The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 156, 17 August 1993







RUSSIA



CHERNOMYRDIN WARNS AGAINST REGIONAL INDEPENDENCE. Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin told reporters during his visit to the Russian
Far East that he did not believe that any region of Russia-krai,
oblast, or republic-could survive independently. Moreover, he
cited the collapse of the Soviet Union as a warning to Russia's
regions that the newly independent states of the former USSR
had not benefited from their independence: "Some are suggesting
that they be made part of Russia'," ITAR-TASS on 16 August cited
him as saying. Chernomyrdin had said at the start of his trip
that early elections, as suggested by Yeltsin, were essential.
He expressed doubt that elections alone would stabilize the economy,
but said that the current political situation was unsustainable,
because "any decisions the executive takes are completely overturned."
-Wendy Slater

MORE ON THE PROPOSED FEDERATION COUNCIL. Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Shakhrai has given more details of President Yeltsin's
proposed Federation Council, Radio Rossii reported on 14 August.
According to Shakhrai, the body is to be the precursor to the
upper chamber of the new legislature envisioned in President
Yeltsin's draft constitution. Apart from representing Russia's
regions, the body will have three tasks: overseeing the process
of constitutional reform, helping to realize a new Federal Treaty,
and debating the most important policy questions in the country.All
reports state clearly that the new Federation council proposed
by Yeltsin is to be a consultative body, i.e., it will not have
legislative functions. Alexander Yakovlev, a legal expert working
in the Constitutional Assembly, told ITAR-TASS that the Federation
Council will be "a new element in the structure of state organs."
-Dominic Gualtieri

PARLIAMENT THWARTED OVER TV SCHEDULING. Parliament's Committee
for the Media requested that the Russian TV company alter its
scheduling to move the "Parliamentary Hour" program to a daily
slot earlier in the evening, ITAR-TASS of 14 August and Ostankino
TV "Itogi" of 15 August reported. The request was criticised
by the Russian Ministry of Information and the Press as illegal
and unconstitutional. "Parliamentary Hour" is made by a TV company
established by the parliament, and its rescheduling would have
prevented the screening at that time of popular shows such as
crime programs or the US soap opera "Santa Barbara." The ministry
described the committee's request as "an unconcealed act of disrespect
toward tens of millions of TV viewers." Programs were broadcast
as normal on 16-August. -Wendy Slater

KOZYREV'S COMMENTS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS REFUTED. Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev's assertion that a Russian-Ukrainian agreement
on dismantling the nuclear weapons in Ukraine was imminent appears
to have been unfounded. According to a Reuters report of 16-August,
Ukrainian Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov noted that while
Russia had made a proposal on dismantling nuclear weapons, "there
have so far been no talks with Russia." Morozov also informed
the visiting German defense minister, Volker Ruehe, that Ukraine
would ratify START-1 only after all issues of ownership and national
security were resolved. Morozov's comments were echoed by Foreign
Minister Anatoly Zlenko, who noted that it was "premature to
talk about any sort of accord, let alone one that would be concluded
in the near future." The Russian Foreign Ministry observed that
Kozyrev had merely been expressing his hopes for a breakthrough
and agreement. Nevertheless, Kozyrev's comments may have represented
a continuation of the Russian government's strategy of pressuring
Ukraine to reach an agreement by continuing to raise the issue
in the West and by portraying Kiev as inflexible and opposing
any agreement. -John Lepingwell

WORK ON MIG FIGHTER TERMINATED. "Vesti" on 16 August quoted Rostislav
Belyakov, chief designer of the Mikoyan aircraft production complex,
as saying that work on the latest MiG light fighter plane had
been discontinued. No other details were provided, but it is
possible that Belyakov was referring to the multi-role MiG-1.42
prototype, said to be similar to the US F-22. Whatever plane
is actually involved, the announcement appears to represent one
more indication of the difficulties that even the most prestigious
Russian defense firms now face. -Stephen Foye

CHERNOMYRDIN REVIEWS SOCIOECONOMIC SITUATION. The text of Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's report on the economy to an expanded
cabinet session is carried by Rossiiskiye vesti of 7-August.
It is perhaps the clearest and most detailed exposition of his
own position in a divided cabinet and of his view of the future.
He has harsh words for parliament's irresponsible budget maneuvers,
for the recent banknote exchange, for the lack of coordination
within the government, for the Russian Goskomstat, and for his
reportedly least favorite colleagues-Boris Fedorov and Anatolii
Chubais. He asserts that more than three-quarters of Russia's
population have incomes below the minimum subsistence level.
And he claims that bankruptcy legislation is ready, but that
the State Committee for the Management of State Property and
the Ministry of the Economy are dragging their feet in initiating
bankruptcy proceedings. -Keith Bush

INFLATION RATE UP IN JULY. The government's Economic Conditions
Center has reported that the monthly inflation rate rose in July
to 19.3%, according to Izvestiya of 5 August. Varying estimates
of the monthly inflation rate to date in 1993 have been provided
by different centers. Among the most authoritative are those
supplied in "Russian Economic Trends: Monthly Update" of 24 June.
According to this, monthly changes in the consumer price index
during the first five months of 1993 were: 26%, 25%, 20%, 23%,
and 19%. The figure for June was given as 17.4% (Rossiiskaya
gazeta, 20 July). -Keith Bush

EPIDEMICS OF PREVENTABLE DISEASES. On 13-15-August, Russian media
reported widespread outbreaks in Russia and in other former Soviet
republics of dangerous though preventable diseases. The horror
stories cited epidemics of cholera, diptheria, typhus, anthrax,
and malaria, plus one case of bubonic plague in Kazakhstan. In
an interview withThe Los Angeles Times of 17 August, the chief
specialist of the Russian Committee for Epidemic Control discusses
some of the principal causes of the epidemics. In addition to
poor sanitation, lack of drugs, more foreign travel, and reluctance
to be vaccinated, Yurii Fedorov mentioned low nutritional levels.
He reckoned that on average Russians receive 20% fewer calories
and 40% fewer vitamins than they need. The inadequate diet was
a factor cited also by Professor Oleg Bogomolov in an interview
with RFE/RL. Bogomolov believes that mortality rates among the
elderly have risen sharply because of malnutrition and poor health
care, but that the statistics have been concealed by the authorities.
-Keith Bush

RUSSIAN HOMOSEXUALS STILL IN JAIL. Members of "Treugolnik", a
new defense group for Russian homosexuals, have claimed that
about 50 homosexuals are still imprisoned, despite the fact that
changes to the criminal code in May removed the section making
homosexuality a crime, according to ITAR-TASS on 16-August. The
changes in the law were not widely publicized, and it is claimed
that prison directors oppose investigations of prisoners believed
to have been jailed for their homosexuality. "Treugolnik" (Triangle)
is the first open association of homosexuals in Russia; it held
its constituent assembly in Novosibirsk on 13-14 August. -Sheila
Marnie



TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



ARMENIAN FORCES CLOSE IN ON STRATEGIC AZERBAIJANI TOWN. The Azerbaijani
Defense Ministry claimed on 16 August that the town of Fizuli
south-west of Nagorno-Karabakh was under artillery bombardment
from Armenian forces that had surrounded the town, Reuters and
ITAR-TASS reported. A Nagorno-Karabakh spokesman denied this,
claiming that Azerbaijani forces were attacking Armenian-held
territory around Fizuli and the neighboring town of Dzhebrail.
In Baku, the Azerbaijani parliament met in emergency session
to discuss the military situation. It also condemned what were
termed "separatist actions" by Alikram Gumbatov, head of the
self-proclaimed Talysh-Mugan republic located on Azerbaijan's
south-eastern border with Iran. Gumbatov, who held talks with
Azerbaijan's parliament chairman Geidar Aliev a month ago in
an unsuccessful attempt to resolve differences, was accused of
links with the Islamic Hizbollah party and with "Mafia clans"
said to be financing him. He was further said to have 3,000 armed
supporters plus 80 armored vehicles, according to ITAR-TASS.
-Liz Fuller

DISENGAGEMENT IN ABKHAZIA COMPLETED ON SCHEDULE? AT A TRIPARTITE
MEETING ON 16 AUGUST IN SOCHI, ABKHAZ SEPARATISTS AND GEORGIAN
OFFICIALS "GUARANTEED" THE WITHDRAWAL OF ALL TROOPS FROM THE
CONFLICT ZONE BY MIDNIGHT ON 16 AUGUST IN ACCORDANCE WITH A RUSSIAN-MEDIATED
DISENGAGEMENT- PLAN, ITAR-TASS REPORTED. The withdrawal got off
to a slow start, and it is not yet known whether or not the deadline
was met. Abkhaz parliament chairman Vladislav Ardzinba issued
an order on 14 August suspending part of the plan in response
to Georgia's alleged failure to comply completely with the withdrawal
agreement, but ITAR-TASS reported on 16 August that chief of
operational headquarters for the joint commission for the settlement
of the Abkhaz Conflict, Major General Sergei Kudinov, clarified
that the order referred to the transportation of volunteers from
the Confederation of Peoples of the Caucasus out of Abkhaz territory
scheduled for 16-August. These troops had already been withdrawn
from the conflict zone. The head of the UN observer group, Major
Christian Sotheby, stated on 16 August that fuel shortages were
causing some delays in the withdrawal of Georgian troops and
equipment. Catherine Dale

KYRGYZSTAN'S ECONOMIC CRISIS DEEPENS. According to a report on
the latest Kyrgyz economic statistics, carried by ITAR-TASS on
16 August, the volume of industrial production in July was 41.8%
less than in the same period in 1992. Production in machine building
has fallen by 63.3%. As a result of the drop in production, the
state treasury has lost value-added taxes amounting to more than
3 million som. Figures for the first 7 months of 1993 suggest
that national income has decreased by 23.3%. -Sheila Marnie





CIS

TRAINING OFFICERS FOR KYRGYZSTAN'S ARMY. The State Defense Committee
of Kyrgyzstan announced on 16 August that 122 young men from
Kyrgyzstan would be sent for officer training to military schools
in Russia, while another 40 would be sent to Uzbekistan, ITAR-TASS
reported. According to the same report, several dozen cadets
from Kyrgyzstan are currently studying in Turkey. It is hoped
that in the years to come these young officers will begin to
replace former Soviet officers in the Kyrgyz army. -Stephen Foye


CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



DEVELOPMENTS ON THE GROUND IN BOSNIA. Borba reports on 17 August
that the Kiseljak and Visoko regions just west of Sarajevo are
rapidly shaping up as a major center of the Croat-Muslim conflict,
in addition to the Mostar-Jablanica-Konjic region and the central
Bosnian zone including Bugojno and Gornji Vakuf. Elsewhere, wars
of words continue over certain aspects of the conflict, with
news agencies on 16 August quoting Bosnian Croat spokesmen as
denying earlier charges that their army is using Muslim prisoners
to build front-line fortifications. Reuters, moreover, cites
a Roman Catholic priest in Travnik as saying that the Muslim
authorities are forcing Croat civilians "to dig trenches for
the Bosnian army." In yet another verbal exchange, Bosnian Vice
President Ejup Ganic has called UNPROFOR Gen. Barry Frewer's
comment that Sarajevo is not under siege "a serious lie," and
demanded the Canadian officer's recall. The 17 August Washington
Post quotes Frewer as praising the Serbs and noting that they
have "a tactically advantageous position [around Sarajevo] .
. . but I wouldn't call it a siege." Finally, international media
report that over 560-hospital beds have been offered by Italy
and other countries for the sick and wounded of Sarajevo, but
the top UN refugee official there says that, in addition to the
well-publicized cases, there is "an iceberg of suffering" in
the Bosnian capital. Patrick Moore

"SMALL PROGRESS" IN GENEVA TALKS. The negotiations on Bosnia
resumed on 16-August on demilitarizing Sarajevo and placing it
under UN control for an indefinite period, international media
report. The zone would include all districts of Sarajevo, the
surrounding mountains and the airport, from which all armed forces
except those of the UN are excluded. The leaders agreed to allow
full freedom of movement for UN military observers in Bosnia.
A UN spokesman said: "We're not talking about a final agreement
here. The devil is always in the details." Bosnian President
Alija Izetbegovic said that "small progress" had been made, while
the spokesman of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said: "I
think if the plan is implemented, it will certainly produce the
end of hostilities, so we must welcome it." Izetbegovic, Karadzic
and Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban agreed to set up a working
committee that would present specific proposals on 17 August.
Mediators Lord Owen and Thorvald Stoltenberg welcomed it as "developing
a better atmosphere of trust for these negotiations," their spokesman
said. The Muslim and Serb leaders are also due to meet to talk
about eastern Bosnia. At stake is whether Gorazde and Srebrenica
will be linked to other Muslim-held territory by a viable corridor.
-Fabian Schmidt

SUCHOCKA VISITS POLISH TROOPS IN CROATIA. Polish Prime Minister
Hanna Suchocka made a one-day visit to Croatia on 16 August to
visit Polish peace-keeping forces in Serb-occupied Krajina, PAP
reports. The Polish battalion of 945 soldiers has been stationed
in Croatia since March 1992. Suchocka said her visit, on the
occasion of Polish Army Day, was intended to demonstrate the
importance Poland attaches to its own security and sovereignty,
which the armed forces guarantee. On the return trip to Zagreb,
Serbian police halted the Polish convoy as the internal affairs
minister of the self-proclaimed Republic of the Serbian Krajina
attempted to lodge a protest with the Polish prime minister.
This attempt was rebuffed, as Poland does not recognize the Krajina
republic. The Polish convoy was allowed to proceed only after
the intercession of the UN command. Suchocka also met with Croatian
Prime Minister Nikica Valentic, who praised the "objectivity"
of Polish troops. -Louisa Vinton

POLISH GOVERNMENT INTERCEDES IN ARMS TRIAL. The government is
continuing its efforts to secure the release of five Polish citizens
awaiting trial in New York for an alleged attempt to sell arms
to Iraq. The five-including several former communist officials-were
arrested in Germany in 1992 in a sting operation organized by
US customs officials. Germany extradited the five to the US despite
protests by the Polish Foreign Ministry. Rajmond Szwonder, an
arms plant director also arrested in the case, was returned to
Poland in March (and is now an election candidate for the former
communist Democratic Left Alliance). Poland argues that the US
courts do not have jurisdiction in the case and has demanded
that the charges be dropped. The New York court postponed the
opening date of the trial, scheduled for 16 August, for two weeks
after the Polish government submitted a formal diplomatic protest.
Cabinet minister Jan Maria Rokita met with the US charge d'affaires
in Warsaw on 16 August to stress the "enormous weight" that Prime
Minister Hanna Suchocka attaches to the case. The government
is using legal as well as diplomatic channels to secure the release
of the five, PAP reports. -Louisa Vinton

POLAND'S PARTY "X" PREPARES "PLAN X." Party-"X" leader Stanislaw
Tyminski launched his election campaign at a press conference
on 14 August by opening his famous black briefcase (which he
had claimed contained compromising materials on Lech Walesa during
the 1990 presidential race). Inside was a personal computer containing
a program "based on data from the World Bank" and "formulated
in Canada" that, Tyminski said, can foresee the consequences
of all economic decisions. He showed reporters a graph predicting
the total collapse of the economy in 1994. Calling the past four
governments "whores," Tyminski said that Party "X" is Poland's
only chance. He pledged to use his TV election slot to reveal
his "Plan X" for Poland. Tyminski also hinted he has damaging
materials on the leader of the Self Defense union, Andrzej Lepper,
a potential rival for the protest vote. Party "X" collected enough
signatures to register 315 candidates in 51 of 52 election districts.
-Louisa Vinton

PORTUGUESE DELEGATION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC. On 16 August a high-level
Portuguese delegation ended a two-day official visit of the Czech
Republic. At a press conference on 16 August, attended by Prime
Minister Anibal Cavaco Silva and his Czech counterpart, Vaclav
Klaus, officials announced that the two countries discussed agreements,
among others, on protecting investments and repatriating profits.
Silva said that the European Community is open to the Czech Republic.
Klaus said he expected his country to participate in the EC before
the end of the century, noting the country's law unemployment
and inflation rates. He argued that the Czech Republic can fulfill
entrance requirements for the EC "better than almost all current
members." -Jiri Pehe

MAJORITY OF SLOVAKS FAVOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. In a poll by Ultex
Slovensko, reported by TASR on 16 August, 79% of those asked
responded "certainly yes" to the question "Do you prefer the
renewal of the death penalty for capital offenses?" while only
3% answered "certainly no." In response to the question "Do you
think the contemporary state of criminal law in the Slovak Republic
satisfies the needs of society?" only 3% answered "certainly
yes," and 42% responded "certainly no." In recent weeks the issue
of capital punishment has sparked debate between political parties.
The Slovak National Party hopes to initiate a referendum on the
issue, while others have objected. Premier Vladimir Meciar said
"the introduction of capital punishment can help alleviate some
problems, but not many," TASR reported on 2 August. Rejection
of the death penalty was one of the conditions for Slovakia's
admission into the Council of Europe. -Sharon Fisher

GYPSY ORGANIZATIONS MEET IN BUDAPEST. The Hungarian Gypsy Organizations,
comprising a number of groups representing Gypsy interests, ended
a two-day conference in Budapest on 14 August, MTI reports. The
conference discussed the economic difficulties facing Gypsies
and ways to help Gypsy families. Minister of Interior Peter Boross
and officials from the Ministry of Welfare participated in the
meeting. Boross and Janos Wolfart, the head of the Office for
National and Ethnic Minorities, called attention to the regrettable
rivalries among the numerous Gypsy organizations set up since
1989 and called for a unified national organization to represent
interests of all Gypsies and negotiate with the government on
their behalf. The Roma Parliament, which has ties to the Alliance
of Free Democrats, Hungary's largest opposition party, walked
out of the conference, accusing the participants of uncritically
accepting government policy toward Gypsies. In a statement at
the end of their meeting, the Hungarian Gypsy Organizations rejected
all extremist policies, called for the preparation of a comprehensive
sociological study of Gypsies, and agreed to set up a committee
to monitor the new law on national and ethnic minorities. The
number of Gypsies in Hungary is estimated at 600-800,000. -Edith
Oltay

NATO DELEGATION VISITS ROMANIA. On 16 August a delegation headed
by Field Marshal Sir Richard Frederick Vincent, chairman of NATO's
Military Committee, began an official visit. Sir Vincent, who
was received by President Ion Iliescu, Defense Minister Lt.-Gen.
Nicolae Spiroiu, and Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, stated
that his main goal is to step up cooperation between NATO and
Romania. He also praised the role played by Romania in the region
and its contribution to the embargo against Serbia and Montenegro.
Melescanu pledged that Romania will step up its diplomatic and
military presence in Brussels and reaffirmed Romania's wish to
join NATO as a full member. The NATO delegation took part in
a round table on cooperation between the NATO and partner states,
held at the Euro-Atlantic Center in Bucharest. -Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN RAIL STRIKE UPDATE. On 16 August the train drivers'
strike continued throughout Romania for the sixth day. In an
attempt to mediate President Iliescu received a union delegation
and told them that higher wages are out of the question because
of the damage already caused by the strike. He also said that
the refusal of the strikers to obey a Supreme Court ruling and
return to work creates a dangerous precedent. In an interview
with Radio Bucharest on the same day, Justice Minister Petre
Ninosu suggested that legal action has already been initiated
against the strikers, and they might be accused of "undermining
the national economy" and "deliberate dereliction of duty." In
the evening, Iliescu addressed an urgent appeal to the strikers
to return to work. On the morning of 17 August union leader Ioan
Vlad repeatedly urged the drivers to go back to work. But the
railroad yards in Brasov and Simeria announced that they intend
to continue the protest. -Dan Ionescu

BULGARIA CUT OFF FROM NORTH. The Romanian rail workers strike
is blocking Bulgaria's major transport route to the rest of Europe,
Bulgarian media report. Already cut off from Western Europe because
of the UN embargo against rump Yugoslavia, Bulgaria's transport
system is facing additional stress. Black Sea ports are currently
the only link to the West. During the past six days a backup
of some 435 freight cars has built up south of the Danube, mainly
in the city of Ruse. Moreover, road traffic has risen far beyond
the capacity of border checkpoints to Romania. Transport Minister
Kiril Ermenkov told BTA that Turkey and Greece have been informed
that for the time being Bulgaria cannot receive any freight traffic
destined for transit through Bulgaria. -Kjell Engelbrekt

HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP PROTESTS BULGARIAN DECOMMUNIZATION. The New
York-based Helsinki Watch group has called on Bulgarian politicians
to repeal or amend a law aimed at "decommunizing" senior positions
in education and research institutions, an RFE/RL correspondent
reports. The human rights group, which has visited Bulgaria several
times to monitor the implementation of the law, made its appeal
in a report released last week. The report says the so-called
"Panev Law," named after the anticommunist deputy who wrote the
motion, implies that former communists are collectively responsible
for misdeeds in the past. The excommunist Bulgarian Socialist
Party is seeking to amend the law. -Kjell Engelbrekt

TRIAL BEGINS IN TIRANA AGAINST FORMER COMMUNIST OFFICIALS. Rilindja
Demokratike reports that the trial against former prime minister
Vilson Ahmeti and two other officials began on 16 August. Ahmeti
was prime minister in "the government of specialists" from December
1991 until March 1992. Ahmeti is charged with abuse of power
and could face up to 10 years in jail. While the trial against
Nexhmije Hoxha, widow of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, was largely
botched by the ineptness of the prosecution, the trial against
these "former communists" provides an opportunity for the Albanian
prosecutors office to restore the credibility of its attacks
on officials from the communist era. This trial is likely a dress
rehearsal for the main event-proceedings against Fatos Nano,
leader of Albania's Socialist Party, who is also charged with
abuse of power. Robert Austin

UKRAINE SIGNS MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH GERMANY. On
16 August Ukrainian Minister of Defense Konstantin Morozov and
his German counterpart, Volker Ruehe, signed an agreement on
military cooperation that provides for official and working visits
between delegations of the armed forces of the two countries.
Ukrainian Radio reports that Ruehe was on an official visit to
Kiev, during which he also met with President Leonid Kravchuk
and Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko. This is the second agreement
on military cooperation that Ukraine has signed with a Western
country; the first was signed earlier this year with the United
States. -Ustina Markus

RUSSIA SUPPLIES BELARUS WITH MORE GAS. On 16 August a joint Russian-Belarus
commission met in Moscow to work out the problems of gas supplies,
ITAR-TASS reports. Vyacheslav Sheremet, first deputy chairman
of the Russian enterprise Gazprom, said that gas to Belarus was
cut from 33 to 12 million cubic meters per day. That amount is
sufficient for people in Belarus to survive but not enough for
enterprises to function fully. Sheremet reminded the Belarusians
that the cutoff did not happen unexpectedly: a month earlier
Gazprom had warned Belarus that the next time the republic failed
to pay its bills gas would be cut off. On 16 August Belapan reported
that gas supplies to Belarus had been increased to 17-million
cubic meters a day when Belarus officials demonstrated that 10%
of the debt had been paid. Belarus owes about 100 billion Russian
rubles ($100 million) for its gas.--Ustina Markus

UN DELEGATION TO OBSERVE RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM BALTIC
STATES. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has appointed
Tommy Roh, Singapore's UN mission head, as leader of a UN delegation
to observe the withdrawal of the Russian military from the Baltic
States, Radio Lithuania reported on 13 August. The delegation
will begin and end its mission in Moscow (29-31 August and 8-9-September)
with visits to Vilnius (31 August-3 September), Riga (3-6 September),
and Tallinn (6-7 September) in between. The trip will help Boutros-Ghali
prepare a report on the withdrawal as required by a UN General
Assembly resolution passed unanimously on 25 November 1992. The
withdrawal from Lithuania should be completed by 31 August 1993,
but no dates have yet been set for the departure from Estonia
and Latvia. -Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN, LATVIAN PRIME MINISTERS MEET IN RIGA. Adolfas Slezevicius
was received by Valdis Birkavs in Riga on 16 August. They discussed
Baltic security and Russian troop withdrawal as well as Lithuania's
plan to construct a petroleum terminal near the Latvian border.
The two also examined ways to improve cooperation in resolving
economic, energy, and border problems. Estonian Prime Minister
Mart Laar could not participate but urged discussion of a Baltic
free trade accord along the lines of the Estonian-Latvian agreement
scheduled to be signed on 13 September. Meanwhile, Lithuanian
President Algirdas Brazauskas has announced that he expects to
meet his Estonian and Latvian counterparts on 27 August. -Dzintra
Bungs

ESTONIAN DEPUTIES BOYCOTT PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS. Two sessions
of the Riigkogu were effectively blocked on 16 August when the
ruling coalition parties, joined by deputies of the Royalist
Party, decided to boycott the parliament. Although there were
enough deputies present in the halls to make a quorum, they refused
to register their presence officially. One session to discuss
the conflict in the country's armed forces had been requested
by the Estonia's Constitution faction, while the second session
was to have considered revoking the authority of the secret police
to engage in eavesdropping. The opponents of the extraordinary
sessions said that the topics on the agenda are outside the competence
of parliament, noting that the legislative branch does not have
the right to annul decisions of the executive. Baltic media carried
the reports on 16-August. -Dzintra Bungs

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Charles Trumbull







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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