Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light. - Jennie Jerome Churchill
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 52, 16 March 1994

RUSSIA

RECESSION DEEPENS. Although government spokesmen and most observers had 
projected a slowing down in the rate of decline in 1994 after a fall in 
production of over 40 percent during the past three years, industrial 
output fell even more sharply in January and February. According to 
Roskomstat, as cited by Interfax of 15 March, industrial output during 
those months was 23.6 percent lower than in January-February 1993, while 
the drop for February alone was 24.1 percent. The decline may be 
attributed largely to the payments arrears crisis, but seasonal factors 
and reduced imports of machinery and spares may have played a role. 
However, the decline is thought to have been overstated in that the output 
of the growing private sector is not fully captured by official 
statistics. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

LAW ON STATE OF ECONOMIC EMERGENCY MOOTED. Reacting to the output data for 
January-February, the speakers of the upper and lower houses of 
parliament, Vladimir Shumeiko and Ivan Rybkin, have discussed the 
possibility of introducing emergency rule in the economy, Interfax 
reported on 15 March. The Federation Council is to hear a report soon by 
the prime minister on the payments arrears crisis, and the cabinet is due 
to submit its latest draft of the consolidated budget for 1994 to 
parliament shortly. No indication was provided as to what kind of 
emergency legislation is being considered. Some form of price and wage 
controls, an arbitrary cancellation of inter-enterprise debts, and the 
massive issuance of soft credits cannot be ruled out. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

PAYMENTS ARREARS CRISIS EXACERBATED. During hearings at the Federation 
Council on the nonpayment crisis, a senior government analyst explained 
the origins of the current arrears--totalling an estimated 32 trillion 
rubles, of which one half is due to the fuel and energy complex--and 
proposed corrective measures, Interfax reported on 15 March. Petr Filippov 
attributed the arrears to inviable government budgetary commitments; the 
absence of payments discipline and enforcing mechanisms; and the lack of 
effective bankruptcy provisions. To correct the situation, Filippov 
suggested debt repayment enforcement commissions; selective payments of 
government debts; restrictions on the number of bank accounts held by 
companies; the transformation of debts into promissory notes; and the 
auctioning of bankrupt companies. Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

ZHIRINOVKSY AND NIXON MEET. Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky 
and former US President Richard Nixon met on 15 March behind closed doors 
in Moscow. According to comments made by the press department of 
Zhirinovsky's party, the talks focused on Russian-American relations and 
interparliamentary contacts. The meeting was apparently held at Nixon's 
initiative because the former US president was seeking a clearer picture 
of the broad spectrum of political leaders in Russia. During the meeting, 
Zhirinovsky gave Nixon a written message to be delivered to US President 
Bill Clinton. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. 

KOZYREV ON RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES. In a commentary appearing in 
The Washington Times on 15 March, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev 
sketched the broad goals of Russia's foreign policy agenda around the 
world. Highlighting Russia's priority relations with the newly independent 
states, Kozyrev emphasized that Russia "see[s] the emergence of new 
threats to our interests, above all those of instability and armed 
conflicts across the whole space of the former USSR." He said that 
sometimes Russia has found it necessary to advance its interests in the 
world "in a tough manner," but assured readers that Moscow's approach 
would always remain within the bounds of international law. Kozyrev 
emphasized the importance of raising the status of the CIS to that of a 
"full-fledged regional organization," and he promised that Russia will 
focus on this during its chairmanship of the CIS running through June 
1994. Kozyrev linked CIS organizational development to the codification of 
a system to protect the rights of ethnic Russians and to proposals for 
international support for Russian peacekeeping efforts. Suzanne Crow, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

US, RUSSIA AGREE ON PLUTONIUM INSPECTION. According to Western press 
agency reports of 15 March, the US government has reached an agreement 
with Russia to allow inspections of the plutonium removed from nuclear 
warheads. The agreement, reached after two days of talks in Washington 
with Russian Atomic Energy Minister Viktor Mikhailov, provides for 
inspections at a plutonium storage site at Tomsk and in the US at the 
Pantex site. Non-intrusive techniques will apparently be used that will 
allow the two sides to verify that the plutonium core is present without 
revealing any design secrets. Final details are to be worked out, and a 
formal agreement may be signed, during US Defense Secretary William 
Perry's trip to Russia which starts on 17 March. On a related issue, the 
US announced it would extend its moratorium on nuclear testing through 
September 1995. John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MORE ON ARMS PRODUCTION AND SALES. The Chairman of Russia's State 
Committee for Defense Branches of Industry, Viktor Glukhikh was quoted by 
ITAR-TASS on 14 March as saying that the volume of Russian arms production 
in 1993 was equal only to 47.8% of that produced in 1991. He attributed 
the sharp fall to an absence of funding. On the same day, according to 
ITAR-TASS, the Deputy Director of Rosvooruzhenie (Russia's state-owned 
arms trading company), Pavel Trishin, said that, while Russia sold more 
arms in 1993 than in 1992, the annual revenues earned from arms sales have 
remained virtually constant over the last few years, at approximately $2 
billion. Finally, according to former CIS Joint Forces commander Evgenii 
Shaposhnikov, the sharp reduction in the defense procurement budget 
projected for 1994 will be especially damaging to those enterprises 
producing high-technology hardware and weaponry for Russia's space and air 
forces. Shaposhnikov, who now serves as representative of the President's 
office in Rosvooruzhenie, said that Russian arms manufacturers should have 
direct access to the world market. According to Interfax, he also said 
that creation of a political party lobbying for the interests of defense 
enterprises is a possibility. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

CONTROVERSY IN COUNCIL OF FEDERATION OVER KAZANNIK'S RESIGNATION. The 
majority of deputies in the Council of the Federation (CF), which, 
according to the new Russian Constitution, has the final say on the 
appointment and resignation of Russia's prosecutor general, is not willing 
to accept the resignation of Aleksei Kazannik. Kazannik tendered his 
resignation as prosecutor general after implementing the amnesty of the 
organizers of the 1991 coup and the October 1993 disturbances. On 15 
March, an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow interviewed a deputy of the CF, 
Yurii Boldyrev, who complained that, in accepting Kazannik's resignation 
and appointing Aleksei Ilyushenko as acting prosecutor general, Yeltsin 
violated the Russian Constitution, which permits the president only to 
make recommendations to the CF concerning the appointment and resignation 
of the prosecutor general. Boldyrev also criticized the speaker of the CF, 
Vladimir Shumeiko, for individually approving the appointment of 
Ilyushenko, without letting the CF vote on the matter. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, 
Inc. 

RYBKIN IN SEARCH OF POLITICAL PROFILE. The speaker of the State Duma, Ivan 
Rybkin, used his recent trip to the US to boost his image as a moderate 
reformer with a view to standing as a candidate in the future presidential 
election campaign, according to Independent TV [Nezavisimoe televidenie] 
"Itogi" on 13 March. An opinion survey, conducted by Independent TV has 
shown that 35% of respondents in fifteen Russian cities favor early 
presidential elections, while 45% reject them. Independent TV said that 
Rybkin wants to head the center-left opposition in Russia which, so far, 
lacks a "respectable leader." A co-leader of the radical reformist bloc 
Russia's Choice, Sergei Yushenkov, said that he was impressed by the 
support for reform and democratic developments in Russia that Rybkin 
expressed in his meetings with US politicians. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

COMMUNISTS ON THE OFFENSIVE. The leader of the Communist Party, Gennadii 
Zyuganov, was quoted by ITAR-TASS on 15 March as saying at the plenum of 
his party that communists will sign the proposed memorandum of civic peace 
and accord only if the following conditions are met: first, an immediate 
change of the government's economic reform policy and the formation of a 
government "of national consensus" based on a parliamentary majority; 
second, an immediate payment of debts to agricultural and industrial 
workers; and the introduction of extraordinary measures against crime and 
corruption; and third, "the restoration of a renewed Union state on a 
voluntary basis on Russia's initiative." Zyuganov also called for early 
presidential elections--without the participation of President Boris 
Yeltsin. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc. 

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN DISAGREE OVER OUTCOME OF TALKS. Armenian and 
Azerbaijani officials disagree about what was discussed at a meeting 
between the chairmen of the two countries' parliaments on 12 March, 
Interfax reported on 15 March. Azerbaijani State Secretary Gabil Guseinli 
told the news agency that Armenia had agreed to withdraw its troops from 
occupied Azerbaijani territory within twenty days, while Speaker of 
Armenia's Parliament Babken Ararktsian told a news conference in Erevan 
that concrete dates for troop withdrawals from occupied areas of 
Azerbaijan were not discussed. Guseinli noted that the territory to be 
evacuated by Armenian troops is outside the disputed enclave of Nagorny 
Karabakh. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

ARMENIANS AND GEORGIANS TO SERVE IN RUSSIAN BORDER TROOPS. On 14 March 
Russian Border Troops Commander Andrei Nikolaev signed an agreement in 
Tbilisi under which Georgian conscripts and volunteers will serve in 
Russian border forces on the Georgian-Turkish border, Interfax and Reuter 
reported on 15 March. The day after the agreement was signed in Georgia, 
Nikolaev signed a similar one in Erevan for the participation of Armenians 
in Russian border units. Nikolaev described this agreement as creating a 
legal basis for military cooperation between Armenia and Russia. Bess 
Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

FIRE AT BAIKONUR. While Kazakhstani and Russian negotiators meet behind 
closed doors in Moscow to thrash out the future of the Baikonur space 
complex, Interfax reported on 15 March that a fire at the complex has 
destroyed one of the launching pads. A telemetric facility that monitors 
spacecraft during launch preparations was also destroyed in the fire, 
which occurred the previous week. Firefighting efforts were reported to 
have been hampered by lack of water and a heavy snowstorm. Bess Brown, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS

UKRAINE DENIES SEIZURE OF BLACK SEA FLEET HOSPITAL. Russian agencies 
reported on 15 March that a group of Ukrainian servicemen had seized a 
Black Sea Fleet hospital in Ochakiv and demanded that the staff take an 
oath of allegiance to Ukraine. Interfax later reported that the Ukrainian 
defense ministry denied that such action had taken place. According to 
Interfax, the Ukrainian defense ministry's press service said that the 
staff at the hospital had voluntarily decided to take an oath of loyalty 
to Ukraine on 10 March. This is not the first time that the Russian and 
Ukrainian media have put out conflicting reports on incidents involving 
Ukrainian servicemen and Black Sea Fleet personnel. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINE'S PRESIDENT ANNULS CRIMEAN REFERENDUM . . . On 15 March Ukrainian 
TV broadcast a decree by President Leonid Kravchuk annulling a 
consultative referendum called by Crimean President Yurii Meshkov for 27 
March on the Crimean Autonomous Republic's future. Kravchuk stated that 
Meshkov had exceeded his authority and violated Ukraine's laws and 
Constitution by ordering a vote on issues that are under the jurisdiction 
of the Ukrainian parliament (See Daily Report, 15 March 1994). Meanwhile, 
speaking in an interview on Radio Ukraine on 14 March, Kravchuk's senior 
political advisor, Mykola Mykhalchenko, described the proposed Crimean 
referendum as "a manifestation of separatism and extremism." He claimed 
that "human and national rights" are being violated in Crimea as a result 
of "an attempt by the Russian community to impose its diktat . . . on the 
Ukrainian community, the Crimean-Tatar, and those of other national 
minorities." Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . AS DONBAS PREPARES TO HOLD ITS OWN PLEBISCITE. Meanwhile trouble is 
also brewing over a proposed consultative referendum which the Donetsk 
Regional Council decided on 22 February to conduct in the Donetsk region 
on 27 March during the Ukrainian parliamentary elections. The RFE/RL 
Research Institute has obtained the text of the questions from the Center 
for Political Studies in Donetsk. The first question asks if voters agree 
that Russian should be made a second state language in Ukraine alongside 
Ukrainian and that the Ukrainian state should be organized on a federative 
principle. The second asks if voters agree that Russian should be the 
language of official business, education and science together with 
Ukrainian in this overwhelmingly Russian-speaking region. The third 
question asks if voters support Ukraine's adherence to the CIS Charter and 
its full membership in the CIS Economic Union and Interparliamentary 
Assembly. The Donetsk Oblast is Ukraine's largest regional electoral 
district, having almost four million voters. Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUS ADOPTS CONSTITUTION. The Belarusian parliament adopted the 
country's new constitution on 15 March by a majority vote of 236, various 
agencies reported. The constitution, which replaces the Soviet-era 
constitution, was adopted as a whole document after an article-by-article 
adoption process that has lasted over two years. Under the new 
constitution Belarus will have an elected president who will be the main 
executive power. The system of local councils will be preserved and the 
number of parliamentary deputies reduced to 260. The first article 
declares that Belarus is an indivisible, democratic, socially-oriented and 
law-governed state. The constitution also says that Belarus intends to 
become a nuclear free and neutral country. Opposition leader Zyanon Date:	
Wed, 16 Mar 1994 13:01:38 +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 16 MAR, 1994
X-To:	rferl-daily-report@AdminA.RFERL.ORG
To: Multiple recipients of list RFERL-L  

Paznyak criticized the new constitution for not containing proper balances 
of power. According to Paznyak, the document is tailored to help Prime 
Minister Vyacheslau Kebich become a presidential candidate. Ustina Markus, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE ON CANDIDATES FOR BELARUSIAN PRESIDENCY. Aleh Trusau, the head of the 
Social-Democratic Hramada, told Interfax on 15 March that his party might 
support Stanislau Shushkevich as presidential candidate if Shushkevich 
were to appoint Henadz Karpenka, leader of the Party of People's Accord, 
as prime minister in the event of his election. Trusau added that his 
announcement should not be regarded as the official standpoint of the 
Hramada since the party has not made a final decision on the matter. 
Another contender for the presidency, Aleksander Lukashenka, head of the 
provisional parliamentary commission for combating corruption, announced 
that he has a package of documents exposing over fifty top-ranking 
officials (among them two vice-premiers), which he intends to put before 
parliament in the near future. Lukashenka had succeeded in removing the 
former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich, earlier this 
year on charges of failing to tackle corruption. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, 
Inc.

UN CONCENTRATING EFFORTS ON MAGLAJ. The New York Times on 16 March and 
news agencies the previous day note that the UN is centering attention on 
relief for Maglaj in north-central Bosnia now that the cease-fire around 
Sarajevo seems to be holding. Maglaj has a mainly Muslim population, 
swollen by refugees to a total of over 100,000, and has been under siege 
by the Serbs for 10 months. UN spokesman Peter Kessler said on 15 March 
that the Serbs are continuing to block relief convoys: "they turned us 
down flat again today." He added that this is "ethnic cleansing by 
starvation." UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata urged Serbian 
President Slobodan Milosevic to allow the convoys into the area. She said 
that Milosevic promised to "look into this." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

"LIKE GOATS TETHERED TO A STAKE." This is how outgoing UN commander in 
Bosnia and Croatia, French Gen. Jean Cot, described the situation of 
UNPROFOR troops when provoked by local combatants. The New York Times on 
16 March also noted that his successor, French Lt. Gen. Bertrand de 
Lapresle, agrees that "there are cases when the urgency of the situation 
does require a very rapid reaction." Meanwhile, a numbers game appears to 
be emerging between international, primarily American, diplomats and 
Bosnian Serb leaders over what percentage of Bosnian territory the Serbs 
would give up as part of an overall settlement. The Serbs control roughly 
70% of the land and are claiming a final total of about 56 to 57%, Reuters 
said on 15 March. They only made up about 31% of the republic's pre-war 
population, much of which was rural. The numbers game says nothing, 
however, about the key issue of where the actual borders will run. Of 
particular concern to Muslims are areas in northern and eastern Bosnia 
taken by the Serbs early in the conflict and then "cleansed" of Muslim 
inhabitants. Finally, Croat negotiator at the Vienna talks, Ivo Sanader, 
told Slobodna Dalmacija of 16 March that a joint Croatian-Muslim 
delegation would face the Serbs in any three-party negotiations in the 
future. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SERBIA'S NEW CABINET. On 16 March Politika reports that Serbian Premier 
Mirko Marjanovic announced to the parliament the names of the 
representatives of his new cabinet. Elections were held on 19 December 
1993, and the formation of a government had been delayed by political 
infighting and disagreements between the opposition parties and the 
Socialist Party of Serbia. At a press conference following the 
announcement, Marjanovic remarked that many opposition parties have lent 
their support. Borba observes that the premier has left the door open to 
those parties who wish to join the government at a later date. Among those 
who have vowed to remain aloof from a Socialist dominated government at 
all costs is Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj. Stan Markotich, 
RFE/RL, Inc.

PROTESTS AGAINST DEPORTATIONS OF YUGOSLAV REFUGEES. The German Foreign 
Ministry says that some 5,000 Albanians have been deported from Germany to 
rump Yugoslavia to date, Vecernje novosti said on 11 March. The refugees 
were reportedly brought to Skopje by plane and then and by bus to Serbia. 
The commercial director of Palair Macedonia nonetheless denied the story, 
saying that his airline has not transported so many passengers altogether 
since its founding in 1992. He added that no German plane has reached 
Skopje since then. The German media have extensively reported recently on 
the supposed planned expulsion of at least 100,000 Yugoslav refugees via 
Romania, although Romania denied the story. The planned deportations 
concern refugees from all over former Yugoslavia except Bosnia-Herzegovina 
and the Serbian-occupied territories in Croatia. Human rights groups have 
protested the expulsions, which endanger war resisters and deserters in 
particular, as well as members of ethnic minorities. Meanwhile, the 
Serbian authorities are trying to recruit 300 young Albanians in the 
community of Malisevo for the army, Rilindja reported on 14 March. Fabian 
Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA HAS "FULL CONFIDENCE" IN INTERIOR MINISTER. Poland's Internal 
Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski has satisfied President Lech Walesa 
that the police force is functioning properly under his leadership, 
according to a communique released by the president's press office and 
quoted by PAP on 15 March. The ministry is one of the three that come 
within the president's sphere of influence. Under pressure from calls for 
a public inquiry into Gazeta Wyborcza's recent allegations of high-level 
police corruption, Milczanowski informed Walesa about the ministry's 
internal inquiry. He was also at pains to demonstrate that the police had 
numerous crime-fighting successes to its credit. Gazeta Wyborcza of 16 
March continues its series of crime reports with another front-page 
article about the activities of an auto-mafia in a Warsaw suburb that the 
local police seem powerless to stop. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. 

PAWLAK CONCLUDES MOSCOW VISIT. Polish Premier Waldemar Pawlak's 24-hour 
working visit in Moscow on 15 March was evaluated by both the Polish and 
the Russian side as a successful attempt to break the prolonged impasse in 
economic relations, PAP reports. Although the major bone of contention: 
how to assess and settle mutual debts outstanding from the Soviet period, 
is still unresolved, both sides were confident that a compromise would be 
possible. Poland's Deputy Finance Minister Henryk Chmielak told PAP that 
the Russians had agreed "to adopt the accounting mechanism used in talks 
with the Paris Club." Interfax quoted Russian Economics Minister Alexander 
Shokhin as saying that the problem required "a political settlement" at 
the highest level, and that it should "not hamper the development of 
relations on a mutually advantageous basis." Ministers and experts of the 
two countries have been given 14 days in which to draw up a trade protocol 
for 1994, and 30 days to draw up a long-term treaty, which the two 
premiers plan to sign when Victor Chernomyrdin visits Warsaw in May. Anna 
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. 

SLOVAK JOURNALISTS ASK FOR POLICE PROTECTION. The Slovak Syndicate of 
Journalists called for police protection for their members after four 
reporters were mishandled by pro-Meciar demonstrators on 14 March, CTK 
reported on 15 March. Spokespeople for the group said that incidents of 
physical violence in the last few days rank Slovakia among countries in 
which freedom of speech and thought is not guaranteed. National Democratic 
Party Chairman Ludovit Cernak was quoted as saying that he was surprised 
by the inactivity of the security forces during the demonstrations, adding 
that none of the ministers responsible for the police would qualify for a 
seat in the government. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc. 

OIL LEAK SPREADS IN SLOVAKIA. Oil leaked from a pipeline in Ukraine is now 
reported to have flowed along the Uh River 35 kilometers into Eastern 
Slovakia and polluted the waters of a second Slovak river, the Latorica, 
TASR reported on 15 March. Booms placed at three points in the Uh River to 
stop the oil are reportedly not functioning because the river is rising 
too fast. The oil leak was discovered on 13 March. A Ukrainian official 
was quoted as saying that it was probably caused by people cutting holes 
to tap oil from the line, adding that the oil has spread 50 kilometers 
along the Uh river on the Ukrainian side. Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIAN LOWER CHAMBER APPROVES BROADCAST BILL. The Chamber of Deputies on 
15 March approved the country's new radio-and-television organization law 
by a vote of 246 to one with three abstentions, Radio Bucharest reports. 
The Senate last year passed a slightly different bill, and the two 
chambers will have to a agree on a joint version. Under the new bill, the 
separate administrative boards for radio and television will each have 13 
members. Their selection is entrusted to parliamentary committees (8), the 
government (2), the staffs (2), and the parliamentary groups of ethnic 
minorities (1). The selections have to be confirmed by two-thirds of both 
houses in a joint session. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

BUCHAREST: ETHNIC HUNGARIAN DEPUTY BOOED. Imre Borbely, a deputy for the 
Hungarian Democratic Federation in Romania, was booed on 15 March when 
trying to address the Chamber of Deputies in Hungarian. According to Radio 
Bucharest, Borbely wanted to deliver a resume of his speech hailing the 
Hungarian 1848-1849 revolution. Radu Berceanu of the Democratic 
Party-National Salvation Front, who was presiding over the session, urged 
Borbely to use the state language in the parliament, keeping within the 
provisions of the Constitution. Costica Ciurtin of the Party of Romanian 
National Unity criticized the attempt to mark an event which he termed as 
"macabre," since, he said, some 40,000 Romanians in Transylvania lost 
their lives. In a related development, Adrian Vlad Casuneanu, prefect of 
the Covasna county, told Radio Bucharest that the 15 March celebrations in 
Targu-Secuiesc, Baraolt and other towns were "an anomaly" with "revanchist 
character." Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. 

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT IN BRUSSELS. During a three-day visit to Brussels for 
talks with EU and NATO officials, Mircea Snegur rejected the Russian 
thesis that Russia's 14th Army in Moldova serves regional stability and 
protects the Russian minority. Citing international findings that Moldova 
observes minority rights, Snegur called for the unconditional withdrawal 
of Russia's army from Moldova, noting that stability is best served by 
NATO's Partnership for Peace program and minority rights by CSCE 
mechanisms. He also reaffirmed Moldova's acceptance of the CSCE's plan for 
settling the Dniester conflict by granting the left bank administrative 
autonomy, his office said in a press release on 16 March, cited by 
Basapress. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. 

IMF PLEASED WITH MOLDOVA'S REFORMS. The International Monetary Fund's 
permanent representative in Moldova, Michael Blackwell, told journalists 
on 15 March that Moldova is carrying out a "strong and bold" program of 
economic reforms as agreed with the IMF, ITAR-TASS reports. Moldova and 
the IMF have "developed a good relationship based on the granting of 
assistance and credits conditional on the implementation of the reform 
program," Blackwell said. The IMF and World Bank have repeatedly expressed 
satisfaction with Moldova's reform program, seen as a regional example, 
and support it with substantial credits. The Agrarian-led government, 
which has identified itself with the program, has been strengthened by the 
Agrarians' recent electoral victory. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA NOT TO DEPORT ALGERIANS. On 15 March Reuters reported that a 
Bulgarian foreign ministry spokesman said that four Algerians, arrested at 
Sofia airport on 15 March when detected with questionable identification, 
will not be deported. If returned to Algeria, the four would face 
execution for what their attorney alleges are political and not criminal 
reasons. Their lawyer also argued an expulsion would be contrary to the 
European Declaration on Human Rights. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. 

LATVIA, RUSSIA INITIAL TROOP WITHDRAWAL ACCORD. On 15 March in Moscow 
Russian and Latvian delegations initialed three of four agreements on the 
withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia, BNS reports. The final pullout 
is to be completed by 31 August, but Russia will be allowed to maintain 
its radar base at Skrunda with 500 military and 200 civilian personnel for 
four more years with an additional 18 months for dismantling it. No 
agreement was reached on the amount of rent for the base; Latvia is not 
satisfied with Russia's offer of $2 million per year. The agreements 
include social protection for the withdrawing troops and social guarantees 
for Russian military pensioners who retired before 28 January 1992, when 
Russia officially transferred the former Soviet army to its jurisdiction. 
They will be granted the status of permanent residents and can be 
naturalized as Latvian citizens under Latvian law. It is expected that 
presidents Boris Yeltsin and Guntis Ulmanis will meet and sign the 
agreements in April. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

FINNISH PRIME MINISTER IN ESTONIA. On 15 March Esko Aho began a two-day 
visit to Estonia, BNS reports. Aho and his Estonian counterpart Mart Laar 
discussed the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia and Estonia, border 
guard and customs cooperation, construction of a gas pipeline linking 
Nordic and Baltic countries, and the Via Baltica highway project. Aho met 
in Tartu with the municipal government and the rector of Tartu University. 
On 16 March Aho will visit Narva where he will meet with members of the 
municipal government and city council. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

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