well as alter the status
of the president to make him more a head of state and "free him
from his duties as head of the executive." -Wendy Slater

COMMUNIST PARTY CLAIMS 600,000 MEMBERS. The Chairman of the Executive
Committee of Russia's Communist Party (RCP), Gennadii Zyuganov,
claims that the party's membership has reached 600,000, ITAR-TASS
reported on 12 August. The Communist Party was banned by President
Boris Yeltsin following the August 1991 coup but was allowed
to re-emerge following a decision by the Constitutional Court
in December 1992. Zyuganov said that the RCP had re-established
local organizations in every region and that an all-Russian assembly
of worker-communists would be held on 11-September. -Dominic
Gualtieri

SAVINGS TO BE INDEXED? THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF THE CENTRAL BANK,
ALEKSANDR KHANDRUEV, SPEAKING ON RUSSIAN TELEVISION ON 11 AUGUST,
CLAIMED THAT THE COUNTRY IS NOT IN A POSITION FULLY TO INDEX
ALL SAVINGS, BUT THAT A DECISION HAS BEEN TAKEN TO ALLOCATE 1.1
trillion rubles to compensate citizens with savings deposits
for the effect of inflation. Savings have been rendered almost
worthless by the high inflation rates that followed price liberalization
in 1992. This measure would, however, imply that savings would
be increased by three times, whereas prices have increased by
approximately 80-times since the beginning of 1992. In another
interview, Khandruev stated that a decision on the indexation
of wages and savings is being prepared and would be published
in the near future. -Sheila Marnie

CHINESE MILITARY CHIEF IN MOSCOW. The chief of the Chinese General
Staff, General Zhang Wannian, met on 11 August with his Russian
counterpart, Col. Gen. Mikhail Kolesnikov, and with First Deputy
Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin. ITAR-TASS quoted Kokoshin as
saying that Beijing was interested in increasing its military-technical
cooperation with Russia. While no agreements were reported to
have been signed during Zhang's visit, Kokoshin said that Russian
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev would visit China in the fall
and that a number of defense-related documents were expected
to be signed at that time. -Stephen Foye

KOZYREV ASKS FOR POSITIVE SERB STEPS. In a telephone conversation
with rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Vladislav Jonanic on 11 August,
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev told his counterpart
that Serbia needs to take urgent and convincing steps to assist
in the peace process. ITAR-TASS reported that both ministers
emphasized Serbian actions taken in this direction would be the
result of goodwill on Serbia's part and not due to the pressure
of military threats. Kozyrev indicated that Russia would reward
Serbia for such goodwill gestures by pressing for the lifting
of international sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia and by
promoting the idea of sending humanitarian aid there. -Suzanne
Crow

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



SHEVARDNADZE'S SECURITY CHIEF SUSPENDED. Georgian Parliamentary
Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze's chief of security, Eldar Gogoladze,
was suspended on 11 August pending the outcome of an investigation
of the murder of US CIA official Fred Woodruff, AFP reported.
Gogoladze, who works for the Georgian Ministry of Information
and Intelligence, was driving the car in which Woodruff was killed
late on 8-August near Tbilisi. US Embassy officials in Tbilisi
stated on 11 August that Georgian investigators had detained
three individuals for questioning in connection with the murder,
Western agencies reported. -Catherine Dale

BORDER GUARDS KIDNAPPED. Four Russian border guards and a border
guards officer from Kazakhstan were abducted from the Tajik-Afghan
border on 10-August by an armed group and taken into Afghanistan,
Russian and Western agencies reported on 11 August. Kazakhstan's
Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appealed to its opposite number
in Kabul for help in freeing the officer from the Kazakhstani
battalion stationed on the border as part of the security measures
agreed on earlier in the year to stop armed groups of the Tajik
opposition and their Afghan supporters who cross the border to
attack troops of the Tajik government. The Afghan Foreign Minister,
negotiating with Tajik government officials in Dushanbe, is reported
to have sent part of his delegation to try to secure the release
of the kidnapped border guards. -Bess Brown

CIS

AGREEMENT ON RUSSIAN OIL AND GAS DELIVERIES TO UKRAINE. Russian
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and his Ukrainian counterpart,
Leonid Kuchma, signed a draft agreement in Moscow on 11-August
on the supply of Russian oil and gas to Ukraine, Russian TV and
ITAR-TASS reported. Ukraine will pay for Russian oil and gas
in hard currency at prices that will gradually be brought up
to world levels by early 1994. Ukraine may deliver agricultural
produce in part-payment. It will be encouraged to invest in Siberian
oil and gas production ventures, and may process a larger share
of the Russian crude oil delivered. The volume of deliveries
will apparently remain the 30 million tons of oil and 60 billion
cubic meters of gas stipulated in the agreement for 1993. Any
re-export of Russian oil will require Moscow's permission. -Keith
Bush

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



BOSNIA UPDATE. Bosnian Serb forces appear to be withdrawing from
their positions on Mts. Igman and Bjelasnica overlooking Sarajevo,
international media report. Mediators Lord Owen and Thorvald
Stoltenberg gave Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic a deadline
of midmorning, 12 August, to quit the mountains. Bosnian President
Alija Izetbegovic threatened to quit the Geneva peace talks if
the troops fail to withdraw completely, and promised that his
troops will not enter these areas. Karadzic promised that his
troops will leave on schedule if the UN takes control of the
area. A UN spokesman on 11 August denied news reports that Owen
has backed Serb proposals for dividing Sarajevo, but he said
the mediators have attempted to bridge the gap between Bosnian
government insistence on a unified Sarajevo and a Serb demand
to split the city into two parts. If the Serbs received the key
suburbs they claim, Muslims would have access to their parts
of the city only by transiting through Serb territory. On 11
August Bosnian Foreign Minster Haris Silajdzic said, "creating
a new Berlin Wall in Europe is not an option as far as we are
concerned." Muslims want Sarajevo to become an open, demilitarized
city as the capital of a "union of republics," but Serbs reject
this idea. In central Bosnia fighting first eased after a series
of territorial gains by Bosnian forces, then picked up again,
Reuters reports on 12 August. Commanders of all three factions
agreed to yet another cease-fire in Sarajevo. -Fabian Schmidt


UKRAINIAN OFFICER KILLED IN BOSNIA. An officer working with UNPROFOR
was killed and two other Ukrainian soldiers seriously wounded
when a land mine exploded in Zepa, a Muslim enclave in Bosnia,
Reuters reported on 11 August. This was the fifth Ukrainian fatality
since the country began participating in the peacekeeping forces
in July 1992. -Ustina Markus

BULGARIAN, ROMANIAN, GREEK MILITARY MEETINGS. On 11 August the
chief of the general staff of the Bulgarian army, Gen. Lyuben
Petrov, returned to Bulgaria from a three-day visit to Romania,
where he discussed military cooperation and security measures
with Romanian Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dumitru Cioflina, BTA reports.
Petrov noted that significant progress had been made towards
the "withdrawal of military presence from our common border"
and the creation of nonmilitary areas along the border. Meanwhile,
on 11 August a Greek military delegation headed by the chief
of staff of the air force arrived in Sofia on an official visit
aimed at forging cooperation between the air forces of the two
countries. -Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN MINERS END STRIKE; RAIL DRIVERS START ONE. Radio Bucharest
reported on 11 August that coal miners from the Jiu Valley resumed
normal activity as of 6:00 a.m. after a nine-day strike. The
move came after the mine company agreed to raise the miners'
average monthly salary to 166,000 lei (some $220). But Industry
Minister Dumitru Popescu said in an interview with Radio Bucharest
that the labor conflict has not been solved and warned against
making "pledges without cover." He said that only 40% of the
91 billion lei supplementary allotment from the budget can be
used for pay raises, the rest being earmarked for restructuring
the industry and improving the infrastructure in the region.
At 7:00 a.m. on the same day, train drivers started their own
country-wide strike to press for the introduction of a higher
pay scale based on seniority. The scale would bring the average
salary from a current 180,000 lei to 207,000 lei. Top officials
harshly criticized the drivers' claims, pointing to the fact
that drivers' salaries are already among the highest in the country.
Labor and Social Protection Minister Dan Mircea Popescu even
spoke of "trade union terrorism" aimed at provoking "major social
tension" in Romania. The strike, which blocked most of the rail
traffic throughout the country, was described as illegal by railway
officials, who insisted that the law provides for essential traffic
to be kept going even in case of a strike. -Dan Ionescu

REGISTRATION COMPLETED FOR POLISH ELECTIONS. The national election
commission reported on 11 August that a total of 34 different
election committees have registered for the Sejm elections on
19 September. The high thresholds in the new election law-5%
for parties and 8% for coalitions-worked to limit the number
of parties running. In the 1991 elections, 111 committees registered
candidates. The number of candidates is up: at least 8,524 candidates
are running for 460 Sejm seats this year, while 6,980 competed
in 1991. The 34-committees include: 15 registered political parties,
10 social organizations, 3 coalitions, and 6 voters' groups.
Only 14 committees are registered in all or nearly all of the
nation's 52 election districts; the elections are likely to be
fought out among these parties. Ethnic minorities registered
7 committees, 6 for ethnic Germans and one for Belarusians. The
new election law allows ethnic minority organizations to exempt
themselves from either the 5% national threshold or the 7% threshold
for seats from the national list. PAP reported on 9 August that
a total of 683 candidates had registered for the Senate elections.
-Louisa Vinton

POLISH POLICE MOVE AGAINST "SELF DEFENSE." In the troubled town
of Praszka, near Czestochowa, police removed 40 demonstrators
from the town hall on 11 August. Led by Antoni Arndt, a candidate
for the Sejm from the anarchic Self Defense union, the demonstrators
had occupied the building and chained the front door shut. Police
moved in through a rear entrance. Most of the demonstrators had
to be carried out. Praszka was the site of earlier protests by
Self Defense on behalf of the unemployed; on 3 August, the mayor
was evicted from the town hall and carted around the square in
a wheelbarrow. The government sent in its own representative
to take over town management after the local council resigned
on 4 August. Deputy Prosecutor-General Stanislaw Iwanicki told
Polish TV on 11 August that the "prosecutor's office will halt
the dismantling of state structures by Self Defense activists."
The justice minister has set up a special group of prosecutors
to investigate illegal acts by Self Defense, PAP reports. A similar
investigation led the Warsaw voivodship court to rule in April
that the union's statutes violated the constitution, but Self
Defense has appealed that ruling. Some political parties have
called on the government to delegalize the union. -Louisa Vinton


PEPSI TO INVEST IN POLAND. PepsiCo Inc. announced on 10 August
that it will invest $500 million in the next five years, Reuters
reports. This would be the second-largest pledged foreign investment
in Poland. Pepsi plans to build a national network of fast-food
restaurants, featuring Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, and
Taco Bell. "Poland represents one of our company's biggest and
most exciting growth opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe,"
Pepsi CEO Wayne Calloway told a press conference in Warsaw. Pepsi
bought a 40% share in the Wedel chocolate factory for $25 million
in 1991. Coca-Cola announced a $250-million investment plan for
Poland in March 1993. The two companies are battling for control
of the soft drink, snack food, and fast food market in Poland.
The Wall Street Journal predicts on 11 August that the number
of US fast food restaurants in Poland will grow from 17 this
year to 300 in 1998. -Louisa Vinton

CONTROVERSY AROUND HORTHY'S REBURIAL CONTINUES. The planned reburial
of Admiral Miklos Horthy, who led Hungary between 1919 and 1944,
continues to spark controversy in Hungary, MTI and Radio Budapest
reported on 11 August. The Alliance of Free Democrats, the largest
opposition party, has called on government officials not to attend
so as not to "raise anxieties within the country and in neighboring
states." The parties of the governing coalition have, on the
hand, stressed the right of government members to attend the
ceremony as private citizens. Interior Minister Peter Boross
told Radio Budapest that he will probably attend if invited,
but emphasized that the presence of government officials would
not mean an official endorsement of the reburial. The same view
was echoed by the coalition Christian-Democratic People's Party,
whose presidium rejected allegations in the opposition media
that attendance by government members would amount to Horthy's
political rehabilitation or indicate that the government is inclined
to follow Horthy's policy. Boross argued that, in contrast to
communist leader Janos Kadar, "Horthy did not invite foreign
troops to Hungary,-.-.-. and there is no doubt that his views
represented Hungarian interests." -Edith Oltay

MOST CZECH POLITICAL CASES REHABILITATED. Czech courts have now
rehabilitated 95.7% out of those considered unjustly persecuted
during the preceding communist regime. It is estimated that over
251,000 people were wrongly convicted between 25 February 1948
and 31 December 1989. According to figures released by the Prosecutor
General's Office and reported by CTK, 198,009 of the 205,912
reported cases were automatically rehabilitated under the law
passed in July 1990; nearly 3,000 were rehabilitated on appeal.
In 1,253 cases alleged political offenses were hidden behind
common criminal or economic charges; such instances have posed
a greater challenge to the justice system. Some rehabilitation
requests remain unresolved due to a dearth of high court judges.
-Milada Vachudova

CZECH UNEMPLOYMENT UP SLIGHTLY. The Czech Statistical Office
has released figures, reported by CTK, showing unemployment reached
2.82% in July, as compared with 2.63% in June and 2.58% in May.
Many consider the unusually low unemployment rate to be a negative
sign, indicating that significant parts of the economy have yet
to be restructured. A 0.25% unemployment rate is reported in
Prague, where there is a chronic labor shortage, in part because
workers cannot easily move to the capital due to a housing shortage.
-Milada Vachudova

CZECH, SLOVAK TRADE FIGURES DIVERGE. Official trade statistics
released by the two governments, reported by CTK and TASR, reveal
that Czech exports have increased while Slovak exports have declined.
The Slovak Statistics Bureau reports that exports during the
first five months of this year declined by 9% compared with last
year, while imports increased by more than 12%. These figures
exclude trade with the Czech Republic. The Czech Statistical
Office reports that exports during the first six months of the
year grew by nearly 8% compared with last year, while imports
increased by more than 16%. These figures exclude trade with
Slovakia. Both countries report a trade surplus, although the
Czech surplus is significantly larger than that of Slovakia.
According to Slovak figures, the Czech Republic was Slovakia's
largest export market; moreover, Slovakia has had a consistent
trade surplus with the Czech Republic. Czech figures indicate
that Slovakia was the Czech Republic's second largest trading
partner after Germany. -Milada Vachudova

SLOVAKIA, AUSTRIA SIGN MILITARY AGREEMENT. Austrian Minister
for National Defense Werner Fasslabend, on a two-day official
visit in Slovakia, signed an agreement on military cooperation
on 11 August with his Slovak counterpart Imrich Andrejcak. The
treaty specifies cooperation in education and air defense, among
other areas, TASR reports. Andrejcak said Slovakia plans to conclude
similar agreements with other neighboring countries but stressed
that Slovakia will not join any military association other than
NATO. Premier Vladimir Meciar also met with Fasslabend and said
that while the CSCE "has already used all of its possibilities,"
NATO is "the only functioning security institution in Europe."
-Sharon Fisher

MECIAR SAYS RUSSIA NEED NOT APOLOGIZE FOR 1968. In the text of
the "Great Presidential Agreement," which will be the basis for
Slovakia's future cooperation with Russia, Slovakia will not
ask for an apology for the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia.
In an 11 August press conference the premier said that if Russia
would have to apologize, then so must other Warsaw Pact states,
for example Hungary. -Sharon Fisher

MECIAR OFFERS VIEWS ON COALITION, ECONOMY, MINORITIES. In an
11 August press conference the Slovak premier said that his party,
the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, is not presently negotiating
a coalition agreement with the Slovak National Party and that
"it's now the SNP's turn to act." Concerning an announcement
by the Finance Ministry that the state budget deficit reached
nearly 17.5 billion koruny by 9-August, Meciar said he "does
not know anything about it." Meciar also said that while he supports
bilingual road signs, he is opposed to two names for one town.
"Bratislava will remain Bratislava. It will never be Pozsony,
as the Hungarians call it." Meanwhile, Transportation Ministry
spokesman Ivan Vaclavik announced on 11 August that the country's
ban on bilingual signs applies to all regions of Slovakia, not
just those with ethnic Hungarians. He said road signs must be
written in Slovak since these names are on international maps.
According to Vaclavik, "district road signs should not contain
anything that may divert the attention of drivers," TASR reports.
Coexistence Movement Chairman Miklos Duray threatened to bring
the matter up in the Council of Europe. -Sharon Fisher

NEW RULES ON HARD CURRENCY EARNINGS IN UKRAINE. On 11 August
the Central Bank in Kiev announced new regulations on mandatory
sales of hard currency earnings, Reuters reports. Under the new
banking rules, companies are required to exchange half of their
hard currency earnings into the Ukrainian currency, the karbovanets,
at a fixed rate of exchange. Previously companies had to exchange
only 15% of hard currency earnings into karbovantsi and at a
market exchange rate. -Ustina Markus

FLOODS THREATEN BELARUSIAN AGRICULTURE. Severe flooding in southern
Belarus is threatening a quarter of the country's grain harvest
and half of its potato yield, Reuters reported on 11 August.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Aleksandr Staravoitau estimated
the damage at 15 billion Belarus rubles (about $30-million).
A further consequence of the disaster has been the flooding of
nuclear waste deposits along the Pripyat River in Belarus close
to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Details on radiation levels
have not been made public. -Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN COURT INVALIDATES NARVA REFERENDUM. On 11 August, 13
judges of the Estonian Supreme Court voted unanimously to declare
null and void the 16-17 July referendum on local autonomy held
in Narva, Reuters reports. On 30 June Chancellor of Justice Erik-Juhan
Truvali ruled that the referendum should be called off since
it contradicts the Constitution and appealed to the court for
a ruling, which can not be reversed. Narva officials had said
that they would abide by the ruling, but now some of them are
considering an appeal to the International Court of Justice in
the Hague. It is expected that the Estonian court will next invalidate
a similar referendum held in Sillamae on 17 July. -Saulius Girnius


SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS LATVIA. In Riga Swedish Foreign
Minister Margareta af Ugglas reiterated her country's support
for the prompt withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia and suggested
the establishment of a CSCE office in Riga. Her Latvian counterpart,
Georgs Andrejevs, agreed and stressed the important role of the
CSCE in European security issues. During her meetings with Latvian
officials, Ugglas also discussed cooperation on customs and border
controls, especially ways of stemming the flow of illegal immigrants
who use Latvia as a transit country to Scandinavia, Diena reported
on 11 August. -Dzintra Bungs

HAS THE LATS BECOME CONVERTIBLE? BANK OF LATVIA DIRECTOR EINARS
REPSE TOLD THE BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE OF PARLIAMENT THAT,
SINCE IT WAS INTRODUCED IN THE SPRING, THE LATS HAS BECOME A
STABLE CURRENCY CONVERTIBLE TO ANY OTHER HARD CURRENCY. Baltic
media reported on 8 August that the lats has been recognized
by the International Standards Organization. Repse also said
that money deposited in foreign banks is gradually returning
to Latvia, BNS reported on 11 August.-Dzintra Bungs [As of 1200
CET] Compiled by Ann Sheehy and Charles Trumbull



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