|Absence makes the heart grow fonder. -|
No. 79, 26 April 1994
RUSSIA FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT RAISED. One day after the Russian government received guarded praise from the G-7 meeting in Washington and one month after obtaining the IMF's blessing for its fiscal sobriety, the Finance Ministry on 25 April sent to the State Duma a new draft of the 1994 federal budget that sharply raises the projected deficit. According to Reuters and Interfax, the new draft foresees a deficit of 68.8 trillion rubles, up from 62.4 trillion in the original draft and 53.8 trillion rubles in the document presented to the IMF team in March. The latest figure represents 11.1% of an estimated 1994 GDP of around 620 trillion rubles, and about 20% of GDP when conventional measures are applied. Most of the additional spending is attributed to an extra 8 trillion rubles allocated to the agricultural sector, and one trillion rubles on social spending. A partial offset is expected to come from an extra 2.7 trillion in revenues from customs duties. The new draft will be taken up by the Duma on 27 April where, it is expected, additional expenditure will be authorized for the military-industrial complex and other vociferous claimants. Keith Bush , RFE/RL, Inc. MFA, GRACHEV, CHURKIN ON BOSNIA. The Russian Foreign Ministry said on 25 April that while the UN Security Council had given a vote of confidence to NATO military action, "military measures must not replace the main thing--policies toward a peaceful settlement." The Ministry stressed the four principal elements of Russia's program for settlement: tighter regulations for safe areas in Bosnia on the basis of UN Security Council decisions; an agreement between Serbs and Muslims for an indefinite and universal cease-fire; the establishment of a comprehensive peaceful settlement in Bosnia-Herzegovina which takes into account the Bosnian Serbs; and the gradual lifting of sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said on 25 April that plans for additional airstrikes against Bosnian Serb targets should be abandoned and that airstrikes had served no purpose. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, on the other hand, admitted that airstrikes had been effective, but said that military action was of limited value. These sentiments contrasted with those of Deputy Foreign Minister Vitalii Churkin who informed Moscow NTV television that he had told UN representative to the former Yugoslavia Yasushi Akashi during his recent visit to the area that if "just one [Bosnian Serb] tank fires, I am giving him a go-ahead . . . to ask for air support." Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE COOPERATION WITH WEU. On the occasion of the visit of West European Union Secretary General Willem van Eekkelen to Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed on 25 April its interest in cooperating more closely with the WEU. The director of the MFA's department for European Cooperation, Yurii Ushakov, said Russia "would like to synchronize the pace" of its cooperation with the European Union and the WEU. Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who also met with the WEU chief, stressed the importance of cooperation and noted that "the military-political situation in Europe provides for military-technical cooperation, and Russia must not be out of it," Interfax reported. Suzanne Crow , RFE/RL, Inc. RABIN VISITS MOSCOW. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin started a four-day visit to Russia on 24 April marking the first ever visit of an Israeli prime minister to Moscow. On 25 April, Rabin held talks with a number of Russian officials including Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Duma Chairman Ivan Rybkin. Chernomyrdin said following talks and the signing of several intergovernmental agreements that Russia "intends to do everything possible to reach a peace settlement" in the Middle East. He likened Russia's diplomatic involvement in the region to its involvement in the Balkans. Rybkin, stressing Russia's commitment to cooperation, said that Russia "was among those who backed the creation of the independent Israeli state," Russian and Western agencies reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN LAMENTS DISCRIMINATION. In an interview carried in the 25 April edition of Der Spiegel, Boris Yeltsin said that he felt the West was discriminating against Russia, especially in terms of trade and economic cooperation. Asked to name some specific examples, Yeltsin said: "I can give you a long list. The Cocom has now been dissolved, but the Western countries immediately established other committees to regulate in new ways the export of goods to the former socialist countries. Why is Russia not represented in these committees? We were not even invited to the preparations. This is unjust." Yeltsin said that the European Union is also discriminating against Russia by putting up more and more conditions before setting up a cooperation agreement. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc. PARLIAMENT REJECTS YELTSIN'S CHOICE FOR PROSECUTOR-GENERAL. On 25 April the Council of the Federation approved the resignation of the outgoing Russian Prosecutor-General Aleksei Kazannik. The house, however, rejected Yeltsin's appointee for the post, the current acting Prosecutor-General Aleksei Ilyushenko. Only 65 members of the Council of the Federation voted for the appointment while 72 voted against it. The vote does not necessarily indicate deputies' opposition to the president, but rather reflects the poor reputation of the candidate. Many of Yeltsin's supporters believe Ilyushenko was guilty of forgery meant to incriminate former Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi of corruption. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. COUNCIL OF FEDERATION VOTES FOR CIVIC ACCORD. The Council of the Federation, approved the draft of the Civic Accord by an overwhelming majority on 25 April, ITAR-TASS reported. The House also voted to empower the speaker, Vladimir Shumeiko, to sign the document on behalf of the Council of Federation. Meanwhile, the document's fate in the State Duma remains unclear. According to Interfax of 24 April, only four of 13 factions represented in the lower chamber have so far agreed to unconditionally sign Civic Accord. Those are the pro-reform "Russia's Choice"; the Party for Russian Unity and Concord; and two centrist factions-- namely, the Democratic Party of Russia and Women of Russia. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT LEADER SUPPORTS RUTSKOI. Ilya Konstantinov, a leader of the hard-line opposition group, the National Salvation Front, told Interfax on 25 April that former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi could become leader of the majority of Russia's opposition groups. Konstantinov argued that it would be difficult to unite various opposition groups, since it would require putting an end to their leaders' ideological differences and ambitions. He said that if Rutskoi showed readiness to undertake this task, he (Konstantinov) would help him. Konstantinov was commenting on Rutskoi's statement broadcast on Russian TV, in which the former vice president said he was ready to lead a "political mass movement" of opposition to President Yeltsin. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE FORECASTS OF UNEMPLOYMENT. Deputy Economics Minister Andrei Shapovaliants told a Moscow conference on 25 April that the number of unemployed in Russia may reach 5 million by the end of 1994, Interfax reported. This contrasts with projections given by the head of the Federal Employment Service, who was cited by RIA on 12 April as forecasting a year-end total of 6.5 million, of whom 3 million would be registered as officially unemployed. Nobody really knows, of course, for the level of unemployment will depend on how soon bankruptcy procedures will be introduced and implemented. According to Boris Fedorov, as quoted in The New York Times of 26 April, there were only 8 bankruptcies in 1993. President Yeltsin has recently sent a letter to Prime Minister Chernomyrdin urging the introduction of bankruptcy procedures, Ostankino-1 TV reported on 19 April: he thereby assumed political responsibility for this vital but hugely unpopular stage in the transition to a market economy. Keith Bush , RFE/RL, Inc. MAFIA ACCUMULATING PROPERTY. The radio station "Ekho Moskvy" reported on 22 April that the privatization of state property now under way in Russia is providing the bosses of Russia's organized crime circles with an opportunity to accumulate huge amounts of property and power. Researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences have estimated that as much as 55% of financial capital, and some 80% of shares and vouchers, are already concentrated in the hands of Russia's so-called mafia. Russia's mafia is also said to increasingly be building links with gangsters and racketeers in other countries. Elizabeth Teague, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL ASIA AND TRANSCAUCASIA KARABAKH MEDIATION ROUNDUP. Talks in Moscow on 25 April between Azerbaijan parliament chairman Rasul Guliev and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev resulted in an agreement on unspecified "modifications" to the latest draft of the Russian peace plan for Nagorno-Karabakh, which Azerbaijan has hitherto rejected, Interfax reported. Interfax also quoted Yeltsin's special envoy for Karabakh, Vladimir Kazimirov, as expressing dissatisfaction with Azerbaijan's refusal to acknowledge the Karabakh Armenian authorities as a party in the conflict. Also on 25 April, Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin held talks in Baku with Azerbaijan's President Geidar Aliev on the Karabakh conflict, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. Cetin reaffirmed Turkey's support for Azerbaijan's "just struggle to defend its territory." Aliev accused Armenia of torpedoing the peace process and said the CSCE and the UN were not doing enough to resolve the conflict. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. SHEVARDNADZE MAY OPT FOR CIS PEACEKEEPERS. In his traditional Monday radio interview, Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze said on 25 April that if the UN-sponsored talks on the future political status of Abkhazia due to resume in Moscow on 10 May do not make substantive progress, then he may be constrained to opt for the deployment of a CIS peacekeeping force to preclude a resumption of hostilities and ensure the safe return of Georgian refugees to their homes in Abkhazia, Interfax and AFP reported. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CHINESE PREMIER IN KYRGYZSTAN. Communiques issued on 25 April, the final day of Chinese Premier Li Peng's 4-day visit to Kyrgyzstan, emphasized the progress made during Li Peng's talks with Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev and Prime Minister Abbas Dzhamgulov on ways to expand bilateral relations and political, economic, trade and cultural cooperation, Xinhua and Interfax reported. Akaev for his part affirmed that "China has found the right path of development", according to ITAR-TASS. The two sides will continue negotiations aimed at resolving the dispute over their common border. On 25 April Li Peng flew to Almaty for talks with Kazakh leaders. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. TURKMENISTAN TO JOIN PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. Turkmen Foreign Ministry official Enver Rakhmanov told Reuters on 25 April that Turkmenistan hopes to join NATO's Partnership for Peace (PFP) program next month; he said the program means real cooperation between East and West, and will strengthen Turkmenistan's neutrality. Turkmenistan will be the second former Muslim republic to join PFP. Azerbaijan, which was originally scheduled to sign this week, will now sign in early May. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE SERBS BLOCK AID CONVOYS, RESETTLE VILLAGES. International media report on 26 April that Bosnian Serbs have been blocking UN relief convoys bringing food and medicine to the besieged town of Gorazde, where some 65,000 inhabitants and refugees have been living in desperate conditions. Serb leaders had pledged in writing to allow the relief shipments to pass. Withdrawing Serb forces further complicated conditions in the town by blowing up the water plant. Meanwhile, Serbia's Tanjug news agency said on 25 April that Serb villagers were "returning to their homes" in the Gorazde area, but Muslims believe that many of these people are outsiders who are being settled there in a policy of ethnic cleansing aimed at making the region solidly Serb. Finally, UN commander Gen. Sir Michael Rose told the BBC that he expects Serb forces to meet the deadline of 2 am local time on 27 April to pull their heavy guns back to 20 kilometers from Gorazde. Patrick Moore , RFE/RL, Inc. CROATIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE OFFENSIVE. Most attention on Croatian politics in recent weeks has been focused on the split in the ruling party and on developments in Istria and the other regions, but what could become a major political battle has been shaping up over the role of the Roman Catholic Church toward the state and society. The country is overwhelmingly Catholic, but many nominal Catholics, including President Franjo Tudjman, are not particularly religious. Polls show, moreover, that a strong majority of the population does not approve of a growing role for the Church beyond what it now enjoys. In the past two months, however, Cardinal Franjo Kuharic and his bishops have sought what amounts to a special status for the Catholic Church, Vjesnik reported on 19 March and on 25 April. The agenda includes: religious education in schools and under the control of the Church; religious marriage; state aid to the Church; improved status for religious schools; and a ban on abortion. Novi list on 5 April indicated that many women in particular are prepared for a political fight over the last point and are concerned over what they regard as an intolerant and aggressive attitude on the part of the clergy. The same paper the next day reported that non-Catholic religious denominations are organizing to ensure that no one faith receives a privileged position in Croatian law and society. Patrick Moore , RFE/RL, Inc. DRASKOVIC AND THE CONGRESS OF SERBIAN INTELLECTUALS. On 26 April Borba continues its coverage of the just-held Second Congress of Serbian Intellectuals by publishing remarks that Vuk Draskovic, leader of Serbia's Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition, could not deliver at the gathering. The printed text of Draskovic's remarks reveals that the DEPOS leader intended to implicate all ethnic groups, notably the Serbs, throughout the former Yugoslavia in war crimes and ethnic cleansing campaigns. His remarks included such charges as "now, sadly, the Serbian name is written into the pages of the book of shame." Pro-government media coverage of Draskovic's conference participation, however, paints an entirely different picture. According to such reporting, Draskovic was given ample opportunity to deliver his speech despite the fact that his views were by no means representative. Vecernje novosti of 26 April, moreover, gives space to Draskovic's opponents who characterize him as someone who "indicts his own people" and who has done perhaps more than any individual to promote the image of "an aggressive Serbian people." Stan Markotich , RFE/RL, Inc. GREECE PREPARED TO LIFT EMBARGO IF MACEDONIA MAKES CONCESSIONS. Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, speaking at a US White House news conference on 22 April, stated that Athens would lift its trade embargo against the Republic of Macedonia provided that the Macedonians eliminate the Star of Vergina symbol from the state flag and rule that articles of the constitution which Greece deems unacceptable are invalid. If the Skopje government complies, Greece would facilitate Macedonia's entry to the CSCE and endorse a Macedonian-EU agreement, according to AFP. The name of the new republic would be resolved later. US President Bill Clinton, who spoke after Papandreou, argued in favor of resolving the Greek-Macedonian dispute. Duncan Perry, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIANS POLLED ON CRISIS IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. According to an opinion poll published on 23 April, some 79% of the Romanians recently polled by the Bucharest-based IRSOP institute think that NATO air strikes would fail to stop the war in former Yugoslavia. Some 47% believed that the war would engulf all Balkan states if it continued longer, with 82% feeling that Romania would be endangered by any widening of the conflict. The poll, whose outcome was reported by Reuters, showed that the rump Yugoslav federation ranks first in public favor among Romania's neighbors (38%), followed by Bulgaria (32%), Russia (12%), and Ukraine and Hungary, with 9% each. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. SOLIDARITY RAISES STAKES IN COAL STRIKE. Solidarity Chairman Marian Krzaklewski set the stage for an all-out confrontation on 25 April, when he told striking Belchatow brown-coal miners that their protest is a "historic opportunity for the union" that amounts to a demand for "a different social and economic system in Poland." Silesian hard-coal miners joined the six-day-old strike on 26 April, PAP reports. Union leaders spurned a new offer of talks from Industry Minister Marek Pol, despite his suspension of "decision #30," the directive creating five holdings meant to begin the restructuring of the energy sector. The strikers initially demanded that the government annul rather than just suspend the order, but they indicated on 25 April that only "legal solutions," including the abolition of all wage controls, will now suffice to end the strike. Pol refused to annul the decision, as this would imply that the government has abandoned all intent to restructure. Pol added that brown-coal miners already have a two-year employment guarantee, a benefit no other occupational group enjoys. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak's only reaction to the strike so far was his decision on 22 April to fire Deputy Industry Minister Eugeniusz Morawski--a repeat of the Bank Slaski scenario, when Pawlak fired a deputy finance minister to find a quick scapegoat for troubling economic developments. Once again, the prime minister created the impression of wanting to distance himself from government economic policy. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND PRESENTS PARTNERSHIP OUTLINE. Defense Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk submitted Poland's "presentation document"--an outline of plans for military cooperation under the Partnership for Peace program--to NATO officials in Brussels on 25 April, PAP reports. Poland is the first country to submit such plans. NATO Deputy General Secretary Sergio Balanzino said that NATO will likely sign a formal bilateral agreement on cooperation with Poland by August. Western agencies report that the Polish document outlines 19 military exercises in which Poland wants to participate with NATO countries, along with a pledge to consolidate democratic control over the armed forces. The presentation document, which has not been made public, also reportedly states that Poland's "strategic goal" is full NATO membership. Kolodziejczyk said Poland hopes that Russia will "join the countries of good will" taking part but does not want it to receive special treatment. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH ARMY SHORT OF OFFICERS. The army's newly appointed personnel chief, General Roman Harmoza, announced a freeze on the size of the officer corps as a result of financial constraints. At a press conference in Warsaw on 20 April, Harmoza said there will be no more automatic promotions; future promotions will take place as slots become available. Officers will be released on achieving retirement age, and specialists, such as lawyers and doctors will no longer enjoy high rank as a matter of course. Over the past four years over 22,000 officers have left the Polish army, including 67 generals, and 1,300 colonels, leaving 108 generals for 89,500 soldiers, the lowest ratio of generals to soldiers in the world. The shortage of non-commissioned officers is estimated at 40% of the desired number. By the year 2,000, half the Polish army should consist of professional soldiers. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. SOCIALISTS WIDEN LEAD IN HUNGARIAN ELECTION POLL. Just two weeks before the national elections, a survey of 1,000 people conducted by the Szonda-Ipsos polling group and published in Nepszabadsag of 25 April found that 38% of those who would definitely vote if the elections were held next Sunday would vote for the Hungarian Socialist Party, the former reform communists. This is an increase of 5% compared to the first half of March 1994. In second place was the liberal opposition party Alliance of Free Democrats, with 14%, trailed by the largest governing party the Hungarian Democratic Forum, with 12%. The other liberal opposition party the Alliance of Young Democrats scored 10% or 4% less than in the first half of March. Support for the coalition party Christian Democratic People's Party remained steady at 9%. The number of voters who remain undecided or will not cast a ballot decreased from 40% in the second half of March to 34%. Reacting to the results of the poll, the co-chairman of the Hungarian Justice and Life Party, Istvan Csurka, urged a ban on the publishing of opinion poll results in the media, including Hungarian radio and television, until the elections. He argued that the polls were biased in favor of the liberal parties and the HSP. Csurka objected that Hungarian radio aired an interview with the director of Szonda-Ipsos, who in his view is known for his left-wing and liberal orientation, and accused the radio of interfering with the election campaign. This was reported by MTI. Edith Oltay , RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER RESIGNS. Ahead of a cabinet reshuffle being prepared by Prime Minister Lyuben Berov, Deputy Defense Minister Boyko Noev handed in his resignation on 25 April. Noev, who was appointed last January, told a BTA reporter that he was leaving his position because of strong pressure from an influential political party which evidently is dissatisfied with his performance. Although refusing to mention the party by name, it was clear that he was referring to the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which recently has been criticizing Noev's unequivocal support for allowing the United Nations to transit military equipment to US and Scandinavian peace keeping contingents in Macedonia. Noev confirmed that this was one point of difference with the BSP, but added that some Socialists also seemed to believe, though incorrectly, that he is the key figure behind the idea to retire over 4,000 military officers above the age of 50 plus a large portion of the Defense Ministry's 5,000 civilian staff. The BSP daily Duma wrote on 22 April that Defense Minister Valentin Aleksandrov is the only cabinet member who is certain to be dismissed in the forthcoming shakeup. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. AMNESTY CONCERNED OVER ROMANIAN PENAL CODE. The London-based human rights organization Amnesty International has expressed concern over parts of Romania's new penal code, Reuters suggested on 25 April. A recent report by Amnesty International is quoted as saying that several clauses in the code imposed "arbitrary and excessive restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association with others." The report singled out draft legislation making verbal or printed attacks on public or state officials a crime punishable by up to three years in jail. It also said that an article providing jail terms of up to five years for "persons engaged in homosexual practices that causes a public scandal" was in conflict with international human rights standards. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECH REPUBLIC SIGNS ECONOMIC ACCORDS WITH BRAZIL. Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus arrived in Brazil on 22 April for the last leg of his South American tour, accompanied by over 70 Czech businessmen. Klaus and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim signed agreements on economic cooperation and on the mutual granting of most-favored-nation trade status and called for increased bilateral trade and for sharing industrial technology and expertise. Klaus also met with Brazilian President Itamar Franco, CTK reports on 26 April. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAKS SPLIT ON MECIAR'S REMOVAL. In an opinion poll released by the Slovak Statistical Office on 25 April, 44% of respondents said they approved of the removal of former Premier Vladimir Meciar from his post, while 39% of respondents said they did not agree with the move. Another 17% said they did not follow the events. The respondents endorsing Meciar's removal included 80% of ethnic Hungarians, as well as high percentages of supporters of the parties now represented in the broad coalition government. Sharon Fisher , RFE/RL, Inc. KRAVCHUK WANTS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS POSTPONED. Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk told Ukrainian radio on 25 April that he will ask the new parliament, which is scheduled to convene on 15 May, to postpone the presidential elections set for 26 June. Kravchuk said that the decision to hold early presidential elections was made under pressure from the parliamentary opposition, and that it would be pointless to hold elections without first defining the role of the presidency and adopting a new constitution. Further, an aide to Kravchuk has reaffirmed that Kravchuk will not be a candidate for president unless the elections are postponed and a law is adopted defining the powers of the executive and legislative branches. Leftist parties, on the other hand, have been active in nominating candidates. The Socialist Party nominated its leader Oleksander Moroz; and the Communist Party nominated its head, Petro Symonenko. Roman Solchanyk and Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. 19 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES REGISTERED IN BELARUS. The registration of initiative groups who plan to collect signatures for the nomination of their candidate ended on 24 April with the registration of 19 groups. The second stage of the Belarusian presidential election process takes place from 25 April-14 May. During this time the initiative groups have to collect either 70 signatures from parliamentary deputies in support of their candidate, or 100,000 signatures from Belarusian citizens. According to Interfax from 25 April, the proposed candidates include Prime Minister Vyachelsau Kebich; the former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich; Aleksandr Lukashenka, head of the former anti-corruption commission; opposition leader Zyanon Paznyak; head of the Belarusian Communist Party, Vasil Novikau; Uladzimir Karyahin, head of the Belarusian Union of Entrepreneurs; Henadz Karpenka, leader of the Party of Popular Accord; Viktor Tereshchenka, director of the International Management Institute; Mikola Kalbaska, chairman of the Belarusian Association of Invalids; Leonid Kozik, chairman of the parliamentary commission on economic reform; Eduard Akhrem, rector of the Belarusian Commercial University; Aleksandr Dubka, chairman of the Republican Union of Collective Farms; Ivan Karavaichik, general director of the Rostverk enterprise; Aleksandr Koltsau, head of the Children's Technical Group; Mikola Shelyahovich, chairman of the cultural group Polesye; Uladzimir Belau, head of the scientific research laboratory Seismotekhnika; Yevhen Luhin, chairman of the Belarusian Peasants' Party; Konstantin Buben, chairman of the scientific industrial cooperative; and Stanislau Litskevich. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. DATE STILL UNCLEAR FOR ULMANIS-YELTSIN MEETING. Diena reported on 25 April that contrary to earlier reports, it is still not certain if the Russian and Latvian presidents will meet in Moscow on April 30 or at a slightly later date. In preparation for the meeting, Russian experts arrived in Riga on 25 April to clear up questions concerning the four accords that are expected to be signed by the two presidents in connection with the the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia. Dzintra Bungs , RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIA TO COOPERATE WITH UKRAINE, POSSIBLY RUSSIA ON DEFENSE. On 21 April the Estonian and Ukrainian Defense Ministers, Indrek Kannik and Vitalii Radetsky, signed in Kiev a basic agreement on cooperation and consultation between their ministries. While in Kiev on a three-day visit, Estonian defense officials discussed various defense-related issues with their Ukrainian counterparts, including NATO's Partnership for Peace program and relations with Russia. BNS also reported on 21 April that head of the Estonian defense forces, Maj.Gen. Aleksandr Einseln, is considering the possibility of sending some Estonian officers for training in Russia. He told the press that "We don't think our contacts with the Russian military will stop with the pullout of Russian troops [from Estonia]. We must look into the future and map out the course of our cooperation." Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Ustina Markus & Edith Oltay The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. This report is also available by postal mail, as are the other publications of the Institute, and by fax. 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