We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe. - K. Jerome
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 58, 24 March 1994

RUSSIA

MILITANT COMMUNIST CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF PRESIDENT AND GOVERNMENT.
At least one of the political prisoners released under the
controversial amnesty declared by the State Duma in February has
resumed activities that doubtlessly will be regarded subversive by
those opposing the amnesty. Interfax of 23 March said Viktor
Anpilov called in Novosibirsk for the removal from power of the
president and government of Russia. Anpilov had been arrested for
resistance to the decree disbanding the parliament. His "Working
Russia" movement is widely blamed for the violent character of the
opposition rallies held in Moscow in 1991-93. He is also the
leader of the Russian Communist Workers' Party which was banned by
another presidential decree soon after the September-October
events. Deputies representing a more moderate Communist Party of
the Russian Federation, according to Russian TV's "Vesti," on the
same day, voted alongside the democrats against the motion of
no-confidence in the Chernomyrdin government. Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL, Inc.

GERMANY, RUSSIA CLASH OVER ART TREASURES. Russia has bluntly
rejected a request from German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel for a
speedy exchange of art treasures plundered during World War II by
German and Soviet military forces, Reuters reported on 23 March.
Kinkel had earlier in the day characterized the restitution of art
works to Germany as a "key test" of relations between the two
countries in the new post-Cold War environment, but Russian
Culture Minister Evgenii Sidorov was quoted by Reuters as saying
that every claim and counter-claim would have to be carefully
considered by experts from both sides. On 22 March Interfax had
quoted a Russian diplomat as saying "the Germans would like to
receive everything, giving nothing . . . in exchange." Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . BUT GOOD RELATIONS PREVAIL IN OTHER AREAS. Meanwhile, after
a meeting that same day with Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, the
two sides proclaimed that there are no major disagreements between
Germany and Russia on the major international issues of the day.
German agencies said Kinkel reaffirmed that Bonn will continue to
support "the signing of a long-overdue cooperation agreement
between the European Union and Russia." Western agencies also
reported on 23 March that German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has
invited Boris Yeltsin to Berlin on 31 August to attend the
farewell parade for Russian military forces leaving Germany.
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

DETAILS OF THE AGREEMENT WITH THE IMF. Some details have emerged
of the conditions accepted by the Russian government on 22 March
prior to the announced agreement in principle on the granting of
the second tranche of the IMF's systemic transformation facility.
Interfax and Western agencies of 23 March said the government is
committed to prepare and forward a package of legislative
initiatives to the State Duma by 15 April. These will amount to a
revision or suspension of several presidential and government
decrees that would incur higher budgetary expenditure. Other
initiatives would be aimed at boosting revenues. Nevertheless,
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told journalists that the 1994
budget deficit is expected to be "somewhat larger" than 9
percent--the target aired in recent weeks--but less than in 1993.
Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

1994 BUDGET PRESENTED TO PARLIAMENT. On 23 March Acting Finance
Minister Sergei Dubinin presented his draft budget for 1994 and
for the second quarter of 1994 to the parliament, Interfax
reported. What appears to be a new feature is a 3 percent tax to
finance priority industrial sectors, with two-thirds of the money
raised to go to the federal budget. (It was not made clear on what
the tax would be levied). The planned deficit of 62.4 trillion
rubles was described as being equivalent to 10 percent of GDP.
Most recent pronouncements have given a 9 percent figure, which
suggests that estimates for the GDP in 1994 have been lowered. The
State Duma approved the law on federal budget expenditure in the
second quarter, and the hope was expressed that the Federation
Council would pass it on 24 March.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

REGIONAL ELECTION RESULTS. In three out of seventeen Russia's
regions which held elections to regional and local legislatures on
20 March the vote was pronounced invalid because of the low
turnout, Segodnya reported on 22 March. (The minimum turnout to
validate the elections is 25 percent.) It has not yet been decided
whether to deem valid the elections to the city assembly in St.
Petersburg. At 25 out of 50 polling stations in the city, less
than 25 percent of eligible voters turned up. A controversy is
also raging about whether the city mayor Anatolii Sobchak acted
within his powers when he prolonged the elections for one day. The
Central Electoral Commission is to decide on whether to validate
elections in St. Petersburg, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 March.  Vera
Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

OSTANKINO AND REUTERS TO PRODUCE JOINT TV NEWS. Russian state TV
and radio company Ostankino and Reuters television have signed an
agreement to produce a joint TV news program, ITAR-TASS and
Ostankino's "Novosti" reported on 23 March. The new show will be
broadcast weekly starting early in April. The joint production
will be based in Russia and anchored by the prominent local TV
commentator Vladimir Molchanov.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

ORDER FOR WITHDRAWAL FROM KURILS? The Chairman of the Duma's
Security Committee, Viktor Ilyukhin, charged on 23 February that
the Russian Defense Ministry has received a secret instruction
ordering it to prepare a plan for Russia's military withdrawal
from the disputed Kuril Islands. According to Interfax, Ilyukhin
characterized the instruction as the beginning of a process that
would return the islands to Japan. Ivan Rybkin, Speaker of the
lower house, suggested that the Defense Minister be questioned on
the issue during a scheduled appearance before parliament on 25
March.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

GRACHEV OPPOSES TRANSFER OF PEACEKEEPING FORCES. Interfax reported
on 23 March that Defense Minister Pavel Grachev has criticized a
proposal put forward on 17 March by the Minister for Emergency
Situations, that would transfer control over Russia's peacekeeping
forces from the Defense Ministry to the Ministry for Emergency
Situations. Grachev told newsmen that peacekeeping forces
everywhere are subordinated to the national armed forces, and said
that the Ministry for Emergency Situations has no experience in
commanding peace-keeping operations. Grachev added that, to date,
the legal status of Russia's peace-keeping forces has not been
defined, and suggested that the parliament would pass a law to
that effect later this spring.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

FAR EAST SPACEPORT PLANS DENIED. First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg
Soskovets said that the widely-reported plans to build a new
spaceport in the Far East have not even been discussed by the
Russian government, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 March. The Russian
Military Space Forces appear to be the key advocates of this plan
but the proposal has been criticized by the Russian space agency
Glavkosmos for being far too expensive. Interfax reported on the
same day that talks between Russia and Kazakhstan on leasing the
Baikonur spaceport are expected to continue until 28 March, the
primary issue being the cost of the lease. AFP reported on 23
March that US Congressman James Sensenbrenner has released a
report based on a congressional visit to Baikonur that casts doubt
on the facility's ability to support Russia's participation in the
joint space station project.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

PERRY COMMENTS ON NUCLEAR SECURITY. Completing his tour of the
former Soviet republics with nuclear weapons on their territory,
US Secretary of Defense William Perry on 23 March told Western
press agencies that he was reassured concerning the level of
weapons security. An RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reports
that Senator Richard Lugar stated that, according to information
sent him by Perry, Russia has already dismantled up to half of its
tactical nuclear weapons. On March 24 The New York Times reported
that the US is now planning to place some of its plutonium and
highly enriched uranium under IAEA safeguards in order to
encourage Russia to do the same, while a US government safety
board reportedly warned about possible safety problems concerning
the dismantling process in the US.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

REPORT: LOW READINESS, STAFFING LEVELS IN RUSSIAN ARMY. A report
prepared by Swedish military intelligence concludes that the
Russian armed forces were nearly a million men short in 1993 (with
total staffing levels estimated at only 1.2 million) and that
readiness, except in elite units, had plummeted to a very low
level. A Radio Sweden report on 23 March said training time for
Russian pilots was way down, while regular naval and army units
rarely exercised. As a result of the reduced capabilities of its
conventional forces, the report concluded, Moscow has come
increasingly to rely on its strategic forces as the primary means
for countering external threats.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIA SIGNS UP FOR PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE, ARMENIA MAY DO
LIKEWISE. On 23 March Georgia became the 13th former East bloc
country to join NATO's "Partnership for Peace" program, ITAR-TASS
and Western agencies reported. Georgian Foreign Minister Aleksandr
Chikvaidze expressed the hope that membership would enable Georgia
"to avoid future mistakes" and stressed his country's
determination to preserve its territorial integrity. Also on 23
March a NATO delegation discussed Armenia's possible membership of
PFP with first deputy foreign minister Zhirair Liparitian in
Erevan, according to Interfax.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

ABKHAZIA SETS CONDITIONS FOR RESUMING TALKS. Abkhaz parliament
chairman Vladislav Ardzinba told Interfax on 23 March that
Abkhazia is prepared to resume the UN-sponsored talks with Georgia
on the nature of future bilateral relations if the Georgian
parliament repeals its decision of 10 March to disband the Abkhaz
Supreme Soviet. In an interview with Georgian Television on 22
March, parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze argued that since
UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali stated on 21 March that the
time is not yet ripe for deploying a UN peacekeeping force in
Abkhazia, if necessary Russia should send peacekeeping troops to
the region without UN approval, according to Interfax of 23 March.
Abkhaz Prime Minister Sokrat Dzhindzholia told Interfax, however,
that only a UN contingent could successfully stabilize the
situation in Abkhazia.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

EBRD TO FINANCE SAFETY PROGRAM FOR ARMENIAN NUCLEAR POWER STATION.
Following talks in Erevan with Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan,
EBRD representative Sven Chelstroem told Interfax on 23 March that
his organization will finance work on resolving security issues
connected with the decision to reactivate the mothballed Medzamor
nuclear power station. BIZNESS-TASS on 23 March quoted Russian
Deputy Minister for Atomic Energy Nikolai Egorov as stating that
the actual costs of reactivating Medzamor with Russian technical
help will be borne by Armenia. The EBRD has also drawn up a
program of financial assistance for privatization in Armenia.  Liz
Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

GEORGIAN STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED. On 22 March, the Georgian
parliament extended the state of emergency in 14 Western regions
until 20 May, Interfax reported. It was first imposed for all of
Georgia in September 1993 because of fighting involving
separatists in Abkhazia and a separate conflict involving
supporters of former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia.  Keith Bush,
RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

A NEW ERA FOR UNPROFOR IN CROATIA? Before returning to Zagreb at
the start of the week, President Franjo Tudjman held talks at the
UN with Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali about the future
of the 14,500 peace-keepers stationed in his republic, whose
mandate is slated to expire at the end of the month. Tudjman said
that more troops are not needed, but those present should be
placed on Croatia's borders with Serbia and, presumably, with the
Bosnian Serbs rather than remain primarily to separate Croat and
rebel Serb forces within Croatia itself. Tudjman said this would
be a precondition for Zagreb's agreeing to the UN's request to
extend the mandate for one year instead of for just six months. In
any event, Boutros-Ghali agreed to Tudjman's request to extend
NATO air cover to Croatia. At a press conference, Tudjman
expressed certainty that he now has international backing to
reintegrate the Serb-held lands making up 30% of the republic's
territory with the rest of Croatia, even if the process takes
time. Borba and Vjesnik reported the story on 22 March, while
Vecernji list covered the press conference on 23 March.  Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

BRIDGE IN SARAJEVO REOPENS. On 23 March international media
reported that a bridge in Sarajevo's city center, the "Bridge of
Brotherhood and Unity, " had reopened to human traffic on 23 March
as a result of a UN-brokered agreement between the Bosnian Muslim
government and the Serb side. Reuters reports that the opening of
the bridge, which was one of several routes re-opened, is regarded
as an important step in lifting the siege of Sarajevo. The
structure had separated Muslim and Serb residents of Sarajevo. In
other news, on 24 March both Reuters and AFP report that the UN
Security Council has agreed, after noting Greek and Bosnian Serb
objections, to accept Turkish forces for peacekeeping duties in
Bosnia. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOSOVAR CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS AWAIT TRIALS IN SERBIA. About
7,000 ethnic Albanians await trials in Serbian courts for refusing
to serve in the army, while about 800 young men received their
draft letters in Djakovica and Malisevo, Vjesnik reports on 22
March. According to the president of the self-proclaimed Republic
of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, the recent draft aims at "bringing fear
and insecurity" to the region, and to tempt young Albanians into
fleeing Kosovo. Meanwhile, Rilindja on 22 March reports on police
raids and arrests in several Kosovar towns and on the opening day
of the trial of 11 Albanians, who allegedly planned to build up an
"army of the Republic of Kosovo." The accused allegedly received
their orders from the leading Democratic League of Kosovo and also
from the Albanian Foreign Ministry, the charges read.  Fabian
Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.
MACEDONIA AND THE GREEK TRADE EMBARGO. Jacques Delors, European
Commission President, has requested that Greece, which now
occupies the rotating EU presidency, place the matter of its trade
embargo against the Republic of Macedonia on the agenda of the
26-27 March EU meeting in Ioannina, Greece. The embargo is having
a serious negative impact on the economy of Macedonia, which is
landlocked, and whose economy was far from healthy before the
Greek action. In an effort to aid the nascent country,
international philanthropist George Soros has awarded Macedonia a
$2.5 million loan to purchase feed for livestock and a gift of
$1.5 million to help defray transport costs of the feed according
to MIC. It is an emergency effort to help sustain Macedonia's
economy.  Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLAND AWAITS APPOINTMENT OF FINANCE MINISTER. After almost two
months since the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance
Minister Marek Borowski, Poland still awaits the appointment of
his replacement. According to media reports, the delay reflects
political differences within the left-wing ruling coalition as
well as President Lech Walesa's apparent reluctance to accept the
top economic official from the post-communist party. In the latest
twist in the protracted process, on 23 March Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak went back on his earlier promise to send the name
of Dariusz Rosati, an economist supported by post-communist Union
of Democratic Left, for Walesa's approval. "I still have to talk
to him about organizational matters," said Pawlak in a radio
interview on 23 March, although he had talked to Rosati many times
before. There was no comment from Walesa's office.  Jan de
Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH PARLIAMENT PASSES LABOR LAW AMENDMENT. Disregarding protests
by trade unions, which culminated in a 20,000-person demonstration
in Prague on 22 March, the Czech parliament passed an amendment to
the country's labor law on 23 March, CTK reports. The amendment,
among other things, bans trade unions in state services, raises
the retirement age, allows employers to hire on short-term
contracts, and bans night-work by pregnant women.  Jiri Pehe,
RFE/RL, Inc.

DANUBE TRAFFIC AT GABCIKOVO HALTED, IS TO RESUME SOON. According
to officials of Slovakia's Gabcikovo hydroelectric project, Danube
shipping at Gabcikovo should resume in a few days. It was halted
on 20 March after one of the two locks in the Gabcikovo project's
shipping channel was damaged. The other lock has been blocked
since February when a Ukrainian tugboat sank in it. Hungary has
complained about the shipping disruption and said it holds
Slovakia responsible. On 23 March, the Slovak Ministry of Foreign
Affairs issued a sharply-worded statement rejecting Hungarian
complaints and saying that the Gabcikovo project had in fact
improved passage on Slovakia's section of the Danube. Also on the
23rd, Julius Binder, a Gabcikovo project official, suggested that
the damage to one of the locks, that halted Danube shipping on 20
March, might have been an act of sabotage, Slovak media report.
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

THE SLOVAK PARLIAMENT OUSTS DEPUTY NATIONAL BANK GOVERNOR. On 23
March, the Slovak parliament overwhelmingly voted the vice
governor of the Slovak National Bank, Marian Tkac, out of office.
The proposal to remove Tkac was initiated by the previous
government of former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. Tkac has been
accused of several failings in his post, incompetence, and of
having collaborated with the former secret police. Slovak media
reported on 23 March that Tkac rejected the accusations, claiming
that he had interior ministry documents showing that he had not
collaborated with the former secret police. In the 24 March issue
of Sme, Tkac argues that "a political plot" initiated by Meciar is
responsible for his removal. According to Tkac, his troubles
started when Meciar and former Slovak National Party Chairman
Ludovit Cernak became political enemies; Tkac is Cernak's
brother-in-law. Tkac's removal must still be approved by President
Michal Kovac.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

MINORITIES IN HUNGARY COMPLAIN. According to the "minority
roundtable," a group comprising minority representatives, there
has been no substantial improvement in the situation of Hungary's
minorities following the adoption of a law on minorities last
July, MTI reports. Acting "minority roundtable" chairman Pero
Lasztity told a press conference on 23 March that the main reason
for this was that minorities failed to gain parliamentary
representation. (A recent amendment to the electoral law that
would have granted minorities parliamentary representation failed
to pass in parliament.) Lasztity also complained that there was
still no ombudsman for minorities, and that minorities still
lacked self-governing bodies that would have granted them
wide-ranging autonomy at the local level. The chairman of the
Federation of Germans in Hungary Geza Hambuch said that Hungary's
minorities are disillusioned, and urged basic changes in Hungary's
minority policy.  Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN, ROMANIAN, UKRAINIAN BORDER GUARDS MEET. Border guard
representatives agreed following two days of negotiations in
Vasarosnameny to coordinate their efforts to stem illegal
migration from the East to the West, and to jointly fight
international crime, MTI reports. Hungarian Brigadier General
Balazs Novaky told the press on 23 March that the three sides
agreed to set up a committee to coordinate their work. He said
that this was needed because border guards found it more and more
difficult to cope, and illegal migration increasingly brought with
it smuggling, drug trade, and illegal weapons trade.  Edith Oltay,
RFE/RL, Inc.

DEMIREL IN ROMANIA. On 23 March Turkish President Suleyman Demirel
started a three-day visit to Romania, Radio Bucharest reports.
Demirel and his Romanian counterpart, Ion Iliescu, discussed
bilateral relations, and especially prospects for growing economic
cooperation, as well as international issues, including the
situation in former Yugoslavia. Turkey is a significant foreign
investor in Romania. Last year's trade volume between the two
countries stood at more than $450 million. Demirel, who is
accompanied by a delegation of about 100 Turkish businessmen, is
also scheduled to visit Romania's Black Sea coastal area where the
Turkish minority lives.  Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA TO HALT OIL TRANSPORT ON DANUBE. In an effort to end
violations of the UN's trade embargo against the former
Yugoslavia, Sofia plans to halt the transit and export of
petroleum products on the Danube River. According to AFP on 22
March, the object is to avoid violations of the kind that occurred
on 6 March when 5,000 tons of oil reached Serbia because the crew
members threatened that otherwise, they would burn the oil they
were transporting.  Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA ACTS TO BOLSTER LEV. Todor Vulchev, President of the
Bulgarian Central Bank, announced on 22 March that his institution
was seeking to bolster the lev by attempting to limit the amount
Bulgarian banks lend, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Vulchev
informed a news conference in Sofia that all large foreign
exchange transactions conducted recently would be reviewed and
that rules regulating brokerage firms would be tightened. He noted
that Bulgaria's reserves, including gold, had fallen to the
equivalent of about $1,000 million. Bulgaria's foreign debt totals
about $9,000 million.  Nick Kaltchev and Duncan Perry, RFE/RL,
Inc.

FINAL PREPARATIONS IN UKRAINE FOR ELECTIONS. Foreign observers of
Ukraine's parliamentary election on 27 March are streaming into
Kiev. According to the Chairman of the Central Election
Commission, Ivan Yemets, 480 had already arrived at the beginning
of this week, UNIAN reported on 22 March, and more were expected.
Yemets announced that 5,833 registered candidates are competing
for the 450 seats in the new parliament, and that only 171 of the
incumbents are seeking reelection. Only 26% of the candidates have
identified their affiliation to one of the country's 28 officially
registered political parties: 388 supporting the Communist Party
of Ukraine, 241--Rukh, 180--the Socialist Party of Ukraine, and
137--the Ukrainian Republican Party. Preparations have been marred
by protests by some democratic activists about harassment during
the election campaign and the case of the mysterious disappearance
on 15 January of the Chairman of Rukh's secretariat, Mykhailo
Boychyshyn, has still not been solved. Meanwhile, in an interview
on 23 March for Izvestiya, former prime minister Leonid Kuchma,
whose centrist Interregional Reform Bloc is expected to do well in
eastern Ukraine, lashed out against Ukraine's current leadership
claiming that it "is dangerous for the country." Bohdan Nahaylo,
RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE ON UKRAINE'S PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT WITH EU. The agreement on
partnership and cooperation between Ukraine and the EU, signed in
Brussels on 23 March, underlines democratic values, progress
towards a market economy, and the need for more regional
cooperation between the countries of the former Soviet Union. Its
terms cover formal political dialogue, better trade and investment
opportunities, freely convertible currencies, the phasing out of
competition laws, and the protection of intellectual property
rights. It also offers Ukraine MFN status with some restrictions
on the export of coal, steel and nuclear materials. According to
EU trade commissioner, Sir Leon Brittan, the EU's main goal in
cooperating with former eastern bloc countries is to prevent a
return to east-west polarization. While the accord contains no
reference to the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU, Ukraine's
foreign minister, Anatolii Zlenko, made it clear that it was
Ukraine's goal to eventually join the EU, UNIAN and Western
agencies reported.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

PERRY IN BELARUS. The US secretary of defense, William Perry,
arrived in Minsk on 23 March and held talks with the prime
minister, Vyacheslau Kebich, and defense minister, Piotr
Kazlouski, various agencies reported. Among the topics discussed
were US assistance in Belarusian conversion, the creation of
working groups to coordinate military cooperation, and control
over the export of radioactive materials. Perry offered Belarus
$30 million for defense conversion and announced the award of
three contracts for defense conversion projects to three American
firms. Although it was also reported that Kebich would probably
announce Belarus's intention of joining NATO's Partnership for
Peace Program, this did not happen. Belarusian officials
reportedly said they wanted to wait and see if Russia joins first.
According to Uladzimir Zamyatalin, the press secretary for Kebich,
Belarus does not want to take on the role of a buffer between east
and west.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN MONETARY UNION SAID TO BE AT HAND. Radiofakt
reported on 23 March that Zamyatalin announced that the terms for
the monetary union between Russia and Belarus have almost been
agreed on. According to Interfax, Zamyatalin said there was
agreement on equalizing the price of fuel, setting a 1:1 cash
exchange rate for the Russian and Belarusian currencies, and
granting the National Bank of Belarus the status of the main bank
of a sovereign state. At the same time, both countries will have
their own budgets, though some programs such as military
conversion or the elimination of the aftermath of the Chernobyl
disaster will be financed from a single centralized fund. The
document is to be debated by the Russian State Duma on 24 March.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN-RUSSIAN NEGOTIATIONS. On 23 March Virgilijus Bulovas,
the head of the negotiating team with Russia, told a press
conference in Vilnius that Russia was taking a tougher line at
their talks, Radio Lithuania reports. Russia refuses to return
Lithuanian archives previously taken from Lithuania, and no
progress was made for the return of hard currency held by
Lithuanians in the former Vneshekononbank. Russian negotiating
team head Viktor Isakov, however, told Interfax that the talks on
21-22 March were constructive. He explained that Russia had not
ratified the most-favored nation trade agreement with Lithuania
signed in November because issues with Kaliningrad had not been
resolved. He criticized Lithuania's plans not to sign a separate
military transit agreement with Russia, as well as the country's
plan to pass a statute regulating all military and dangerous
cargoes going through the country.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS IN RIGA. On 23 March Estonian and
Lithuanian Foreign Ministers Juri Luik and Povilas Gylys went to
Riga for the regular monthly meeting. Due to illness, their
Latvian counterpart Georgs Andrejevs was replaced by State
Minister on Baltic and Nordic Affairs Gunars Meierovics. The
ministers stressed their strong conviction that Russian troops
must withdraw by 31 August and expressed the hope that a draft
agreement on their withdrawal from Estonia would be initialed at
the next round of meetings on 5-6 April in Moscow, BNS reports.
The ministers noted that they had sent a joint letter to the 12
states of the European Union and its six associate members
expressing their desire to be included in their political
consultations, noting that they, along with Slovenia, should have
the same prospects as the associate members for eventual EU
membership. They also signed a consular protocol that will later
lead to a consular agreement that will allow consular posts to
provide economic, cultural, and other information, to protect the
rights and rights of Baltic citizens, and to issue certificates of
return in case identification documents are lost.  Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.


CORRECTION: In the 23 March DAILY REPORT the headline "UKRAINE TO
JOIN EUROPEAN UNION" should read: "UKRAINE TO SIGN AGREEMENT ON
PARTNERSHIP AND COOPERATION."

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Keith Bush and Stan Markotich
The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research
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