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No. 26, 8 February 1994
RUSSIA MOSCOW OPPOSES PROPOSED BOSNIAN AIR STRIKES. A host of Russian government and parliamentary leaders on 7 February expressed doubts over the wisdom of launching air strikes against Serbian positions in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Reuters quoted Minister for Nationalities and Regional Policy Sergei Shakhrai as saying that such an escalation of the conflict could trigger a world war; Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, reportedly cautioned against blaming Serb forces outright for the 5 February mortar attack on a Sarajevo marketplace that left scores of dead and wounded. The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted in a similar fashion, calling for an investigation to determine who was responsible for the attack but cautioning that air strikes by NATO forces might worsen the situation. In comments reported by Interfax on 7 February, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev criticized Western leaders for resisting earlier Russian proposals aimed at settling the conflict in Bosnia, and said that UN Secretary-General Butrus Butrus-Ghali had displayed "some prejudice" when he suggested the possibility of bombing Serb positions. Kozyrev called for convening all members of the UN Security Council to discuss the issue. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. KOZYREV AGAIN ACCUSES BALTIC STATES OF ABUSES. In an interview published by Newsweek (international edition) on 14 February, Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev called upon the West to protest at what he described as "ethnic cleansing" against the Russian minority in the Baltic States. He said that a failure to do so would risk fueling the rise of fascists in Russia. Kozyrev also suggested that the threats to ethnic Russians in the Baltic States, and elsewhere, justified the continued basing of troops in those regions. Kozyrev's remarks were aimed at clarifying controversial comments he had made in January regarding Russia's national interests on the territory of the former Soviet Union. Despite claims to the contrary, a number of Russian military and political leaders have long linked the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltic States to alleged human rights abuses in the region. Since the election of Vladimir Zhirinovsky to the Russian parliament, Kozyrev has also tried to convince Western audiences that a failure to accommodate Moscow on such issues would strengthen the hand of ultra-nationalists in Russia. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN'S SECURITY ADVISOR TAKES HARSH POSITION. Presidential national security advisor Yurii Baturin told Der Spiegel on 7 February that it was the duty of Russia as a great power to protect ethnic Russians in the former Soviet republics if their rights were under threat, as in the Baltic states. He said that the US regards Russia as a developing country, and that it is not fitting for a great power to retract each time it is criticized. He predicted the re-integration of the republics of the former Soviet Union, but denied that there would be a new Soviet Union. He also said that President Boris Yeltsin views NATO's concept of Partnership for Peace with reluctance. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. JAPANESE LEADER ON KURIL ISLANDS DISPUTE. In what appeared to mark a softening of rhetoric from Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa told about 1,500 people at a Northern Territories Day rally on 7 February that Japan would strive to normalize ties with Russia by solving the long-standing territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, Reuters reported. Northern Territories Day, which marks an 1855 Russo-Japanese Treaty formalizing Japanese control over the four disputed islands, has traditionally been an occasion for Japanese politicians and nationalist groups to demand the return of the islands, which were lost to Japan following World War II. Hosokawa said that he thought the basis for resolving the dispute had been reached during Boris Yeltsin's visit to Tokyo last October, and a Foreign Ministry official said that the issue was expected to be discussed at working-level talks in Moscow on 21 and 22 February. The dispute has also become an emotional political issue in Russia. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. PRIME MINISTER'S ADVISOR RESIGNS. The director of the Prime Minister's Group for Planning and Analysis, Andrei Illarionov, submitted his resignation on 7 February. The text of his letter was made available to an RFE/RL correspondent. Illarionov, who is also first deputy director of the Center for Economic Reform, wrote that he had joined the government in the hope of conducting economic reforms "and not of burying them." He accused the present government of caving in to regional and sectorial lobbies, and he was particularly scathing about Chernomyrdin's support for Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko. He indicated that he would go public with his criticisms, although it should be said that he has been remarkably outspoken whilst in office. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. WHY PAMFILOVA RESIGNED. Interviewed in Argumenty i fakty (No. 5, 1994), Ella Pamfilova said she resigned as Russian minister of social protection because she would not participate in the execution of policies which she did not support and for which she bore no responsibility. She said that she had been unable to obtain an audience with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and claimed that the Russian government is now in the hands of people whose only aim is to "grab Russia's petrodollars" for themselves. Pamfilova alleged that the amount of money in the state pension fund is shrinking yearly and that there is a real danger that, when today's employees retire, there will be no money to pay their pensions. Pamfilova complained that, even as a minister, she was powerless to influence policy and was prevented from speaking out about social problems, for example the "suicide epidemic" among fathers unable to support their young families. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW TAX RATES. Some of the revised tax rates, effective 1 January, have been set out in Rossiiskaya gazeta of 29 January. Profits tax has been raised from 32% to 35%, of which 13% will be allocated to the republican budget and 22% to the budgets of the components of the federation. Tax concessions for small enterprises have been expanded. An additional special tax of 3% is to be levied, like value-added tax, for the support of priority sectors of the economy, and a transport tax of 1% will go towards financing the development of road and rail transport. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. PRIVATE FARMERS WARY ABOUT STATE DUMA. Members of the Association of Farms and Agricultural Cooperatives, the body representing private farmers, said at a press conference that the conservative-dominated State Duma has prepared a new law on agriculture which is directed against President Boris Yeltsin's October 1993 decree radically accelerating agrarian reforms, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February. Private farmers, who now work 6% of Russia's arable land and whose share in overall agricultural production is estimated at between 4% and 10%, said that the State Duma seeks to reintroduce state control over agriculture. According to the private farmers, the conservative agricultural lobby in the parliament is arguing that the current structure of Russian agriculture does not facilitate the introduction of private ownership of land. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. PARLOUS STATE OF RUSSIAN SCIENCE. In a letter published in Sovetskaya Rossiya on 3 February, the biologist Professor A. Akifev said that the pure sciences in Russia today are plagued by three problems: first, state funding for scientific research has been pared to the bone; secondly, researchers are working in a vacuum since subscriptions to almost all Western scientific periodicals were canceled in 1993; thirdly, the average salary of a head of a scientific laboratory or institute is now only 65,000 rubles a month. This puts scientists' salaries only slightly above the official subsistence level of 50,000 rubles a month. In fact, about a quarter of the Russian population now lives below that level, according to Izvestiya of 5 February. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. ZHIRINOVSKY TO FINLAND? Finland's newly-elected President Martti Ahtisaari said that he would consider inviting Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky to Finland's annual independence celebrations, Western agencies reported on 7 February. According to Ahtisaari, Zhirinovsky remains a threat only if he is isolated. Zhirinovsky had stated at one point during his parliamentary election campaign that Finland should become part of a new Russian empire. Other Western political leaders have shown reluctance to deal with Zhirinovsky at all. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS PROGRESS ON BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN MONETARY UNION. Interfax and Belinform-TASS reported on 7 February that, following a three-day meeting outside Minsk, Russia and Belarus have reached an agreement on a number of main points in the proposed monetary union between the two countries. They include the basic rules for mutual transactions between Russia and Belarus; agreement on a single pricing system within the republics, which would include energy prices; budgetary principles; and an exchange rate between the Russian ruble and Belarusian rubel. The agreements on the monetary union are to be signed during Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's visit to Minsk, which has been postponed until February 18 at the earliest. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA GEORGIAN SENTENCED FOR WOODRUFF MURDER. After a one-month trial, on 7 February a Georgian court sentenced 21-year-old former soldier Anzor Sharmaidze to 15 years' imprisonment for the murder in August 1993, of CIA Tbilisi station chief Fred Woodruff, Interfax and Western agencies reported. Sharmaidze initially confessed shooting at the car in which Woodruff was traveling after it failed to stop when he tried to flag it down; he later retracted the confession which he claimed had been made under pressure. Sharmaidze's defense lawyer claimed that his client had been tortured. In a related development aimed at reducing lawlessness, parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze ordered compulsory drug tests for civil servants in the law enforcement ministries, according to Interfax of 6 February. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. ARMENIAN PRESIDENT IN BRITAIN. Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan travels to London on 8 February for a four-day visit during which he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister John Major, government officials, representatives of the EBRD, and Queen Elizabeth II, Western agencies reported. Ter-Petrossyan's talks will focus on possible joint economic programs and humanitarian aid, and on Armenia's foreign policy, specifically Nagorno-Karabakh. A leading Karabakh Armenian official recently charged that British Petroleum, one of the eight Western oil companies negotiating for rights to exploit Azerbaijan's Caspian oil wealth, is helping to finance the Azerbaijani military effort, Interfax reported on 2 February. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. NAZARBAEV: WEST ENCOURAGING AGGRESSIVENESS IN MOSCOW. In remarks reported by the Washington Post on 8 February, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev warned the West that neglect of the non-Russian former Soviet republics, particularly with respect to the provision of economic aid, risked "encouraging chauvinism and helping fascism" in Russia. Nazarbaev said that the West should stand up to what he described as the increased intrusiveness of late of Russian foreign policy. As examples, Nazarbaev cited Russia's new military doctrine and remarks by Foreign Minister Kozyrev indicating that Russia will defend ethnic Russians outside Russia's borders. The issue is an especially important one in Kazakhstan; approximately 40% of the population there is ethnic Russian. Nazarbaev also said that the West was missing an opportunity by not providing more aid to a Kazakhstan that has agreed to give up its nuclear weapons and that warmly welcomes Western investment. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE US AND EU BACK POSSIBLE AIR STRIKES IN BOSNIA. International media on 7 and 8 February report at length that top American officials and EU foreign ministers have endorsed calls for making NATO air power available to the UN in the wake of the 5 February shelling of a Sarajevo marketplace that left 68 dead. US Secretary of State Warren Christopher said that "the civilized world is outraged by the savage bombing" of the civilians, while his Belgian colleague, Willy Claes, felt that Europe "no longer [has] the right" to refrain from tough action. British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, for his part, said that the shelling marked "a turning point," and added that the EU's "aim should be to bring about the immediate lifting of the siege of Sarajevo using all means necessary, including the use of air power." The BBC noted that Bosnian Serb leaders have again threatened the safety of UN peace keepers there in the event of air strikes against Serb positions, but the threat does not seem to have deterred the ministers from calling for firm action. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. BOUTROS-GHALI AWAITS NATO RESPONSE ON AIR STRIKES. International media reports continue their accounts, noting that UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on 7 February asked NATO to prepare to use air power against artillery positions responsible for future outrages against civilians. Boutros-Ghali feels he has the authority to ask for this support without further Security Council deliberation because of that body's already existing Resolutions 824 and 836, which, respectively, declare Sarajevo to be a "safe area" and which allow the use of force to protect such areas; NATO ambassadors meet on 9 February. Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic, meanwhile, warned the international community against making "empty threats," while mediator Lord Owen urged that Serb proposals for the demilitarization and internationalization of Sarajevo be considered. RFE/RL's Washington correspondent points out that ongoing "intense [Western diplomatic] consultations... are not expected to lead to any immediate action." Meanwhile back in the Balkans, RFE/RL's new South Slavic Service reports that conspiracy theories are alive and well in Belgrade, where there is apparently much speculation as to who or what is the "third force" that caused the Sarajevo shelling and thereby gave fresh impetus to calls for air strikes. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. MIXED SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN REACTION TO SARAJEVO. In Southeastern Europe, the shelling of Sarajevo on 5 February triggered condemnation but apparently also deep concern. Romanian President Ion Iliescu, who throughout the Bosnian war has maintained close ties to Belgrade, told Reuters the shelling represents "a new barbarian act of terrorism" whose authors should be "identified and punished as they deserve." He added that the incident showed the urgent need for a peaceful solution to the conflict. Iliescu's Bulgarian counterpart, Zhelyu Zhelev, called the atrocity a "disgrace to Europe and the world." Zhelev reiterated his position that there will be no end to the war until the international community "intervenes decisively," though he stopped short of calling for Western military action. In Turkey, AFP says President Suleyman Demirel demanded airstrikes against Serb positions around the Bosnian capital while Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, who visited Sarajevo on 2 February, urged the lifting of the arms embargo against Bosnia. Greece, however, argued that a "Bosnian provocation" cannot be excluded and on 7 February asked its European Union partners to refrain from airstrikes in order not to trigger a wider Balkan conflagration. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. KOSOVO UPDATE. At least 35 Kosovo Albanians were arrested at a demonstration marking the Flame of January festival, which is dedicated to national martyrs, Rilindja reported on 2 February. Among the arrested are local leaders of the Democratic League of Kosovo, which is the ruling party in Kosovo's shadow government, as well as members of the shadow parliament and family members of those killed. The Council for the Defense of Human Rights in Kosovo said that all arrested were mistreated and some of them beaten until they lost consciousness. Meanwhile at Pristina's prison, an unspecified number out of a group of 19 inmates launched a hunger strike on 3 February. They had been arrested earlier on charges of planning an armed uprising and now demand the right to read the Kosovar Albanian newspaper Bujku in prison, which the police refused to grant. Rilindja carried the report on 4 February. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. PAWLAK REMOVES FINANCE MINISTER. After meeting with Polish Peasant Party (PSL) leaders on 7 February, Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak announced that he will accept the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Marek Borowski, PAP reports. Borowski submitted his resignation on 4 February in protest against the prime minister's refusal to consult personnel and policy decisions with him or his party, the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). Such consultations were stipulated in the coalition agreement signed between the two parties when the government was formed. In remarks for Polish TV, Pawlak said "the coalition continues to function" despite Borowski's ouster. Talks between the two parties are scheduled for 8 February. Leaders of both parties played down the danger for the coalition, and SLD leader Aleksander Kwasniewski told reporters he is prepared to compromise. Still, the conflict has evolved into a test of strength between Pawlak and the SLD's liberal leadership over who has the upper hand in economic policy. Kwasniewski is likely to suffer a loss of face should he emerge from the coalition talks without important concessions from Pawlak. The conflict has ramifications for Poland's economic policy, as Borowski was viewed as the chief defender of "liberal" continuity against pressure for excessive spending from the PSL. The finance ministry is reserved for the SLD under the coalition agreement. Poland's "little constitution" empowers President Lech Walesa to make changes in the composition of the cabinet, on the prime minister's recommendation. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND, RUSSIA TO COOPERATE IN FIGHTING CRIME. Russian Interior Minister Viktor Yerin paid a three day visit to Poland on 5-7 February, PAP reports. The visit was organized to review the agreement between the Russian and Polish interior ministries that was signed in November 1992. Yerin was received by President Lech Walesa, who was on vacation in a Silesian ski resort, and later by Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak in Warsaw. At a press conference concluding the visit, Yerin and his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Milczanowski, vowed to increase cooperation in fighting organized crime, especially drug smuggling. Poland is considering purchasing Russian equipment for its police force, Milczanowski added. Russia and Poland will also complete an "inventory" of crimes committed by Russian citizens in Poland. With 667, Russians take second place on the list of crimes committed by foreigners in Poland in 1993, following Ukrainians (784) and preceding Germans (411). Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. HAVEL IN INDIA, KLAUS IN ISRAEL. Czech President Vaclav Havel, who is on an official visit to India, held talks with Indian Vice President Kocheril Narayanan, CTK reported on 7 February. Havel said after the meeting that India is a promising economic partner. CTK also reported that Havel expressed his support for a peaceful solution of the Kashmir conflict. Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec, who is member of Havel's delegation, told reporters that he discussed with his counterpart Raghunanandan Bhatiya military cooperation, which India wishes to continue. Meanwhile, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, who is on an official visit to Israel, signed a joint statement on promoting economic cooperation with his Israeli counterpart, Yitzak Rabin, Czech Radio reported on 7 February. Klaus told reporters after the ceremony that the Czech Republic and Israel plan to soon create a free-trade zone. Earlier, Klaus met Israeli President Ezer Weizman, Knesset Speaker Shevah Weiss, and opposition Likud party's chairman Benjamin Netanyahu. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. MECIAR'S REFERENDUM PLAN IS CRITICIZED. Given the disintegration of the parliamentary majority once held by the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and its coalition partner, the Slovak National Party, Premier Vladimir Meciar has recently increased efforts to replace deputies who have left the two parties since the June 1992 elections. On 6 February the premier said on Slovak Television that the MDS will organize a referendum to decide if deputies who have changed parties should be expelled from the parliament. Christian Democratic Movement chairman Jan Carnogursky told Reuters on 7 February that Meciar's plans are "senseless," and that it would be better to hold early elections. Coexistence Chairman Miklos Duray also called for early elections on 7 February, while the biggest opposition party, the Party of the Democratic Left, has been calling for a new ballot for several months. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAK NATIONAL PARTY LEADER'S POSITION PRECARIOUS. On 7 February, during MDS-SNP coalition talks, Meciar asked SNP Chairman Ludovit Cernak to resign from his post as deputy chairman of the parliament, since Cernak has not followed the coalition agreement, TASR reports. Cernak, who split his party into two factions in December, lost a vote of confidence from the SNP executive council on 15 January, but refused to resign from his post as SNP chairman until after the party congress scheduled for 19 February. On 6 February most local conferences of the SNP rallied behind the MDS-SNP coalition and called for Cernak's replacement as SNP chairman and his ouster from the party. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. CSURKA CRITICIZES US HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT. Istvan Csurka, the leader of the small nationalist Hungarian Justice and Life Party, said that the recent State Department human rights report gave a distorted picture about Hungary, Hungarian radio said on 7 February. Csurka said in parliament that the report, which criticized government influence in Hungarian radio and television, was based on one-sided information and represented interference in Hungarian domestic affairs. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVAN IDENTITY STRESSED, ROMANIANISM REBUFFED. Addressing on 5 February the inaugural congress of Moldova's Civic Alliance, sponsored by the country's political establishment, President Mircea Snegur rejected the Romanian view that Romanians and Moldovans are one people and should therefore form one state. While related to Romanians and speaking a common language, Moldovans are a distinct people entitled to having an independent state, Snegur argued, citing historical arguments and urging historians to focus on Moldova's centuries of statehood. Snegur also cited flaws of the interwar Romanian administration in Bessarabia as a further argument for separate statehood. He said that an independent Moldova offers a homeland to its citizens of any ethnicity and urged all to support the economic and political reforms currently under way. Moldova has a historic opportunity to be independent and democratic, not a Romanian or a Russian province, Snegur said. Attended by the country's top leadership, the congress issued an appeal to the people of Moldova to support independence and reforms. The pro-Romanian opposition is denouncing these statements as designed to win votes in the impending parliamentary elections. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN REACTIONS TO SNEGUR'S DECLARATIONS. A recent declaration by Moldova's President Mircea Snegur rejecting the idea of his country's reunification with Romania provoked an outcry among Romanian politicians and journalists. Reuters quoted a spokesman for the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania as predicting a setback in bilateral relations after Snegur's statement, which he described as "inciting" and "offending" and as "an attack on the integrity of our nation." Cornel Brahas, deputy chairman of the ultra-nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity, spoke of "an act of treason," while Ion Diaconescu from the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic accused Snegur of having remained "one hundred per cent a communist." Newspaper editorialists appeared equally angry with the statement. The independent daily Adevarul wrote that Snegur's speech was "a proof showing that the Russian empire is regrouping." Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVA'S POPULAR CONSULTATION RESCHEDULED. On 4 February Snegur issued a decree calling a "popular consultation" to confirm Moldova's independence, and scheduling that consultation for 6 March, Bassapress reported. Moldova's Central Electoral Commission had on 2 February resolved that it lacked a proper mandate for organizing the consultation simultaneously with the legislative elections on 27 February, as the parliament's Presidium had recently decided. Voters will essentially be asked whether they support independent Moldovan statehood. Although without legal consequences, the decision is being portrayed in Romania and by the pro-Romanian opposition in Moldova as designed to discredit the idea of Moldovan-Romanian unification. The Romanian Foreign Ministry's chief spokesman told a media briefing on 3 February that a plebiscite on the future of Moldova can only be valid if the people of Romania participates in it. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE DISARMING. The press service of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reported that, in accordance with the terms of the treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, Ukraine has destroyed 603 tanks; 630 armored vehicles; and 175 airplanes. The report, published in Uryadovyi kuryer and other Kiev newspapers, said that the equipment was destroyed in mid-November 1993, and represents the first phase in the program of conventional arms reduction. Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINE TO JOIN PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. The New York Times reported on 7 February that Ukraine has announced that it would join NATO's Partnership for Peace Program. Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko is scheduled to sign a document formalizing membership in the plan in Brussels on 8 February. Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Romania have already enrolled in the program. The announcement follows parliament's decision last week to remove the conditions it had initially attached to Ukraine's adhering to the START-1 agreement. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BLACK SEA FLEET COMMANDER MEETS CRIMEAN PRESIDENT. On 7 February the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Eduard Baltin, met with the newly elected Crimean president, Yurii Meshkov, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. During the meeting Meshkov reportedly said that the fleet was the guarantee of stability in Crimea. He also said the Russian-Ukrainian dispute over its ownership must be resolved taking into account the opinion of the peninsula's population. where the fleet has its headquarters in Sevastopol. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN-RUSSIAN ACCORD ON SKRUNDA IN THE MAKING? On 7 February heads of the Latvian and Russian delegations, Martins Virsis and Sergei Zotov, met in Moscow to discuss issues related to the pullout of Russian troops from Latvia. Zotov said that Russia would agree to the complete withdrawal of its troops from Latvia by 31 August 1994 if Latvia allowed Russia to use the Skrunda radar for the next four years and dismantle it within the following 18 months. This appears to be essentially the compromise solution to the issue that had been suggested by US officials separately to both Russian and Latvian representatives. Ilgonis Upmalis told BNS on 7 February that two Russian army units--medical and counterintelligence--have been transferred recently to Skrunda, where previously there was only personnel operating the radar and a transportation battalion. The next round of Latvian-Russian negotiations is scheduled for 14 and 15 February in Riga, Baltic media reported on 7 February. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. EU-BALTIC STATES FREE TRADE ACCORDS. On 7 February in Brussels the foreign ministers of the European Union authorized the EU's executive commission to negotiate free trade agreements with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Western agencies report. The creation of a free-trade zone with Estonia could be realized by the end of the year to coincide with the possible admission of Finland to the EU, but the negotiating mandate calls for a six-year transition period for Latvia and Lithuania since they had not yet reached the same level of development as Estonia. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Wendy Slater & Michael Shafir The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division (NCA). The report is available by electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU, on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. Requests for permission to reprint or retransmit this material should be addressed to PD@RFERL.ORG. Such requests will generally be granted on the condition that the material is clearly attributed to the RFE/RL Daily Report. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: In North America: Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc. 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6907 Fax: (202) 457-6992 or 828-8783 Internet: RI-DC@RFERL.ORG Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer Publications Department RFE/RL Research Institute Oettingenstrasse 67 80538 Munich Germany Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624 Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648 Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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