We were born to unite with our fellowmen, and to join in community with the human race. - Cicero
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 60, 28 March 1994

RUSSIA

YELTSIN'S INTERVIEW. Shortly before his return from vacation,
President Boris Yeltsin reiterated in an interview with Izvestiya
on 26 March that the decision of December 1991 to break up the
Soviet Union was right. He said that the former Soviet Union was
held together by the potential of the Russian economy and that
other former soviet republics cannot expect Russia to return to
the previous soviet model. Asked about presidential elections,
Yeltsin stated that he expects them to take place in 1996. He said
he is studying potential candidates and has experienced
disappointments but also "positive surprises." He added that the
parliamentary elections last December "have taught all of us a
lesson." He said that he believes that in 1996, the Russian people
will elect a "decent statesman" as president. Yeltsin also stated
that the present political situation in Russia is polarized. Some
forces advocate a quantum leap backwards, others--into the future.
He emphasized that he favors a middle position, but warned against
halting reforms.  Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

STATE DUMA DEBATES NATO PARTNERSHIP . . . Russian Foreign and
Defense Ministry representatives on 25 March defended the NATO
"Partnership for Peace" program, but a number of parliamentary
leaders expressed reservations. Reuters quoted Deputy Foreign
Minister Vitalii Churkin as saying that the program imposed no
"obligations or limitations" on Russia and that it would lead to
"an energetic and bold role for Russia in European affairs."
According to ITAR-TASS, First Deputy Defense Minister Andrei
Kokoshin also defended participation but, reflecting a growing
Russian concern, stressed that association with NATO should not
harm Russian arms producers. Several deputies were not so
positive: nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky reportedly denounced
the plan as "pro-American, pro-Zionist, [and] pro-Israeli;" the
Party of Russian Unity and Concord warned that participation would
"water down the special role and responsibility of Russia in the
near abroad,'" Interfax reported. Meanwhile, the speaker of the
State Duma, Ivan Rybkin, said in a 26 March interview with
Krasnaya zvezda that Russia is "not a common participant in the
international process" and that its participation in the NATO
program should reflect its status.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . DEFENSE AND FOREIGN MINISTERS STRESS COOPERATION. Defense
Minister Pavel Grachev, speaking to military commanders in Moscow
on 25 March, characterized the NATO partnership plan as a phase in
the establishment of a new collective defense system in Europe
but, according to Interfax, he stressed that Russia would
cooperate rather than integrate with NATO military structures.
Speaking in Murmansk on 26 March, Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
had a similar message. While suggesting that Russia might join a
restructured NATO at some point in the more distant future, he
said that the partnership program embodied a form of cooperation
that could be employed in the near term.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL,
Inc.

GERMANY HOPES TO DRAW RUSSIA INTO EUROPE. German Foreign Minister
Klaus Kinkel, just back from an official visit to Moscow, told
reporters on 25 March that after it assumes the EU presidency in
July, Germany intends to use its influence to draw Russia closer
to the European Union. According to an RFE/RL correspondent in
Bonn, German officials said that during its six month EU
presidency Germany hoped to increase cooperation between the EU
and the new democracies of Eastern Europe and the FSU. They were
quoted as saying that "as long as Russia says yes' to Europe, then
we won't say no' to Moscow." But the officials also emphasized
that Bonn seeks "equally intense relations with all eastern
states" and that it had no interest in a "German-Russian axis" or
special relationship with Russia.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOZYREV CALLS FOR COOPERATION WITH EU. Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev was quoted by ITAR-TASS on 26 March as saying that Russia
was striving for full-scale cooperation with the EU. Kozyrev's
remarks came during talks in Murmansk with Norwegian Foreign
Minister Bjorn Tore Godal. Kozyrev reportedly welcomed the fact
that Norway had recently concluded an agreement to join the EU,
saying that he hoped that association would help attract
investment to the Barents Sea and Murmansk region, a development
that would also benefit Russia.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

MOSCOW: NO DUMPING OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES. Nikolai Shapovalenko,
head of a Russian agency overseeing safety in atomic plants, has
denied a report that local authorities in Russia's Far East may
resume dumping liquid radioactive wastes into the Sea of Japan.
According to Interfax on 25 March, Shapovalenko said that only the
central government has the authority to make such a decision.
Meanwhile, the same report quoted a senior Russian naval officer
as saying that the situation surrounding the storage of liquid
nuclear wastes in the Far East is "appalling and calls for urgent
measures." He suggested that local authorities would have to act
if Moscow failed to take action.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

CONFUSION ON ALLEGED KURIL ISLANDS WITHDRAWAL. Interfax quoted
Defense Ministry spokeswoman Elena Agapova on 25 March as denying
media reports of a planned secret military withdrawal from the
disputed Kuril Islands. One day later, however, Radio Rossii,
quoting the newspaper Novaya ezhednevnaya gazeta, claimed that
defense ministry sources had confirmed the existence of a secret
order issued by Yeltsin that called for the withdrawal of one
division from the islands. On 25 March, the liberal chairman of
the State Duma Committee on Defense, Sergei Yushenkov, said that a
secret order did exist, but that it provides for a reduction of
troops--tied to broader forces cuts in the Russian army--rather
than to a withdrawal; he said that the reductions would in no way
diminish Russian defense capabilities.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

RATIFICATION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION QUESTIONED. The State
Duma held hearings on 24 March on the Chemical Weapons Convention
signed in 1993, marking the first movement in that body to
consider a major arms control accord. According to ITAR-TASS and
Interfax reports, Major General Yuri Tarasevich, deputy commander
of the chemical weapons troops, testified that destruction of the
weapons was feasible, but that insufficient funding had been
provided for the research and development of destruction methods.
Chemical weapons scientist Vil Mirzayanov, against whom all
charges concerned with "disclosure of state secrets" were recently
dropped, also testified. He warned that previous destruction
efforts had been environmentally damaging and called for
prolonging the destruction period from 10 to 25-30 years to allow
for safe disposal.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

BIOLOGICAL WARFARE WORK CONTINUES? The Times reported on 27 March
that the Russian defense ministry has continued work on biological
weapons, in defiance of Yeltsin's order that all such work be
stopped. According to the article, apparently based on defectors'
reports, US and British intelligence sources believe that Yeltsin
may have been misled by the Russian military concerning the status
of the program.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

PAYMENTS ARREARS AND THE RAILWAYS. By the end of 1993, total
payments arrears throughout the economy had risen to an estimated
47 trillion rubles, i.e., equivalent to nearly one-quarter of the
GDP. Nonpayment of arrears is a major contributing factor in the
ongoing recession, but successive administrations have yet to come
up with viable solutions to this problem. Russia's railwaymen may
soon initiate the first movement in a seeming logjam. The chairman
of the independent trade union of railway and construction workers
told a news conference on 24 March that, starting 1 April, the
railways will refuse to carry the goods of debtors, Interfax
reported. Arrears totalling 1.8 trillion rubles have meant that
railway workers have not been paid for months.  Keith Bush,
RFE/RL, Inc.

FEDOROV AGAINST QUICK DISBURSEMENT OF IMF CREDIT. Former Russian
deputy prime minister and finance minister Boris Fedorov is very
critical of Western policy towards his country in The Financial
Times of 28 March. He sees the recent conditional granting by the
International Monetary Fund of the second tranche of the systemic
transformation facility as a reward for the past three months when
"not a single reform or even a simple economic policy measure has
been enacted . . . The idea is to abandon Western-type economic
policies with Western approval." He urges that further Western aid
be delayed until a responsible budget is approved by parliament
and until the new government's track record is examined. Fedorov
reminds his readers of the three-or four-month time lag between
credit policies and the inflation resulting from them.  Keith
Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

YELTSIN, NAZARBAEV MEET. Russian President Yeltsin appeared in
public on 28 March for the first time since his vacation to greet
President Nursultan Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan. The two are to
attempt to complete negotiations over the lease of the Baikonur
launch site. Russia's space program remains heavily dependent upon
the Baikonur site, on which Russia is seeking a 30-year lease. On
25 March Russia signed an agreement with the Chinese space agency
calling for cooperation in space research, ITAR-TASS reported.
John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

US BLAMED FOR NUCLEAR FUEL DELAY. Interfax reported on 25 March
that Vladislav Petrov, a spokesman for the Russian Ministry of
Atomic Energy criticized the US for not providing a $60 million
advance payment to Russia for nuclear fuel that Russia is to ship
to Ukraine in exchange for nuclear warheads. Ukraine has
criticized Russia for failing to deliver the fuel, and has warned
that it may halt warhead shipments if it is not delivered.  John
Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ABKHAZ SITUATION DETERIORATES. On 25 March Abkhaz forces drove
Georgian troops out of the village of Nizhnaya Lata east of
Sukhumi and issued an ultimatum to Georgian troops elsewhere in
Abkhazia to surrender, Interfax reported. The Abkhaz continued
their offensive on 26-27 March, occupying two villages in Svaneti,
outside Abkhazia, and shelling Georgian villages in Gali raion.
Meanwhile on 25 March the UN Security Council extended until 30
June the 22-man UN observer mission in Abkhazia and called upon
the two sides to resume deadlocked negotiations.  Liz Fuller,
RFE/RL, Inc.

AZERBAIJAN PROTESTS ARMENIAN DECISION ON NUCLEAR POWER STATION. On
25 March the Azerbaijani Presidential Press Service issued a
statement appealing to the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) to examine the ecological, political and military
implications of the Armenian authorities' decision to restart by
the end of this year, with Russian technical assistance, the
mothballed nuclear power station at Medzamor, AFP reported quoting
ITAR-TASS. The statement implied that the plant could be used to
manufacture nuclear material for military purposes.  Liz Fuller,
RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CROAT-MUSLIM PACT FALLING INTO PLACE. International media reported
on 27 March that the Bosnian cabinet endorsed the agreement signed
on 18 March in Washington and advised parliament to follow suit
during its 28 March session. On 26 March the Croats' assembly in
Mostar also approved the agreement, and their leader, Kresimir
Zubak, is expected to succeed Alija Izetbegovic soon as rotating
president of the new republic. Izetbegovic was reelected head of
his party on 27 March in a move that would apparently preclude his
also continuing as head of state in a federation with the Croats.
The two sides have, moreover, set up a joint military command
until a combined army can be established. In Sarajevo, meanwhile,
a non-elected assembly of moderate Serbs backed the new
federation, but said that Serbs must be involved as equals. The
main Bosnian Serb parliament, however, rejected the plan, and its
president added that the Serbs would not cede any of the territory
they hold around Sarajevo.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

BRITISH TROOPS DESTROY BOSNIAN SERB BUNKER. The BBC said on 26
March that a British UNPROFOR unit shelled a Serb bunker near
Maglaj after the Serbs fired on them. The New York Times added
that there were five incidents the previous day involving attacks
on UN forces. That paper followed up on 27 March with a report on
wild-west conditions in Serb-held Banja Luka, where the remaining
Muslims and Croats are subjected to frequent and often arbitrary
violence. Meanwhile in Zagreb, US Ambassador to Croatia Peter
Galbraith told Serb rebels that "the United States along with
Russia and all the members of the international community consider
. . . that there is no possibility of a political arrangement
under which the Krajina would either be independent or become part
of Serbia." AFP ran the report on 28 March. Finally, Radio Serbia
said on 27 March that, by committing troops to UNPROFOR, Turkey is
trying not only to restore an Ottoman sphere of influence in the
Balkans but is also acting as Washington's agent.  Patrick Moore,
RFE/RL, Inc.

TUDJMAN MOVES TO PURGE PROGRESSIVE RIVAL. The Croatian papers on
26 and 28 March concentrate heavily on the political fate and
future of upper house speaker Josip Manolic, who was stripped of
his top offices in the ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ)
late last week. Manolic rejected the moves and is resisting
President Franjo Tudjman's efforts to oust him from the speaker's
job as well. The two men have been feuding openly for months over
Tudjman's autocratic style and his various policies. These include
the president's well-known antipathy toward the Muslims, and
Manolic and other moderates might have expected to benefit
politically from Zagreb's policy reversal on Bosnia in March.
Tudjman, however, seems to be following Tito's time-honored
formula for often Rube Goldberg-like purges and restructurings to
prevent possible rivals from acquiring too much power. Instead, at
a press conference last week he said that hard-line anti-Muslim
Defense Minister Gojko Susak's job was not in danger, although
many observers had expected Susak and fellow members of the
"Herzegovinian lobby" to get the political ax in the wake of the
Croat-Muslim agreements. In any event, it seems that what could
prove to be a long political drama has only just begun.  Patrick
Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

EU TELLS GREECE TO LIFT EMBARGO ON MACEDONIA. Meeting in Ioannina,
Greece, on 27 March, EU foreign ministers pressed Greece to end
its trade blockade of the Republic of Macedonia or face a law suit
in the European Court of Justice, according to Reuters. Greece's
EU partners argue that the embargo, begun in February 1994 as a
means to force Macedonia into meeting Greek demands concerning
changing the new state's name, constitution, and symbols, is
neither acceptable nor legal under the Maastricht Treaty.  Duncan
Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA REFUSES TO NAME FINANCE MINISTER. Striving to reassert his
waning political influence and drive a wedge between the two
ruling parties, President Lech Walesa rejected the government's
candidate for finance minister and deputy prime minister, Dariusz
Rosati, on 25 March. The posts, allotted to the Democratic Left
Alliance (SLD) under the coalition agreement, have been vacant
since Marek Borowski resigned in early February. Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak formally nominated Rosati; the constitution says
that the president "may" approve cabinet changes proposed by the
prime minister. The president's pretexts were Rosati's three-year
absence from the country and his seat on the supervisory board for
FOZZ, the shadowy, corruption-rife body set up to repurchase
Poland's foreign debt in the mid-1980s. Walesa said his decision
is final but the SLD stood by its nominee and asserted that Pawlak
did the same. Walesa indicated on 27 March that he would support
Leslaw Paga, the chairman of the Polish Securities Commission, for
the vacant posts. The president's efforts to elbow his way back
into politics may compromise efforts to maintain economic
continuity. Walesa hinted on 27 March that he may not sign the
1994 budget. The Sejm approved the final version of the budget on
25 March, voting down a proposal by the Senate to relieve the
defense ministry of the obligation to spend 300 billion zloty ($14
million) on Polish-made military aircraft.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL,
Inc.

PAWLAK PLAYING DOUBLE GAME? Although the SLD tried to present
Walesa's decision as a "no-confidence vote" in Pawlak, the SLD's
liberal leaders are the real target. The president and the prime
minister share an interest in undermining SLD leader Aleksander
Kwasniewski, who now leads the opinion polls for the 1995
presidential elections. The government's press office issued a
statement on 25 March expressing continued support for the Rosati
nomination. But Pawlak's position remains ambiguous; he himself
has never publicly endorsed Rosati. Before meeting with Walesa on
25 March, moreover, Pawlak demoted the veteran deputy finance
minister responsible for taxation, Witold Modzelewski, and
appointed Jan Kubik from the Polish Peasant Party (PSL) to take
his place. Kubik, the head of the Cracow tax office, told Polish
TV that Pawlak had not consulted him in advance of the
appointment. The coalition agreed early on that the PSL should
have its representatives in the finance ministry, but the timing
of the appointment suggests that Pawlak intends both to extend his
own control over the ministry and to curb the SLD.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

KLAUS RETURNS FROM FINLAND. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus
concluded a three-day visit of Finland on 27 March, CTK reports.
During his visit, Klaus discussed with Finnish leaders their
experiences with integrating Finland into the European Union and
Czech plans to join the EU. Klaus repeatedly expressed the opinion
that the Czech Republic will be the next member of the EU.
Speaking at a press conference in Helsinki on 25 March, Klaus said
that Finland's experience shows that EU membership does not bring
only advantages and that negotiating EU membership is a
complicated process "for which we have to start training
specialists." Klaus also said he was worried about insufficient
reform in Russia and rejected criticism by Poland that the Czech
Republic is trying to get into the EU ahead of the other Visegrad
countries (Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia).  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL,
Inc.

PARTY CONGRESSES IN SLOVAKIA. Vladimir Meciar, the recently ousted
premier of Slovakia, was reelected chairman of the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia at the MDS congress in Presov on 26 and 27
March. In a letter approved at the congress and sent to President
Michal Kovac, the MDS says it can no longer support Kovac's
presidency. Slovak media report that the letter criticizes Kovac
for the way he performs his duties, for what it says were his
attempts to split the MDS, and for what it calls "groundless
insults" against Meciar. Kovac earlier sent a letter to the
congress, saying that his dispute with Meciar had been political,
rather than personal. MDS vice-chairman Sergej Kozlik told
journalists that the MDS wants to be "the party of the pragmatic
center." On 26 March, the constituent congress of the National
Democratic Party/New Alternative took place in Zvolen. The NDP/NA
split away from the Slovak National Party in January 1994. Party
chairman Ludovit Cernak told journalists that his party will
pursue a conservative program. Cernak also revealed that the
NDP/NA will not merge with Milan Knazko's Alliance of Democrats
and with the Democratic Union of Slovakia of Prime Minister Jozef
Moravcik, but that the three groups will form an election
coalition called the Centrist Bloc.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

BAVARIAN INTERIOR MINISTER IN BUDAPEST. On 25 March Bavarian
Interior Minister Gunther Beckstein paid an official visit to
Hungary in order to discuss the implementation of a government
level agreement signed by Hungary and Germany three years ago, MTI
reports. During his meeting with Hungarian Interior Minister Imre
Konya, he discussed means of cooperation between Bavaria and
Hungary on questions relating to migration. In a press conference
following their meeting, the two ministers revealed that the text
of an agreement dealing with the cooperation of the Hungarian and
Bavarian police forces and the border guard has been prepared for
signing. The two institutions plan to exchange information
regularly in order to curb illegal migration and to stop criminals
at the borders.  Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc.

ILIESCU PARDONS COMMUNISTS, CUTS HUNGARIAN SENTENCES. President
Ion Iliescu pardoned eight former communist party officials and
reduced the sentences of seven ethnic Hungarians, an RFE/RL
correspondent and Radio Bucharest reported on 25 March. The eight
communists pardoned were convicted of conspiracy, involving
attempted murder. Their pardon has long been demanded by the
extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party. Among them are Stefan
Andrei, Susana Gadea, Constantin Radu and Ion Stoian. Only one of
those sentenced in connection with the December 1989 events, Ion
Dinca, is still in prison. Those pardoned on 25 March had been
released on health grounds some time ago. The seven Hungarian
ethnics whose sentences were reduced were convicted of murdering
two policemen during the 1989 uprising. The Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania had long campaigned for their release,
stating that they had received longer sentences than ethnic
Romanians would have received. Presidential spokesmen Train
Chebeleu said on the same day that the HDFR demands had been
supported by one of the two rapporteurs for the Council of Europe.
The two rapporteurs are about to begin a visit to Romania.
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

HIGHER TURNOUT THAN EXPECTED IN UKRAINIAN ELECTIONS. Participation
in Ukraine's parliamentary elections on 27 March was higher than
had been generally expected, Ukrainian and Western media report.
According to the Central Electoral Commission voter turnout
averaged about 67% throughout the country, reaching between 92% to
84% in the Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Poltava oblasts, and only
50.6% in Crimea (where President Meshkov had called for a
boycott). Although no results had been announced by lunch time on
28 March, the high number of candidates competing for each
parliamentary seat was expected to necessitate run-offs on 10
April in many constituencies.  Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

MESHKOV STEERING CRIMEA TOWARDS CONFRONTATION WITH UKRAINE?
Crimea's President Yurii Meshkov returned to a more
confrontational tone towards Ukraine on the eve of the elections
in Crimea, where voting was simultaneously to elect deputies to
the Ukrainian parliament and the Crimean legislature, Ukrainian
and Western agencies reported. Appearing on Crimean TV on the
evening of 25 March he urged voters to boycott the elections to
the Ukrainian parliament by leaving polling booths with their
ballot papers in their pockets. Reuters reported on 27 March that
Meshkov "pointedly refused to put his vote in the ballot box for
the election to the Ukrainian parliament." Just before the
elections, Meshkov had ordered clocks in Crimea to be put forward
two hours, rather than one as in the rest of Ukraine, in order
that the peninsula be on Moscow time. Last week the Crimean
president also issued an order for local army recruits to perform
their military service in the peninsula. For his part, Ukrainian
President Leonid Kravchuk told journalists in Kiev as he cast his
own vote that "not much effort is required to move a clock
forward" and reminded Crimeans that they depended on Ukraine for
much of their resources. "Crimea lives together with Ukraine and I
do not think residents of Crimea are irresponsible," he commented.
Bohdan Nahaylo, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINE'S DEFENSE MINISTRY RESCINDS ORDER OF CRIMEAN PRESIDENT.
Ukrainian television reported on 24 March that the press service
of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense issued a statement that the
order of the Crimean president, Yurii Meshkov, that Crimean
conscripts serve only on Crimean territory, is not legal. On 26
March Interfax reported that deputy defense minister, Ivan Bizhan,
said Crimean authorities did not have the right to make decisions
on drafts to Ukraine's armed forces.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

KEBICH TO RUN FOR PRESIDENCY, LUKASHENKA ACCUSED OF CONDUCTING
SLANDER CAMPAIGN. The first deputy premier, Mikhail Myasnikovich,
said at a meeting in Brest on 24 March that the premier,
Vyacheslau Kebich, would run in the country's presidential
elections, Radiofakt reported on 25 March. The same day Interfax
reported that government spokesman, Uladzimir Zamyatalin, accused
the head of the interim anti-corruption commission, Aleksandr
Lukashenka, of using dirty tricks in his election campaign.
Lukashenka had announced that on 29 March he would make public a
list of leading officials who have abused their offices. According
to Zamyatalin, Lukashenka would resort to the most despicable
means in an effort to win the presidency.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MEETING OF BALTIC PRESIDENTS IN LITHUANIA. On 25 March Algirdas
Brazauskas hosted his Estonian and Latvian counterparts Lennart
Meri and Guntis Ulmanis in Palanga, Radio Lithuania reports. The
presidents issued three statements. The first praised the greater
cooperation between the three states and called for closer ties
with the Nordic Council and Visegrad States. In the second the
presidents decided that they should meet at least two times a year
with the location determined on a rotating basis. The third noted
the success of the states' cooperation in the Council of the
Baltic Sea States and the need to have a common policy towards the
European Union and NATO. It stressed the importance of President
Clinton's recent decision to lift the embargo on arms sales to
their countries. Particular attention was also given to the
importance of Ukraine in ensuring stability and security in
Europe.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

FRENCH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CHAIRMAN IN BALTIC STATES. On 22 March
Robert Badinter began a two-day visit to Lithuania by holding
talks with President Algirdas Brazauskas, Radio Lithuania reports.
The talks focused on the CSCE arbitration court whose creation was
decided at the 1992 Stockholm Convention. The convention was
signed by 31 member states, but will go into effect only after it
is ratified by 12 member states. It is planned that the court will
begin work in February 1995 in Geneva. Brazauskas told Badinter
that he would support the convention's ratification in the
Lithuanian parliament. Badinter then traveled to Riga where he met
with Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs and Justice Minister Egils
Levits. Badinter suggested that judges of the yet to be
established Latvian Constitutional Court visit France. On 25 March
Badinter held similar talks with Estonian President Lennart Meri
in Tallinn.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

SUMMIT MEETING OF ESTONIAN POLITICAL PARTIES. On 26 March the
Center Party organized a meeting of the leaders of 14 political
parties in Tallinn, BNS reports. At a press conference after the
meeting, its participants described it as necessary and fruitful.
In future, similar meetings will be held devoted to specific
issues. The Assembly Party and Center Party will prepare the next
meeting that will focus on fighting crime. The Rural Center Party
and Social Democratic Party will prepare a meeting to discuss a
draft law on political parties. Entrepreneurs Party leader Tiit
Made noted that the participants concluded that Estonia did not
need so many small parties and that only three or four large
parties would be preferable in the future.  Saulius Girnius,
RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]
  Compiled by Liz Carlson and Stan Markotich
The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research
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