If we are to live together in peace, we must first come to know each other better. - Lyndon B. Johnson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 48, 10 March 1994

RUSSIA

YELTSIN SNUBS NIXON. In spontaneous remarks to reporters during a 
wreath-laying ceremony on 9 March, President Boris Yeltsin was visibly 
angry when he discussed meetings with Russian opposition figures by former 
US President Richard Nixon, Western and Russian agencies reported. He 
announced that he would not go ahead with a previously scheduled 
appointment with Nixon "and the government won't either. And (chief of 
staff) Filatov won't either." Mr. Nixon's appointments with Messrs. 
Chernomyrdin, Grachev, Soskovets, Gaidar, and Filatov were subsequently 
cancelled. A Kremlin-provided limousine and security detail for 
ex-President Nixon was also withdrawn, although reports differ on who 
initiated this move. Yeltsin was reported to be particularly incensed by 
Nixon's meeting with former Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi: this was a 
late addition to Mr. Nixon's itinerary. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE REQUESTS RESUMPTION OF 1991 COUP TRIAL. The office of 
the Russian Prosecutor-General has asked the Supreme Court to restart the 
trial of those accused of organizing the August 1991 coup. A spokesman for 
the Prosecutor's Office, Aleksandr Zvyagintsev, told an RFE/RL 
correspondent on 9 March that the request was filed by Deputy Prosecutor 
General Eduard Dneprov. The military branch of the Supreme Court stopped 
the trial against the coup plotters following the State Duma's amnesty. 
Zvyagintsev said Dneprov had formally requested that the court resume the 
trial. The spokesman said the request was motivated by the fact that the 
trial had not been concluded and that, according to the law, the trial has 
to continue until a verdict is reached. Only then can the amnesty come 
into force. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN PROPOSES CIVIC ACCORD CHARTER. President Yeltsin has proposed that 
a "charter of civic accord" be signed by Russia's political leaders, 
Interfax reported on 9 March. Yeltsin maintained that such a document is 
vitally needed to keep Russia on the path of reform. He said that a draft 
charter, which could be drawn up in two weeks, should be discussed by the 
public before it is signed. Yeltsin wants to meet leaders of the 
parliamentary factions and other party leaders to discuss the proposed 
charter on 10 March. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. 

GAIDAR DENIES ASKING WEST NOT TO AID CHERNOMYRDIN GOVERNMENT. Russian TV 
news reported on 9 March that former First Deputy Prime Minister Egor 
Gaidar had denied rumors that he had appealed to the West to stop giving 
aid to Russia while it is governed by leaders such as Yeltsin and Prime 
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. In fact, Gaidar told a news conference, he 
had merely said that Russia does not need so much foreign aid since the 
pace of reform has slowed. According to Gaidar, among those who spread the 
false rumor was a fellow democratic deputy of the State Duma, Sergei 
Shakhrai. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN MEETS HEADS OF RADIO AND TELEVISION. According to Russian 
television newscasts on 8 March, Yeltsin met with the chairmen of the two 
largest radio and television companies, Aleksandr Yakovlev of Ostankino 
and Oleg Poptsov of Russian Television (RTV) and confirmed his earlier 
decision that both Ostankino and RTV should remain in state ownership. 
Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. 

DELAY IN APPROVAL OF 1994 BUDGET. Aleksandr Pochinok, deputy chairman of 
the Duma's Committee on Budget, Taxes, Banks, and Finance, told a news 
conference on 9 March that final approval of the 1994 federal budget 
cannot be expected until July at the earliest, AFP reported. He reckoned 
that "at best" some 40 days will be needed to get the draft budget through 
the Duma. It will then have to be approved by the Federation Council 
before being submitted to the president for consideration and final 
approval. Pochinok called on the government to come up with a 
"mini-budget" to cover the second quarter of the year. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, 
Inc. 

YELTSIN TO ISSUE DECREE ON OVERDUE WAGES. The Independent Miners' Union of 
Russia has told RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent that President Yeltsin will 
soon issue a decree threatening judicial sanctions for any enterprise 
director who holds up the payment of workers' wages. The union said it 
helped draft the decree. Workers in the gas, oil and coal industries have 
threatened widespread strikes later this month if they do not begin 
receiving overdue wages. While it may not always be the fault of 
enterprise directors if they do not have enough cash to pay their workers, 
Anders Aslund, the Swedish economist who acted as adviser to the 
government of Egor Gaidar, told Western journalists recently that part of 
the problem with overdue wages stems from the fact that some enterprise 
directors still treat their workers like "slaves." Elizabeth Teague, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

PARLIAMENTARIANS OPPOSED TO RUSSIA'S NATO MEMBERSHIP. Members of a Russian 
parliamentary delegation, in Washington at the invitation of their US 
counterparts, have suggested that the parliament has serious reservations 
about Russian participation in the NATO "Partnership for Peace" program. 
Following a meeting with US Defense Secretary William Perry on 9 March, 
one member of the Russian delegation, Sergei Yushenkov, was quoted by 
Interfax as saying that since the "framework agreements [of the 
partnership program] were drawn up without our participation and are not 
consistent with the status of Russia," the State Duma must protest against 
Russian participation. Yushenkov suggested that Russia was suspicious of 
the program because, as he said Perry had admitted, the program "provides 
for the future standardization of weapons based on NATO technology." [NATO 
expansion may therefore be viewed as a threat to Russia's already 
struggling defense enterprises.] Recently representatives of Russia's 
Foreign and Defense Ministries had spoken more positively of Russia's 
participation in the NATO program. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SPLIT IN LEADERSHIP IN NIZHNII NOVGOROD. The harmony of views existing 
between local leaders in Nizhnii Novgorod region is often cited to explain 
why this region has been able to move ahead with market reforms so much 
faster than many other Russian regions. But Rabochaya tribuna reported on 
6 March that as local elections approach there has been a falling-out 
between the region's two leading politicians--regional governor Boris 
Nemtsov and the mayor of the city of Nizhnii Novgorod, Dmitrii Bednyakov. 
Nemtsov is said to have announced that, in the elections to be held on 27 
March, his preferred candidate is no longer Bednyakov but the chairman of 
the former Oblast Soviet, Evgenii Krestyaninov. The newspaper says it is 
not known what contributed to the cooling of relations between Bednyakov 
and Nemtsov. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

BASHKORTOSTAN OFFICIAL KILLED BY BOMB. A deputy chairman of the 
Bashkortostan parliament, Razil Musin, has been killed by a bomb, an 
RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow reported on 9 March. Musin was reported to 
have been killed when a bomb exploded at the door of his house in 
Dyurtyuli, northeast of the Bashkortostan capital of Ufa. The police have 
started an investigation. No official statement on the assassination is 
yet available. ITAR-TASS reported on 9 March that Musin was appointed last 
week to the additional post of the head of administration of the Dyurtyuli 
district over the objection of local leaders. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS

GAS TRADE UPDATE. On 9 March, Ukraine made a payment of $9 million towards 
its outstanding debt of around 1.5 trillion rubles (about $900 million) 
owed to Russia for past deliveries of natural gas, Russian and Western 
agencies reported. Ukrainian Deputy Economics Minister Vasyl Hureyev was 
quoted as saying that Ukraine plans to offer equipment for the Russian gas 
sector to pay off one-third of its outstanding debt during the 
negotiations due to open in Moscow on 10 March. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KAZAKHSTAN ELECTION CENSURED. A delegation sent by the CSCE to observe the 
7 March election in Kazakhstan has censured the conduct of the election, 
Western and Russian news agencies reported on 8 and 9 March. The head of 
the delegation, Dutch parliamentarian Jan van Houwelingen, told a news 
conference in Almaty that election procedures did not meet internationally 
accepted standards. He cited in particular a "presidential list" of 
candidates picked by President Nursultan Nazarbaev to contest 42 reserved 
seats; arbitrary disqualification of candidates by local election 
commissions; and harassment of the media for criticizing election rules. 
Some observers attributed the problems to shortcomings in the 
recently-adopted law on the elections and widespread unfamiliarity with 
democratic election procedures. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

IMBROGLIO OVER BOSNIAN SERBS' FUTURE CONTINUES. Borba of 10 March quotes 
Bosnian Serb parliament chairman Momcilo Krajisnik as saying that his 
people will not join a confederation with the Muslims and Croats "even if 
forced." Other Bosnian Serb leaders, including Radovan Karadzic, have made 
similar statements since the Muslim-Croat agreement was signed on 1 March, 
adding that they prefer to join rump Yugoslavia instead. Vjesnik, however, 
quotes Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic as saying that his side will 
not agree to the Serbs "taking off a piece of Bosnia and bringing it to 
Serbia," although he added that the Bosnian Serbs can join in the 
Muslim-Croat agreement if they want. Izetbegovic denied that anyone has 
seriously raised the idea of setting up a new Yugoslav state, but said 
that the Croat-Muslim pact, which has US and EU support, "implicitly" 
requires everyone to return conquered territory. Karadzic has suggested 
that his side might give up or trade some of its gains, but not all. 
Meanwhile in Moscow, the Croatian and Russian foreign ministers met with 
the Bosnian premier on 9 March, and Vecernji list of the 10 March quotes 
Russia's Andrei Kozyrev as saying that he does not think that either 
Zagreb or Belgrade wants to partition Bosnia. He pointed out that Russia 
supports the territorial integrity of all former Yugoslav republics. 
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. 

UN NEEDS MORE TROOPS FOR BOSNIA, CONDEMNS SERBS FOR ETHNIC CLEANSING. 
Reuters reported from UN headquarters on 9 March that the world body has 
offers of 4,000 more troops for Bosnia, including 1,000 from Turkey. Given 
the historic animosity between Turks and Serbs, Ankara has offered its men 
for duty between Croat and Muslim positions. Those two sides have 
reportedly accepted the proposal, but the UN has yet to do so. 
International media quoted US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, John 
Shalikashvili, as saying that about 50,000 troops would be needed to 
enforce any Bosnian peace. Reuters notes that the UN currently has 28,350 
troops in the former Yugoslavia, some 13,000 of whom are in Bosnia. 
Meanwhile at the UN offices in Geneva, the Human Rights Commission 
condemned all sides for human rights violations in the Yugoslav conflicts, 
but singled out the Bosnian Serbs and their backers in Belgrade for ethnic 
cleansing and other crimes. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH SOLDIERS TO JOIN UN FORCES IN BOSNIA. The Czech government decided 
on 10 March that a 120-member Czech army unit will be moved from Croatia 
to Bosnia. CTK reports that the decision is the Czech government's 
response to the United Nations' recent request to send soldiers to Bosnia. 
The unit will be stationed north of Sarajevo. Speaking at a press 
conference after the government meeting, Premier Vaclav Klaus said that 
the Czech government sees the current situation in Bosnia "as a positive 
breakthrough" and is glad that Czech soldiers can contribute to this 
development. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SERBIAN PARTIES URGE BAN ON SANDZAK MUSLIM PARTY. All delegates of the 
Serbian parties in the local assembly of Bijelopolje urged the prohibition 
of the ethnic Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) in the region of 
Sandzak, which is divided between Serbia and Montenegro, Borba reported on 
7 and 8 March. The party is linked to the Bosnian Muslim organization of 
the same name. Meanwhile, further arrests of Sandzak SDA activists took 
place, and the public prosecutor at Bijelopolje extended investigations of 
members of the party who allegedly planned an armed uprising, built up a 
paramilitary formation, and collected large quantities of weapons. Fabian 
Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SERBIA'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY LOSES SUPPORTER. On 10 March Politika reports 
that Slobodan Radulovic, a member of Zoran Djindjic's Democratic Party 
(DS) and a sitting representative in Serbia's parliament, has left the DS 
only one day after confirming that he would join Premier Mirko 
Marjanovic's cabinet. Djindjic has stated for the record that the DS as a 
whole will not at present consider supporting a government dominated by 
the Socialist Party of Serbia, but it remains unclear whether Radulovic's 
abrupt resignation is in any way connected to a disagreement with his 
former leader. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. 

A YEAR OF QUESTIONS FOR CROATIAN CATHOLICS. For some weeks Croatian papers 
have been speculating on two questions affecting the life of the 
republic's at least nominally Roman Catholic majority. The first involves 
a possible papal visit in September to mark the 900th anniversary of the 
Zagreb diocese. Part of the uncertainty is whether such a trip would be 
linked to one to Sarajevo, which the pope has long wanted to visit, and to 
Belgrade as well, which leaves many Croats uneasy because they want to 
deny any connection between themselves and Serbia. The second question is 
whether the primate, Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, will step down as his 75th 
birthday approaches. The cardinal is widely respected and has played a 
public role in criticizing the government's policy against the Muslims 
since last May. The Vatican may rule that this is not the right time for 
Kuharic to leave office, or it may seek a successor after all. One 
candidate widely mentioned is a Bosnian archbishop, who, like the Vatican 
and Kuharic, believes that good relations with the Muslims are necessary 
for the welfare of all Catholics in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Patrick Moore, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

GREEK MINISTER SUPPORTS EMBARGO AGAINST MACEDONIA. On 9 March Date:	Thu, 
10 Mar 1994 13:20:01 +0100
Reply-To: rferl-daily-report-request@AdminA.RFERL.ORG Sender: RFE/RL 
Research Institute Daily Report  Comments:	Warning -- 
original Sender: tag was KOOSF@ADMINA.RFERL.ORG
From: rferl-daily-report-request@admina.rferl.org Subject:	RFE/RL Daily 
Report 10 MAR, 1994
X-To:	rferl-daily-report@AdminA.RFERL.ORG
To: Multiple recipients of list RFERL-L  Status: O
X-Status:

Western media reported that Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias 
defended Athens' economic embargo against Macedonia before the parliament 
of the European Union. According to AFP, Papoulias stressed that his 
government would resist international pressure aimed at having Greece lift 
the embargo and emphasized that Macedonia had to make concessions, which 
include changing its name, before Athens would be willing to negotiate. On 
10 March the Serbian daily Politika notes that Papoulias is scheduled to 
meet UN envoy Cyrus Vance on 10 March, and it is expected that the two 
will discuss options for easing tensions between Greece and Macedonia. 
Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLICE CORRUPTION SCANDAL ROCKS POLAND. Polish police commander Zenon 
Smolarek told a Sejm commission on 9 March that he will step down as soon 
as an official inquiry into allegations of police corruption in Poznan is 
completed. Smolarek is the first casualty in a widening scandal. Gazeta 
Wyborcza broke the story with a front-page article on 5 March, alleging 
that the Poznan economic crimes squad is on the payroll of local business 
mafias involved in bootleg liquor production and smuggling stolen autos. 
The paper accused Smolarek, who comes from Poznan, of accepting household 
appliances as bribes. Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski set 
up a special commission to investigate the allegations but refused to 
suspend the officials named by the paper. Smolarek has denied all charges 
and claimed that unspecified "political forces" are out to get him. Louisa 
Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOLIDARITY ESCALATES STRIKE PRESSURE. As Solidarity's strike campaign 
continued to expand, union leaders complained on 9 March that the 
government is responding with intimidation "reminiscent of the 1980s." 
Solidarity's national leadership threatened to stage a general strike to 
defend the union rights it claims the government is violating. On 9 March 
strikes were held at some 250 plants, mostly in Silesia. The response to 
the strike call in Lodz was weak. A public transportation strike planned 
for Katowice was called off at the last minute on the grounds that the 
union's protest is directed against the state administration, not local 
residents. Transport workers did strike for three hours in Koszalin, 
however. A two-hour miners' strike is scheduled for 10 March, and a 
ten-hour railway strike for 11 March. Railway management called the 
planned strike illegal, while the industry ministry vowed that striking 
miners will receive "not a single zloty" for missed working time, PAP 
reports. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT ATTACKS MECIAR IN SPEECH . . . In his Report on the State 
of the Slovak Republic, delivered to the parliament on 9 March, Michal 
Kovac sharply attacked Premier Vladimir Meciar, accusing him of 
incompetence, obstruction of democracy, and populism, TASR reports. Kovac 
said the Meciar government "is losing its moral claim to legitimacy, which 
in democracies is an inseparable part of the right to be in power." He 
continued that while he is not against Meciar's party--the Movement for a 
Democratic Slovakia--or against the government, he has "serious 
reservations about the style and ethics of Mr. Meciar's politics." One 
example given by Kovac concerned Meciar's proposed privatization minister, 
Ivan Lexa, whom Kovac rejected last November. Kovac said that Meciar told 
him he wanted a political ally in the post who could get money from 
privatization for the MDS. Although the president has repeatedly called 
for the creation of a new government, this was the first time that he 
explicitly criticized Meciar. Kovac did not demand Meciar's resignation, 
but he appealed to members of the parliament to "unite forces" and agree 
on early elections. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. 

. . . SPARKING CALLS FOR THE PREMIER'S DISMISSAL. Following Kovac's 
speech, several opposition parties said they would call a no-confidence 
vote in the Meciar government (the opposition has had enough deputies to 
pass the vote since mid-February, when a group of MDS deputies left the 
party). Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky said that 
if Meciar did not step down himself, the CDM would initiate the vote, CTK 
reports. Alliance of Democrats Chairman Milan Knazko said "the president's 
speech is more than enough reason to dismiss the government," while Party 
of the Democratic Left deputy Robert Fico said "the reasons which the 
president put forward are sufficient for every normal deputy to express no 
confidence in the government." Deputies from the two ethnic Hungarian 
parties also said they favored the government's dismissal, TASR reports. 
Kovac, Meciar and other top officials met after the speech, but no 
agreement was reached since Meciar was unwilling to compromise. Thus, a 
proposal by CDM deputy Ladislav Pittner to hold a no-confidence vote in 
the government won the support of 78 of the 142 parliamentary deputies 
present. When asked to respond to Kovac's address, Meciar refused, saying 
he was unfamiliar with it since he was not there when the speech was 
given. The parliament thus decided to wait until 10 March to hold the 
no-confidence vote, allowing Meciar to familiarize himself with the 
president's address and respond to the charges. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, 
Inc. 

HUNGARY RECEIVES GERMAN MILITARY PARTS. On 9 March, Germany signed an 
agreement with the Hungarian Defense Ministry to supply parts for the 
upkeep of Hungarian military's helicopters free of charge, MTI reports. 
The parts will not contain weapons, and the delivery will not be in 
contradiction to military agreements Hungary has signed with any other 
country. The parts come from the former East German military and are much 
needed for the upkeep of helicopters in Hungary. The report mentioned that 
Hungary has already received 150 million DM worth of equipment from 
Germany but did not put a value on the military parts to be received in 
the future. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN LEV CONTINUES TO FALL. Over the past weeks the Bulgaria currency 
has plunged steeply against the US dollar, with commercial banks stopping 
publication of exchange rates on 9 March. After the close of business on 
that day, Bulgarian National Bank Deputy Chairman Mileti Mladenov told BTA 
that a decision had been made to set the exchange rate at 44.092 leva 
against the US dollar. The new rate represents a record low, almost 20 
leva below the January 1993 rate and 10 leva below that of January 1994. 
Instead of intervening to purchase dollars as in similar cases in the 
past, the BNB doubled interest rates on short-term deposits. Mladenov 
argued that the continued fall in production and lagging privatization and 
economic restructuring were the main reasons for this round of currency 
turmoil, but other analysts seem to believe that the present crisis also 
reflects lack of confidence in the newly adopted budget and in the 
stability of the government. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ILIESCU IN SOUTH KOREA. On 9 March Romanian President Ion Iliescu began an 
official three-day visit to South Korea, Radio Bucharest reports. A 
statement issued after talks with South Korean President Kim Young-Sam 
said that the two agreed on expanding economic ties, including cooperation 
in such sectors as energy, electronics, auto manufacturing, 
communications, construction and shipbuilding. The visit is the first paid 
by a Romanian head of state to the Asian country. Romania and South Korea 
established diplomatic ties in 1990. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ROMANIA DENIES AGREEMENT ON DEPORTEES FROM GERMANY. At a press conference 
on 9 March, a spokesman for the Romanian foreign ministry denied reports 
that Bucharest had agreed to allow refugees from Serbia deported from 
Germany to return home via the Romanian airport of Timisoara. According to 
German media, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia decided to deport some 
640 Serbian asylum-seekers whose applications had been refused. Both North 
Rhine-Westphalian and German federal officials announced the same day that 
the first flight had to be canceled pending clarification on the part of 
the Romanian authorities. German human right groups and churches have 
warned that many refugees face persecution in their country of origin, 
especially the thousands of men who deserted the Serbian army, as well as 
ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and Hungarians from Vojvodina. Dan Ionescu, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

MOLDOVAN PLEBISCITE FOR INDEPENDENCE. The results of the "popular 
consultation," held on 6 March to confirm Moldova's independence, were 
released on 9 March. The question was: "Are you in favor of the 
development of Moldova as an independent state, whole and indivisible, 
within the borders valid on the date of the proclamation of sovereignty 
and recognized by the UN, pursuing neutrality, cooperating for mutual 
advantage with all countries of the world, and guaranteeing the rights of 
all its citizens in accordance with international norms?" Voter turnout 
was 75.1%, lowered by the boycott in the "Dniester republic" where 18% of 
Moldova's population reside. The votes cast were: 95.4% yes, 2% no and 
2.6% invalid. Moldova's top leaders had urged the people to show that the 
country wants to be "neither a Russian gubernia nor a Romanian province." 
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. 

BELARUS FINDS TERMS FOR MONETARY UNION UNACCEPTABLE. The chairman of the 
National Bank of Belarus, Stanislau Bahdankevich, said that Belarus will 
not enter into a monetary union with Russia under the conditions Russia is 
proposing, Reuters and Interfax reported on 9 March. Belarus had hoped to 
stay in the ruble zone under favorable terms. These included the exchange 
of its weaker currency for the Russian ruble on a one-to-one basis and the 
ability to buy Russian oil and gas at domestic Russian prices. The union 
was supposed to be signed in February during an anticipated visit by 
Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin to Minsk. Instead, the visit was 
delayed while negotiations on the terms for the monetary union continued. 
According to Bahdankevich, Russia is now demanding that the system of 
mutual account-clearing be kept in place, a single budget be formed for 
Russia and Belarus, and the National Bank of Belarus be replaced by a 
branch of the Central Bank of Russia in Minsk. Russia is also refusing to 
bring energy prices for Belarus down to those of its own internal market. 
Under these terms Bahdankevich said the economic situation in Belarus 
would only worsen and that the signing of a monetary union was now delayed 
for an "unforeseen period." Interfax reported that should the agreement 
not be signed, it is possible that Belarus would shift its foreign policy 
orientation away from Moscow. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. 

DANISH DEFENSE MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. On 9 March an official delegation 
headed by Hans Haekkerup arrived in Vilnius for a three-day visit, Radio 
Lithuania reports. Haekkerup held talks with President Algirdas 
Brazauskas, Seimas chairman Ceslovas Jursenas. Defense Minister Linas 
Linkevicius, and members of the parliament's National Security Committee. 
The Danes will later visit the Lithuanian fleet in Klaipeda. The main aim 
of the visit is the signing of a defense agreement, focusing on the 
training of officers and participation in the Partnership for Peace 
Program. Denmark will help in the training of a joint Baltic peacekeeping 
battalion at a base near Alytus. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. 

RECORD LOW GROWTH OF ESTONIAN CURRENCY RESERVES. The Bank of Estonia 
reported that in February its gold and hard currency reserves increased by 
32.5 million kroons to 5,373.7 million kroons ($392 million), BNS reported 
on 9 March. The monthly growth is the lowest since the introduction of the 
kroon in July 1992 and less than half of the previous record low of 72.5 
million kroons in February 1993. In 1993 the average monthly growth was 
227.9 million kroons. In February 1994 the bank issued 15.6 million kroons 
in cash, bringing the total currency in circulation to 2,793.9 million 
kroons. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. 

LATVIA ASKS FOR CLARIFICATION ON CHRISTOPHER'S COMMENTS. Baltic media 
reported on 9 March that the Latvian Foreign Ministry sent a note asking 
for clarification from the US State Department on comments made by 
Secretary of State Warren Christopher to the Congress about Russians in 
Latvia. Christopher allegedly said that about one million Russian-speaking 
people were deprived of the right to vote in Latvia. The Latvian Foreign 
Ministry pointed out that only 722,486 ethnic Russians reside in Latvia, 
of whom 278,087 are citizens of Latvia, and expressed concern about the 
effect of such remarks on Moscow, which could construe them as an approval 
of its attempts to dictate to Riga its policy on citizenship and 
naturalization. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. 

RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER STONEWALLS ON BALTIC WITHDRAWAL. Russian Defense 
Minister Pavel Grachev, in Bonn on an official visit, dismissed calls from 
German and Baltic leaders for Russia to withdraw the last of its military 
personnel from Estonia and Latvia by the end of August. According to 
Reuters and ITAR-TASS reports on 9 March, Grachev suggested that the 
rights of the Russian minority must be guaranteed before the withdrawal 
could take place, and called the pullout an internal Russian affair. While 
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel was quoted as saying that the Baltic 
States should reassure Russia about the welfare of the Russian minority, 
he rejected linking the military withdrawal to such issues and called for 
a "speedy and final withdrawal of former Soviet troops from Estonia and 
Latvia." Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.


[As of 1200 CET]

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