|When in doubt, tell the truth. - Mark Twain|
No. 30, 14 February 1994
RUSSIA CHURKIN IN BELGRADE. Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin conferred in his capacity as special envoy on Bosnia with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade on 13 February. Churkin told reporters after the meeting that his trip was meant to prevent the use of NATO air power to take out Serb artillery positions around Sarajevo. In an attempt to defend the stance of the Bosnian Serbs, Churkin said that they have made "many concessions." He also proposed that efforts to resolve the Bosnian conflict should focus on a new territorial division of Bosnia. Churkin accused the West of interpreting UN Security Council resolutions "in its own way" and said that Western states' preference to act through NATO reflected their fear of a Russian veto in the UNSC. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN, CLINTON CONFER BY TELEPHONE. After a series of failed attempts, US President Bill Clinton and President Boris Yeltsin connected by telephone on the evening of 11 February (Moscow time) to discuss the conflict in Bosnia. Russian news agency reports say the results of the call were negligible: the two leaders agreed to step up work to bring the parties to the conflict in Bosnia together. There was speculation in the West that the difficulty of arranging a telephone connection between Clinton and Yeltsin resulted from political differences rather than from technical or scheduling difficulties. Russian sources claimed that Yeltsin had been kept waiting for 90 minutes by Clinton, but at a briefing on 10 February, White House spokeswoman Dee Dee Myers denied this. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. GROMOV ON AFGHAN WAR ANNIVERSARY, TAJIKISTAN. In a ceremony marking the fifth anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Boris Gromov said that Moscow had to do more to win the release of 293 former Soviet soldiers--two-thirds of them Russian citizens--that he said were still held prisoner in Afghanistan; he also warned that Tajikistan could become "another Afghanistan" for Russia. Gromov, who as commander of the Soviet 40th Army oversaw the final withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989, said that Russian society must pay its debt to the veterans of that war and their families. On Tajikistan, he was quoted by Interfax as saying that "generally speaking, Tajikistan should solve its problems by itself . . . [but] since it is a member of the CIS and has signed the Treaty on Collective Security, it should be given aid." Such aid, he said, should be of a coalition character. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. SHAIMIEV IN FAVOR OF PARTICIPATION IN ELECTIONS TO RUSSIAN FEDERAL ASSEMBLY. Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev told the Tatarstan parliament on 11 February that he was in favor of the republic's population taking an active part in the elections of deputies to the Russian Federal Assembly scheduled for 13 March, ITAR-TASS and Ostankino television reported. The elections had to be rescheduled after not enough candidates were nominated or the turnout was too low for deputies to be elected from Tatarstan on 12 December. The sabotaging of the elections on 12 December was partly the result of opposition from Tatar nationalist forces and partly the result of the tacit disapproval of the Tatarstan leadership. Shaimiev now seems to have decided that it is a mistake for Tatarstan not to be represented in the Federal Assembly. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. CHANGES IN GOVERNMENT. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin plans to reduce the number of deputy prime ministers and to enhance the status of ministries, federal organs, and leading industrial companies, Russian TV's "Vesti" reported on 11 February. There is speculation in Moscow that Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, a reformer, may be a candidate for removal. Meanwhile, Yeltsin decreed the inclusion of Sergei Shakhrai, the Minister for Nationalities' Affairs and Regional Policy, into the Government's Presidium, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 February. Thus Shakhrai's demand to be subordinated directly to Chernomyrdin, not to another deputy prime minister, has been fulfilled. Shakhrai wanted to become the highest official responsible for regional policy in Russia. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. BANKRUPTCIES IN 1994? After considerable delay in introducing and implementing bankruptcy legislation, it appears that insolvency proceedings will get under way on a large scale in 1994. Sergei Belyaev, the director general of the Federal Bankruptcy Agency and first deputy chairman of the State Property Committee, announced on 11 February that over 50 bankruptcy cases were now being considered in arbitration courts, Interfax reported. Many factories in the Nizhny Novgorod, Omsk, and Voronezh regions have been classified as insolvent. Belyaev reckoned that over 8,000 state-owned and privatized enterprises might be subject to bankruptcy proceedings this year. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. HIGHER TAXES ON THE RICH. Employment Minister Gennadii Melikyan told Interfax on 12 February that his department plans a package of "unpopular" measures to "contain" the wages of persons with incomes that are "too high." On 11 December Rossiiskaya gazeta reported a "keen" debate within the cabinet on the subject of higher individual tax rates, and Melikyan has frequently referred to his intention of "soaking the rich." On 4 February his ministry's report on wages and income in 1993 claimed that some managers were paid 100 times more than their workers. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. SOVIET WHALING DECEPTION ALLEGED. According to a study published in The Guardian of 12 February, Soviet whalers systematically slaughtered a large part of the world's protected whale population for some forty years. Some of the meat was illegally sold to Japan. The Soviet Ministry of Fishing regularly falsified its reports made to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) on the numbers of whales killed. The disclosures will, it is said, oblige the IWC to revise its catch figures for the past forty years and its calculations of the world's whale population. The secretary of the IWC is quoted as saying that "the enormity of the deception is staggering." Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS SABUROV TO BECOME CRIMEAN PRIME MINISTER. Evgenii Saburov, a well-known Russian economist affiliated with Russia's powerful "industrial lobby", will become the Prime Minister of the Crimea, Nezavisimoe TV's "Itogi" reported on 13 February. Saburov had been economics minister in the first Russian Federation government of Ivan Silaev (1990-91) and was the chief architect of the economic program of the centrist-oriented Civic Union in 1992. Saburov told journalist that he will try to "overcome the artificial, abnormal isolation of the economy of Ukraine from the economy of Russia" and create a single economic space of Russia, Crimea, and Ukraine. He said that "what formally was called the economy of Ukraine is ceasing to exist" because of what he termed the breakup of Ukraine's economic ties with Russia. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. CRIMEAN DEVELOPMENTS. Appearing on Ostankino TV on 13 February at the end of his visit to Moscow, newly-elected Crimean president Yurii Meshkov expressed satisfaction with his talks in the Russian capital. He confirmed that he is determined to push ahead with a referendum on 27 March on the independence of the Crimean Autonomous Republic and said that he wants the peninsula to be "united with the economic zone of Russia, the other CIS states, and Ukraine, but on a fundamentally new basis." Meanwhile, the Ukrainian defense minister Vitalii Radetsky visited Sevastopol to take part in a ceremony to mark the addition of a new ship, the Lutsk, to the Ukrainian navy, UNIAR reported on 13 February. Responding to journalists, he reportedly told them that Meshkov does not have the competence to decide on military issues connected with Crimea and that only the Ukrainian president and parliament can take decisions on such matters. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON UKRAINIAN NAVY. In Sevastopol, Radetsky answered journalists' questions regarding the national navy, Ukrainian television reported on 12 February. He said that an inventory of the assets of the Black Sea Fleet from 6 December 1991 should be taken in order to obtain a realistic estimate of what Ukraine and Russia can expect as their share of the fleet once it is divided. He maintained that the headquarters of the Ukrainian naval forces is, and will remain, Sevastopol; and that the head of the Sevastopol garrison should be appointed by the Ukrainian army command and not be accountable to either the Ukrainian navy command or the command of the Black Sea Fleet. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA SHEVARDNADZE TAKES OVER DEFENSE MINISTRY. On 11 February Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze accepted the resignation submitted ten days earlier by defense minister Giorgi Karkarashvili, Western agencies and Interfax reported. Karkarashvili subsequently told a press conference that he had resigned because of lack of experience, and because he blamed himself for the fall of Sukhumi to Abkhaz forces last September and the resulting mass exodus of ethnic Georgians from Abkhazia. Shevardnadze subsequently stated that he will temporarily assume the functions of defense minister. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. NAZARBAEV TO US. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev flew to the US on 13 February for a five-day official visit which he hopes, he told journalists before leaving Almaty, will place bilateral political and economic relations on a new level. Western and Russian agencies reported that the two countries plan to create a business cooperation council to discuss joint ventures, and that agreements on defense issues and scientific cooperation are to be signed during this visit. Nazarbaev also seeks what he describes as a fair share of US compensation to former Soviet republics for the destruction of nuclear weapons on their soil. Sources in Almaty have reported that Nazarbaev regards the US visit as having immense significance for Kazakhstan; he appears to regard close ties to the US as a valuable counterweight to his country's necessarily close ties to Russia. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. IZVESTIYA: KAZAKH NUCLEAR WEAPONS UNSAFE. Citing sources in the Russian Defense Ministry, Izvestiya on 12 February alleged that strategic nuclear weapons based in Kazakhstan were poorly maintained and becoming dangerous. Reuters said the report charged that the situation at the Dzerzhavinsk and Zhanghiz-Tobe ballistic sites was especially worrisome and that, in general, security and morale at the main rocket bases had sunk precipitously. "The professionalism is at such a low level that the only surprising thing is that up to now no one has stolen a single atomic bomb," the newspaper said. The charges, coming as President Nazarbaev arrived in Washington, are similar to those that have been leveled at various times by Russian military authorities against Ukraine. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. KAZAKH OFFICIAL REJECTS NUCLEAR SAFETY CHARGES. Kazakhstani presidential advisor Tulegen Zhukeev rejected charges just published in Izvestiya that nuclear weapons in Kazakhstan are in an unsafe condition, ITAR-TASS reported on 13 February. Zhukeev told a press conference in Almaty that the charges originated with unspecified persons who are unhappy that Kazakhstan has stopped shipping its nuclear missiles to Russia after only twelve had been sent. He attributed this stoppage to the unresolved issue of compensation for the enriched uranium in the warheads, saying that half the uranium had been mined in Kazakhstan. He added that during Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's recent visit to Almaty the two countries had agreed to further discussions to resolve outstanding disagreements. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE WESTERN OFFICIALS PULL OUT OF BELGRADE. On 14 February international media report that embassy officials from several Western countries have been ordered to leave Belgrade. On 12 February AFP reported that US diplomatic staff people and their families received the order to leave; on the same day, nine British officials were evacuated. On 13 February officials from the Dutch embassy began leaving. On 14 February The Washington Post says that Germany and Canada are also among the growing number of Western nations to be evacuating diplomatic staff. It adds that the withdrawal of diplomatic staff is in part a reaction to the anticipated Western backlash that many Serb nationalists may promote if NATO airstrikes are carried out against the Bosnian Serbs on or after 21 February. On 13 February AFP reported that France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, announced Paris would not be pulling its embassy staff out of Belgrade for the time being. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. MILOSEVIC MEETS CHURKIN, ARMY REACTS TO NATO ULTIMATUM. International media report that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic met on 13 February with the Russian envoy to the former Yugoslavia, Vitaly Churkin, to discuss the Bosnian crisis and the implications of the NATO ultimatum against the Bosnian Serbs. According to ITAR-TASS and Tanjug reports, both Churkin and Milosevic stressed that decreasing tension levels around the Bosnian capital Sarajevo would constitute the major step towards a peaceful solution to the Bosnian war, and Churkin reaffirmed his commitment to seeking a diplomatic solution to the Bosnian crisis. Meanwhile, on 11 February Radio Belgrade reported that Col. Dragan Vuksic, representative of the rump Yugoslav army, told reporters that rump Yugoslav forces may not sit by idly if NATO were to carry out the air strikes against Bosnia's Serbs. AFP quotes Vuksic as saying that the army may "react to events that occur in its environment." Belgrade, however, denies having its forces in Bosnia. In other news, on 11 February Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek told a press conference that Ljubljana endorses the NATO ultimatum, and said he hopes Bosnia's Serbs would accept its terms. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. MUSLIMS SAY THEY WILL NOT EXPLOIT NATO THREAT. AFP on 13 February quotes Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic as saying that he well understands that the NATO ultimatum to the Serbs does not give his government "carte blanche for retaking territory." He rejected Bosnian Serb demands that the Muslims put their infantry and light arms under UN control if the Serbs put their big guns under international supervision or withdraw them. Silajdzic pointed out that infantry and light arms are not mentioned in NATO's 9 February ultimatum, but said that his forces would not risk their credibility by taking advantage of the situation. He also suggested that his government is considering a compromise political solution, saying "we have agreed to reorganize our country." Silajdzic maintains, however, that some mainly Muslim areas taken by the Serbs, such as Zvornik, be placed under UN control for the balance of the war. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. CROATIA OFFERS TO WITHDRAW TROOPS. The BBC on 13 February said that Zagreb has told the United Nations that it will withdraw its forces serving in Bosnia-Herzegovina if the UN will protect Croatian communities in central Bosnia. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said that there are about 3,000 Croatia army (HV) men serving in the neighboring republic, and Western press accounts charge that young men are being dragooned in Croatia for fighting in Bosnia. The Croatian authorities maintain that the only HV men in Bosnia are either serving along the two republics' common southern border by mutual agreement or are demobilized volunteers or Bosnian Croat origin. Elsewhere, Reuters said on 13 February that Serbs from around the former Yugoslavia, who were not invited to Lillehammer, are holding their own winter Olympic events on sites of the 1984 Sarajevo games now under their control. Events include target-shooting, and one Bosnian Serb sports official predicted that "the Serbs will win." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. NO NATO SURVEILLANCE PLANES OVER HUNGARY. According to an 11 February Reuters report, Hungarian Prime Minister Peter Boross told reporters that Hungary will not allow NATO surveillance planes to enter its airspace during any airstrikes on Bosnian Serb positions. Budapest currently allows NATO's surveillance aircraft to operate over Hungary to monitor adherence to the no-fly zone in former Yugoslavia. Since a large Hungarian minority lives in Vojvodina, the Hungarian government is afraid of getting involved in any way in the Yugoslav conflict, which might explain the prime minister's latest statement. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIANS UNEASY ABOUT BOSNIA. Bulgarian dailies on 14 February report extensively of the domestic debate regarding recent events in Bosnia and the NATO ultimatum. In Otechestven vestnik, UDF leader Filip Dimitrov reiterates that the Bosnian crisis must be resolved by international institutions in order to avoid old Balkan rivalries to reemerge. At the same time several dailies criticize Sofia's position from different viewpoints. Whereas a Standart editorial calls Sofia's Bosnian policy "timid and inconclusive," 24 Chasa argues that the looming disunity among Bulgarian politicians is more dangerous than the possible consequences of Western airstrikes. Meanwhile, 24 Chasa also quotes President Zhelyu Zhelev, on his way to sign the Partnership for Peace scheme in Brussels, as saying that it would be "incorrect" for Bulgaria to have an official position on the airstrikes since the country will not participate in military actions. In an interview with Balgarska armiya, Chief of General Staff Gen. Lyuben Petrov says it would be exaggerated to speak about a imminent danger to national security, but Bulgaria experiences mounting "uncertainty." Petrov points out that this is due also to the fact that most neighbors have larger military capabilities than Bulgaria. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. HAVEL COMMENTS ON BOSNIA. Speaking to reporters in Bangkok on 13 February, Czech President Vaclav Havel said he fully supports the fact that NATO has shown it is serious about ending the fighting in Bosnia. His position differs from that of Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus who on 10 February said he preferred a negotiated settlement to an outside intervention in Bosnia and warned that the war could escalate should NATO launch air strikes. On 14 February Havel returns to the Czech Republic from his trip to India and Thailand. On 12 February he met with Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and with Parliament Chairman Marut Bunnag. During his visit, Czech and Thai officials signed agreements on trade, the protection and promotion of investments, and limitation of double taxation. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. MACEDONIAN ALBANIAN PARTY SPLITS. The Party of Democratic Prosperity split at the extraordinary party congress in Tetovo on 12 and 13 February, Flaka and Nova Makedonija reported on 13 February. First came controversies over the voting procedure for the presidency and the party statute, along with charges of irregularities regarding the list of delegates. Then, a number of delegates, among whom are members of the Macedonian government, walked out of the hall and continued to hold a congress elsewhere. The extraordinary congress followed the collective resignation of the party leadership in December 1993 in response to pressure from the nationalist wing. The nationalists charged the leadership with failing to achieve their basic goal of a special constitutional status for the Albanians, and with too close cooperation with their coalition partners in the Macedonian government. Nonetheless, some delegates insisted on the participation of the former party leader Nevzat Halili and his central committee at the extraordinary congress. Flaka described the split as "definitive" and added that Halili allegedly appeared at the break-away congress after the walk-out. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. VOTE OF NO-CONFIDENCE IN MECIAR EXPECTED . . . Following the recent defection of twelve deputies of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (ten have joined a new faction called the Alternative of Political Realism (APR), while two have established the National Social-Democratic faction), Premier Vladimir Meciar's grip on power seems to be loosening. Opposition deputies said that a vote of no-confidence in the Meciar government could take place as early as 16 February, Reuters reported on 11 February. On that day, the parliament will reconvene following its closure on 4 February, when six Slovak National Party deputies switched to the opposition, leaving Meciar with the support of only 75 out of 150 deputies and the parliament in a stalemate. Now opposition parties could claim as many as 87 seats, making a no-confidence vote likely. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . AS TOP SLOVAK OFFICIALS JOIN OPPOSITION. Foreign Minister Jozef Moravcik and Deputy Premier Roman Kovac, both MDS members, have come out in support of the APR, which calls for a broad coalition of all parliamentary parties except those of the Hungarian minority and a cabinet of politically non-aligned experts. On 11 February Meciar said on Slovak Radio that Moravcik and Kovac should resign for working to topple the government and called the formation of a new government "thievery." Meeting on 12 February in Modra to discuss the crisis, the MDS leadership rejected the statement of the APR deputies. Following a no-confidence vote in Moravcik and Kovac, the MDS proposed that they be expelled from the party. Meciar said that defections by MDS members are part of a healing process, since "only what is ill falls off." On 13 February, Moravcik and Kovac said they would not resign and would instead wait for Meciar to ask the president to dismiss them. That same day, Meciar said he supports early elections, which could be held as early as this summer, to resolve the present crisis. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. ARRESTS CONTINUE IN THE 1956 HUNGARIAN MASSACRE CASES. On 11 February the Budapest Central District Court has ordered the arrests of four individuals charged with firing into defenseless crowds during the 1956 revolution in Mosonmagyarovar and Salgotarjan, MTI reports. Five people arrested in a similar case in Eger recently were released by the local courts because there was no imminent threat that they would leave the country to avoid being tried. The court ordered that the four people arrested on 11 February be kept in jail for 30 days, to avoid attempts to get rid of evidence connected with their cases. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc. ENERGY PRICE HIKES IN POLAND. Polish gas and electricity prices will rise 10% on 15 February, PAP reports. Further increases are planned for June and September. In announcing the February hikes, the finance ministry stressed that the increases are lower than planned in the draft budget for 1994. Electricity prices are to rise 37% overall in 1994 (rather than 41%), while gas is to increase 35% (rather than 45%). In scaling back the hikes, the government has attempted to ease public dissatisfaction while still keeping pace with inflation and bringing Polish energy prices gradually to world levels, as agreed with the World Bank. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH COAL STRIKE ENDS. The 40,000 miners on strike in seven mines in the Jastrzebie complex returned to work on 14 February after a week-long strike, PAP reports. The strikers won pay hikes of 7.2% for January and 10% for February, PAP reports. They will also receive pay for the days on strike, on the condition that they work off strike losses by November. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. WORKERS' PROTESTS IN ROMANIA. About three thousand railway repair workers attacked the building of the Transports Ministry in Bucharest on 11 February. The demonstrators, who were protesting unpaid wages, as well as hard working and living conditions, stoned the building and smashed its windows. Several policemen were injured in the incident, Radio Bucharest reported. The protest was ostensibly sparked by the effects of a severe financial blockage in Romania caused by 4,200 billion lei ($2.8 billion) of unpaid debts between enterprises. It ended only after Transports Minister Paul Teodoru and other senior officials promised that wages would be paid within the next days. In a separate development, a group of angry workers disrupted a visit by President Ion Iliescu at the Electroputere electrical equipment plant in the town of Craiova. The loss-making industrial giant, which had been recently split into several enterprises, is plagued by chronic financial difficulties. Meanwhile, coal miners in Romania's Jiu Valley announced they will begin a strike on 14 February that will continue until their demands are met. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES CRACK DOWN ON PARAMILITARY GROUP. On 12 February the authorities in Kiev raided the headquarters of the paramilitary ultra-nationalist Ukrainian National Self-Defense Organization (UNSO) and detained as many as 30 of its activists in the region, Ukrainian and Western agencies reported. The UNSO, the paramilitary wing of the radical nationalist Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA), claims to have several thousand members and gained notoriety last year by sending members to fight on the Georgian side against "Russian imperialism" in the conflict in Abkhazia. Last November the Ukrainian parliament banned radical paramilitary formations but UNSO has defied this ruling and begun campaigning for the parliamentary elections due on 27 March. On 13 February the Lviv regional organization of UNSO went ahead and held a conference in Lviv, UNIAR reported. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA REVOKES GAS SUPPLY CONTRACT WITH BALTICS. According to BNS of 10 February, Gazprom recently sent letters to the Baltic gas consortiums informing them that the previously negotiated contracts have been revoked and that new contracts must be negotiated. Baltic representatives are expected to go to Moscow this week to find out the reasons for Gazprom's actions. Estonia owes about 10.5 billion rubles, Latvia--about 32 billion rubles, and Lithuania--about 51 billion rubles, Western media reported on 12 February. Latvian Energy Minister Andris Kreslins told the press that the previous contract dated as recently as 12 January and that a Gazprom delegation is expected in Riga on 21 February. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. CSCE REPRESENTATIVE ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN ESTONIA. Timo Lahelma, chairman of the CSCE Mission of Human Rights in Estonia, told Interfax on 11 February that there are no flagrant violations of human rights in that country, "only minor shortcomings, typical of many other democracies." He added that the aim of the mission was not so much to expose violations as to forestall such a possibility by helping draft the proper laws. Lahelma urged the Estonian authorities to issue internationally recognized documents to non-citizens residing permanently in Estonia that would allow them to travel freely in and out of the country, and to finance Estonian-language courses for its ethnic communities. The mission has been in Estonia for a year and has been asked by the government to extend its stay until the Russian troops leave Estonia. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN COMMUNIST LEADER DIES IN MOSCOW. Diena reported on 11 February that Augusts Voss, first secretary of the Latvian Communist Party from 1966 to 1984, died in the Russian capital on 10 February. He was born on 30 October 1916. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT IN NORWAY. On 11 February Algirdas Brazauskas flew to Norway to participate in the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, Radio Lithuania reports. In Oslo, at meetings with Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, Foreign Minister Bjorn Tore Godal, and members of the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Brazauskas discussed forging closer ties between the Baltic Assembly and the Nordic Council of Ministers, Norway's assistance for Lithuania's bid for full membership in NATO, and Lithuania's relations with Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. In Lillehammer he met King Harald V and high foreign officials. Brazauskas will return to Lithuania on 14 February. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Vladimir Socor and 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. 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