The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 34, 18 February 1994

RUSSIA

RUSSIAN MEDIATION IN BOSNIA. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii 
Churkin and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic announced on 17 February 
that Bosnian Serb forces were withdrawing heavy weapons from Sarajevo. 
Karadzic, terming the withdrawal a consent to "Russian demands," greeted 
Moscow's participation in the international efforts for settlement and 
said this "means certain guarantees for us." Russia's Foreign Ministry 
issued a statement urging the United States and the EU "to exert the 
necessary influence on the Bosnian government." Scarcely veiling its 
criticism of Western approaches, the Russian statement added that Russia 
was able to achieve results with a "firm and consistent line and without 
recourse to ultimatums," Russian and Western agencies reported. Suzanne 
Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. 

RUSSIA TO SEND ADDITIONAL TROOPS. Attempting to demonstrate its commitment 
to international settlement efforts, Russia offered to transfer 400 of its 
UN peacekeeping troops from Croatia to Sarajevo as well as to dispatch an 
additional 400 peacekeeping troops from Russia. The offer, if accepted, 
would effectively interpose Russia between the Bosnian Serbs and 
UN-mandated or NATO air strikes, should such strikes turn out to be 
necessary at a later date. Russia has stipulated for now that these troops 
would not be deployed until after the current deadline for Serbian 
military withdrawal runs out (on 21 February), Russian and Western 
agencies reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. 

DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER EMPHASIZES RUSSIA'S "PEACEKEEPING" ROLE. Deputy 
Defense Georgii Kondratev, who made clear in remarks reported by ITAR-TASS 
on 16 February that he "answers for Russia's peace-keeping forces," 
outlined the Russian Defense Ministry's views toward such operations in a 
long article published by Krasnaya zvezda on the same day. In broad terms, 
Kondratev's remarks restate the policy preferences vis-a-vis other former 
Soviet states suggested by Russia's military doctrine and made explicit in 
statements by Foreign Ministry spokesmen. He writes that "Russia remains 
the only state possessing the military and technical resources for the 
conduct of operations aimed at maintaining and restoring peace" and that 
"no international organization or group of states will replace our 
peace-keeping forces on the territory of the former USSR." Kondratev 
complains that there is still no firm legal basis in Russia for 
peace-keeping operations and that such operations are now being financed 
out of the Defense Ministry's budget. He calls for the UN to contribute 
funding to Russian peace-keeping operations and to confer upon them a CSCE 
mandate. Kondratev is currently inspecting Russian "peacekeeping" troops 
in the "Dniester republic" where he met with the latter's would-be 
president Igor Smirnov on 16 February Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

RUSSIAN POLITICS AND BOSNIA. President Boris Yeltsin's associate Mikhail 
Poltoranin suggests that Yeltsin chose to postpone his speech to the Duma, 
originally scheduled for 18 February, in order to focus on Bosnia, The 
Christian Science Monitor reported on 17 February. In his speech, now 
rescheduled for the 24th, Yeltsin probably hopes to stress Russian 
diplomacy's role in preventing NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb 
forces. Meanwhile, Russian Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov, sharing 
Vladimir Zhirinovski's viewpoint, said that NATO's airstrikes against 
Bosnian Serbs would lead to World War III as they would be considered an 
attack on Russia and that Russia would defend its "orthodox brothers." 
Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

BODYGUARD OF KHASBULATOV AND RUTSKOI ARRESTED. Estonian police has with 
Russian assistance arrested in Estonia Aleksandr Denisov, a former 
bodyguard of the leaders of the October 1993 disturbances, Ruslan 
Khasbulatov and Aleksandr Rutskoi, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 February. 
Denisov was instrumental in the flight of some 20 rebels from Moscow to 
the Russian-settled area of northeastern Estonia. Estonian authorities are 
reportedly considering Denisov's extradition to Russia. Alexander Rahr, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

LDP'S PROPOSAL FOR AMNESTY IS VOTED DOWN BY DUMA. The majority of deputies 
in the State Duma on 17 February voted down a proposal by Vladimir 
Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic faction to drop charges against the 
organizers of the abortive coup in August 1991 and of the October 1993 
disturbances in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported. The faction's spokesman, 
Viktor Vishnyakov, said in both instances those on trial were defending 
the existing constitution. The faction also called for an end to the 
investigation into the clashes between the police and communist 
demonstrators on 1 May 1993, in which a number of people were killed and 
injured. Vishnyakov said these clashes were a provocation staged by the 
authorities. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY DENIES SPLIT IN HIS PARTY. Vladimir Zhirinovsky told 
journalists on 17 February that there was no split in the ranks of his 
party. He was quoted by Reuters as saying that what had appeared to be a 
split yesterday had been a ploy of "special services." He claimed that 
"all intelligence services in the world are pitted against our party," 
trying to provoke conflicts within its ranks. Zhirinovsky was accompanied 
by a senior member of the party, Viktor Kobelev, who said he had reversed 
his decision to quit the LDP and now would stay on after reaching an 
agreement with Zhirinovsky. Kobelev said Zhirinovsky now promised to 
consult him, before taking decisions. It was not immediately clear what 
was the position of another top member of the party, Aleksandr Pronin, who 
also announced his resignation from the party on 16 February (see RFE/RL 
Daily Report, 17 February). Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

DUMA APPROVES RESOLUTION ON MEDIA COVERAGE. The Duma approved a resolution 
"On the Coverage of the Work of the State Duma by Federal TV and Radio 
Companies." The resolution instructed the Duma's Committee on 
Informational Policy to prepare a legislation on the coverage by the state 
media of the work of state and government organs of power. It also 
stipulated the creation of a press center, which would prepare information 
on the Duma's activities for journalists, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 
February. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

GORBACHEV DENIES COUP PLOT ALLEGATION. Former Soviet President Mikhail 
Gorbachev was quoted by Interfax on 17 February as strongly denying 
allegations that he supported the plan to impose a state of emergency in 
parts of the USSR in August 1991. The agency quoted Gorbachev as saying it 
would have been "madness" on his part to impose the state of emergency 
just before the planned signing of a new Union Treaty. The allegation 
against Gorbachev was made earlier this week by a former CPSU Central 
Committee secretary, Oleg Shenin, who is on trial for his role in 
organizing the abortive coup in August 1991. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MORE ON RUSSIA-TATARSTAN TREATY. The text of the treaty signed by the 
Russian and Tatarstan presidents and prime ministers on 15 February, which 
was published in Rossiiskaya gazeta on 17 February, indicates that Russia 
ceded very little, if anything, of substance. Thus Article 4 of the treaty 
on the powers of the federal authorities is identical to Article 71 of the 
new Russian constitution, which in turn was a very slightly edited version 
of Article 1 of the Federal Treaty, which Tatarstan refused to sign. Both 
parties are, however, acclaiming the treaty. Tatarstan President Mintimer 
Shaimiev, who had earlier described the new Russian constitution as the 
constitution of a unitary state, said on 16 February that the treaty had 
fully clarified relations between Russia and Tatarstan, Interfax reported. 
Shaimiev said the treaty will come into force on 24 February; it does not 
require ratification since it is not an international treaty. Commentators 
have pointed out that the treaty does not fully resolve the contradictions 
between the Russian and Tatarstan constitutions and there could well be 
further friction. It will certainly be opposed by nationalist parties in 
Tatarstan and conservative forces in Russia. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. 

KOMI ADOPTS NEW CONSTITUTION. An extraordinary session of the Komi Supreme 
Soviet adopted a new constitution for the republic of Komi on 17 February, 
ITAR-TASS reported. The document describes the republic as a democratic 
state within the Russian Federation and is said to be in accord with the 
Russian constitution. The head of state will apparently bear the title of 
head of the republic rather than president. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc. 

US-RUSSIAN PHARMACEUTICAL AGREEMENT. The Clinton Administration announced 
on 16 February an agreement whereby US-made pharmaceuticals will be given 
speedier and greater access to the Russian market. Of late, Russia has 
been importing drugs to the value of up to $400 million annually; the 
American share has been about $7 million. The agreement is said to assure 
that medications meeting US safety and efficacy standards will receive 
virtually automatic entry into Russia. Details of the agreement and its 
implications are treated in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times 
of 17 February. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CIS

THE AGING CIS POPULATION. On 17 February Interfax reported that the CIS 
statistics committee predicted a decline in the populations of most CIS 
states. According to its analysis the total population in the CIS member 
states will be 279.1 million by 1995, and 281.5 million by 2000. In 1993 
the population was 278.4 million. Rates of population growth for the 
entire CIS area will continue to drop. While the population grew annually 
by 2 million in the eighties, it will only increase by 900,000 in the 
first half of the nineties and by only 500,000 in the second half of the 
decade. The populations of Russia and of Ukraine will actually decrease 
due to declining birth rates and rising mortality rates. Most migrants 
within the CIS will head for Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Tajikistan will 
experience the highest outflow but the republic will preserve the greatest 
growth in population totaling 27.4 people per 1000 citizens over the 
1993-1999 period. By 2000 Russia will be the most urbanized country in the 
CIS with 72% of its population living in urban areas. Tajikistan will have 
the lowest level of urban population (23%). Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine 
are experiencing the most intensive ageing of their populations. The 
purported trends indicate that by 2015 the population of Moldova, Belarus, 
and Ukraine will be "the oldest," with the proportion of old people 
constituting 20-23% of their populations. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

RUSSIA TO HELP REACTIVATE ARMENIAN NUCLEAR POWER STATION. Under the terms 
of an agreement reached on 17 February during talks between Russian First 
Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets and Armenian Prime Minister Hrant 
Bagratyan, Russia will provide the equipment and specialists for work to 
reactivate the Medzamor nuclear power station; Armenia will provide the 
finance for the project, Interfax reported. The station, with a generating 
capacity of 800 mW, was closed in 1989 in the aftermath of the Armenian 
earthquake, crippling Armenia's energy base: households in Erevan are 
currently supplied with electricity for no more than 2 hours per day, and 
industry is at a virtual standstill. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

NAZARBAEV ON KAZAKHSTAN'S OIL FUTURE. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan 
Nazarbaev told a news conference in New York that his country aspires to 
be a major oil producer and exporter, but lacks facilities to transport 
its potential output, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 February. Kazakhstan 
presently uses a Russian pipeline for its relatively modest oil exports, 
which has caused some nervousness in the Central Asian state over possible 
Russian pressure on Kazakhstan's petroleum industry. During Nazarbaev's 
stay in Washington journalists asked him if there had been Western 
interest in a possible pipeline for Kazakhstani oil via Iran. Bess Brown, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SERBS WELCOME, MUSLIMS CRITICIZE RUSSIAN OFFER. Bosnian Serbs reacted 
quickly and positively to Russia's offer to contribute peace-keepers to 
Sarajevo in return for the Serbs moving their heavy weapons out of the 
NATO 20-kilometer exclusion zone. The proposal enables the Serbs to save 
face by meeting the terms of the NATO ultimatum while claiming to actually 
be agreeing to a friendly Russian offer, international media noted on 17 
and 18 February. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic told the press that 
"we do think that the war in Sarajevo is finally over," while the British 
UN commander, Sir Michael Rose, described the initial withdrawal on 17 
February of Serb heavy weapons as "an exodus." The Muslims, however, were 
less upbeat in their assessment, partly because of a historical mistrust 
of Russia, which they regard as a Serb ally. News agencies quoted Bosnian 
Vice President Ejup Ganic as saying that Russian troops "are not neutral," 
and the republic's ambassador to the UN, Muhamed Sacirbey, said that a 
larger Russian role "could only lead to a worsening of the situation." The 
Muslims would have long liked to see their historic partner, Turkey, be 
more involved on the ground, but the Serbs have repeatedly vetoed any move 
by Ankara. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

UN SAYS CROAT TROOPS STILL IN BOSNIA. Reuters and The New York Times 
report on 18 February UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali wrote the 
Security Council the previous day to say that some 5,000 Croatian regular 
army (HV) troops might still be in the embattled neighboring republic. On 
3 February the Council warned Croatia to take the men out or face "serious 
measures," which was generally taken to mean economic sanctions. Croatia 
claims that it has some men along the Croatian-Herzegovinian border above 
Dubrovnik by mutual agreement, and that some 2,000 demobilized HV men of 
Bosnian origin might be serving with the Bosnian Croat forces (HVO) of 
their own free will. Most observers, however, have long regarded any 
distinction between the HV and HVO as existing purely on paper, and The 
Daily Telegraph on 2 February said that both Serbia and Croatia are 
dragooning men to fight in Bosnia. In his latest letter, Boutros-Ghali 
noted that the HV men were trying to disguise their presence by painting 
over HV emblems and changing them to HVO ones. War, dislocation, 
mismanagement, and loss of tourist revenues have already battered the 
Croatian economy, and the country can ill afford to risk UN sanctions. 
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOVEMENT IN SERBIAN PARLIAMENT. On 17 and 18 February the Serbian press 
gave extensive coverage to domestic developments, noting that a measure of 
progress is being made in constituting a working government out of 
Serbia's deadlocked and divided parliament. On 18 February Borba reports 
that 10 working parliamentary committees, out of a total of 23, have been 
constituted since the 19 December elections. In the Serbian media's 
continuing coverage of the international community's reactions to the NATO 
ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs, Borba on 17 February reported that 
Slovenian President Milan Kucan stated that the crisis should end 
peacefully, stressing he "did not believe the Serbs . . . would risk a 
confrontation with the international community." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

ANGRY REACTIONS TO GREECE'S BLOCKADE OF MACEDONIA. The US State 
Department, the EU Commission, individual EU member states and Turkey have 
all reacted angrily to Greece's imposition of an economic blockade against 
the Republic of Macedonia, Western agencies reported on 17 and 18 
February. While EU Commission President Jacques Delors said Athens' 
behavior is bad for the European "family spirit," Denmark explicitly asked 
Greece to lift the trade embargo, but was rebuffed. In Skopje, officials 
decried the act as counter to the UN charter and international law, 
according to Nova Makedonija. Reuters also reports that Bulgaria, 
Macedonia's eastern neighbor, has already offered the Black Sea port of 
Burgas as a substitute for the now off limits Greek port of Thessaloniki. 
Oil shipments are the main targets of the Greek blockade which Athens says 
it will apply strictly. Duncan Perry and Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW ALBANIAN PARTY LEADER ELECTED IN MACEDONIA. On 13 February Dr. 
Xheladin Murati, the deputy president of the Macedonian parliament, was 
elected leader of the leading ethnic Albanian Party of Democratic 
Prosperity, Rilindja reports on 16 February. At the extraordinary party 
congress on 12 and 13 February in Tetovo, the party split into relatively 
moderate and militant factions. At that point, a number of more moderate 
delegates, among whom were members of the Macedonian government and 
parliament, walked out and continued to hold their own congress elsewhere. 
According to Rilindja, Murati was elected by this break-away congress 
which was backed by 137 delegates, who claim to be the legitimate and 
legal continuation of the congress, operating according to the party 
statutes. The walkout was prompted by the militant-dominated credentials 
committee's failure to allow former party leader Nevzat Halili and the 
former central committee, which resigned collectively in December, to take 
part in the congress. The moderates thereupon said that the militants had 
violated the party's statutes, and the moderates walked out. Fabian 
Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK OPPOSITION'S PROPOSED ELECTION LAW FAILS. On 17 February TASR 
reported that the parliament did not approve the opposition's proposal to 
hold early elections in November (the previous day, the government's 
proposal to hold early elections in June failed, as did the opposition's 
version of the government bill). Although winning 83 votes, the proposal 
needed 90 votes to pass, since amendments to the constitution require a 
three-fifths majority. The opposition does have the simple majority 
necessary to pass a vote of no-confidence in Premier Vladimir Meciar; 
however, Party of the Democratic Left Chairman Peter Weiss said he was 
reluctant to take that step before early elections were approved. 
Christian Democratic Movement Deputy Chairman Frantisek Miklosko said he 
is considering issuing a parliamentary declaration which would require the 
president to call a referendum on the question of November elections (the 
other way to call a referendum is by collecting votes of at least 350,000 
citizens). Meanwhile, CDM Deputy Chairman Emil Komarik said his party is 
prepared to participate in a new coalition cabinet, which should 
demonstrate that Slovakia can be governed without "permanent conflicts." 
Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT ON PRIVATIZATION, TELEVISION. During its 17 February 
session the Slovak parliament approved amendments to the large-scale 
privatization law and elected a new director of Slovak Television (STV), 
TASR reports. The new privatization amendments will break ties between the 
cabinet and the National Property Fund (NPF) and will end the term of the 
current members of the NPF Presidium and Supervisory Board. The amendments 
also separate the NPF's income and expenditures from the state budget. 
Members of the new presidium and supervisory board will be elected and 
dismissed by the parliament; the deputies decided against a government 
proposal which would have placed Meciar and other ministers on the 
presidium and supervisory board. Meanwhile, Ivan Stadtrucker was elected 
the new director of STV, with the approval of 102 deputies. Stadtrucker 
replaced Peter Malec, who resigned on 19 November. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, 
Inc. 

WALESA'S CONSTITUTION BILLS REJECTED. Two bills submitted to the Sejm by 
President Lech Walesa were rejected by the deputies on 18 February, by 206 
votes to 101, with 45 abstentions, PAP reports. The bills would have made 
it possible for citizens to submit their own drafts of the constitution, 
and provided for the dissolution of parliament in the event of 
non-ratification of the constitution in a national referendum. At a press 
conference after the bills' first reading on 17 February, Walesa said that 
his initiative was prompted by the desire to give the people a platform 
for participation in public life since the current parliament is not fully 
representative. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. 

UDF LEADER BLASTS "RECOMMUNIZATION" OF JUDICIARY. In a statement released 
on 17 February, the Chairman of the opposition Union of Democratic Forces, 
Filip Dimitrov, issued a strongly worded protest against new legislation 
making only judges and prosecutors with a 5-year experience eligible for 
higher positions in the Bulgarian judiciary, adding that he was 
considering leaving parliament as a result. Himself a lawyer by 
profession, Dimitrov said the law, which was adopted on 15 February, 
solidified the power of former communists in the judiciary and signified 
an attempt at "Communist counterrevolution" in Bulgarian politics. Other 
UDF leaders told BTA the decision whether Dimitrov would leave the 
National Assembly had to be taken by the party executive. Meanwhile, 
Chairman of the Supreme Court Ivan Grigorov--a lawyer who because of the 
law would have to step down after his first mandate--cautioned that the 
Constitutional Court could strike down the new legislation before it is 
implemented. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

LABOR UNREST IN ROMANIA. Coal miners in the Jiu Valley announced their 
intention to go ahead with a strike which started on 14 February, Radio 
Bucharest reports. The controversial union leader Miron Cosma said that 
his fellow miners are prepared to travel to Bucharest for anti-government 
demonstrations in case President Ion Iliescu does not find a solution to 
the conflict. The miners demand back pay and bonuses, and better working 
conditions. In a statement issued on 17 February, Romania's government 
threatened to take legal action against Cosma for inciting to public 
disorder. Several thousand miners had on 16 February stormed the Lignite 
Company headquarters in Targu Jiu. The attack left seven policemen 
injured. Meanwhile, the government and the Presidency continued 
negotiations with representatives of Romania's three main trade union 
confederations in an attempt to defuse a general strike planned for later 
this month. The National Confederation of Romania's Free Trade 
Unions-Fratia, the Alfa Trade Union Cartel and the National Labor Bloc say 
a new cabinet is needed to solve the country's current economic and social 
crisis. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN JOURNALIST DETAINED FOR ALLEGED INSULT TO ILIESCU. Radio 
Bucharest reported on 17 February that a journalist had been jailed to 
face charges of having insulted Iliescu. Nicolae Andrei, 31, was taken 
into custody in Craiova for having published in a local paper in December 
two fables entitled "The Story of the Pig--A Christmas Tale" and "The 
Animal's Tale." The allegories, which reportedly do not mention Iliescu by 
name, were described by the chairman of the Romanian Journalists' 
Association Petre Mihai Bacanu as "totally harmless." Bacanu further said 
that Andrei's detention was unjustified and represented an "unprecedented 
case" of official overreaction in post-communist Romania. Dan Ionescu, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN LEFTIST PARTY JOINS ATTACK AGAINST DEFENSE MINISTER. The 
Socialist Labor Party, Romania's re-born communist party, joined on 17 
February previous attacks by the ultranationalist Greater Romania Party 
against Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Nicolae Spiroiu. In a statement issued 
to the press, the SLP menaced to withdraw its support for "a cabinet whose 
defense minister is gravely compromised" and demanded that the government 
"purifies its ranks without delay." GRP had accused Spiroiu of corruption 
and of betraying Romania's national interests. Spiroiu denies the 
accusations. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN LEADERS PLEDGE GAGAUZ REGIONAL AUTONOMY. In yet another trip to 
the Gagauz administrative center Comrat for conciliation talks, Moldovan 
President Mircea Snegur, Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli, and the chairman 
of the Agrarian Party (Moldova's largest) Dumitru Motpan conferred with 
the "Gagauz republic" leaders and with representatives of the 
Gagauz-populated districts on 15-17 February, Basapress reports. The 
Moldovan leaders promised to resubmit and personally support the draft law 
on creating a Gagauz autonomous region to the new parliament following the 
upcoming election. The draft law concedes more than any East European 
state has in terms of ethnic-territorial autonomy. It had been submitted 
to the outgoing parliament in June 1993 with the Moldovan leadership's 
support but was withdrawn when it became clear that it could not garner 
the two-thirds majority required for passage. The "Gagauz Supreme Soviet" 
voted on 17 February to consent to the holding of the parliamentary 
election in Gagauz-inhabited areas. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MOLDOVAN VIEW OF UKRAINE'S ROLE. Ion Borsevici, Moldova's Ambassador to 
Ukraine and a confidant of President Mircea Snegur, said in Chisinau on 15 
February as cited by Basapress that "Ukraine's wish to defend its 
independence plays an exceptionally important role for the defense of our 
own country's interests." "Ukrainian-Moldovan good neighborly relations 
transcend the framework of merely state-to-state relations," as "Ukraine 
provides an umbrella against those forces which want to bring down our 
independence and bring us into a neo-Soviet brotherhood.'" Vladimir Socor, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

AFTERMATH OF BELARUSIAN STRIKES. Uladzimir Zametalin, the press secretary 
of Belarusian Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich, said the 15 February 
political strike was a failure, Interfax reported on 17 February. He 
denied that workers had rallied to the strike call. Meanwhile the head of 
the strike committee's press center, Aleksandr Lysenka, has reported that 
the authorities are detaining the strike movement's leaders. Some 30,000 
people had demonstrated in front of the Belarusian parliament in response 
to the strike call. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. 

BELARUS MAY JOIN NATO PARTNERSHIP. The chairman of the Supreme Soviet of 
Belarus, Mechyslau Hryb, told journalists that Belarus does not rule out 
the possibility of joining NATO's Partnership for Peace program, Interfax 
reported on 17 February. The issue is to be discussed by the Belarusian 
National Security Council. According to Hryb there is no possibility of 
restoring the USSR at this time, and any future unification would not be 
the former Soviet Union. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. 

LITHUANIA-BELARUS RELATIONS. On 16 February chairman of the Lithuanian 
parliament Ceslovas Jursenas and his Belarusian counterpart, Hryb, 
attended the opening ceremonies of the Lithuanian embassy in Minsk. 
Jursenas also held talks with other high Belarus officials. He expressed 
satisfaction with the successful development of economic and cultural 
cooperation between the two countries, noting that certain problems 
remained in bilateral relations, such as the delineation of the border. 
Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS ON TROOP PULLOUT END INCONCLUSIVELY. Baltic media 
reported on 17 February that the latest round of Latvian-Russian 
negotiations on the withdrawal of Russian troops and military equipment 
from Latvia ended without signing any specific agreements. While the two 
sides agreed that Russia could maintain the Skrunda radar for another 4 
years and take 18 months to dismantle it, agreement was not reached on the 
specifics, such as the costs of leasing the property and dismantling the 
radar. The two sides also failed to reach an accord on the status and 
social security of Soviet and Russian military pensioners in Latvia after 
the Russian troops depart, presumably by 31 August 1994. The next 
negotiations are scheduled for 28 February in Moscow. Dzintra Bungs, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIAN, RUSSIAN PLANS TO EXPAND BALTIC PORT FACILITIES. As a part of a 
recently approved Russian government plan, the Baltport joint stock 
company has started to study the feasibility of constructing an oil 
terminal in the vicinity of Primorsk, in the Vytborg District. As Interfax 
noted on 17 February, Russia no longer has its own large oil terminal in 
the Baltic Sea, since Lithuania (with its port of Klaipeda) and Latvia 
(with its port of Ventspils) regained their independence. BNS reported on 
the same day that the second stage of the construction of the port of 
Muuga (near Tallinn) in Estonia is to be completed in five years; the 
expansion will increase Muuga's capacity fivefold. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

CORRECTION. In yesterday's "Serbia Update" item, the fourth and fifth line 
should read "strikes against Bosnian Serb positions" instead of Muslim 
positions.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Michael Shafir The RFE/RL Daily Report is 
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