Поверь в тот факт, что есть ради чего жить, и твоя вера поможет этому факту свершиться. - Джеймс
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 167, 01 September 1993

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.





RUSSIA



FILATOV ON FEDERATION COUNCIL. Sergei Filatov, the head of President
Boris Yeltsin's administration, told ITAR-TASS on 31 August that
the signing of the agreement on the creation of the Federation
Council is scheduled for next week. Filatov said that, according
to the draft constitution, the Federation Council would become
the upper chamber of the new Russian parliament, and the present
corps of deputies would become the lower chamber. In his opinion,
in this way the reorganization of legislative power in Russia
could take place smoothly without the holding of elections and
revolutionary upheavals. The idea that Yeltsin's Federation Council
could be turned into the upper house seems to be wishful thinking
since any constitutional changes would require the approval of
the Congress of People's Deputies. -Ann Sheehy

RESHUFFLE IN SECURITY COUNCIL. In a move aimed at restructuring
the operation of the Security Council, President Yeltsin has
transferred two deputy secretaries of the Council, Yurii Nazarkin
and Vladislav Nasinovsky, to different posts, according to ITAR-TASS
on 31-August. Nazarkin, who had been in charge of the Security
Council's Administration for Strategic Security, has now been
named chief of the the Council's Administration for Coordination
and Cooperation. Nasinovsky, formerly chief of the Council's
Informational-Analytical Center, has become chief of the Information
and Analysis Administration. Both men seem, however, to have
been released from their functions as deputy secretaries of the
Security Council. Yeltsin has still not appointed a new Secretary
of the Security Council following the recent resignation of Marshal
Evgenii Shaposhnikov. -Alexander Rahr

RUTSKOI TO MEET ANGRY COAL MINERS. Local authorities in Vorkuta
are worried about the upcoming visit of Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi to the coal miners of the region, ITAR-TASS reported
on 31 August. They fear that Rutskoi's anti-Yeltsin speeches
may only aggravate the political situation which has become very
tense following the liberalization of coal prices just over a
month ago. Some observers believe that Rutskoi may call upon
the miners to strike and that such an appeal, if effective, may
have serious consequences for the rest of the nation. -Alexander
Rahr

CONSERVATIVES MOVE AGAINST FOREIGN BUSINESS. The conservative
leadership of parliament will sponsor a conference on "Entrepreneurship
and Competiveness of Russia's Economy" in the Parliamentary Center
at Tsvetnoi bulvar in Moscow on 9-11 September. The invitation
letter states that the conference will have two goals: first,
to work out practical methods for improving the "competiveness"
of Russian enterprises vis-З-vis foreign firms operating in Russia;
and, second, to set up "organizational structures" for the "ousting
of foreign capital" from Russia's market. A new organization-the
"Union of Russian Entrepreneurs"-is also expected to be launched
at the conference. -Alexander Rahr

FEDERAL TREASURY TO IMPLEMENT BUDGET. A government decree has
provided for the establishment of a Federal Treasury (kaznacheistvo),
Kommersant-Daily of 31 August and The Financial Times of 1 September
reported. This would be created within the Ministry of Finance,
with branch offices at all levels of administration throughout
the federation, and could take over the planning and execution
of all aspects of the federal budget from the Russian Central
Bank. The government is also said to be planning to reduce parliament's
powers over the budget to just confirming it once it has been
presented by the president. -Keith Bush

YELTSIN SUPPORTS PROPOSAL FOR MORE CONTRACT SOLDIERS. Reflecting
ongoing efforts by Russian political leaders to win support within
the armed forces, Russian President Boris Yeltsin spent a full
day on 31 August visiting troops and observing exercises in the
Moscow Military District. Yeltsin told reporters that, despite
facing financial problems, the Russian army remained "powerful,
organized, and disciplined." ITAR-TASS, quoting Defense Minister
Pavel Grachev, said that Yeltsin had also signaled his readiness
to support a Defense Ministry plan for the recruitment of another
50,000 "contract" soldiers this year, with a further 150,000
to be added in 1994. Russia currently has approximately 110,000
soldiers serving on contract and, in the face of continuing manpower
shortages in the conscript army, military leaders have repeatedly
asked for additional funding to expand that number. According
to Reuters, Grachev, who accompanied the President during his
visit, had complained earlier in the day that funding shortages
were raising tensions within the armed forces. -Stephen Foye


ON REGULAR VISITS, MILITARY DOCTRINE. On 1-September Krasnaya
zvezda, the Ministry of Defense newspaper, said that henceforth
Yeltsin intended to spend one day each month visiting military
units in an attempt to improve morale in the army. As summarized
by ITAR-TASS, the newspaper also quoted Yeltsin as saying Russia's
long-awaited military doctrine would be approved at the next
meeting of the Russian Security Council. He said that work on
the doctrine had already been completed. -Stephen Foye

GRACHEV OFF TO GEORGIA, CENTRAL ASIA. Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev was scheduled to leave on 1 September for a two-day working
visit that will take him to Georgia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan,
ITAR-TASS reported on 31 August. Before leaving, Grachev suggested
that he was unhappy over parliament's decision to forbid conscript
soldiers from serving beyond Russia's borders and said that,
at least partly for that reason, Russian troops in Georgia should
be withdrawn or reduced considerably. Grachev said that he would
discuss with Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze a proposal that
would limit Russian soldiers in Georgia to three areas: Tbilisi,
Akhalkalaki, and Adzharia. He reportedly also intends to propose
that Georgia sign an agreement with Russia, similar to one concluded
by Russia and Armenia, that would establish Russian military
bases in Georgia (to be financed by Tbilisi). Georgia, it is
worth noting, is not a member of the CIS. In Ashgabat, Grachev
is to discuss Russian-Turkmen military cooperation, and in Tashkent,
to discuss Uzbek and Kazakh compliance with the CFE Treaty. -Stephen
Foye

JAPAN PROTESTS RUSSIAN AIR INTRUSION. The Japanese government
on 31 August lodged a protest against what it said was an intrusion
into Japanese airspace by a Russian Ilyushin-20 reconnaissance
aircraft, Kyodo reported. The plane reportedly ignored Russian-language
warnings and continued to fly along the West coast of Hokkaido
for about one minute, prompting the Japanese self-defense forces
to scramble six air defense jet fighters in pursuit. Japanese
sources said that the intrusion, which came amid worsening relations
between Moscow and Tokyo, was the first confirmed intrusion by
an Il-20. -Stephen Foye

KOZYREV REASSERTS PEACEKEEPING LEADERSHIP CLAIM. Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev told a Geneva conference on the protection of
war victims on 31 August that "peacemaking" has become a central
element in Russia's foreign policy and claimed credit (for Russia)
for having stopped hostilities in the "Dniester republic" and
South Ossetia. "While the international community is only approaching
the first stage in the former Yugoslavia-termination of bloodshed-Russia
and its neighbors have managed to fulfill this task. . . . "
Kozyrev further claimed that Russia has made strenuous efforts
to ensure that the principles of international humanitarian law
are being observed throughout the former Soviet Union, RFE/RL's
correspondent in Geneva reported. Kozyrev's statements can be
read as a rebuttal to the argument that the United States has
a role to play in facilitating political settlements of conflicts
in areas which Russia views as its own sphere of influence. His
arguments mark the continuation of Russian efforts to gain international
recognition as a guarantor for stability in the region. -Suzanne
Crow

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



AZERBAIJAN REFERENDUM RESULTS ANNOUNCED. Almost 93 per cent of
the 3.7 million electorate participated in the 29 August referendum
on public confidence in President Abulfaz Elchibey, of whom 97
per cent voted "no", ITAR-TASS reported on 31 August. Elchibey
himself, in an interview with Turkish Radio and Television, again
argued that the referendum was illegal, given that 25 per cent
of the population have been displaced from their homes and that
he had been given no access to the media to express his views.
ITAR-TASS quoted a CSCE representative who monitored the voting
as assessing it as "on the whole positive." -Liz Fuller

IRAN TO SET UP REFUGEE CAMP ON AZERBAIJANI TERRITORY? AT THE
REQUEST OF THE AZERBAIJANI GOVERNMENT, IRAN IS STUDYING THE POSSIBILITIES
FOR SETTING UP A REFUGEE CAMP "WITHIN THE CONFINES OF AZERBAIJAN"
FOR AZERBAIJANI CIVILIANS DISPLACED BY THE ONGOING ARMENIAN OFFENSIVE
BETWEEN NAGORNO-KARABAKH AND THE AZERBAIJAN-IRANIAN BORDER, REUTERS
AND ITAR-TASS REPORTED ON 31 AUGUST. According to an Azerbaijani
Defense Ministry source, Armenian forces are advancing on the
town of Kubatli, 7 km from the Armenian border. In an apparent
attempt to bring pressure to bear on the Armenian government,
Iran has mounted large-scale military exercises near its frontier
with Armenia, AFP reported quoting Iranian radio. -Liz Fuller


STALEMATE IN WESTERN GEORGIA. Addressing the Georgian parliament
on 31 August, chairman Eduard Shevardnadze warned that the seizure
by supporters of ousted president Zviad Gamsakhurdia of three
towns in western Georgia and the blocking of rail connections
to Tbilisi and Armenia could lead to "utter political and economic
catastrophe", the Georgian Information Agency reported. In an
apparent contradiction, Shevardnadze argued that he does not
have the right not to restore order in the country, but that
he will do everything possible to avoid a bloodbath. -Liz Fuller


KAZAKHSTAN PROTESTS CHINESE NUCLEAR TESTS. Kazakhstan's President
Nursultan Nazarbaev told a congress of the Global Anti-Nuclear
Alliance in Almaty of his country's concerns about the effects
of nuclear testing at China's Lop Nor test site, Russian and
Western news agencies reported on 30 August. The belief that
Chinese tests are causing health problems in Kazakhstan is widespread
in Almaty. Nazarbaev also appealed for Chinese help in dealing
with the problems caused by its tests, complaining that Kazakhstan
has already been left to deal singlehandedly with the effects
of Soviet nuclear tests conducted on its territory. On other
occasions he has tried to obtain promises of help from foreign
states, particularly the US, in cleaning up the environmental
and health problems caused by nuclear testing, sometimes asking
for such promises in exchange for agreement to give up Kazakhstan's
nuclear missiles. -Bess Brown

DESERTION RATE REMAINS HIGH IN KAZAKHSTAN'S MILITARY. On 31 August
Ekho Moskvy quoted Kazakhstan's Defense Minister Sagadat Nurmagambetov
as saying that the problem of desertion from Kazakhstan's armed
forces is taking on a mass character, with more than 3,000 deserters
reported at present. Desertion has been a major problem in the
armed forces of several Central Asian states since these countries
created their own military establishments in 1992. General Nurmagambetov
has frequently alluded to the problem in Kazakhstan, but implied
in the statement quoted by Ekho Moskvy that the situation is
worsening. He called for changes in the behavior of troop commanders.
-Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



GENEVA BREAKTHROUGH IN THE OFFING? "THE CONFERENCE CONTINUES
AND WE ARE EXPECTING THE MUSLIM SIDE TO SIGN THE WHOLE PACKAGE,"
BOSNIAN SERB LEADER RADOVAN KARADZIC SAID ON 31 AUGUST, INTERNATIONAL
MEDIA REPORT. Mediator Lord Owen warned that unless Bosnian President
Alija Izetbegovic signs, Bosnia might be "cut in two," a suggestion
which Karadzic reinforced when he added: "if they don't sign,
we and the Croats could divide Bosnia in two." Izetbegovic, who
wants more territorial concessions in areas such as Visegrad,
Zvornik, and Prijedor where ethnic cleansing has taken place,
and an access route to the Adriatic, sees, however, "no progress
so far." The two warring parties nonetheless agreed on a cease-fire,
an exchange of prisoners, collaboration to restore electricity,
water, and gas in Sarajevo, a telephone hot line between Sarajevo
and Pale, and an end to the media propaganda war. The agreement
has not yet been signed. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
told UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali that Russia is
ready to send peacekeepers to Bosnia if the plan is accepted.
On 1-September Boutros-Ghali will meet with NATO Secretary-General
Manfred Woerner. -Fabian Schmidt

TUDJMAN AND MILOSEVIC MEET. Hina reports on 1-September that
Croatian President Franjo Tudjman held separate talks in Geneva
the previous day with his Serbian counterpart Slobodan Milosevic
and Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban. Tudjman is continuing his
hitherto inconclusive efforts to gain Milosevic's concrete support
for an all-encompassing agreement to regulate Serb-Croat relations
and end the rebellion of Croatia's Serb minority, which Croatian
officials say is nonetheless being beefed up militarily by Serbs
from Bosnia and Serbia. Tudjman's talks with Boban were probably
aimed at dealing with the concerns of Bosnian and other Croats
left outside the boundaries of the newly proclaimed "Croatian
Republic of Herceg-Bosna," which centers on western Herzegovina.
Most of prewar Bosnia-Herzegovina's Croats lived outside those
frontiers, but were generally not so militantly nationalistic
as the Herzegovinians. -Patrick Moore

UN CONVOY LEAVES MOSTAR. International media reported on 31 August
that Muslims in Mostar finally allowed the nearly 60 Spanish
UNPROFOR soldiers they had been blockading for almost a week
to leave the city for Medjugorje, where the Spanish are headquartered.
The Croat forces in the embattled Herzegovinian capital offered
the Muslims what the BBC called an unconditional cease-fire,
but the Muslims' response does not appear to be known yet. Meanwhile,
the 1 September Washington Post reports that major fighting between
Croats and Muslims could be imminent over Gornji Vakuf and nearby
Prozor. The prize is a stretch of territory in central Bosnia
that would enable the Muslims to link up with their holdings
in Herzegovina and maybe even break the Croat grip on Mostar.
One UN officer said of the Muslim forces that have been on the
offensive against the Croats since the spring: "they almost have
created a real army." -Patrick Moore

SLOVENIAN PRESIDENT UNDER FIRE. Local dailies on 31 August published
an open letter by Slovenian Defense Minister Janez Jansa in which
he accuses President Milan Kucan of involvement in illegal arms
trade. Jansa claims that Kucan mediated deals for Croatian President
Franjo Tudjman and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic. He specifically
accused Kucan of involvement in the smuggling of the more than
120 tons of arms intended for Bosnian Muslim forces that were
discovered at Maribor airport in July. Initial results of investigations
confirm that high-ranking Slovenian officials knew of the shipment.
Jansa also charges that Kucan arranged for the training of Bosnian
Muslim soldiers in Slovenia in mid-1992. However, the latest
issue of Mladina publishes a copy of a contract signed by Jansa
in August 1992 for Slovenia to provide training facilities and
equipment for the Bosnians in exchange for a $2-million helicopter.
Jansa has not responded to the Mladina story but went on to accuse
Kucan of leaking state secrets and said he would launch criminal
proceedings against Kucan for giving Mladina a copy of the document.
The scandal has rocked the government and might force new elections
in November. -Milan Andrejevich

AHMETI, TRADE BANK OFFICIALS SENTENCED IN TIRANA. Following the
recommendation last week of the prosecutor almost to the letter,
an Albanian court sentenced former Prime Minister Vilson Ahmeti
to two years in prison, Rilindja Demokratike reports on 1-September.
Former Trade Bank officials, Agron Saliu and Agim Tartari received
seven and six years, respectively. All three were accused of
misuse of office when they paid French businessman Nicolas Arsidi
$1.6 million to renegotiate Albania's foreign debt. The legal
proceedings went relatively smoothly, and the prosecutor's office
will gain momentum in the coming months with bigger fish to fry,
including former president Ramiz Alia and the current leader
of the Socialist Party, Fatos Nano. -Robert Austin

SOLIDARITY ANNIVERSARY MARKED BY DIVISION. The celebrations in
Poland to mark the anniversary of the Gdansk agreements in 1980
reflected the political conflict that has divided the movement
since the collapse of communism. Speaking at the Gdansk shipyard
on 31 August, President Lech Walesa said that the union created
after the round-table talks in 1989 had little in common with
the original movement. "We never recreated the unity destroyed
by martial law," Walesa said. The president pledged not to allow
a reversal in reforms, PAP reports. Walesa met at the shipyard
with candidates from his Nonparty Reform Bloc, who endorsed expanding
the powers of the presidency. Speaking at the union's separate
celebrations in Warsaw, Solidarity chairman Marian Krzaklewski
said that the union "will not be defeated or divided, even by
the man who said those words," a reference to Walesa's famous
motto about Solidarity. -Louisa Vinton

SUCHOCKA WANTS ANSWER FROM NATO . . . Addressing a gathering
of diplomats, politicians, and academics at the Eastern Studies
Center in Warsaw on 31 August, Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka
called for a clear decision by NATO on Polish membership, no
later than at the alliance's winter summit. Insufficient involvement
by NATO in the region, Suchocka added, would force Poland to
seek an alternate security arrangement in East Central Europe.
NATO's expansion to the east would stabilize the region and prevent
possible conflicts, she argued. Suchocka identified Poland's
three foreign policy priorities as: severing all remaining "imperial
ties," a permanent return to Poland's roots in the West, and
friendly cooperation with all neighbors. Poland's foreign policy
is above party divisions, Suchocka concluded, and will thus remain
stable after the elections. -Louisa Vinton

.-.-.- KLAUS, HOWEVER, IS LESS BULLISH. In an interview with
Czech Radio on 31-August, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus observed
that NATO had been established under the conditions of a bipolar
world and that the organization "has outlived itself to some
degree." Klaus said that it is not decisive for the Czech Republic
whether "someone will admit us or not admit us [to NATO]," but
how his government will evaluate the security situation in Europe.
The Czech leader indicated that there might be security alternatives
to NATO and said that he is paying close attention to the aims
of other security initiatives in Europe. -Jan Obrman

SLOVAK MAGYARS' LETTER TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE. Local and international
media report that leaders of Slovakia's Hungarian minority sent
a letter to the Council of Europe on 31 August complaining about
unkept promises about minority rights by the Slovak government.
The letter states that on 23 June the Slovak parliament pledged
that Slovakia would observe recommendations of the CE on improving
minority rights. The letter points out that instead of keeping
their promises, the Slovak authorities ordered the removal of
Hungarian-language road signs and that a law on allowing the
use of Hungarian first and last names was returned to the parliament
by the president on the recommendation of the government. The
letter also calls attention to the decreasing numbers of Hungarian
teachers in Slovakia. Julius Bardos, a spokesman for the Hungarian
Christian Democratic Movement, told the media that repeated attempts
to engage in a dialogue with Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar on
minority issues have been rebuffed. He said that ethnic Hungarian
parties felt they had to appeal to an international body. -Jiri
Pehe

EUROPEAN CONSERVATIVES CONVENE IN BUDAPEST. The European Democratic
Union-some 130-leaders of conservative parties from 35 countries,
including German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Austrian Foreign
Minister Alois Mock-begin a three-day conference in Budapest
on 1 September, MTI reports. Eastern European countries will
be represented by Polish Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka, Albanian
President Sali Berisha, Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar, as
well as leaders of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania,
and Slovenian, Czech, and Slovak parties. This is the first time
in history that the European Democratic Union is holding its
meeting in an Eastern European country. The conference is scheduled
to discuss European integration, security, and environmental
questions and the strengthening of East European democracies.
The EDU will also discuss the cooperation of the member countries
of the Visegrad Group and their integration into the European
Community. Hungary is represented at the meeting by Prime Minister
Jozsef Antall and the Chairman of the Christian Democratic Peoples'
Party Laszlo Surjan. -Judith Pataki

CENSURE MOTION AGAINST ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT. Opposition deputies
put forward a censure motion on 31 August. The motion followed
a two-day debate on corruption by a joint session of the two
parliament chambers. The proposed motion calls on the government
to "disavow corrupt officials and uproot corruption" and gives
the executive six days to sack three ministers named in the recent
corruption scandal or else face a no-confidence vote. During
the debates, broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 31 August, Party
of Civic Alliance chairman Nicolae Manolescu criticized the majority
position as reflected in the draft report of the parliamentary
commission that investigated corruption, telling the deputies
that in December 1989 "we had terror without terrorists" and
now "we have corruption without the corrupt." Former prime minister
Petre Roman attacked the government, saying it has stifled investigations
by the anticorruption commission. -Michael Shafir

BULGARIA SEEKS TO SOLVE "BAD CREDITS" CRISIS. At a special session
on 31 August, the cabinet adopted a package of measures aimed
at eliminating most of the 120 billion leva ($4.5 billion) in
debts owed by companies to several banks in the form of credits.
According to BTA, the proposed solution has emerged from consultations
with companies, trade unions, and government agencies as well
as with the World Bank and the IMF. Under the arrangement, the
government will assume all credits released until the end of
1990, estimated to about 65 billion leva. The debts of Bulgarian
companies are to be transformed into government bonds, set either
in leva or dollars. After a five-year grace period, the bonds
would be repayable over 25-years. -Kjell Engelbrekt

SPECIAL POWERS FOR UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT ASKED. During the parliamentary
session on 31 August, which was broadcast live by Ukrainian Radio,
Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma called for special powers for himself
and President Leonid Kravchuk in order to tackle the country's
economic problems. Among his requests were the power of the president
and government to issue decrees, cancel decrees, and appoint
cabinet members without parliament's approval. He also asked
for control of Ukraine's central bank, (which would give the
government control over the country's money supply), and for
a halt to state credits for industry and agriculture. Parliament,
he said, should confine its activities to drafting a new constitution
to be ready before elections next March. -Ustina Markus

KUCHMA CRITICAL OF POLISH-RUSSIAN PIPELINE. In the same session
Kuchma criticized the new $10-billion project between Poland
and Russia to transport Russian gas to Western Europe via Poland,
thereby circumventing the existing pipeline in Ukraine and depriving
the country of revenue from transit fees. Kuchma said the project,
finalized by presidents Lech Walesa and Boris Yeltsin last week,
is "anti-Ukrainian" and that the government must make every effort
to see that it is cancelled. Earlier this month Ukraine and Russia
agreed on a payment scheme for Ukraine for Russian gas and oil.
Part of the plan envisages Ukraine paying for Russian gas by
its earnings from transit fees. The Russian-Polish deal jeopardizes
this income and is especially irksome since Kuchma blames the
country's economic crisis on rising energy prices. -Ustina Markus


BELARUS POLITICAL, ETHNIC ORGANIZATIONS DECRY PROCOMMUNIST ACTIVITIES.
The leaders of a dozen organizations this week signed an appeal
for "civic accord" in response to the increasingly visible and
coordinated activities of procommunist groups in Belarus. Signers
of the appeal included the Belarusian Popular Front, the Social
Democratic Society and United Democratic Party, an independent
trade union council, the Union of Poles, and associations representing
the Ukrainian, Jewish, and Tatar minorities. Special attention
was drawn to an ongoing campaign, in which the communists have
taken an active role, to grant Russian equal status with Belarusian,
currently the only state language. The appeal also condemned
a meeting planned for 11 September of the so-called "Congress
of Peoples of Belarus," which is expected to call for the nation
to renounce its independence in favor of confederation with Russia.
In August members of the parliament's procommunist faction met
in Moscow with Supreme Soviet Chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov for
talks centering on the prospects for confederation. Supporters
of the faction speak openly of Belarus's "reunification" with
Russia. -Kathy Mihalisko

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN MOSCOW. On an impromptu visit to Moscow
on 31 August and 1 September, Mircea Snegur is conferring with
Boris Yeltsin on the deadlocked issue of the withdrawal of Russian
troops from Moldova, which is due to be discussed at a new round
of bilateral talks in early September. Snegur is also again asking
Yeltsin to intercede in Tiraspol for the six Moldovans, on trial
for their lives on charges of terrorism, to be remanded to a
lawful Moldovan court, Basapress reports. -Vladimir Socor

RUSSIAN TROOPS LEAVE LITHUANIA WITHOUT SIGNING DOCUMENTS. On
31 August the official withdrawal of the Russian army from Lithuania
was completed when a train carrying a military unit from Kaunas
crossed into Belarus, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reports.
The train's departure from Kaunas was postponed by the nonarrival
of the commander of the Northwestern Group of Forces, Col. Gen.
Leonid Mayorov, who also failed to come to the parliament in
Vilnius to sign documents formally noting the completion of the
withdrawal. Nikolai Obertyshev, the Russian ambassador, stood
in for Mayorov but lacked the authority from the Russian military
to sign the documents. Nevertheless, Lithuania marked the absence
of foreign military forces on its territory for the first time
in 53 years with thanksgiving Masses and other celebrations.
-Saulius Girnius

BALTIC, NORDIC COUNCIL FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET. On 31 August in
Visby, Sweden, foreign ministers Trivimi Velliste (Estonia),
Georgs Andrejevs (Latvia), and Povilas Gylys (Lithuania) attended
a regular meeting of the Nordic Council foreign ministers that
discussed the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltic States,
Reuters reports. Velliste said that Estonian and Latvian officials
will meet their Russian counterparts on 14-15 September to discuss
the stalled withdrawal of troops. He expressed optimistically
that the withdrawal could be completed by Christmas. Andrejevs,
however, did not share his optimism, noting that there is evidence
that the Russian troops are preparing to spend at least one more
winter in Latvia. -Saulius Girnius

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Erik Whitlock and Charles Trumbull





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