One must learn by doing the thing; though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. - Sophocles
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 46, 8 March 1994

                              RUSSIA

YELTSIN SUBMITS LIST OF PROPOSED BILLS TO DUMA. President Boris
Yeltsin has sent the State Duma a list of the bills that he plans
to submit for parliamentary consideration during the course of
1994. ITAR-TASS reported on 6 March that these would include draft
civil and criminal codes and new laws on land and banking. Other
draft laws planned will cover the state administration in Russia's
regions and republics and the general principles of local
government. Presidential aide Georgii Satarov told Interfax that
Yeltsin will submit 50 draft laws in all to the Duma. Satarov
predicted that a planned law on political parties will prove the
most controversial. He said that the large number of parties in
Russia today is a "destabilizing factor" and that Yeltsin's
legislation will seek to reduce the number. Elizabeth Teague,
RFE/RL, Inc.

POSTPONEMENT OF LOCAL ELECTIONS EXPECTED. Within the next few days
President Yeltsin will sign a decree extending the deadline for
holding local government elections from April until June, Ekho
Moskvy reported on 6 March. The head of Yeltsin's administration,
Sergei Filatov, was quoted as saying the reason for the extension
was that the necessary legislative framework is not yet in place.
Russia's new constitution is vague on the subject, as were the
decrees on local government that Yeltsin issued last year. In
fact, some regions have not waited for Yeltsin's decree: Krasnodar
Krai has already announced that it will hold its elections on 12
June (Rossiiskie vesti, 11 February) and other regions are likely
to follow suit.  Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN CREATES NEW INFORMATION DEPARTMENT. President Yeltsin
issued a decree on 4 March setting up a new presidential
information department, Russian and Western agencies reported that
day. The decree says the department is to provide the public in
Russia and abroad with "objective information on Russian
government policy." Petr Filippov, who formerly headed the
analytical center attached to Yeltsin's administration, is to head
the new body. The move seems to be part of an ongoing
reorganization of the presidential apparatus aimed at expanding
Yeltsin's policy-making powers and his control over the
government. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT SEEKS WAYS TO PAY MINERS. The Russian
government is trying to find the money to pay overdue wages to
workers in the coalmining, engineering, gas and oil industries,
RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent reported on 7 March. The government
is anxious to ward off a wave of strikes threatened in these
industries at the end of March. Yeltsin told a cabinet meeting on
4 March that coalminers must be paid as a matter of urgency, but
the presidential press service told RFE/RL's correspondent that no
resolution of the problem of where the money was to come from had
yet been found. Meanwhile, miners in Vorkuta remain on strike.
Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

MEDIA QUESTIONS APPOINTMENT OF NEW PROSECUTOR-GENERAL. Russian
newspapers of different political persuasions--Sovetskaya Rossiya
(26 February), Nezavisimaya gazeta (4 March) and Kommersant-Daily
(5 March) have published articles casting doubts on the integrity
of Aleksei Ilyushenko, the newly appointed Acting Russian
Prosecutor-General. In his capacity as chairman of the
presidential Commission for Combating Crime and Corruption,
Ilyushenko made highly publicized accusations against Yeltsin's
opponents, including former vice-president Aleksandr Rutskoi, of
corruption and other grave crimes. In January 1994 the Moscow
prosecutor dismissed a corruption charge against Rutskoi that had
been raised by the commission; the prosecutor's office raised a
countercharge against Ilyushenko and others of having slandered
Rutskoi. The recent articles questioned the wisdom of appointing
Ilyushenko to a post in which he will be supervising the case
against himself.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN'S WOMEN'S DAY SPEECH CALLS FOR STRONGER RUSSIA. In his
women's day speech broadcast on Russian TV on 7 March, President
Yeltsin called, among other things, for strengthening Russia and
putting an end to political intolerance dividing the nation. He
said all political opponents must remember that they share a
common ground and called for more consensus in the coming year.
Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

MONTHLY INFLATION RATE DOWN. The government's Center for Market
Research told Interfax on 5 March that consumer prices in February
rose by 9.9%, after a 22% increase in January. This will be
welcomed by a government that has pledged to reduce the annual
inflation rate to some 400% in 1994, from about 940% in 1993.
However, inflationary pressures are already building up. The
expanded cabinet meeting on 4 March adopted a draft budget for
1994 which envisages, inter alia, the repayment of debts in March
to the agricultural sector, the defense industry, and to budget
organizations, Interfax reported on 4 March. These claimants are
thought to account for all or most of the nearly 8 trillion rubles
in government liabilities transferred from the last quarter of
1993 to the first quarter of 1994.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

GAS TRADE UPDATE. A Gazprom official told Interfax on 7 March that
Russia will maintain its reduced daily flow of 40 million cubic
meters of natural gas to Ukraine at least until 10 March, when
negotiations over Ukraine's arrears will resume. The same official
charged that Ukraine was siphoning off a further 40 million cubic
meters of gas a day from supplies destined for Western Europe
along a pipeline running through Ukrainian territory. According to
Reuters of 5 March, Russian gas supplies to Belarus were being
kept at 40 million cubic meters a day, down from 52 million before
the restrictions were applied, as Belarus had initiated payment of
some of its outstanding debt. Moldova would continue to receive 11
million cubic meters a day, because it had started to pay off its
arrears to Russia in kind--mostly with agricultural products.
Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIANS GRUMBLE ABOUT UKRAINIAN TROOPS IN CRIMEA. In an alarmist
article published in the Russian military newspaper Krasnaya
zvezda on 1 March, the disposition of Ukrainian troops in Crimea
is detailed. According to the two authors, Ukraine has been
strengthening its military presence in Crimea, especially with
units comprised of troops recruited from Western Ukraine that are
intended for internal security missions. The implication of the
article is that Ukraine is preparing for an armed crackdown in
Crimea, and it warns that the situation is explosive and might be
detonated by Ukrainian or Tatar extremists. The article follows
calls by the pro-Russian Crimean president Yurii Meshkov, for the
removal of all Ukrainian troops from the peninsula, although the
Black Sea Fleet would remain.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

BLACK SEA FLEET STATUS UNCERTAIN AGAIN. In response to calls for
the pullout of Ukrainian troops from Crimea, a report from
Interfax on 5 March cited a "Black Sea Fleet officer" as stating
that the fleet would be able to ensure Crimea's security in the
event of such a withdrawal. This assertion is unlikely to reassure
Kiev concerning the Fleet's neutrality or Crimea's security. On a
related theme, Ukrainian Navy commander Volodymyr Bezkorovainy
told Interfax on 28 February that an independent naval base should
be created at Sevastopol; presumably it would host both the Fleet
and the Ukrainian Navy. According to the New York Times of 8
March, Bezkorovainy has also argued that the Massandra agreement
specifying that Ukraine cede its share of the Fleet to Russia in
exchange for debt relief is no longer valid. He implied that the
earlier plan to divide the fleet in half was the current basis for
discussion. There appears to have been no movement on this issue
in recent months, despite reports of deteriorating conditions in
the fleet and increasing tensions in Crimea as a whole.  John
Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

SHEVARDNADZE IN WASHINGTON. Following a meeting on 7 March at the
White House with Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze,
US President Bill Clinton told reporters that he endorsed the
proposal to dispatch a UN peacekeeping force to Abkhazia on
condition that substantial progress is made towards a political
settlement of the Abkhaz conflict, Western agencies reported. The
proposed peacekeeping force would include only a limited Russian
contingent, and no US troops. The deadlocked UN-sponsored
negotiations on conditions for the return of Georgian refugees to
Abkhazia and the region's future political status are due to
resume in New York on 8 March. President Clinton also announced
that the US would provide Georgia $70 million in humanitarian aid
for 1994 in order to avert what Shevardnadze termed the danger of
famine. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

ELECTION IN KAZAKHSTAN. Despite reports of widespread voter
apathy, 73.8% of the electorate turned out for the 7 March
parliamentary election in Kazakhstan, according to the national
Election Commission, RFE/RL has learned. Despite bad weather in
parts of the country, the commission reported that every oblast
achieved a voting rate higher than the 50% turnout needed to
validate the election. The AFP reported that some of the foreign
observers monitoring the voting expressed concern about apparent
irregularities and in one village near Almaty election officials
admitted having violated the election law by allowing one person
to vote for all members of his family. Preliminary results are
expected on 10 March and the official outcome of the election is
to be published on 14 March.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

TAJIK OPPOSITION LEADER CONFIRMS WILLINGNESS TO NEGOTIATE. The
former chief Muslim clergyman of Tajikistan, Supreme Judge (kazi)
Akbar Turadzhonzoda, has confirmed earlier reports that the Tajik
opposition in exile is willing to negotiate with representatives
of the Tajik government in order to end the fighting between
government troops and opposition forces based in Afghanistan and
inside Tajikistan itself, Interfax reported on 7 March. The
opposition agreement was obtained by Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Anatolii Adamishin during a meeting with Tajik opposition
leaders in Tehran. Moscow has been offered as a venue for the
talks, and the Russian government has promised to ensure the
safety of the exile participants. Turadzhonzoda was quoted as
saying that he had requested observers from the UN, Russia,
Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan at the talks, which Adamishin
suggested could begin on 16 March.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CROATS AND MUSLIMS MOVE TOWARDS PEACE . . . On 8 March
international media report that both the Bosnian Muslim and
Croatian sides continued to pull back their heavy weapons
throughout central Bosnia on 7 March. Meanwhile, on 7 March, AFP
reported that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman announced that
Croatian voters should decide on the fate of a confederation
between Croatia and a federal Bosnian Muslim and Croatian state by
referendum; he also said that even if voters approve the
confederation no agreement will be signed until the status of the
Bosnian Serbs is defined.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . WHILE SERBS BREAK CALM IN MAGLAJ. Despite the relative calm
throughout Bosnia, Borba on 8 March reports that Serbian shells
pounded the Muslim city Maglaj. Western agencies note that the
Serbian side, acting in violation of a Muslim-Serb ceasefire, has
caused at least four deaths. Also, on 8 March Politika reports
that UN troops have established control over the airport near the
Muslim-controlled town of Tuzla. Reuters adds that 120
peacekeepers arrived to take control of the airport from Muslim
forces, and that preparations are being made to re-open the
airstrip to humanitarian aid shipments. International agencies
report that several countries, including Britain, France, and the
Nordic states may be leaning towards increasing their peacekeeping
contingents in Bosnia in order to help monitor the Sarajevo
ceasefire and assist with aid efforts. On 7 March Hurriyet reports
that Ankara has also said that 5,000 Turkish soldiers can be
readied for service in about two weeks if called by the UN and
ordered by the Turkish government; however, the Bosnian Serb side
has objected to the presence of a Turkish contingent, arguing that
it would be too pro-Muslim.  Stan Markotich and Yalcin Tokgozoglu,
RFE/RL, Inc.

TUDJMAN SAYS SERBS MUST GIVE UP KRAJINA. On 7 March Tanjug
reported that Croatian President Franjo Tudjman publicly
reiterated his position that Serb rebels will have to give up
control of Krajina, an area consisting of about one third of
Croatia's territory. Zagreb's official position has been that
Krajina is an integral part of Croatia, and Tudjman's statement
broke no new policy ground. However, the president did emphasize
that an overall normalization in Croatian-Serb relations remained
impossible as long as Krajina was outside of Zagreb's
jurisdiction. In addition, Western reports on 7 March stated that
renewed fighting has flared between Croat and Serb forces in
northwest Krajina.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOFIA ASKS SERBIA TO RETURN DANUBE CONVOY. On 7 March Bulgaria
requested that Serbian authorities return a convoy which on the
previous day breached UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia,
presumably carrying 6,000 tons of fuel oil. Quoting a foreign
ministry statement, AFP said Sofia demanded that Serbia hand back
the Bulgarian convoy and asked for the arrest of the "presumed
terrorists" who refused to respect the embargo. Bulgarian customs
officials said they saw armed men pointing guns at the tugboat
crew, but indicated that the scene could have been posed.  Kjell
Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

BREAK-THROUGH IN GREEK-MACEDONIAN STALEMATE? Greek Premier Andreas
Papandreou may be ready to discuss resolving Greece's running
dispute with the Republic of Macedonia, Greek television station
ET-1 and MIC reported on 5 and 8 March, respectively. Under a
draft plan, special UN mediator Cyrus Vance will be charged with
preparing an agreement which would include the lifting of the
Greek trade blockade, easing trade restrictions on Macedonia's use
of the Greek port of Thessaloniki, and halting the obstruction of
Macedonia's admission to international organizations like the
CSCE. For its part, Macedonia would change its flag, guarantee
borders, and alter its constitution. The question of what to call
the new republic officially would be arbitrated by an
international body.  Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW FINANCE MINISTER FOR POLAND? The Democratic Left Alliance
(SLD) on 7 March officially proposed Dariusz Rosati, a professor
at Warsaw's Main School of Commerce, as its candidate for finance
minister and deputy prime minister for economic policy, PAP
reports. Poland's coalition agreement grants the SLD control over
both posts, which have been vacant since the resignation of Marek
Borowski on 4 February. Rosati, a 47-year-old former communist
party member, was an adviser to Prime Minister Mieczyslaw Rakowski
in 1989 and now works at the UN. He told Polish TV that, if
appointed, his priority will be to promote growth by increasing
investment and exports. Rosati still must be formally nominated by
the prime minister and named by the president. There has been
concern within the SLD that Walesa may refuse to appoint the
coalition's nominee in retaliation against the Sejm's rejection of
his constitutional proposals. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOLIDARITY ORGANIZES STRIKE WAVE. Scattered Polish firms staged
protests on 7 March, as Solidarity began an "escalating" strike
designed to steadily increase pressure on the government. The
union demands an end to wage controls, the rescinding of energy
price hikes, and increased social spending. A two-hour strike by
steel workers is planned for 8 March; miners and railway workers
are to strike on 10 March, PAP reports. Condemning the strikes as
"political," officials charged they are designed ultimately to
overthrow the government. Premier Waldemar Pawlak criticized
Solidarity on 5 March for planning strikes in subsidized
industries where wages remain relatively high. Poland's "strike
geography does not match the geography of poverty," he said. Much
of the opposition shares Pawlak's reservations. Right-wing leader
Aleksander Hall told Zycie Warszawy on 8 March that Solidarity's
goal is "socialism realized by anticommunists." Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

POLAND'S LOT, BRITISH AIRWAYS END CONFLICT. Direct flights between
Warsaw and London will be restored on 13 March, PAP reports. The
dispute between national carriers LOT and BA that had halted
direct air traffic for four months was settled on 4 March. The
agreement allows BA to offer several additional flights weekly,
provided departures from Warsaw take place after 11:00 a.m. BA
initially demanded earlier take-off times, but LOT refused,
fearing this traffic would cut into its profitable transatlantic
business. Both sides welcomed the agreement.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CALM RETURNS TO WARSAW EXCHANGE. The Rafako boiler company had an
uncontroversial debut on the stock exchange on 7 March, PAP
reports. Share value was only 25% higher than the issue price,
leading Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek to conclude that
"the exchange has returned to normal." The previous debut of Bank
Slaski caused a government crisis when share values rose 1350% on
the first day of trading. The feverish demand for Polish stocks
led Kaczmarek to raise Rafako's issue price from 700,000 to
1,200,000 zloty only three days before shares went on sale.
Kaczmarek announced that issue prices will no longer be set by the
government but instead determined by supply and demand on the
exchange. In other business news, the Dutch beer giant Heineken
agreed on 3 March to purchase a 24.9% share in Poland's Zywiec
brewery for $40 million, PAP reports.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH LEADERS IN THE VATICAN, GREAT BRITAIN. Czech President
Vaclav Havel, on a one-day visit to Rome and the Vatican, met with
Pope John Paul II and Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro on 7
March. International media report that the Pope urged Havel to use
his influence to speed up the restitution of Church and Jewish
property in the Czech Republic. The leaders also discussed the
situation in the former Yugoslavia. Speaking to reporters after
the meeting, Havel said that Western nations have been too slow to
integrate the countries of the former Eastern bloc. Havel praised
the NATO's Partnership for Peace plan but said it "came two years
too late." Havel also said that the Czech Republic wants good
relations with Russia but warned that Moscow cannot decide "which
international organizations we want to join." Also on 7 March,
Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus began a two-day visit of Great Britain
by meeting with his British counterpart John Major, who asked
Klaus to send peacekeeping troops to Bosnia. Speaking at the Royal
Institute of International Affairs, Klaus said that Eastern
Europe's integration into the world economy is proving to be more
difficult than anticipated. Klaus warned that the current
unfavorable business cycle and West European protectionism pose a
grave threat to the transition of former communist countries into
market economies. "While Eastern Europe has been criticized for
its nationalism, let me remind you that protectionism is also a
form of nationalism," said Klaus.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

DETAILS ON BULGARIAN DEBT DEAL AGREED. A team of Bulgarian
negotiators and representatives of some 300 creditor banks and
financial institutions on 4 March completed a two-day meeting
aimed at reaching a preliminary debt agreement on the country's
$9.3 billion commercial debt. Ventsislav Antonov, Director of
Bulgaria's Agency for Economic Development and Planning, said on
his return from London that the talks were useful in hammering out
further details of the tentative deal, which envisages a
substantial debt reduction. Antonov told BTA that proposals for
the financial side of the agreement are to be made by 10 March,
after which the separate creditors will be approached. He also
said the deal requires Bulgaria to pay a $10 million monthly
interest installment until the deal is concluded and that total
payments in 1994 may amount to $800-850 million. Sofia is counting
on the IMF and the World Bank to provide fresh credits to cover a
substantial part of that sum.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

BOEING SIGNS DEAL WITH ROMANIA. The US Boeing company has signed a
deal with Romania worth $11 million, making Romania a manufacturer
of spare parts for the world's biggest aircraft manufacturer,
Radio Bucharest announced on 4 March. Under the six-year contract,
the state-owned Romaero company will produce wing parts and
landing gear for Boeing 737 and 757 planes. A spokesman for
Romaero said the deal was the first instance of American-Romanian
cooperation in airplane manufacturing and will secure jobs for
Romanian specialists, as well as grant them access to the most
advanced know-how in aeronautics.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOLDOVAN-ROMANIAN ACRIMONY. In a statement released on 4 March,
Moldova's Foreign Ministry described the Romanian Senate's
reaction (see RFE/RL Daily Report, 4 March) to Moldova's
parliamentary elections as "insulting and hostile, designed to
throw doubt on the election results . . . and in fact attacking
the legitimacy of Moldova's statehood." The Moldovan statement
noted that the Western observers, who pronounced the election free
and equitable, and the West in general were also attacked in the
Romanian Senate for allegedly supporting Chisinau, Tiraspol, and
"the expansion of bolshevism". The election, held on 27 February,
resulted in a heavy defeat for the pro-Romanian parties. Dumitru
Motpan, chairman of the Agrarian Party, which won the election,
was cited by Basapress on 5 March as saying that future
Moldovan-Romanian relations would be "difficult though not
impossible." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

UNLAWFUL RUSSIAN CONSCRIPTION IN MOLDOVA. In an interview in
Krasnaya Zvezda of 4 March, otherwise highly critical of the
current "Dniester" leadership, Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed,
commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, said that his army has
grown to 85% of its statutory number--"a very high level by
today's standards" [in Russia's armed forces]. The 14th Army has
achieved this result by recruiting soldiers on contract in Russia
and locally, Lebed said, with the local recruits coming mostly
from among the sons of the nearly 100,000 military veterans from
Russia settled in Tiraspol alone. "Local recruits become citizens
of the Russian Federation and take both the Russian military oath
and a pledge to obey Russian law," Lebed said. The recruitment
described by Lebed violates international laws prohibiting
conscription of local residents by armies in foreign territories,
the introduction of troops by one state into the other without the
latter's consent, and the unilateral grant of citizenship by a
state to residents of another.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT DELAYS DEBATING CONSTITUTION. The Belarusian
parliament has pushed back the debate on the new constitution to
15 March, Belarusian TV reported on 4 March. The motion to delay
the debate was put forward after the prosecutor general, Vasil
Shaladonau, (who is in charge of the commission drawing up the
constitution), told the parliament that some suggestions on
amending the constitution had been raised at the last minute and
thus, not all of the details have been worked out. The majority of
deputies did not believe it was possible to adopt the constitution
until it was in its final form and thus rescheduled the debate.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

ILIESCU VISIT TO LITHUANIA. On 7 March Romanian President Ion
Iliescu, accompanied by a large delegation that included Foreign
Minister Teodor Melescanu, Trade Minister Christian Ionescu, and
Communications Minister Andrei Chirika, arrived in Vilnius for a
two-day visit, Radio Lithuania reports. After being welcomed at
the airport by President Algirdas Brazauskas and other Lithuanian
ministers, Iliescu went directly to the Antakalnis Cemetery to pay
respects to those killed in restoring Lithuania's independence.
Iliescu later held talks with Brazauskas and with Seimas chairman
Ceslovas Jursenas. On 8 March the Romanians visited Trakai, and
the two presidents signed a friendship and cooperation treaty and
several other agreements.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

SURVEYS IN BALTIC STATES. The latest public opinion surveys
conducted in the Baltic States indicate the extent of the economic
difficulties, BNS reported on 7 March. Respondents in Estonia were
the most optimistic; 20% were satisfied with the current economic
situation, while corresponding numbers in Lithuania and Latvia
were 14% and 9%, respectively. A high 47% of Estonians expected
the economic situation to improve in the near future, compared
with only 33% of Latvians and 23% of Lithuanians. Lithuanians had
the lowest level of trust in their president and premier (42% and
27%, respectively), while these figures were 75% and 38% for the
Latvian leaders and 57% and 39% for the Estonian leaders. Only 16%
of Latvians, 20% of Lithuanians, and 38% of Estonians were
satisfied with the work of their parliaments. Saulius Girnius,
RFE/RL, Inc.

EUROPEAN LEADERS REITERATE CALL FOR RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL. At a
7 March meeting in Stockholm with their Baltic counterparts, the
prime ministers of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland
once again called for a "rapid, ordered, and complete" withdrawal
of Russian troops from Estonia and Latvia by 31 August 1994,
Western agencies reported. That same day Britain's Foreign Office
spokesman expressed his government's concern over the stalled
Estonian-Russian talks and stressed that the withdrawal of Russian
troops from the Baltics is essential to Europe's stability. German
Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel wrote in Die Welt of 5 March that
there is no justification for the stationing of foreign troops in
another country without that country's permission and said that
Germany welcomes Russia's pullout from Lithuania and its readiness
to do the same in Estonia and Latvia by 31 August 1994. Meanwhile,
in a 5 March meeting, the Estonian cabinet of ministers decided
not to suspend participation in the Estonian-Russian talks as a
consequence of Moscow's backing away from 31 August 1994 as the
date for the complete withdrawal of its troops from Estonia.
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIAN PRESIDENT ANSWERS YELTSIN'S LETTER. Diena reported on 4
March that Latvia's President Guntis Ulmanis transmitted to the
Russian ambassador in Riga his reply to the letter sent by Russian
President Boris Yeltsin on 21 February. Ulmanis said he was ready
to meet with his Russian counterpart to discuss the entire
spectrum of problems pertaining to Latvian-Russian relations and
pointed out that many draft agreements concerning the pullout of
Russian troops from Latvia and the temporary operation of the
Skrunda radar could be signed at the next round Latvian-Russian
talks, scheduled for 14 March. Ulmanis urged Yeltsin to join the
search for mutually acceptable solutions and said that the pullout
of Russian troops would create more favorable conditions for
bilateral economic and humanitarian cooperation.  Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]

  Compiled by Bess Brown and Sharon Fisher
The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research
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