What you can become, you are already. - Friedrich Hebbel
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 63, 31 March 1994

                              RUSSIA

CHUBAIS, ZHIRINOVSKY ON COUP. Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii
Chubais told the BBC on 28 March that hard-line forces were
planning to oust President Boris Yeltsin and put extremist
Vladimir Zhirinovsky in charge of the country. He said that
plotters want to make Zhirinovsky head of state this autumn, and
that although there was no evidence for a coup yet, concrete
evidence will only emerge when it is already "too late." Chubais
stated that he does not think Zhirinovsky himself is dangerous but
that Zhirinovsky's supporters are "extremely dangerous."
Confronted with these accusations, Zhirinovsky said that Chubais
was "absolutely right." Reuters on 29 March quoted him as saying
that if his party is invited to join a new coup, it will
participate and "victory will be assured." Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL,
Inc.

ZHIRINOVSKY ISSUES THREATS. Extremist Vladimir Zhirinovsky told
Radio Mayak "Novosti" on 29 March that the parliamentary elections
in Ukraine have demonstrated that the eastern part of Ukraine
wants to become reunited with Russia. In other statements,
reported by Nezavisimoe TV "Segodnya" on the same day, Zhirinovsky
criticized several of the former leaders of the October 1993
rebellion for not having thanked him personally for his efforts to
release them from prison. He stated that former Vice President
Aleksandr Rutskoi will never become Russian president because he
changes his views so often and because he has lost people's trust.
Zhirinovsky also met a representative of the South African ANC in
Moscow and told him that Russia would welcome white South Africans
who flee a black-majority government.  Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL,
Inc.

SHAKHRAI SUPPORTS BEER LOVERS, SUBBOTNIK. Following a meeting
between the leader of the Party of Russian Unity and Concord,
Sergei Shakhrai, and the members of the so-called "Politburo" of
the "Party of Beer Lovers" in the State Duma, a press secretary of
Shakhrai's party told ITAR-TASS on 30 March that the two parties
were ready to sign an agreement on cooperation and that Shakhrai
was prepared to represent the interests of the Party of Beer
Lovers in the parliament. On 30 March, ITAR-TASS broadcast an
appeal of the Party of Russian Unity and Concord to all Russian
citizens to assemble on 16 April at the construction side in
Moscow of a new monument commemorating the victory in World War II
in order to hold "an All-Russian 'subbotnik'." "Subbotniks" were
so-called voluntary labor days on Saturdays introduced under
former Communist leaders.  Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

MINERS PICKET WHITE HOUSE. More than 500 coalminers from all over
Russia picketed the headquarters of the Russian government (the
former parliament building) in Moscow on 30 March. The miners are
demanding payment of overdue wages (some have not been paid since
December) and increased state subsidies to support their industry,
Russian media reported. Picketing is to continue until 1 April.
The miners have asked to meet President Yeltsin or Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin, but spokesmen for both leaders told RFE/RL's
correspondent no such meetings were scheduled. They said Yeltsin
was busy drafting a charter on civic accord, while Chernomyrdin
was preparing to visit Hungary. Union leaders have said that if
their demands are ignored, they may call a general strike. But, as
Trud commented on 30 March, the miners are reluctant to take such
a step lest a general strike topple the government and open the
door to hardliners.  Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRADE DEALS SIGNED. US Commerce Secretary Ron Brown signed four
trade agreements with the Russian government on 30 March,
including one that exempts previously negotiated deals from the
new tariffs introduced on 15 March. The agreement is expected to
clear the way for the sale (currently suspended because of the
tariffs) of two new Boeing 757 aircraft to the Transaero company.
Other agreements provide for the establishment of nine business
centers in Russia to assist US companies seeking to invest there,
and the reduction of trade barriers in the pharmaceutical
industry. Brown noted that he had not succeeded in getting the
Russian government to reconsider a new $5 per barrel tax on oil
exports which is deterring foreign investment in the oil industry.
Yeltsin, during his meeting with Brown, called for "real
cooperation" rather than "a mere show of cooperation" between the
US and Russia. Brown's visit was reported by Western press
agencies and the Los Angeles Times.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS ON CROATIAN CEASEFIRE. Russian envoy Vitalii
Churkin, who mediated the talks between Croats and Krajina Serbs
that led to a ceasefire agreement on 30 March, was quoted by AFP
as saying that Russia "regards this agreement as only the first
step on the road toward resolving this conflict and normalizing
Serb-Croatian relations." Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to
Croatia, Leonid Kerestediyants, told Interfax on the same day that
the Croats and Krajina Serbs would meet again in two weeks at the
Russian embassy in Zagreb to discuss the possibility of restoring
economic and transportation links. Kerestediyants admitted that
the talks had been difficult, but suggested that close cooperation
with US representatives had been a key to their success.  Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

INDIA, RUSSIA CONCLUDE ROCKET DEAL. A purchase by India of two
Russian rocket engines plus related technology, which fell through
last September following protests by the US, has been restructured
and agreed to by Moscow and New Delhi, the head of India's space
program said on 30 March. According to Reuters, India will now
receive seven rocket engines, including two rocket engines in lieu
of the related technology that Russia had originally intended to
supply. The first engine will reportedly be delivered to India in
1996, with the rest to follow over a three-year period. The US had
opposed the first deal because Washington believed that it
violated the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), an
agreement aimed at preventing the spread of ballistic missile
technology.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

AN OPTIMISTIC PROJECTION OF ARMS SALES. In an interview with
Interfax on 30 March, the chairman of Rosvooruzhenie, Viktor
Samoilov, claimed that Russia can export military hardware to the
value of $20 billion in 1994. He attributed the decline in arms
sales since 1991 to the fact that Russia is now selling weapons
only for cash [whereas the former Soviet Union delivered the bulk
of its arms to virtually insolvent third-world countries and/or
Warsaw Pact nations on soft credit terms]. Most observers would
disagree with Samoilov's projection for 1994 because, in addition
to its traditional shortcomings as an arms supplier--such as poor
marketing, after-sales service, and training--Russia is now faced
with the disintegration of much of its defense industry.
Meanwhile, in its review of world military expenditures and arms
transfers in 1991-92, the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
estimated the value of Soviet arms exports in 1991 at $6.6
billion, Reuters reported on 30 March. [The ballpark estimate for
the convertible currency value of Russian arms exports in 1992 and
1993 is just over $2 billion each year].  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

PROGRESS OF 1994 BUDGET. The Speaker of the State Duma, Ivan
Rybkin, told the visiting rump Yugoslav vice-president on 30 March
that the Duma would pass the draft 1994 federal budget in May,
Interfax reported. [On 9 March, Aleksandr Pochinok, deputy
chairman of the Duma's finance committee, had told a news
conference that the draft budget would not reach the president for
consideration and final approval until July]. Rybkin promised the
close cooperation of the Duma with the government on the budget.
He added that parliamentary committees are expected to seek out
new sources of revenue rather than try to reduce budgetary
expenditures.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

R.I.P. COCOM. Senior officials from the 17 member countries of the
Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) met
on 30 March in the Netherlands to reaffirm an earlier decision to
dissolve the organization at midnight on 31 March, Reuters
reported. No final agreement was announced on the name, shape, and
powers of a successor body, but it is expected to be a
broader-based, more flexible organization. It is thought that
Russia will join the successor grouping soon. On 29 March, the
Clinton administration lifted export restrictions on the sale of
most commercial computer and telecommunications equipment to
Russia, Eastern Europe, and China, The Washington Post reported on
31 March.  Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN MILITARY NOT GETTING PAID? Interfax reported on 29 March
that most officers and warrant officers in the Russian military
have not received their March pay, and many have not received
their February pay. Interfax cites "sources close to the Defense
Ministry" as blaming the Finance Ministry for providing funds for
only 30% of the salaries. The Defense Ministry has a long-running
feud with the Finance Ministry over the provision of funds, and
this report, while not officially confirmed, corresponds to other
reports indicating that defense budget funds for 1994 are being
disbursed extremely slowly.  John Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED AGAINST JAPANESE FISHING BOATS. The commander of
Russia's naval border forces, Admiral Nikolai Kudinov, said on 30
March that Russia was launching a campaign against what it
described as illegal fishing being conducted by foreign fishing
boats in Russian waters. According to Reuters, the operation was
directed primarily at Japanese fishing boats that have been
fishing off the coast of the disputed Kuril Islands. Earlier in
the day, according to AFP, five high-speed Japanese fishing boats
had been chased out of Russian waters by border guard forces that
included combat helicopters.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

FEDERATION COUNCIL TO PROPOSE RECOGNITION OF DUDAEV. Vladimir
Shumeiko, chairman of the Federation Council, told reporters on 30
March that the resolution on Chechnya that the council is likely
to adopt next week could include a recommendation to Yeltsin that
Yeltsin recognize the authority of Chechen president on condition
that Chechnya, in the person of Dudaev, agrees to sign the federal
treaty, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. This still seems to be
out of the question at the moment since Dudaev was reported to
have said that, while he was ready for talks with Russia, they
would have to take place without conditions unacceptable to
Chechnya. In particular Chechnya refuses to recognize that it is
an inalienable part of Russia.  Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

NAZARBAEV ON HIS MOSCOW VISIT. Meeting with journalists on the
last day of his official visit to Moscow, Kazakhstan's President
Nursultan Nazarbaev described the 23 documents signed during his
stay as strengthening the partnership between Kazakhstan and
Russia which he expects to continue into the next century, Russian
news agencies reported on 30 March. An official statement on the
visit mentioned agreements on creation of transnational firms,
military cooperation and the dismantling of Kazakhstan's nuclear
weapons, but not Nazarbaev's proposal for a Eurasian Union.
Nazarbaev told the journalists that his idea had been based on the
European Union and was not meant as a formal proposal but was
intended to inspire discussion.  Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CROATS AND SERB REBELS REACH AGREEMENT. International media
reported on 30 March that representatives of the Zagreb government
and the Serbs occupying some 27% of Croatia's territory signed a
cease-fire agreement following Russian and American mediation. The
Serb delegation chief said that "our goal is fulfilled. Our armies
will not fight anymore." The accord provides for a cease-fire
starting 4 April, a withdrawal of heavy weapons beginning the
following day, and a disengagement of forces commencing on 8
April. Russian mediator Vitaly Churkin pointed out, however, that
this was only the beginning, and that sensitive economic and
especially political issues remain to be ironed out. Vecernji list
of 31 March quotes Croatian President Franjo Tudjman as reminding
the Serbs that they were in the majority in only two districts of
Croatia before their rebellion that began in 1990, and as
reserving the option of a military solution if the Serbs cannot be
reintegrated into Croatia peacefully. The Serbs are likely,
however, to receive sufficient international guarantees for their
autonomy so as to make a peaceful accord possible.  Patrick Moore,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SERBS POUND GORAZDE. The BBC said on 30 March that the UN had
stopped aid convoys to the besieged eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave
because of Serb shelling, which Sarajevo Radio said killed 8 and
wounded 26. The broadcast added that the Serbs were also firing on
another enclave, Zepa, which like Gorazde is a UN-declared "safe
area." It seems likely that the Serbs' message is that the Muslims
will have to give up these territories in any future territorial
settlement between the Croats and Muslims on the one hand and the
Serbs on the other. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, international media
reported that the Bosnian parliament on 30 March unanimously
approved the Croat-Muslim federal constitution. Reuters noted that
Turkey will host talks in Ankara on 6 April to help the Croats and
Muslims work out the practical implementation of their agreement.
On 30 March Slobodna Dalmacija reported at length on the three-day
visit to Sarajevo by top Bosnian Croat military officials, led by
their commander Gen. Ante Roso. Finally, news agencies added that
US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright and Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili paid a short visit
to Sarajevo to announce a US donation of $10 million in
reconstruction aid, to dedicate the site of the future US embassy,
and to meet with President Alija Izetbegovic and Prime Minister
Haris Silajdzic.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

GREEK-MACEDONIAN DEADLOCK. Matthew Nimetz, recently appointed US
Special Mediator in the Greek-Macedonian dispute, met with Greek
Premier Andreas Papandreou on 29 March. The New York Times reports
that Papandreou stated that the reason for establishing the 16
February trade embargo against Macedonia is that the Republic of
Macedonia is a "real and present danger to Greece." In an
interview, Papandreou explained that the blockade was imposed
because of Athens' belief that its concerns had slipped from
international attention. He noted that Greece believes that
Macedonia seeks to extend its boundaries at Greece's expense, to
the Aegean Sea, an ambition which the use of the name Macedonia
seems to reinforce. Although the present regime in Skopje is not a
threat to Greece, he noted, a Macedonia in combination with other
unnamed Balkan states could well be a danger. Papandreou said
Greece would certainly lift the embargo if Macedonia dropped the
star of Vergina from its flag, a symbol claimed by Greece, and
changed its constitution to meet Greek specifications concerning
fixity of borders. Papandreou adopted a conciliatory stance toward
the US, a break with his past practice. The US, for its part,
apparently in deference to the Greek-American lobby, has not
formally established diplomatic relations with Macedonia, despite
a pledge to do so in February.  Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA TALKS TOUGH. Polish President Lech Walesa continues his
effort to leverage his limited formal powers into political
dominance. Meeting on 30 March with journalists from the
right-wing Catholic daily Slowo, Walesa said that, "for today," he
will not sign the 1994 budget. "The nation has been cheated once
again," he charged. He admitted that there is no economic
alternative to the current budget but put off any final decision
until his socio-economic council meets to discuss the issue.
Walesa restated his refusal to appoint Dariusz Rosati to the
vacant positions of deputy prime minister and finance minister,
despite the ruling coalition's continued support for his
candidacy. "We still act as if this is a Politburo decision, but I
am no First Secretary," Walesa said. Any attempt to amend the
constitution to limit his powers, Walesa threatened, would mean
new elections, which, he claimed, the Democratic Left Alliance
(SLD) would lose.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

COALITION PARTIES PONDER PROSPECTS. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak
expressed only half-hearted support for Rosati on 30 March, saying
that he remains the coalition's candidate until the SLD changes
its mind. The idea of an implicit pact between Pawlak and Walesa
continued to prompt press speculation, as the premier is the most
obvious beneficiary of Walesa's campaign against the SLD. Gazeta
Wyborcza argued on 28 March that the president and premier are "a
perfect tandem." The political stalemate is likely to continue
over the holidays, as both SLD leader Aleksander Kwasniewski and
Sejm Speaker Jozef Oleksy traveled to Moscow on 30 March as part
of a parliamentary delegation. The delegation discussed economic
cooperation with Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin and is to
meet with President Boris Yeltsin on 1 April. Public
administration chief Michal Strak admitted to reporters on 29
March that Pawlak's Polish Peasant Party (PSL) claimed the bulk of
the spoils in the postelection purge of voivodship posts. Pawlak
has removed 27 of 49 voivods. Polish TV reports that, of the 24
new voivods, 15 represent the PSL, 8 are independents, and one is
from the SLD.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOLIDARITY SUSPENDS PROTEST CAMPAIGN. Solidarity Chairman Marian
Krzaklewski announced on 30 March that the union is suspending its
rotating strike campaign for the Easter holidays, Polish TV
reports. The suspension seems merely to acknowledge the existing
state of affairs, as enthusiasm for the strike campaign has died
out in recent days. The union also urged President Lech Walesa not
to sign the 1994 budget or the new law on wage controls, the
so-called neopopiwek. Meeting behind closed doors, Solidarity's
protest committee resolved to send a letter of staunch protest to
the premier over what it alleged was the "scandalous" and
"provocative" treatment of the union's delegation in talks with
government experts. The experts apparently failed to provide the
unionists with coffee, tea, or sandwiches on the night of 25-26
March. A CBOS opinion poll reported by PAP on 30 March showed that
the strike campaign has not improved the union's popularity; 58%
thought it weakened the state.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

RESTITUTION OF JEWISH PROPERTY IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC UNBLOCKED?
Jiri Danicek, chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in
the Czech Republic, told CTK on 29 March that he had met with
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus on 28 March to discuss the restitution
of Jewish property confiscated by Nazi Germany and retained by
Czechoslovakia's communist governments. In February, the Czech
parliament rejected a draft law that would have made possible the
return of Jewish property, after deputies representing Klaus'
Civic Democratic Party introduced last minute amendments limiting
the scope of restitution. On 23 March, the government turned down
another draft law, which was deemed unacceptable because it could
set a precedent for returning property confiscated before the
communist putsch on 25 February 1948. Following his meeting with
Klaus, Danicek said that the return of Jewish property will be
based on a decree issued by President Edvard Benes in 1945, which
annulled the validity of all property transfers during the Nazi
occupation of Czechoslovakia. According to Danicek, all Jewish
property that is now in the possession of the state will be
returned immediately; the government's appeal to municipalities to
return the property that has come to their possession has been
received mostly favorably. At the same time, the government has
asked a group of experts to evaluate a new draft law on the
restitution of Jewish property prepared by a group of deputies.
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK PREMIER ON GOVERNMENT'S PLANS. Speaking at a press
conference in Bratislava on 30 March, Slovak Premier Jozef
Moravcik said that speeding up economic reforms is one of the
priorities of his government that is to stay in power until the
October parliamentary elections. Moravcik denied that his
government plans to devalue the Slovak koruna. Speaking on
Czech-Slovak relations, Moravcik stressed that his government will
strive to preserve the Czech-Slovak Customs Union. The premier
also stressed that Slovakia wants to expand cooperation with
Hungary and would like to conclude a Slovak-Hungarian state
treaty. Moravcik rejected warnings by former Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar against the influx of Hungarian capital into
Southern Slovakia, saying that "capital is by nature international
and searching for its ethnic origins is counterproductive." Jiri
Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS RECEIVE STRONG PRE-ELECTION SUPPORT. Imre
Szekeres, Vice Chairman of the Hungarian Socialist Party,
successor of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, said that the
HSP will be running in all 176 electoral districts in the May
general elections, MTI reports on 31 March. Szekeres said that the
number of the so-called endorsement slips received by the HSP
candidates was close to half a million, or close to the total
number of votes the HSP received in the 1990 general election.
Individual candidates must collect at least 700 slips, which are
given to voters, in order to run. The high number of endorsements
was a possible indication of the coming HSP victory.  Karoly
Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL, Inc.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE OFFICIALS END VISIT TO ROMANIA. The two
rapporteurs for the Council of Europe, Friedrich Koenig and Gunnar
Jannson, said at the end of their three-day visit to Romania that
Bucharest has only partially fulfilled the obligations assumed
when it was conditionally admitted to the council. An RFE/RL
correspondent, Radio Bucharest and Western agencies reported on 30
March that the two rapporteurs said remaining areas of concern
include the treatment of ethnic minorities and concern over an
anti-press law under discussion in parliament, as well as
restrictions on the restitution of property seized by the
communists. Koenig said it will take time for Romania to make
improvements, "but this cannot be an excuse for doing nothing."
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

ILIESCU IN GREECE. President Ion Iliescu arrived in Athens on 30
March, for a two-day visit to Greece and talks on bilateral
relations and the turmoil in the Balkans resulting from the war in
former Yugoslavia. Iliescu met President Constantin Caramanlis,
Premier Andreas Papandreou and various other political and
business leaders. After his talks with Papandreou he said Greece's
position in the conflict with Macedonia was "rational" and that
Romania took that position into consideration, without denying
Macedonia's "right to existence." Greece, which currently holds
the rotating presidency of the European Union, supports Romania's
bid for closer ties with the union.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

GRACHEV ENDS ROMANIAN VISIT IN CLASH OVER 14TH ARMY. At the end of
his three-day visit to Romania, Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev reacted angrily when asked by reporters about the presence
of the 14th Army in the Trans-Dniester region in Moldova, Radio
Bucharest and Western agencies reported on the same day. He said
the army was only temporarily there. The Russian guest said he did
not see why Moldova, which is an independent state, should come up
in questions addressed to him in Bucharest and added that the
Russian troops there were actually playing a peacekeeping role and
preventing bloodshed.  Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALEKSANDROV ON "MAJOR ERRORS" IN BULGARIAN ECONOMIC REFORM COURSE.
Speaking at a conference devoted to "Privatization, Investments
and International Financial Cooperation," Finance Minister Stoyan
Aleksandrov on 30 March sharply criticized key aspects of
postcommunist economic policies, adding he thinks international
financial institutions have helped to aggravate the situation. As
quoted by BTA, Aleksandrov said a major mistake was to adopt a
market-based model for privatization in 1992, while ignoring that
potential buyers are few and possess limited resources. He also
deplored that, even though the capital market is growing fast, tax
authorities have remained weak and often fail to collect revenues.
Consequently, almost no funds are available for investments and an
increasing number of state companies are going bankrupt. To
quickly remedy the situation, Aleksandrov stressed the need to
speed up privatization, even if companies must be sold at symbolic
prices. Elsewhere in Sofia, Deputy Premier Evgeni Matinchev
accused individual politicians and businessmen of willfully trying
to worsen the present financial crisis--triggered by the rapid
devaluation of the lev--in order to make the government resign. He
also said Premier Lyuben Berov, who on 11 March underwent bypass
surgery, will soon be back to head the cabinet.  Kjell Engelbrekt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

KUCHMA TO STAND FOR PRESIDENCY. An RFE/RL correspondent reported
on 30 March that the former premier, Leonid Kuchma, has said that
he will run in Ukraine's presidential election if he is supported
by a majority of parliamentary deputies. Kuchma was elected to
parliament in the Chernihiv Oblast by an overwhelming majority. He
is a close associate of the leader of the parliamentary faction
New Ukraine, Volodymyr Hrynov, with whom he jointly chairs the
Inter-Regional Bloc of Reforms which advocates an economic union
between the Slavic states of the former USSR.  Ustina Markus,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTION GOES INTO EFFECT. On 30 March the new
Belarusian constitution went into effect, Radiofakt reported. The
constitution, which replaces the Soviet-era constitution, was
approved by parliament on 15 March and formally signed by the
chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Mechyslau Hryb, on 28 March.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS SET IN BELARUS. The Belarusian parliament
has decided that presidential elections will be held on 23 June,
Belinform-TASS reported on 30 March. Under the new constitution,
to register as a candidate a person must be a Belarusian citizen,
at least 35 years of age, have lived in Belarus for at least 10
years, and collected 100,000 signatures from citizens or 70 from
deputies. There are already around 20 potential candidates, among
them Premier Vyacheslau Kebich.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIA PEGS CURRENCY TO US DOLLAR. On 30 March in compliance
with the Stability of the Litas law passed by parliament on 17
March, Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius announced that from 1
April the litas would be pegged to the US dollar at a rate of 4 to
1, Radio Lithuania reports. Exporters advocated a lower rate of
around 4.2 to make their products more attractive to foreign
buyers while economists suggested a rate of 3.8 or 3.9. The law
giving the government and not the Bank of Lithuania the authority
to fix the exchange rate had prompted the resignation of Economics
Minister Julius Veselka. Lithuania becomes the fourth country
(after Hong Kong, Argentina, and Estonia) to peg its currency to
that of another currency.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIA, DENMARK SIGN AGREEMENT ON MILITARY COOPERATION. On 30
March Danish Defense Minister Hans Haekkerup and his Estonian
counterpart Indrek Kannik signed an agreement on defense
cooperation, BNS reports. During his two-day visit Haekkerup had
met with Prime Minister Mart Laar, Foreign Minister Juri Luik, and
many parliamentary deputies. He had previously signed similar
agreements with Latvia and Lithuania, pledging Danish support for
the formation of a joint Baltic peace-keeping battalion. He
affirmed that the Russian army had to leave Estonia and that there
were too many troops in Kaliningrad. Kannik noted that this was
the first defense cooperation agreement that Estonia had signed,
but similar agreements were being planned with other European
countries.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200]

  Compiled by Liz Fuller and Stan Markotich
The RFE/RL Daily Report is produced by the RFE/RL Research
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