The last of the human freedoms- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way. - Victor Frankl
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 232, 06 December 1993



	Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.





CIS

UKRAINE OFFERED SECURITY GUARANTEES, THREATENED WITH AID SLOWDOWN.
Both US Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev say that Ukraine should be provided with
security guarantees, Western news agencies reported over the
weekend. Kozyrev is quoted as saying that there is "no problem"
with Russia providing the guarantees if Ukraine unconditionally
ratifies START-1. Christopher discussed nuclear arms with Ukrainian
Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko on 3 December in Brussels after
the meeting of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and emphasized
economic incentives, saying that the "totality of US-Ukrainian
relations can be realized only if Ukraine meets its obligations.
Christopher warned that economic aid from Washington would flow
freely only if Kiev moves on the nuclear disarmament issue and
economic reform. -Roman Solchanyk

PLYUSHCH SAYS UKRAINE WILL NOT BACK DOWN. Ukrainian parliamentary
speaker Ivan Plyushch says "there is no possibility" of the parliament
returning to the START-1 ratification issue unless Ukraine is
provided with international security guarantees and financial
compensation, Reuters reported on 3 December. Plyushch also dismissed
the possibility that Ukraine will be isolated because of its
conditional ratification of START-1, suggesting that this had
already taken place, and criticizing the US for empty promises
of financial aid. -Roman Solchanyk

RUSSIA

BLACK SEA FLEET PILOTS PROTEST. After a long lull, servicemen
in the Black Sea Fleet may again start to protest. Members of
the fleet's air arm sent a letter of protest to Russian President
Boris Yeltsin, pointing out that they were unable to participate
in the Russian elections because no agreement has been reached
on dual citizenship between Russia and Ukraine. They also noted
that they receive approximately 20% of the pay of their Russian
counterparts, and that their pay is below the subsistence level.
Since the Massandra protocols were signed in September, but not
implemented, the fleet appears to have been relatively quiet,
despite its deteriorating condition. The letter's contents were
reported by Interfax on 5-December. -John Lepingwell

YELTSIN LEAVES FOR NORTH CAUCASUS. President Boris Yeltsin left
Moscow for a two-day working visit to the North Caucasus on the
morning of 6 December, ITAR-TASS reported. After flying in a
helicopter over the area of North Ossetia and Ingushetia where
the state of emergency is in force, Yeltsin will meet representatives
of settlements in the disputed Prigorodnyi Raion of North Ossetia
in the village of Chermen on the North Ossetian-Ingush border.
He will then meet leaders of the two republics. ITAR-TASS cites
observers as not excluding that fundamental decisions may be
taken on the intractable problems of the return of Ingush refugees
to Prigorodnyi Raion and the disarming of illegal armed formations
in the area. On 7 December Yeltsin is scheduled to meet the leaders
of the republics, krais, and oblasts of the North Caucasus in
the Kabardino-Balkar capital, Nalchik. -Ann Sheehy.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA ON VISIT. Commenting on Yeltsin visiting
the North Caucasus in the week before the elections to the Russian
Federal Assembly, Nezavisimaya gazeta suggested on 5 December
that his visit might have been prompted by justified fears that
the draft constitution would meet "if not active non-acceptance
then quiet sabotage" precisely in the republics of the North
Caucasus. In a speech at a congress of the Confederation of the
Peoples of the Caucasus in Groznyi on 4 September, the president
of the confederation, Yuri Shanibov, described the draft constitution
as "monarchic, imperial, and dictatorial," Interfax reported.
Other speakers condemned Yeltsin for the way he crushed the parliamentary
rebellion in Moscow in early October and for the restrictions
on entry to Moscow for non-residents, which have particularly
affected Caucasians. -Ann Sheehy

MEETING OPPOSING CONSTITUTION. Some 1,500 delegates met in Moscow
on 3 December to debate the draft of Russia's new constitution.
Delegates came from moderate and hard-line opposition parties
including the Civic Union, the Yavlinsky-Boldyrev-Lukin bloc,
Russia's Choice, the Communist Party, and the Movement for Democratic
Reforms. Interfax reported that virtually every speaker criticized
the new constitution, particularly the complexity of the procedures
for impeaching the president and amending the constitution, and
the simplified procedure for dissolving the parliament. Valerii
Zorkin, former Constitutional Court Chairman, said that the draft
gave the president "not only executive, but legislative and judicial
power." Oleg Rumyantsev, former executive secretary of the parliamentary
constitutional commission, said that the document was being "used
to give the cover of legitimacy to the president's seizure of
power by force." -Wendy Slater

DEMOCRATIC BLOCS REACH AGREEMENT. The four pro-democratic blocs,
Russia's Choice, Party of Russian Unity and Concord, Russian
Movement for Democratic Reform and the Yavlinsky-Boldyrev-Lukin
bloc, have agreed to support a joint candidate in single-member
electoral constituencies where one of the four bloc's candidates
was clearly leading, the Financial Times reported on 4 December.
However, a spokesman of the Yavlinsky-Boldyrev-Lukin bloc said
that the agreement was only valid at regional level and no decision
had been made concerning a coalition with the pro-government
Russia's Choice on the national level. Communist leader Gennadii
Zyuganov told ITAR-TASS on 3 December that his party was prepared
for negotiations with Russia's choice on a more social-oriented
economic policy. -Alexander Rahr

WESTERN MONITORS REPORT ON MEDIA BIAS. The Russian-American Press
and Information Center has released the first findings from its
monitoring of the role of the media in the current election campaign.
The report covers the first 12 days of the campaign and scrutinizes
newspapers, 35 hours of radio broadcasting and 163-television
programs aired between 9 and 21 November on the first, second,
third and fifth channels of Russian television. The Center's
found heavy media bias in favor of pro-government blocs, in particular
Russia's Choice, against their liberal opponent, the bloc led
by economist Grigorii Yavlinsky. The report notes that Ostankino
TV gave 24 minutes of coverage to Russia's Choice leader Egor
Gaidar, compared with six minutes given to Communist Party leader
Gennadii Zyuganov and 10 seconds to Yavlinsky. The results of
the study were reported by ITAR-TASS on 2 December and the Los
Angeles Times on 4 December. -Julia Wishnevsky

COAL MINERS COMMENCE STRIKE. After a last-minute session on 5
December with First Deputy Prime Minister Egor Gaidar that went
on for over two hours, the Independent Mineworkers' Union of
Russia announced that miners in Pechora, Chelyabinsk, Kuznetsk,
and other coal regions would strike with effect from midnight
on 5 December, Interfax reported. ITAR-TASS on the same day announced
that Vorkuta miners had already stopped work. At issue were back
pay, the scheduled closure of some mines, and other planned restructuring
measures. Some reports suggested that the work stoppage would
last for one day only, with further strike action threatened
after the 12 December elections. -Keith Bush

DEFENSE INDUSTRY ENTERPRISES TO BE PRIVATIZED. State Property
Committee Chairman Anatolii Chubais announced on 4 December that
President Yeltsin has approved the privatization of up to 80%
of defense enterprises, Interfax reported, citing TV. (Until
now, virtually no defense plants were available for privatization).
Lists of enterprises cleared for privatization would be published
during the following two weeks. The customary breakdown would
be maintained: 51% of the shares would be offered on preferential
terms to the employees of the plants concerned; 29% would be
auctioned for privatization vouchers; and 20% of the shares would
auctioned for cash. -Keith Bush

KOZYREV AT NACC SESSION. Speaking at the 3 December meeting of
NACC foreign ministers at NATO headquarters, Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev said that NACC should "assume a more
active coordinating role in settling conflicts that arise on
the basis of aggressive nationalism." He asked for NACC members
to support Russia's leadership of peacekeeping operations in
the former Soviet Union as well as to send observers and render
"moral-political, diplomatic, and material support." Kozyrev
pointed to Ukraine's possession of nuclear weapons as a challenge
to European security and stability, and he said NACC could prove
its effectiveness only if it shows it can react promptly to this
kind of challenge, ITAR-TASS reported. -Suzanne Crow

RDF TO PROTECT ETHNIC RUSSIANS? RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER
SERGEI KRYLOV SAID ON 3 DECEMBER AT A PRESS BRIEFING THAT THE
IDEA OF CREATING A RAPID DEPLOYMENT FORCE TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS
OF RUSSIAN-SPEAKING PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN
THE NEAR ABROAD IS "WORTH THINKING ABOUT." He said that such
a mechanism would have to possess enough trained people and equipment
to render real assistance in the event of an acute conflict.
Dissatisfied with the term "rapid deployment force," Krylov implied
that another name should used, ITAR-TASS reported. -Suzanne Crow


FOURTH-QUARTER FEDERAL BUDGET APPROVED. On 4 December the government
approved the federal budget for the fourth quarter of 1993, Interfax
reported. The wording by the cabinet press secretary was opaque:
"[The cabinet] confirmed marginally possible but urgently needed
expenditures. . . ." and "This work was accompanied by non-standard
approaches to link major articles on profits and expenditures."
On 3-December ITAR-TASS reported that the draft budget package
prepared by the Ministry of Finances provided for an additional
1.6 trillion rubles in expenditure for 1993 on social programs,
subsidies, defense, and other items, but Interfax the same day
stated that the new expenditures would be authorized only in
early January 1994. -Keith Bush

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA



KAZAKHSTAN'S LEGISLATURE IN CRISIS. Five days prior to the opening
of the second segment of the current legislative session, 43
deputies to Kazakhstan's Supreme Soviet precipitated a crisis
by resigning their mandates and calling on the rest of the deputies
to follow their example, Russian agencies reported on 3-December.
Those who resigned announced in the local media that in their
view the soviets have become a brake on the transformation of
society. Self-dissolution of the soviets began in Kazakhstan
on the local and regional level, with the Almaty city soviet
dissolving itself in November. The government would like the
present Supreme Soviet to adopt a new law on elections that would
create a permanent professional legislature, set a date for elections
and then dissolve itself. RFE/RL has learned that some 200 deputies
may be planning not to show up at the resumed session, possibly
to discredit the parliament. -Bess Brown

RUSSIA CONCERNED OVER NUKES IN KAZAKHSTAN. Russian Deputy Defense
Minister Boris Gromov expressed his concern over Kazakhstan's
policy on nuclear weapons in an interview with Krasnaya zvezda
on 27 November. He noted that "Moscow considers that Alma Ata
is all the more departing from its obligations . . . including
those providing Russia with total jurisdiction over nuclear weapons."
He also said that this could raise safety issues, as well as
political ones, for some of the warheads have exceeded their
guaranteed service life. Gromov says Kazakhstan is requiring
both compensation and security guarantees in exchange for transferring
the weapons, and while Russia is interested in discussing these
issues, Kazakhstan has not responded. -John Lepingwell

OPPOSITION PAPERS' REGISTRATION REVOKED IN TAJIKISTAN. Tajikistan's
Ministry of Press and Information has formally revoked the registration
of newspapers and journals that had been published by opposition
democratic, nationalist and Islamic parties and movements that
have been banned by the Supreme Court in 1993, ITAR-TASS reported
on 5-December. In fact the publications of the Tajik opposition
were closed down in December 1992 when the present conservative
government came to power. Members of the Tajik opposition who
have been living in exile in Moscow have tried to keep alive
the nationalist-democratic publication Charogi ruz and smuggle
it into Tajikistan, but their efforts have had limited success.
-Bess Brown

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE



FIGHTING FLARES IN BOSNIA. Western media report that fighting
flared between Bosnian Muslims and Serbs just north of Sarajevo
on 5 December. According to statements issued by the Bosnian
Muslim government and reported on 6 December, at least 24 people
were killed and 77 injured in heavy fighting that lasted over
a 24-hour period. Meanwhile, the Bosnian Serb news agency said
that Muslim forces have attacked Serbs near Doboj. In addition,
Reuters quotes Croatian Television as alleging that Bosnian Muslim
forces opposed to President Alija Izetbegovic's government have
made significant gains against forces loyal to him. Accounts
of renewed heavy fighting in Bosnia began to circulate on 5 December,
with Western agencies reporting that nearly 1, 000 shells hit
Maglaj and Tesanj during an offensive by both Serbs and Croats
against Bosnian Muslims. Serious fighting comes just days after
peace talks aimed at bringing peace to former Yugoslavia ended
in Geneva on 2 December. -Stan Markotich

GREECE TO CLOSE BORDER WITH MACEDONIA? GREEK PRIME MINISTER ANDREAS
PAPANDREOU, IN RESPONSE TO THE POSSIBILITY OF OTHER EU STATES
GRANTING FULL RECOGNITION TO THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA WITHOUT
THAT COUNTRY DROPPING "MACEDONIA" FROM ITS NAME, SAID ON 4-DECEMBER
IN COMMENTS CARRIED BY GREEK TELEVISION AND RADIO, THAT ATHENS
MIGHT CLOSE THE BORDER WITH MACEDONIA. Such an act would severely
damage Macedonia's already ailing economy as many of its goods
are shipped via Greece. Papandreou's remark came a day after
Deputy Foreign Minister Theodore Pangalos had taken what seemed
to be an opposite tack. He stated that Greece had lost the struggle
over the name of the new Balkan state. According to Reuters,
he said, "The name issue has been lost. . . . There is no need
to discuss it any further." He noted that Macedonia must now
demonstrate its good intentions by recognizing the border with
Greece and finding a new flag that does not include a symbol
to which Greece claims title, as is currently case. Why the two
men appear to have contradicted each other is not clear. -Duncan
Perry

SERBIAN GOVERNMENT TO DOLE OUT BREAD. On 4 December the Serbian
trade minister, Radisa Djordjevic, announced on Serbian TV that
the government would, starting on 7 December, give away bread
to those on welfare and provide subsidized bread to pensioners.
In addition, the minister announced that electricity bills would
be cut by 50% for those on social assistance. On 5 December a
Reuters report suggested that the minister's actions were a direct
response to hardship caused by the collapsing Serbian economy.
Reuters also noted that Serbia's government may have plans to
eliminate the dinar, the official currency that has been rendered
virtually valueless by hyperinflation, and embark on a program
of printing vouchers. Recent Serbian media accounts continue
to emphasize that the rump Yugoslav economy has deteriorated
to unacceptable levels. On 6-December, a Vreme headline announced
a "Monetary Breakdown." And Borba spoke on 3 December of a "collapse
of the entire economic system."--Stan Markotich

POLES SAY PARTNERSHIP MUST BE DOOR TO NATO. Addressing the NACC
meeting in Brussels on 3-December, Poland's Foreign Minister
Andrzej Olechowski said the "partnership for peace" proposal
would only fulfill Polish expectations if it opened the door
to NATO membership, which remained Poland's strategic objective,
PAP reports. Olechowski said partnership, oriented to this objective,
"should serve to strengthen European security by establishing
criteria and rules of conduct in the political and military spheres."
These might include transparency of military budgets; civilian
control over the military; no stationing of troops on foreign
soil without the agreement of the country concerned; implementation
of all disarmament commitments; arms control; and confidence
and security building measures. Olechowski further said that
progress between any given country and NATO should not be blocked
by third parties. Olechowski told PAP that, after the 2 and 3
December NATO and NACC meetings, he was more optimistic that
NATO would ultimately open its doors to new members from Central
and East Europe, and that in the process Poland would find its
place in a European security system. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka

POLISH-RUSSIAN CRIME FIGHTING ACCORD. Russian Security Minister
Nikolai Golushko concluded his three-day visit to Poland on 1
December by signing with his Polish counterpart, Interior Minister
Andrzej Milczanowski, a protocol on cooperation in combating
organized international crime. PAP reports that the accord focuses
on arms, drugs and radioactive material smuggling in areas adjacent
to the Polish-Russian border. Both ministers emphasized that
the accord was not affecting ongoing cooperation with other neighboring
countries. At a press conference Milczanowski would not confirm
that Poland was overrun by "a Russian mafia," emphasizing, instead,
that international gangs involving Polish, Russian, Ukrainian
and German nationals were becoming a real threat. He mentioned
"multi-trillion losses" to the Polish treasury as a result of
illegal dealings on the Eastern border. Golushko said in 1993
Russian special services had prevented attempts to smuggle goods
worth 300 million rubles ($250,000), estimated at about one tenth
of the total value of smuggled goods. -Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka


CZECH REPUBLIC, SLOVENIA SIGN TRADE AGREEMENT. Czech Prime Minister
Vaclav Klaus and his Slovenian counterpart, Janez Drnovsek, signed
an agreement in Ljubljana on 4-December establishing a free trade
zone between the two countries. CTK reports that the accord,
which takes effect on 1 January, will eliminate tariffs on 83%
of Czech-Slovene trade. After his return to Prague on 5 December,
Klaus told CTK that the free trade agreement with Slovenia is
more far-reaching than the last year's agreement on establishing
a free-trade zone between the so-called Visegrad countries (the
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary). He said that
all remaining tariffs on Czech-Slovene trade will be removed
by January 1996. -Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRESIDENT ALLEGEDLY ASKED FOR MECIAR'S RESIGNATION. In
a 3-December interview with Slovak Radio, Premier Vladimir Meciar
said President Michal Kovac had requested his resignation in
connection with a speech given to members of his party, the Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia, on 28 November in the east Slovak
town of Zlata Idka, TASR and Reuters report. The speech, published
on 3 December by certain Slovak newspapers, includes references
to the MDS's financing of the Slovak Green Party in its campaign
for the June 1992 elections and the SGP's subsequent betrayal
of the MDS. On 3-December Christian Democratic Movement Chairman
Jan Carnogursky also called for Meciar's resignation, and the
following day, the Civic Democratic Youth accused Meciar of resorting
to "political practices used by Communist regimes." Following
a closed-doors session of the MDS on 5 December, party officials
refused to comment on the controversy. Meciar refused to resign,
saying in the 3 December interview that the president's decision
was not "well thought out." Presidential spokesman Anton Bodis
said that in a meeting between Kovac and Meciar about two months
ago, the two discussed alternative steps to take regarding the
political situation, which included Meciar's resignation and
the formation of a new government, Reuters reports on 4 December.
-Sharon Fisher

TWO SLOVAK RIGHT-WING PARTIES UNITE. On 4-December in the central
Slovak town of Banska Stiavnice the Conservative Democratic Party
and the Democratic Party agreed to unite, TASR reports. Neither
party is currently represented in the parliament. A joint statement
following the event said that the failure of the right-wing parties
in the June 1992 elections occurred mainly because the parties
were split and thus could not reach the 5% parliamentary hurdle,
leaving more than 10% of voters without representation in the
parliament. The new party said it will "try to renew democratic
values and to create a civic society which would enable free
development of individuals." The meeting was cut short because
of an anonymous warning that a bomb was installed in the conference
room. -Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PREMIER'S ILLNESS. According to the latest statement
issued by the doctors treating Prime Minister Jozsef Antall,
new trouble has developed in the premier's blood forming organs
and intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatment is "proceeding
according to plan," MTI reported on 3 December. Antall, who suffers
since 1990 from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer, was
hospitalized again on 23 November, only weeks after returning
from a one-month medical treatment in a German clinic. Interior
Minister Peter Boross continues to substitute for the premier,
as prescribed by the constitution. Istvan Csurka, co-chairman
of the nationalist Hungarian Truth and Life Party, told Radio
Budapest on 5 December that the Antall-led Hungarian Democratic
Forum ruling party should have prepared itself better in finding
a successor for Antall. Tamas Katona, state secretary in the
premier's office, denied on the same day that a succession struggle
had begun within the HDF. Should Antall, whose term expires in
May 1994, be unable to resume his functions and should parliament
fail to agree on an interim successor, Hungary's general elections,
scheduled to be held sometime between May and August 1994, would
have to be moved to an earlier date.--Alfred Reisch

HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS OUTLINE FOREIGN, SECURITY POLICY. The Hungarian
Socialist Party (HSP) outlined on 4 December its program regarding
the foreign and security policy, the minorities, and the military.
The party rejected the view that Hungary's international image
would suffer should the HSP join the government after the 1994
elections. The HSP intends to launch a new foreign policy strategy
toward Western and Eastern Europe, whose main goal is to prevent
a further deterioration of Hungary's relations with its neighbors
by means of bilateral treaties stating the inviolability of borders
and guaranteeing the rights of the Magyar minorities abroad.
The HSP emphasized that Hungary should not act alone but jointly
with other countries in the region in seeking integration into
the European structures and trying to persuade NATO to provide
guarantees to all Central and Eastern European countries. -Alfred
Reisch

ILIESCU AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR. Romania's President Ion Iliescu
praised on 3-December the growth of free enterprise in his country.
In a speech at a prize award festivity to honor Romania's leading
entrepreneurs, broadcast by Radio Bucharest, Iliescu said that
"we have created an economic environment which stimulates private
enterprise and free competition." He admitted, however, that
Romania's economy was facing serious difficulties and cited rampant
inflation as one of its main problems. Paradoxically enough,
Iliescu tried to put the blame for most of the current economic
woes on the few reforming steps taken this year by Nicolae Vacaroiu's
left-wing government He was particularly critical of the introduction
of the value-added tax on 1 July, suggesting that the measure
had to be taken following pressure from international financial
organizations. Premier Vacaroiu, Secretary of State Mircea Cosea,
head of the cabinet's Council for Economic Coordination, Strategy
and Reform, Finance Minister Florin Georgescu, as well as Adrian
Nastase, executive chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy
in Romania also addressed the meeting. -Dan Ionescu

KONTIC ASKS BULGARIA TO HELP REMOVE EMBARGO. On 4 December Prime
Minister of Rump Yugoslavia Radoje Kontic told a press conference
in Sofia he wants Bulgaria to help lift sanctions imposed by
the United Nations, Bulgarian and Western media report. Kontic
said Bulgaria could be of a great help to Belgrade by first stating
Yugoslavia's position on the embargo before international organizations
and, a later stage, by urging that the country be reintegrated
into the international community. He said he was convinced that
the sanctions will soon be either lifted or eased anyway. Bulgarian
Premier Lyuben Berov told journalists his government is not prepared
to depart from UN resolution 820, but that it might support Belgrade's
case if other Balkan states raise the issue. When discussing
the situation of some 25,000 ethnic Bulgarians in Serbia, Kontic
said Belgrade will fully comply with the norms and requirements
of the Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe. On 5
December Tanjug quoted Kontic as describing his three-day visit
to Sofia as a success, citing "almost complete agreement" on
the sanctions issue, bilateral cooperation, and humanitarian
efforts. -Kjell Engelbrekt

FREE TRADE TREATY BETWEEN KALININGRAD AND LITHUANIA ANNULLED.
On 3-December Respublika reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry
had sent a note to its Lithuanian counterpart annulling the free
trade treaty that Lithuania and Kaliningrad had signed on 19
July, BNS reported on 4 December. Russian Ambassador to Lithuania
Nikolai Obertyshev noted that the agreement on trade and economic
relations signed by Russian and Lithuanian Prime Ministers Viktor
Chernomyrdin and Adolfas Slezevicius on 18 November took precedence
over other arrangements. The agreement, he said, provided for
most-favored-nation treatment in trade and not for free trade,
and the Kaliningrad region was no exception to it. -Saulius Girnius


LATVIAN AND LITHUANIAN PRESIDENTS MEET. On 2 December Lithuanian
President Algirdas Brazauskas held talks with his Latvian counterpart
Guntis Ulmanis in the west Latvian town of Nica, BNS reported
on 3-December. They discussed forming a five plus three political
and economic alliance between the 5 Nordic Council countries
and the 3 Baltic States. Ulmanis is planning a trip to Finland
where the proposal would be discussed further. The presidents
also talked about Latvia's opposition to Lithuania's plans to
build an oil terminal platform at Butinge near the Latvian border.
-Saulius Girnius

RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM ESTONIA. On 3 December Estonian
Foreign Minister Trivimi Velliste held unsuccessful talks in
Brussels with his Russian counterpart Andrei Kozyrev on the schedule
for withdrawing Russian troops from Estonia, BNS reports. During
talks in Tallinn on 1 and 2 December between the heads of the
withdrawal negotiating teams Vasilii Svirin and Juri Luik, Russia
failed to provide a promised troop withdrawal timetable. Svirin
noted that the number of Russian troops in Estonia had declined
to 2,600 as of 1 December. Kozyrev's deputy Vitalii Churkin who
participated in the Brussels talks is scheduled to visit Tallinn
this week to discuss withdrawal problems with the chancellor
of Estonia's Foreign Ministry Ajar Oljum. Estonia has rejected
Russia's efforts to tie the withdrawal with granting residence
permits to 8,000 military pensioners. -Saulius Girnius

BELARUS WANTS UKRAINE TO RECONSIDER CHORNOBYL DECISION. The Belarusian
parliament voted on 3 December to ask Ukraine to review its decision
to keep the Chornobyl nuclear power station open, Reuters reported.
In October Ukraine's parliament reversed a 1991 decision to close
the plant because of the energy crisis in the country. Ukraine
claims that there have been technical improvements in the plant
since the 1986 accident which make its continued operation safe.
Large areas of Belarus were affected with radioactive fallout
following the accident, and the state allocates around 20% of
its annual budget to accident-related items. -Ustina Markus

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Bess Brown and Dan Ionescu









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