Без дружбы никакое общение не имеет ценности. - Сократ
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 49, 11 March 1994


YELTSIN SAYS CONFRONTATION OVER. President Boris Yeltsin met with 
political and public leaders on 10 March and urged them to agree on a 
joint memorandum of civic accord and peace, ITAR-TASS reported. The 
meeting was attended by Patriarch Aleksii II, Prime Minister Viktor 
Chernomyrdin, broadcasting chief Aleksandr Yakovlev, top parliamentary 
officials and trade union leaders. Yeltsin said that "the time of 
confrontation was over" and that "Russia now stands on a new path." He 
added that "we are all Russians" and "together we will preach this line of 
civic peace and agreement." The memorandum is supposed to be drawn up by 
the end of March and signed by "the broadest possible circle" of political 
leaders; it is to include a mechanism for forcing the signatories to take 
responsibility for their future actions. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY'S DEPUTY LEAVES LDP. The chief of staff of the Liberal 
Democratic Party (LDP), Viktor Kobelev, told Moscow's Nezavisimoe 
(Independent) TV on 10 March that he had left the LDP and the 
parliamentary faction of Liberal Democrats. He said he could not work 
together with Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The television quoted Kobelev as 
saying he would try to protect Russia from "unpredictable politicians"--a 
clear reference to Zhirinovsky. In February Kobelev had already announced 
his quitting the LDP, but then quickly took back his words, saying that he 
agreed to stay in the party after Zhirinovsky had promised to consult him. 
Zhirinovsky, in turn, maintained that various "intelligence services" were 
seeking to split the LDP. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. 

KOZYREV ON NIXON VISIT. In an interview with Russian Television's 
"Details" program on 10 March, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev 
said that problems arose with the Nixon visit because the visit had not 
been properly organized and scheduled. Yeltsin was perfectly correct to 
refuse to see Nixon because the former US president's disregard for 
protocol amounted to "disrespect toward Russian statehood." Kozyrev said 
that Nixon's interest in seeing Rutskoi was analogous to "someone arriving 
at a respectable gathering and . . . wanting to use the toilet." Suzanne 
Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

interview, Kozyrev complained that he did not know of Nixon's trip until 
the former president arrived in Russia. The Foreign Minister was taken 
aback when the interviewer pointed out that Nixon had been invited to 
Russia by Oleg Lobov, the secretary of the Russian Security Council. 
Kozyrev said only, "you seem to know more than I do." Competition between 
the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Security Council has been evident in 
the past, and Kozyrev's complaint that he was not informed of the visit 
suggests that relations between the two organizations are still not on the 
proper footing. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. 

ZYUGANOV ON HIS MEETING WITH NIXON. During their meeting on 8 March, the 
leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennadii 
Zyuganov, told ex-President Nixon that he is concerned about the rise of 
anti-American feelings within Russian society, Sovetskaya Rossiya reported 
on 10 March. According to Zyuganov, these anti-American sentiments are the 
result of the US's "one-dimensional attitude to the political forces in 
Russia and unconditional support for an unpopular executive power." 
Zyuganov told Nixon he supports the restoration of the Soviet Union, which 
he described as "only a matter of time," but opposes any restriction of 
the sovereignty of the nations that formerly made up the USSR. Zyuganov 
did not say how these two goals could be reconciled Victor Yasmann, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

VORONTSOV CALLS FOR UN PEACEKEEPING. Russia's permanent representative to 
the United Nations, Yulii Vorontsov, said on 10 March that Russia shares 
Georgia's position on the need for deploying a peacekeeping mission in 
Abkhazia. "To prevent a tragedy, the international community should take 
energetic steps to give resolute support to the peace process. We regard 
it as very important for the Security Council to respond positively to 
repeated requests by the Georgian leadership and the Abkhazian side on the 
immediate start of a full-scale peacekeeping operation in the zone of the 
Abkhazian conflict," ITAR-TASS reported. Vorontsov, unlike other Russian 
officials, did not seem to attach conditions as to the composition of the 
peacekeeping force. Other official Russian statements stress the need in 
principle for Russia to manage peacekeeping operations in the area of the 
CIS. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

Foreign Policy Council, an arm of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrei 
Kozyrev stressed the need to prevent the weakening of the Russian 
partnership with the United States. At the same time, it is necessary to 
give this partnership the maturity and strategic orientation that it 
needs, the foreign minister said. Kozyrev also stressed the need for the 
relationship to be based on full equality of rights and duties, ITAR-TASS 
reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

"Partnership for Peace" program a "solid contribution to . . . overcoming 
the split in Europe and creating a common security space," Kozyrev 
nevertheless disparaged the motives of former Soviet bloc states wishing 
to join the alliance, charging that they had "confused NATO membership 
with a huge credit card allowing them access to Western banks." Kozyrev, 
who said that the NATO program should only be part of a wider pan-European 
scheme to promote peace, said that the "mania" to join NATO and its 
accompanying "anti-Russian hysteria" could lead to a strengthening of the 
position in Russia of ultra-nationalist Zhirinovsky. He added that 
"NATO-centrism" in Europe, or the advocacy of NATO'S "mechanical 
expansion," represented a "vacuum of strategic thought." His comments were 
reported by Reuters, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax on 10 March. Stephen Foye, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

ALLEGATIONS OF GERRYMANDERING. Sergei Filatov, head of Yeltsin's 
presidential administration, told a conference of officials organizing 
Russia's upcoming local elections that they believe there is 
gerrymandering in some regions, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 March. Filatov 
said there were reports that, in some constituencies, local officials 
opposed to reform have drawn the borders of electoral wards so as to 
influence the outcome of the vote along ethnic lines, or to give greater 
weight to rural voters (considered to be antireform). Filatov predicted 
that Yeltsin will shortly issue a decree postponing the elections until 
the fall. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

REPEAT ELECTIONS IN TATARSTAN. Addressing the same conference, the head of 
Russia's Central Electoral Commission, Nikolai Ryabov, said that repeat 
elections for the Russian parliament will be held in Tatarstan on 13 
March. Three candidates have been nominated to run for the upper house, 
the Council of the Federation; they are President Mintimer Shaimiev (who 
is expected to win), and the speaker and deputy speaker of the republic's 
Supreme Soviet. Thirty candidates are standing for the lower house, the 
State Duma. Encouraged by the leaders of the republic, voters in Tatarstan 
boycotted the elections when they were held in the rest of Russia on 12 
December, but this time local leaders are exhorting voters to go to the 
polls. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN GRAIN? President Yeltsin told reporters on 9 March 
that Russia would buy "no grain at all" this year because reserves are 
enough to meet demand until the new harvest is brought in, Russian and 
Western agencies reported. Yeltsin also ruled out imports of wool and 
flax. On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha told a 
conference that 6-8 million tons of grain are left over from the 1993 
harvest of 99 million tons, which indicates that "Russia can be 
self-reliant for staple foodstuffs." These assertions came one day after 
the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply projected a 1994 grain harvest 
of 89 million tons, i.e., some 15 million tons below estimated consumption 
levels. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc. 

Minister Andrei Kokoshin has warned government officials that proposed 
reductions in the military budget would be a catastrophe for the armed 
forces, the newspaper Segodnya reported on 10 March. According to accounts 
of the report by Reuters and the Washington Post, Russia's highest ranking 
civilian Defense Ministry official said that passage of the proposed 
military budget, which at 37 trillion rubles is less than half the 80 
million requested by the military, would force the army to demobilize some 
400,000 soldiers--causing social unrest in the army--and that it could 
undermine plans to recruit more contract volunteers. He also said that the 
projected deep cuts in procurement could result in the closing of 3,000 
defense plants. "With this level of funding," Kokoshin was quoted as 
saying, "neither the country's defense capability nor its defense industry 
could be preserved." Segodnya said Yeltsin has also expressed concern over 
the impact that the cuts would have on the armed forces. Stephen Foye, 
RFE/RL, Inc.


Deputy Prime Minister Valerii Shmarov denied reports that a second 
trainload of nuclear warheads had been sent to Russia on 9 March. Shmarov 
criticized the Russian side for leaking news of the transfer in advance, 
thereby compromising the security of the shipment. According to Interfax 
Shmarov also stated that Ukraine has not yet received any nuclear fuel in 
exchange for the first warhead shipment, despite Russian reports that a 
load has been delivered. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. 


TAJIK DEPUTY PREMIER ASSASSINATED. One of Tajikistan's Deputy Prime 
Ministers, Maiansho Nazarshoev, was killed in the evening of 10 March by 
unidentified gunmen who fired at him from a passing car while he was 
strolling outside his Dushanbe home, Western and Russian sources reported, 
quoting the Tajik Foreign Ministry. The assassination, which the Tajik 
government was reported to believe was an attempt to sabotage upcoming 
talks between the government and the opposition, represents a major 
escalation of violence in Tajikistan. Nazarshoev is reported to have been 
a Pamiri from Gorno-Badakhshan, which supported the Islamic opposition 
during the Tajik civil war. Armed bands of supporters of the present Tajik 
government were accused of having killed many Pamiri residents of Dushanbe 
when the government assumed power at the beginning of 1993, and there is 
some doubt whether the government has control over these groups even now. 
Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. 


SERBS CONTINUE TO POUND MAGLAJ. Reuters reports on 11 March that Serbs 
have continued to bombard the besieged north Bosnian town and to block the 
arrival of a UN aid convoy for the fourth day in a row. CNN adds that 
conditions for the 19,000 people there are near starvation. Meanwhile, 
international media noted on 10 March that talks between Croats and 
Muslims continue apace, with political aspects under discussion in Vienna 
and military issues in Split. The Vienna negotiators are reportedly close 
to agreement and will probably meet their deadline of 17 March, especially 
as the cease-fire between the two sides remains generally in force. 
Elsewhere, Reuters quoted British officials as saying that Turkey's offer 
to send 1,000 troops to Bosnia as peacekeepers has been accepted. In all, 
some 7,200 soldiers have been offered by nine European countries and 
Argentina, either as new troops or those to be transferred from elsewhere 
in the former Yugoslavia. The offers still fall short of the goal of 
10,650 sought by UN commander in Bosnia, Gen. Michael Rose. Patrick Moore, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

report suggesting that the rump Yugoslav currency, the new "super dinar," 
has been introduced to Krajina, the Serb-occupied area of Croatia. While 
the account maintains there is no official financial union between 
Belgrade and Krajina or any Serb-inhabited regions outside of rump 
Yugoslavia, it reports that commercial contacts are nurturing a demand for 
the "super dinar" in Krajina. It remains unclear whether Belgrade is 
consciously attempting to consolidate its political influence in Krajina 
through economic and financial means; however, Borba reported on 9 
February that federal Finance Minister Vuk Ognjanovic suggested the 
federal government might opt to use financial levers as a means of 
controlling Krajina. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MACEDONIAN-GREEK RELATIONS AT IMPASSE? On 10 March international media 
reported that UN mediator Cyrus Vance met separately with Greek Foreign 
Minister Karolos Papoulias and his Macedonian counterpart, Stevo 
Crvenkovski, in Geneva. According to Reuters, Vance suggested that little 
progress had been made towards lifting the trade embargo imposed by Athens 
against Macedonia, adding that a number of outstanding issues had to be 
resolved before an improvement in bilateral relations could take place. 
Papoulias reportedly stressed that the Greek embargo will remain until 
Macedonia changes its name and alters its current constitution and 
national flag. Vance, providing few details of the Geneva meetings, said 
meetings between himself and Papoulias will probably take place in the 
near future. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

SERB POLICE KILL KOSOVAR. An ethnic Albanian was killed by Serbian police 
in Kosovo Polje, Rilindja reported on 8 March. According to the leading 
Albanian political party, the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), the man 
was shot in a cafe after he failed to identify himself. In the shooting 
another man was injured. Elsewhere, the police arrested several other 
ethnic Albanians, including LDK officials and also the imam of a local 
mosque. Meanwhile, houses have been raided in several towns by police 
allegedly searching for arms. Finally, Serbian dailies and the Frankfurter 
Allgemeine Zeitung said on 10 March that Serbian authorities have 
effectively closed down Kosovo's institute of Albanian studies. Fabian 
Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. 

POLAND REACHES DEBT ACCORD. Poland has reached agreement with the London 
Club of foreign commercial creditors on the restructuring of its $13 
billion debt, a spokesman for the Dresdner Bank Date:	Fri, 11 Mar 1994 
13:24:17 +0100
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original Sender: tag was KOOSF@ADMINA.RFERL.ORG
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announced on 11 March. The agreement provides for a reduction of 45%; 
repayment is to last 30 years (until 2024), with maximum annual payments 
of $400 million. Warsaw had initially demanded a 50% reduction in its 
commercial debt, to match the agreement reached with the Paris Club of 
government creditors in 1991. Poland needs a commercial debt agreement to 
restore its international financial standing and encourage Western 
investment. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

BANK SLASKI DIVIDES POLISH COALITION. In a debate that divided Poland's 
two-party ruling coalition, the Sejm voted 154 to 139 on 10 March to 
reject a government report on the privatization of Bank Slaski, PAP 
reports. The bank's debut on the Warsaw stock exchange on 25 January led 
to the resignation of Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Marek 
Borowski. The Sejm debate featured a verbal duel between Borowski, 
speaking on behalf of the Democratic Left Alliance, and privatization 
commission chairman Bogdan Pek of the Polish Peasant Party (PSL). Borowski 
and acting Finance Minister Henryk Chmielak defended the bank's sale as a 
success and argued that the issue price was appropriate, while PSL 
deputies charged that the bank's 1350% surge on the first day of trading 
was a "scandal." Borowski commended calm economic "rationalism" and urged 
Pek to consult experts other than Janusz Szewczak, who has in the past 
advised the radical populist Confederation for an Independent Poland. The 
vote has no practical consequences but reflects the distance between the 
two parties on the issue of privatization. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. 

CONFLICT OVER SOLIDARITY'S RAIL STRIKE. Solidarity's rail strike has 
proved less widespread than the union's plans suggested, PAP reported 
early on 11 March. Passenger and freight traffic was halted in some 
regions, but in others rail traffic was unaffected. The railway management 
on 10 March asked the prosecutor's office to investigate the union's rail 
section for a criminal violation of the law on trade unions. Railway 
directors consider the strike illegal and charge that the union failed to 
inform them of it in advance. Many miners staged strikes on 10 March, and 
140 plants in the Gdansk region held protests, Polish TV reports. 
Solidarity's strike call has met with a varied response, and it is 
difficult to tell if the union has the support necessary to force the 
government's hand. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. 

adjourned its session on 10 March without voting on a motion of 
no-confidence in Premier Vladimir Meciar and his government, TASR 
reported. Despite pledges to do so, Meciar failed to address the deputies, 
arguing that he was not yet prepared. During a heated debate that was 
accompanied by pro-Meciar demonstrations outside the building, Meciar was 
defended by coalition deputies and attacked by the opposition. Labor and 
Social Affairs Minister Olga Keltosova suggested that a constitutional 
provision be applied for dismissing President Michal Kovac, who strongly 
criticized Meciar in a speech on 9 March. The constitution allows the 
parliament to dismiss the president for activities against Slovakia's 
sovereignty, territorial integrity or democratic system. The debate will 
continue on 11 March. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. 

poll conducted by the Slovak Statistical Office and published by Slovak 
media on 11 March, Meciar remains the most popular politician in Slovakia. 
However, his popularity dropped from more than 50% in June 1992 to 22% in 
February. President Kovac, who in some recent polls has come out ahead of 
Meciar, now enjoys the support of 20% of the Slovak population. While 
Meciar recruits his supporters mainly from MDS voters and unskilled 
workers with only basic education, those who expressed sympathy for Kovac 
are supporters of various parties, and most have higher education. The 
only other Slovak politician who received a positive rating of more than 
5% is the leader of the ex-communist Party of the Democratic Left, Peter 
Weiss (15%). The number of Slovaks who do not trust any politician is 
alarmingly high (43%) and is apparently still on the rise. Jan Obrman, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

agreement on 10 March, marking the Republic's official membership in 
NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Klaus told a press conference in 
Brussels that the program is a step toward full NATO membership. "We 
consider the alliance the most reliable way of safeguarding our security," 
said Klaus. NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner told the same press 
conference that the Czech Republic is one of the most active partners of 
NATO and " . . . a model of development after the collapse of communism." 
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

KLAUS ON CZECH REPUBLIC'S EU MEMBERSHIP. Speaking at a press conference in 
Brussels after his meeting with European Union Executive Commission 
President Jacques Delors on 10 March, Klaus said the Czech Republic wants 
to join the EU before the year 2000, although it is in no hurry to make a 
formal application to the EU since it first must prepare its economy for 
integration. According to Klaus, the Czech Republic does not want to 
compete for EU membership with Poland or Hungary because there are no 
internal reasons for such a step, for example upcoming elections. Klaus 
again rejected closer political integration with Poland, Hungary and 
Slovakia within the framework of the Visegrad group, but he welcomed 
closer economic ties based on the Central European Free Trade Agreement. 
"Each of these countries finds itself at a different stage of 
transformation, and I am, of course, convinced that the Czech Republic is 
far ahead of all other countries in the region," said Klaus. Delors told 
the press conference that "the fact that some country applies for EU 
membership first means absolutely nothing." According to Delors, what 
matters is "quality." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

government's Export-Import Bank gave final approval to $317 million in 
guarantees for commercial loans needed by the US Westinghouse Company to 
upgrade the nuclear power plant in Temelin, the Czech Republic. Austria, 
which is worried about the environmental impact and safety of the plant, 
lobbied heavily in Washington, trying to prevent the bank from giving the 
guarantees. Prior to the bank's decision, which is final, several US 
congressmen sent letters to the bank questioning the Temelin project. The 
international media quote the EXIM Bank's spokesman as saying that the 
bank decided to approve the project only after a thorough review, 
including on-site inspections by the bank's own staff. The US Congress had 
30 days to stop the guarantee but took no action to do so. Jiri Pehe, 
RFE/RL, Inc. 

foreign media reports, thousands gathered in front of the Radio Budapest 
building to protest last week's dismissal of 129 editors and journalists 
by radio chief Laszlo Csucs. Although the radio, with over 2,000 
employees, is heavily overstaffed, opposition parties believe that the 
firings, which took place two months before national elections, were 
politically motivated. Premier Peter Boross denies having known the names 
of people to be fired and told reporters that Csucs alone made the 
decision about the journalists to be dismissed. MTI reports that the head 
of the parliament's cultural committee might call on Csucs to report to 
the committee about the situation at the radio. A counter-demonstration 
supporting Csucs's decision is planned by right-wing parties for next 
week. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc. 

BULGARIAN PREMIER TO HAVE SURGERY. On 10 March international media 
reported that Premier Lyuben Berov will need to undergo surgery. Berov, 
who was hospitalized on 8 March after suffering heart failure, had earlier 
been told by doctors that heart surgery would not be necessary. Still, 
according to BTA reports of 10 March, Berov's general condition is 
improving. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN TABLOID INVESTIGATED. Reuters reported on 10 March that 
Evenimentul zilei, Romania's most circulated newspaper, is under criminal 
investigation for its alleged tapping of President Ion Iliescu's 
telephone. The Bucharest prosecutor's office said that the inquiry aimed 
at clarifying whether the daily made illegal phone interceptions in 
violation of the National Security Law, which makes illegal telephone 
surveillance a crime punishable with up to seven years in jail. Last week 
the paper, which has criticized the president on many occasions, ran two 
pages of messages which it said were "intercepted" from well-wishers who 
phoned Iliescu's office on his birthday. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

the Agrarian Democratic Party which won Moldova's legislative elections 
and is now forming a single-party government, outlined his party's 
intentions in an interview for Basapress on 10 March as follows: full 
independence from Romania and Russia; rejection of Russia's demands for 
rights to military bases; insistence on the withdrawal of Russian troops; 
turning Moldova into a demilitarized zone; participation in economic, but 
not in politico-military agreements in the CIS and other interstate 
organizations; changing Moldova's state anthem (identical to the Romanian) 
but leaving the national flag (similar to the Romanian) unchanged. In an 
interview with Molodezh Moldovy on 5 March, Motpan said the new government 
will soon begin implementing the Agrarian Party's plan to convert 
collective and state farms into peasant joint-stock associations. Vladimir 
Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRIMEAN REFERENDUM PLANNED. A spokesman for newly elected Crimean 
President Yurii Meshkov said that a non-binding referendum will be held to 
determine if Crimeans want dual citizenship, more autonomy, and stronger 
powers for their president, Western agencies reported on 10 March. The 
spokesman said that Meshkov also signed a decree appointing Yevgenii 
Saburov, a Russian citizen, to the post of Crimea's prime minister. Kiev 
authorities dispute the legality of such a move. Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL, 

UKRAINE TO CONTINUE RECEIVING GAS, FOR NOW. At a 10 March meeting between 
Ukrainian and Russian officials in Moscow concerning Ukraine's $900 
million energy debt, Gazprom agreed to restore all gas supplies to Ukraine 
until 10 April, various agencies reported. In addition, Gazprom will try 
to compensate for 80% of the gas Turkmenistan had supplied to Ukraine 
before it cut gas due to Ukraine's non-payment of its $700 million debt. 
The respite is only temporary for Ukraine; Gazprom President Rem 
Viakhiriev said that if Kiev's energy debts are not in order by 10 April, 
Gazprom would cut all supplies to Ukraine. It was agreed that Ukraine 
would pay for this year's debt in rubles or hard currency, while half of 
its 1993 debt would be paid for in equipment and the other half in cash. 
The two sides also agreed in principle on the joint management and 
ownership of Ukraine's soon-to-be privatized pipelines and underground 
storage facilities in return for debt forgiveness. Details on this part of 
the agreement are to be finalized during talks on 10 April. Some 90% of 
Gazprom's shipments to its European customers travel through Ukraine, and 
Russian officials have alleged that Ukraine has been siphoning off gas 
from the transit pipelines on its territory. Kiev has said that it is only 
some companies which have engaged in the practice and has promised to 
punish them. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. 

POLISH PROPOSAL TO ESTONIAN PREMIER. In a telephone conversation on 10 
March Polish Premier Waldemar Pawlak proposed to his Estonian counterpart 
Mart Laar that Estonia and the other Baltic States join the Partnership 
for Growth program of Central and East European countries, BNS reports. 
This would result in forging closer economic cooperation between the 
countries and enable them to form a common platform for negotiations on 
joining the European Union. The premiers decided that a meeting of the 
foreign ministers of the interested countries should be promptly arranged 
in Warsaw. Laar also accepted Pawlak's invitation to visit Poland as soon 
as possible. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. 

deputies from the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party failed to elect their 
faction leader, the RFE/RL Lithuanian Service reported on 10 March. 
Premier and LDLP Chairman Adolfa Slezevicius proposed the reelection of 
the current faction leader Justinas Karosas, but another candidate, 
parliament deputy chairman Juozas Bernatonis, was also nominated. Neither 
was elected since they did not receive the required approval of half of 
the 72 faction members. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

reported on 10 March that the US Embassy in Tallinn distributed a US 
policy statement indicating that Washington is rejecting the linkage of 
the withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia and Latvia with other 
issues. Expressing understanding for Moscow's concern about Russian rights 
in the Baltics, the message points out that the US endorses the 
conclusions of CSCE, UN, and Council of Europe observers that there are no 
systematic violations of human rights in the Baltics. The message notes as 
hopeful the recent progress made in Latvian-Russian negotiations, but 
expresses concern about the demands raised by Russia during its most 
recent talks with Estonia. These issues are to be raised during the 
upcoming meeting between US Secretary of State Warren Christopher and 
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev. Latvia's Defense Ministry 
reported that on 1 March there were still about 9,500 Russian troops in 
Latvia. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. 

[As of 1200 CET]

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