The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 77, 22 April 1994

                             RUSSIA

WHO WILL SIGN CIVIC ACCORD AGREEMENT ON 28 APRIL? President
Yeltsin's press secretary, Vyacheslav Kostikov, told a news
conference on 21 April that the Civic Accord proposed by Yeltsin
earlier this year will be signed in the Kremlin on 28 April, news
agencies and TV news reported. Kostikov expressed the hope that
even representatives of the hard-line opposition in the Duma
would sign the Accord. Meanwhile, the opposition and reformists
seemed to have split while discussing the amended draft Civic
Accord in the Duma earlier that day. The pro-reform Russia's
Choice, the Party of Russian Unity and Concord, and the Women of
Russia faction expressed willingness to sign the Accord.
Zhirinovsky's faction said that it would join the Accord only if
several key ministers, including foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev,
were dismissed from the government. The communists, the Agrarian
Party, the centrist Democratic Party of Russia, and the liberal
bloc Yabloko appeared reluctant to join the Accord. Speaking on
behalf of the latter, deputy Vyacheslav Shostakovsky said that
the mere signing of a document could hardly bring accord in
society. The proposed Civic Accord, Shostakovsky argued, "would
only divert the legislature and the government from genuine
politics and genuine reform." Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN DISCUSSES CIVIC ACCORD WITH LEADERS OF REPUBLICS. On 21
April, President Yeltsin met with leaders of Russia's ethnic
republics to discuss with them the draft Civic Accord, Russian
Television and ITAR-TASS reported. According to the Russian
media, the leaders supported the idea of signing the document.
ITAR-TASS quoted a statement signed by the republican top
officials as saying "the Accord should show Russians that their
political leaders and institutions are capable of finding common
positions." On 22 April, Yeltsin is expected to meet with members
of the parliament to discuss the Accord. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

DRAFT CIVIC ACCORD AMENDED. Amendments introduced by the
presidential apparatus in the draft Civic Accord were discussed
on 21 April by Interfax and Ostankino TV "Novosti." On 21 April,
deputies in the State Duma received for review a new text of the
Accord; at least two controversial provisions were excluded from
the original draft. One called for sanctions to be taken against
those who would violate the Accord and the other stipulated a ban
on using the attempted coup of August 1991 and the disturbances
of September-October 1993 as arguments in political struggle.
Some other provisions, which elicited criticism by various
political groups in Russia, remained in the text, however. These
included a ban on amending the constitution and on calling for
early parliamentary and presidential elections. The newly added
provisions to the draft included a detailed list of laws that the
State Duma and the Council of the Federation would have to adopt
in the near future. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

TWO COMMUNIST MEETINGS IN ST.PETERSBURG. The Russian Communist
Party organized two meetings in St. Petersburg, Echo of Moscow
radio station reported on 21 April. About two hundred people
participated in both gatherings. The demonstrators demanded that
the city's mayor, Anatolii Sobchak, and President Boris Yeltsin
step down; they also called for improvement of the situation of
war veterans and pensioners. Meanwhile, workers employed in the
textile industry held a demonstration in front of the building of
the Russian Council of Ministers in Moscow, Russian Television
reported on 21 April. They demanded payment of wages without
delay as well as revision of the government's taxation policy.
Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN MEETS WITH TRADE UNION LEADER. On 21 April, President
Yeltsin met in the Kremlin with the chairman of the Independent
Trade Unions of Russia, Mikhail Shmakov, ITAR-TASS reported. They
discussed how to combat unemployment and how to ensure regular
payment of wages to workers. Shmakov also told Yeltsin that trade
unions support the plan to sign the Civic Accord. Meanwhile, on
21 April the Russian government approved a draft of the federal
program for ensuring better employment prospects for the people.
The program includes measures aimed at reducing unemployment and
oulines benefits for those who have lost work, Ostankino TV
reported Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

MFA: NO MAJOR DIFFERENCES ON BOSNIA . . . Russian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin denied on 21 April the
existence of deep disagreements among Russia's policy-makers on
Bosnia. He said that rumors about heated disputes were pure
conjecture, and he noted that Russian President Boris Yeltsin
takes into account a range of views on the subject before making
any major statements or decisions. Demurin said that statements
by Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin had been "incorrectly
interpreted" and explained that Churkin had meant to say that
discussions with the Bosnian Serbs over Gorazde should be
stopped, not that Russia should wash its hands of the Bosnian
Serbs altogether, Interfax reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . A SUBGROUP OF SERBS? In the same briefing, Demurin said
that "there are people with obviously militarist thinking among
the Bosnian Serbs and in Belgrade . . . The sober-minded Serbs in
Bosnia and in the [rump Yugoslavia] should distance themselves
from them. We shall support any efforts aimed at resolving the
crisis in Bosnia peacefully." This statement suggests that Russia
may seek to salvage its policy of standing by the Serbs by making
a distinction between Serbs who want to continue the war effort
and those who want to resolve the crisis. The tendency toward
this policy could already be detected in the formulation used by
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev following his frustrating visit
to the former Yugoslavia on 16-17 April. Kozyrev blamed attacks
on Russian peacekeepers in Bosnia on irresponsible "Serb
fighters" in an attempt to refrain from criticizing the Bosnian
Serbs as a whole. Vitalii Churkin was also tempted to make this
distinction on occasion. But Churkin has more often evinced
skepticism that any of the Serbs are willing to stop the war
effort. In an interview with Russian Television's "Details"
program on 20 April, Churkin said that his experience led him to
"the quite distinct feeling that the Serbs are on the brink of a
catastrophe--not only the Bosnian Serbs, but all the Serbs."
Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA PRESSES AHEAD WITH MEDIATION. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin has convinced the United States to hold a high-level
meeting on the situation in the former Yugoslavia, Vyacheslav
Kostikov, his press secretary, said on 21 April. The meeting,
which is to include representatives of the European Union and the
United Nations, could be held as early as May; the location has
not yet been named, ITAR-TASS reported. By pressing for this
meeting, it appears that Yeltsin's policy is aimed at saving
Russia's prestige not only as a mediator in the Balkans but as an
actor in international diplomacy in general. While Yeltsin and
Kozyrev appear to believe that the Balkans is a good place to do
this and that a sober-minded group of Serbs will help Russia in
its efforts, others in Moscow apparently fear that Russia will be
burned, again, by Serbian unwillingness to make peace until its
war ambitions have been fulfilled. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHUMEIKO VISITS TAMAN DIVISION. The speaker of the Council of the
Federation, Vladimir Shumeiko, has payed a visit to the Taman
special troops division located near Moscow, Mayak "Novosti"
reported on 21 April. He told servicemen of that division that
the army should be strengthened and suggested that those legal
provisions that deal with military conscript questions will be
altered. Shumeiko was accompanied by the Commander-in-Chief of
the Ground Troops, General Vladimir Semenov. Alexander Rahr,
RFE/RL, Inc.

SOSKOVETS LEANS ON COMMERCIAL BANKS. At a banking conference on
21 April, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets scolded
Russia's commercial banks for making a quick ruble on foreign
exchange operations while neglecting domestic industry, Reuters
reported. He implied that the government may pressure the banks
to correct the current acute shortage of investment capital:
"Banks must invest a percentage of their revenues in state
industries." Russian Central Bank Chairman Viktor Gerashchenko,
who has recently and uncharacteristically sided with the angels,
dismissed Soskovets' proposal: "In Russia today, you cannot get
much done with a stick." Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHOKHIN ON FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS. At a news conference on 21
April, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Shokhin denied that a
value-added tax would be imposed on imported capital, Interfax
reported. He blamed reports of this tax, which have alarmed the
foreign business comunity mightily, on a "misinterpretation" of
the presidential decree of 22 December. Shokhin went on to repeat
the Russian government's desire that the G-7 summit in Naples
turn into a G-8 meeting. He announced that Russia would be
seeking up to $5.7 billion in new credits during 1994, but did
not elaborate on how much of the estimated $28 billion in
principal and interest due to creditors in 1994 would be repaid.
Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIS

NO PROGRESS IN BLACK SEA FLEET TALKS. Talks on the division of
the Black Sea Fleet between Russian defense minister Pavel
Grachev and Ukrainian defense minister Vitalii Radetsky ended
without results on 21 April, Ukrainian radio reported. The two
sides could not come to an agreement on the issue of basing the
fleet. Grachev said that the Black Sea Fleet and Ukrainian navy
should be based separately, with the fleet's headquarters
remaining in Sevastopol; Radetsky insisted that the Ukrainian
navy must have its headquarters in that city and suggested that
the fleet and Ukrainian navy be based in separate quarters in
Sevastopol. Interfax also reported that a Ukrainian official
refuted a statement made by the Black Sea Fleet commander, Eduard
Baltin, on 20 April, that Ukraine had already taken over 35% of
the fleet's ships so only 65% of the fleet needed to be divided.
According to Interfax, the official said Ukraine's ships have
been built in Ukraine's shipyards and have nothing to do with the
Black Sea Fleet, which is to be divided on a 50:50 basis. The
vessels which exceed Ukraine's defense needs may be sold to any
country, including Russia. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

CHINESE PREMIER IN TURKMENISTAN. On the second leg of his trip
through Central Asia, Chinese Prime MInister Li Peng held talks
with Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov in Ashgabat on
21 April, Russian and Western news agencies reported. The main
topic of discussion was Chinese support for construction of a gas
pipeline from Turkmenistan through China to Japan. Niyazov is
seeking foreign help to export Turkmen gas as widely as possible;
China is interested in buying Turkmen cotton. According to a
Reuters report, Li received support from Niyazov for China's
anti-separatist policies aimed at Uigur nationalists in Xinjiang.
Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SERBS GIVE ULTIMATUM TO GORAZDE. Reuters late on 21 April quoted
Bosnian Ambassador to the UN Muhamed Sacirbey as saying that
there was house-to-house fighting in the embattled east Bosnian
Muslim enclave. The Washington Post on 22 April reports that to
date the latest Serb offensive has yielded 436 dead and 1,467
wounded. The paper quoted a local doctor as saying that shells
were falling on the hospital every 10 seconds and that Serbs were
deliberately firing on patients and medical personnel. The
Bosnian authorities reported that the Serbs had given them an
ultimatum to withdraw to one side of the Drina and to stop firing
or else Gorazde would be leveled "to the ground." The Serbs,
whose apparently organized civilian roadblocks prevented a UN
convoy from reaching the town, denied that they had issued such a
challenge. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

NATO MAY FAVOR LARGE-SCALE BOMBING. The Washington Post on 22
April says that a tentative NATO plan for protecting the six
"safe areas" in Bosnia calls for heavy air strikes rather than
the earlier "surgical" approach. Targets would include ammunition
dumps, supply routes, command centers, and supply depots. One
official noted that "when you're talking to a deaf guy, you have
to scream loudly." Meanwhile in Paris, the non-governmental
organizations Doctors of the World and Lawyers without Borders
called for Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic to be tried for
war crimes as a result of his "behavior consisting of ordering
systematic bombardments aimed at women and children, hospitals,
and other civilian targets." Reuters carried the report on 21
April. Finally, on 22 April the daily Milliyet's respected
commentator Sami Kohen reports of increasing anxiety in Turkey
and warns that the offensive against Gorazde is just part of a
larger scheme to set up a greater Serbia and that this would lead
to a domino effect bringing into the war Kosovo and Macedonia.
Patrick Moore and Yalcin Tokgozoglu, RFE/RL, Inc.

MESIC AND MANOLIC LAUNCH FRONTAL ASSAULT ON TUDJMAN. The Croatian
papers are a-buzz with reporting and speculation on the country's
political future following the split in the ruling Croatian
Democratic Community (HDZ) earlier this week. The liberal wing,
led by upper house speaker Josip Manolic and his lower house
counterpart Stipe Mesic, bolted after months of public feuding
with President Franjo Tudjman over his Bosnian policy and his
authoritarian style. The two men have founded the Croatian
Independent Democrats (HND) and have made it clear in interviews
with Vjesnik on 22 April and Berlin's Tageszeitung on the
previous day that Tudjman must go. They specifically hold him
responsible not only for a totally unnecessary war with the
Muslims but also for setting up concentration camps and for the
destruction of Mostar. They argue that "it is now necessary to
answer for excesses." The split in the HDZ may force new
legislative elections, but Tudjman's presidential term runs until
1997. The constitution was written for Tudjman and ensures a
strong presidency. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

MONTENEGRO'S LEKIC OPPOSES NEW STRUCTURE FOR RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. In
an interview given to the Kosovar Albanian newspaper Zeri,
Montenegrin Foreign Minister Miodrag Lekic opposed plans of a new
division of rump Yugoslavia into five regions, as well as other
plans for setting up a greater Serbian state. Lekic said that
"Belgrade's idea according to which Montenegro would lose its
separate statehood is unacceptable to us," adding that he also
considers "all theories about new constitutions based on regional
divisions not serious." He also stated that relations with
Albania had improved, noting that he advocates solving the Kosovo
problem by taking into account the wishes of all its citizens and
that he supports the region's autonomy. Lekic said that a
"serious dialogue" should start soon. Borba carried the story on
21 April. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIAN POLICE ARREST MEMBERS OF GREEK MINORITY. AFP on 21 April
reports on the latest incidents in the ongoing war of nerves
between Athens and Tirana. In a series of raids, eleven men were
arrested on political charges such as conducting "anti
constitutional activities" and promoting "Greek expansionist
designs and plans to annex parts of Albania." There were also
charges involving arms and drugs. One of the men is an official
of the Greek minority's Omonia party and is based in Gjirokaster.
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELGRADE'S UNRELENTING MEDIA CRACKDOWN. Despite growing
international opposition to its ban on foreign journalists and
media, Belgrade appears to be showing no signs of backing down.
In remarks carried by Borba on 21 April, Sanja Mikovic, an aid to
rump Yugoslav Minister of Information Slobodan Ignjatovic,
reiterated the official government position, stressing that the
Minister of Information has the legal "discretionary right" to
ban foreign media if they are suspected of biased reporting.
Meanwhile, on 21 April AFP reported that the French government
was among the latest critics of Belgrade's media ban. A foreign
ministry spokesman described Belgrade's actions as "contrary to
freedom of the press and information" and the ministry urged rump
Yugoslav authorities to reinstate those French journalists and
agencies affected by the crackdown. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

CRANS MONTANA CONFERENCE, PERES-ARAFAT TALKS IN BUCHAREST. On 21
April Romania's President Ion Iliescu opened the proceedings of a
four-day conference of the Crans Montana Forum, staged in
Bucharest. The inaugural session was also addressed by the
forum's president Jean-Paul Carteron and by former Council of
Europe Secretary-General Catherine Lalumiere, who stressed the
importance of international cooperation in view of the dramatic
changes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union since 1989.
The first working session of the conference was devoted to
"Security and Cooperation in the Black Sea Region." Romanian and
Western media reported extensively on the talks between
Palestinian Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who are participating in
the international conference. This was the first high-level
contact between the two sides in almost three months. The two
suggested that a final Palestinian-Israeli agreement might be
concluded in the near future. The Crans Montana Forum was set up
in 1989 to foster political and economic contacts between the
West and the fledgling democracies in Eastern Europe. Dan
Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

GERMANY REAFFIRMS ITS SUPPORT FOR HUNGARY. During a one-day
official visit to Budapest on 21 April, Chancellor Helmut Kohl
held talks with Premier Peter Boross and President Arpad Goncz,
MTI and Radio Budapest report. At a press conference, Kohl said
Germany would support "with advice and deeds" Hungary's admission
into the European Union and recommend, after becoming EU chairman
on 1 July 1994, that Hungary's representatives be allowed to join
the deliberations of the European Assembly and that the heads of
states of those countries wishing to join the EU be invited
annually to the meeting of the EU leaders. Goncz told Kohl
Hungary counted on German support and investments and that the
good ties between Budapest and Bonn would continue under any
government formed after Hungary's general elections next month.
Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN SOCIALISTS READY FOR COALITION WITH ALLIANCE OF FREE
DEMOCRATS. Zoltan Gal, parliamentary faction leader of the
Hungarian Socialist Party, told an electoral rally that his party
was preparing to form a coalition government with the liberal
opposition party the Alliance of Free Democrats, Nepszabadsag
reported on 21 April. According to Gal, the HSP's program was
close to that of the liberal parties. The other major liberal
party, the Alliance of Young Democrats led by Viktor Orban,
however, distrusts the socialists and rejects a coalition with
them. At another rally, Zoltan Kiraly, chairman of the reunited
Hungarian Social Democratic Party, deplored the lack of a
dialogue between the parties of the left and accused the HSP of
appropriating for itself the ideals of social democracy and of
trying to "trample upon" his party. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS' PASTORAL LETTER ON ELECTIONS. In a
pastoral letter Hungary's Bench of Roman Catholic Bishops
expressed its opposition to any efforts that would "put back the
Church within church walls" and prevent it from "fulfilling its
social mission," MTI reported on 21 April. The Church had to
examine not only the promises but also the views and actions of
various parties in the past four years in parliament and local
governments in such matters as facultative religious instruction
in schools, and the creation and support of church schools. The
letter reminds Christians of their moral duty to take part in the
election and, without endorsing any party, expresses its
confidence that the faithful will find "those parties and
representatives to whom they can entrust with good conscience the
future of our country and Church." Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA VETOES ELECTION LAW, SEJM ACQUIESCENT. PAP reports that
President Lech Walesa has followed through on his earlier threat
to veto the local government electoral law on the grounds that
the new provisions would overly politicize the elections and that
the ban on campaigning in places of worship violated the
churches' right to autonomy within their own grounds. His
decision not to endorse the law was communicated to the Sejm on
20 April; on 21 April the Sejm voted by 166 votes to 30, with 107
abstentions to sustain the veto. The coalition was split, with
the Democratic Left Alliance largely supporting the law and the
Polish Peasant Party abstaining. The large number of abstentions
reflected a desire to avoid a legal imbroglio over which law
should be used in the forthcoming local government elections,
rather than support for the president's views. Prime Minister
Waldemar Pawlak, intent on early elections, forced the Sejm's
hand by calling the elections for 19 June on the basis of the old
election law three days before the president vetoed the new one.
Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

STRIFE IN POLISH BROWN-COAL MINES. A 48-hour strike sponsored by
the Solidarity union began on 21 April in Poland's brown-coal
mines, PAP reports. The strikers are protesting against the
government's restructuring plans, which propose the creation of
three holdings in the brown-coal energy sector, whose production
is systematically dropping. The industry ministry offered to
suspend the offending decree naming plenipotentiaries for the
planned holdings pending the outcome of negotiations between
employees and Industry Minister Marek Pol as soon as the latter
returns from abroad on 22 April, if the strike were called off.
Prime Minister Pawlak appealed in person to Solidarity leader
Marian Krzaklewski, who was with the strikers on Thursday, to
accept the ministry's offer, but Krzaklewski said the strike
would continue until the government offered "serious
negotiations" on the future of the brown-coal energy sector,
meaning withdrawal of the current restructuring plans. Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc.

KLAUS IN SOUTH AMERICA. Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus continued his
10-day tour of South America, arriving in Chile on the evening of
20 April to discuss trade relations with Chilean officials, CTK
reports. Klaus began his trip on 18 April in Argentina, and he
will continue on to Brazil on 22 April. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL,
Inc.

POPULARITY OF MECIAR'S PARTY SKYROCKETS. According to the latest
opinion poll of the Slovak Statistical Office, released on 21
April, 32% of respondents said they would vote for the Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia, compared with 24% in March, and less
than 20% throughout the previous year. The Party of the
Democratic Left was second with 13%, followed by the Christian
Democratic Movement with 8%, the Coexistence-Hungarian Christian
Democratic Movement and the Democratic Union of Slovakia
(formerly the Alternative of Political Realism) each with 7%, the
Slovak National Party with 4%, the Democratic Party and the
Slovak Social Democratic Party each with 3%, and the Green Party,
the Association of Slovak Workers, the Alliance of Democrats and
the National Democratic Party each with 2%. Other parties had the
combined support of 3% of respondents, while 12% said they were
undecided. A total of 76% of respondents said they would likely
take part in elections. Meanwhile, on 21 April CDM Deputy
Chairman Ivan Simko announced that an alliance of non-leftist
parties is expected to be established on 26 April and should
include the CDM, the DUS, the DP, the AD, the NDP and the Party
of Businessmen. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

TOWARD A BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE. The Bulgarian press on
22 April carries numerous reports and commentaries speculating
about the upcoming cabinet reshuffle, envisaged by Prime Minister
Lyuben Berov. Despite being hospitalized due to liver problems
following a by-pass operation last month, Berov has lately held
talks with the leaders of all pro-government parliamentary groups
to prepare the ground for a cabinet reorganization. Whereas MRF
Chairman Ahmed Dogan on 21 April told BTA that talks are
progressing well and that a partly new government and program may
be presented by early May, several dailies are more skeptical.
Various papers cite differences between the MRF, the BSP and two
smaller caucuses over which of the present ministers should be
replaced, suggesting that one struggle will be about whether to
replace Berov's deputy supervising economic reforms, Valentin
Karabashev. Industry Minister Rumen Bikov, Agriculture Minister
Georgi Tanev, and Transport Minister Kiril Ermenkov are
apparently also controversial, but BSP daily Duma writes that so
far only the resignation of Defense Minister Valentin Aleksandrov
is certain, which might indicate that the Socialists consider his
dismissal a sine qua non condition for continued support.
Finally, Berov told Bulgarian radio on 21 April that he intends
to resume his duties on 25 April. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

PARLIAMENT TO TIGHTEN CONTROL OVER BTA. On 21 April the
parliamentary Committee on Radio and Television endorsed a
proposal designed to increase the influence of parliament over
the Bulgarian state news agency BTA, the agency reports. The
proposal provides for the National Assembly to appoint and
dismiss the agency's Director as well as to decide on the overall
organization, while the Committee on Radio and Television would
assume some management functions. The Committee also approved a
passage saying that BTA as a national medium may not publish
"slander or untrue allegations" regarding the National Assembly,
the President, the government, or other state institutions. Kjell
Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

ULMANIS TO MOSCOW ON 30 APRIL. Diena reported on 21 April that a
Latvian delegation, headed by President Guntis Ulmanis, plans to
go to Moscow on 30 April. During a telephone conversation between
Ulmanis and Russian President Yeltsin, the two leaders spoke of
signing the principal accords regarding the withdrawal of Russian
troops from Latvia and leaving the other accords to be signed by
the prime ministers. Although Yeltsin's press secretary
Vyacheslav Kostikov and Russian delegation head for talks with
Latvia Sergei Zotov insisted that all four accords, initialed in
March, would have to be signed as a package, it is not clear if
Ulmanis will indeed sign the controversial accord on the retired
military living in Latvia--earlier Ulmanis indicated that he was
prepared to sign the other three accords. In a related
development, the government of Premier Valdis Birkavs obtained a
vote of confidence from the 100-member Saeima on 21 April after a
lengthy and contentious debate on the Russian-Latvian accords the
previous day, with 51 of the 87 deputies present endorsing the
government. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

UKRAINE SAYS IT CANNOT CLOSE CHORNOBYL REACTORS. Ukraine's deputy
prime minister, Valerii Shmarov, told a meeting of nuclear
experts from 15 countries at Vienna that Ukraine has no plans to
shut down the two working reactors at Chornobyl because the
country needs the electricity they generate. He also said that
Ukraine considers the level of risk the reactors pose to be no
worse than any other Chornobyl-type reactor. David Kyd, spokesman
for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the
meeting that an IAEA report from March found many safety
deficiencies at the plant and considers the oldest reactor to be
unsafe. He conceded that Ukraine (which already spends 15% of its
annual budget on cleaning up the aftermath of the 1986 Chornobyl
accident), will require financial assistance from the West in
order to close down the Chornobyl plant, but the money could be
discussed at the next stage of the process, after solutions to
Ukraine's energy problem are worked out. Among the proposals are
plans to speed up the completion of pressurized-water reactors
being built in Ukraine (five are to be finished by the year
2000), in order to replace the Chornobyl-type graphite-moderated
reactors. The meeting also considered subsidies to increase the
pay of the staff and make technical modifications to the
reactors. Over the past year 150 skilled staff members, mostly
Russians, have left the plant and moved to Russia because of low
pay and deteriorating economic conditions in Ukraine, Reuters and
an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 21 April. Ustina Markus,
RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Roman Solchanyk & Edith Oltay
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