It matters if you don't just give up. - Stephen Hawking
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 80, 27 April 1994

RUSSIA

RUSSIA RECONSIDERS JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES WITH US. Apparently
bowing to pressure from his political opposition in the
parliament, Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 26 April ordered
the Defense Ministry to reconsider a joint military exercise with
US military units scheduled to take place in July in the Orenburg
region of Russia. The New York Times on 27 April quoted Yeltsin as
saying that he "treats with understanding doubts voiced" in
parliament about the exercise and that he had ordered the Defense
Ministry both to hold "additional consultations" with Washington
and to "reconsider the decision bearing in mind both the position
of Russian lawmakers and Russian public opinion." A Yeltsin
spokesman said that the statement did not mean the exercises would
necessarily be canceled and, according to the Baltimore Sun, he
described Yeltsin's actions merely as an attempt to build a
"constructive dialogue" with various political parties on the
issue. According to the same report, US Defense Secretary William
Perry called his Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev, on 26 April in an effort to convince him to proceed with
the exercises, which were to have focused on peacekeeping
operations and which, it was hoped, might symbolize the sort of
cooperation that the two sides could bring to troublespots like
Bosnia. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

DUMA ADOPTS LAW ON CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. The new law on the
Constitutional Court was adopted in its first reading on 26 April
by the State Duma. Earlier this month, the parliament rejected a
draft law because of legislators' dissatisfaction with the current
judges who make up the Constitutional Court. The major difference
between the new law and its former drafts is that under this
version judges will be elected for 12 years rather than for life.
The 1991 Russian Law on the Constitutional Court,that was
suspended by Yeltsin last fall, had provided judges with life
terms. The new version also limits judges to serving on the
Constitutional Court for one term only, Russian television
reported on 26 April. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN DEPUTY SHOT DEAD. The prominent Russian banker Andrei
Aizderdzis, who was elected to the State Duma last December, was
shot dead in the stairwell of his apartment block in a Moscow
suburb, Interfax reported on 26 April. Aizderdzis, chairman of the
private MDK bank, had been a member of the centrist New Regional
Policy parliamentary faction. His murder was the latest in a
series of killings of leading bankers in Moscow over the past
months. Most Russian bankers have been pressured into paying
protection money to organized crime groups. At a recent meeting of
the Security Council President Boris Yeltsin promised to intensify
the struggle against crime and corruption, but so far has failed
to do so. Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL, Inc.

DUMA PREPARES LAW ON CORRUPTION. The Chairman of the Duma
Committee on Security, Viktor Ilyukhin said that increasing
connections between corrupt government officials and organized
crime is threatening to turn the present regime into a "criminal
state," Russian television reported on 26 April. According to
Ilyukhin up to 80% of enterprises in the state and private sectors
are involved in corrupt practices, while up to 50% are controlled
by organized crime. In the last year some of 1,500 officials were
investigated or arrested in connection with corruption charges.
About 50% of them were high ranking employees of the executive
branch, and 27% were officers in law enforcement agencies.
Ilyukhin revealed that his committee has drafted a law on
corruption which will apply to both civil servants and political
appointees. One of its features is a strict screening procedure of
individuals' incomes. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

RABIN VISIT CONTINUES. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Israeli
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin held talks on 26 April in Moscow.
Yeltsin noted that relations between Russia and Israel had not
always been good, but that the two sides could now "actively
develop bilateral relations." According to a statement issued by
Yeltsin's press service, Yeltsin stressed during talks that Russia
will continue to play an active part in Middle Eastern affairs,
ITAR-TASS reported. Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

BOSNIA DISCUSSIONS. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev
traveled to Geneva for talks with his US counterpart Warren
Christopher on 26 April. Prior to talks with Christopher, Kozyrev
lamented that "the military tendency is now looming quite
distinctly due to irresponsible activities of Serbian commandos,"
RIA reported. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Grigorii Karasin said that decisions on Bosnia must be made in the
framework of the UN Security Council, adding "unilateral decisions
in this respect will be counterproductive," ITAR-TASS reported.
Suzanne Crow, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN FORCES OWE GERMANY MILLIONS. Germany's economics ministry
on 26 April said that Russian military forces stationed in Germany
owe some 13 millions marks to German companies and communities and
it urged these groups to launch efforts to collect the outstanding
debts before the last Russian troops leave at the end of August.
According to Reuters, the ministry warned that settling the claims
could take months. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEFENSE INDUSTRIAL WORKERS PROTEST. About 300 workers from roughly
100 defense plants throughout Russia picketed the White House in
Moscow on 26 April, Interfax and Western agencies reported. A
spokesman for the protesters said that the group wanted to meet
with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin since approaches to other
government leaders had "led to nothing." Their grievances included
an assertion that the hasty conversion of defense enterprises had
brought "Russia's most powerful industry" to its knees, and they
complained about delays in payment, and the low average levels, of
wages in the industry. They demanded that defense plants be
permitted to export their own products since
Rosvooruzhenie--currently the only body allowed to conduct the
sales of military hardware abroad--keeps the lion's share of
profits for itself. The protesters threatened a nation-wide strike
of defense industrial workers if their demands were not met. Keith
Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

OLD-AGE PENSIONS INDEXED. The Federation Council on 26 April
approved the law on the procedure for indexing and adjusting
old-age pensions for inflation, Interfax reported. The law had
been passed by the Duma on 22 April. It sets the minimum old-age
pension in Russia at 19,000 rubles a month effective 1 May, while
all other pensions will be increased by 30 percent on that date.
The indexation is estimated to cost an additional 404 billion
rubles a month. It is not known whether provision for this was
made in the latest draft of the federal budget for 1994. Keith
Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

TEREKHOV COURT CASE CONTINUES. Hearings continue in a court case
launched against Russian Deputy Defense Minister Valerii Mironov
(who oversees personnel policy) by Lt. Col. Stanislav Terekhov,
head of the radical nationalist Russian Officers Union, Interfax
reported on 26 April. Terekhov is demanding that he be reinstated
to his former post in Russia's Military Humanitarian Academy
(formerly the Lenin Academy). Terekhov, a long-time critic of
Boris Yeltsin and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, was
dismissed from the armed forces for his political activities in
1993, and was subsequently arrested for his participation in an
attack on the headquarters of the CIS joint armed forces in
September that left two dead. He was amnestied in February of
1994. Interfax reported that five other officers, who were present
in the courtroom, have also filed suits contesting their dismissal
from the armed forces. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

FLEET PERSONNEL TO OPEN FIRE ON TRESPASSERS. The commander of
Russia's Pacific Fleet, Adm. Georgii Gurinov, on 27 April ordered
fleet personnel to open fire without warning on unidentified
people trespassing on navy property, ITAR-TASS reported. The order
was said to be a response to the murder on the night of 25 April
of a duty officer during a raid by gunmen on a fleet unit in
Vladivostok. On 20 April, according to ITAR-TASS, unidentified
gunmen had attacked a small arms depot in a Vladivostok suburb. In
neither case have the attackers been apprehended. Stephen Foye,
RFE/RL, Inc.

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KAZAKH-CHINESE TALKS. Continuing his tour of Central Asia, Chinese
Premier Li Peng held talks with the Kazakh leadership in Almaty on
26 April, culminating in the signing of what Li termed a
"historic" agreement defining the last disputed stretch of the two
countries' 1,700 km border, Russian and Western agencies reported.
Agreements were also signed on abolishing transport restrictions
between the two countries and the extension by the PRC to
Kazakhstan of a 50 million yuan credit, which Kazakh President
Nursultan Nazarbaev said will be used to encourage trade between
Kazakhstan and its second largest trading partner, China. The
Nevada-Semipalatinsk anti-nuclear testing movement and Eastern
Turkestan, an organization representing the Uigurs, held a protest
meeting in Almaty on 26 April to call for the closure of the
Chinese nuclear testing site at Lop Nor, Reuters reported. Liz
Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

AZERBAIJAN CONDITIONALLY AGREES TO KARABAKH CEASEFIRE. Talks in
Moscow on 26 April between Azerbaijan parliamentary chairman Rasul
Guliev and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev culminated in an
agreement that Azerbaijan will observe a ceasefire beginning in
the night of 27-28 April providing the Armenians agree to do
likewise, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Grachev proposed that
the ceasefire be followed by the creation of a demilitarized zone
and the deployment of CIS and CSCE peacekeeping troops, but also
stated that if the ceasefire was violated he would cease any
further mediation activities. Grachev and Guliev also reached
agreement on returning the early warning radar station at Gebele
in northern Azerbaijan to Russian control. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MITTERAND IN TASHKENT. On 26 April, the first full day of his
state visit to Uzbekistan, French President Francois Mitterand and
his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov held talks on a range of
issues including the situation in Tajikistan and Afghanistan,
characterized by Mitterand as "potentially one of the most
important problems concerning peace on this planet," and on French
contributions towards modernizing the Uzbek economy, ITAR-TASS
reported. Mitterand said France would provide 700 million francs
in credits for the construction of an oil refinery in Bukhara and
the modernization of the Tashkent airport air traffic control
system; French companies are involved in both projects. He also
promised to support Uzbekistan's request for financial aid from
the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. An Uzbek
Embassy will open in Paris in the near future. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL,
Inc.

NEW GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER CONFIRMED. On 26 April the Georgian
parliament confirmed as parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze's
candidate for the post of defense minister, Lt. Gen. Vardiko
Nadibaidze, Interfax reported. Opposition objections that the
57-year-old Nadibaidze had served for 20 years in the Soviet army
in the Transcaucasus Military District and was therefore "a stooge
of Moscow" were overruled. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SERBS PULL BACK FROM GORAZDE. International media report on 27
April that UN officials said that Bosnian Serb forces had
apparently withdrawn their known heavy guns in time to meet NATO's
2 am deadline that day. The Washington Post notes that the wording
of the UN statement allows for the possibility that hidden
artillery might remain in the 20 kilometer exclusion zone, but for
now there are no plans for air strikes. Meanwhile, many observers
now expect that the Serbs will concentrate their energies on
strengthening and expanding their northern Bosnian supply corridor
linking Serbia with occupied territories in Croatia and
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW COORDINATING GROUP SET UP FOR BOSNIA. On the diplomatic front,
the Washington Post said on 26 April that a new coordinating
"contact group" consisting of representatives of the US, Russia,
the EU, and the UN had been set up in London the previous day. The
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 27 April reports that the group
had its first meeting on the 26th and that it seeks a peaceful
settlement of the Bosnian crisis in about four months. British
officials in particular stressed that negotiations and not
military means can provide the best solution. The group plans to
go on to Sarajevo shortly. US Secretary of State Warren
Christopher left London following the 25 April founding session
and held talks the next day in Geneva with Russian Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev. Finally, a former British military
attache to Belgrade writing in The Independent on 26 April spells
out a plan for enforcing peace in Bosnia and warns that there are
no cheap or easy solutions. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATIAN UPDATE. Amid a growing teachers' strike to protest
general living and working conditions, Prime Minister Nikica
Valentic told Novi list on 26 April that his government will not
yield to "chaos and anarchy." Vjesnik on 27 April says that the
opposition parties back the strikers, whose demands include a
cabinet shake-up and the sacking of Education and Culture Minister
Vesna Girardi-Jurkic. Meanwhile, the 27 April Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung reports that lower house speaker Stipe Mesic --
who is one of the co-founders of the new Croatian Independent
Democrats (HND) who split off from the governing Croatian
Democratic Community (HDZ) -- expects the HND to hold its founding
meeting soon. He also predicted that at least 20 HDZ deputies
would join his party, thereby costing the HDZ its majority and
possibly forcing new elections. The Feral Tribune on 25 April
noted, however, that whether or not Mesic and his friends actually
demolish the HDZ's majority is not crucial, since the HND has
already attracted enough support to put an end to a situation in
which the HDZ could do as it pleased in parliament. Finally, the
HDZ is continuing its campaign to play down the importance of the
split. This was conveyed in an interview with Defense Minister
Gojko Susak in Slobodna Dalmacija on 27 April and in another talk
with top party official Ivic Pasalic in Vecernji list. In that
same paper on the previous day, however, Foreign Minister Mate
Granic warned that the departure of the HDZ's left wing should not
lead the party to tilt to the right, since that could hurt
Croatia's image abroad. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.
MILOSEVIC RECEIVES RUSSIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS. On 26 April Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic met with a delegation of Russian
parliamentarians, Serbian media report. The main purpose of the
meeting appears to have been to afford the Serbian president the
opportunity to reaffirm good relations with Russia, which recently
appeared to be suffering after high-level Russian officials,
including Russian President Boris Yeltsin, criticized the Serb
involvement in the Bosnian crisis. Politika carries the story
under the headline: "Milosevic: Serbia Values Russia's Balanced
and Impartial Position." In other news, Politika also reports on
an anniversary for rump Yugoslavia. The daily observes that it was
two years ago, on 27 April 1992, that Serbia and Montenegro
adopted the name "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia." Stan Markotich,
RFE/RL, Inc.

GERMANY SENDS CROATIAN REFUGEES BACK. On 25 April the German and
Croatian governments signed an agreement in Bonn on the return of
about 70,000 refugees, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on 26
April. An estimated 20,000 refugees from the Serbian-occupied and
devastated areas in Croatia will not be returned until 1995.
Deserters and conscientious objecters will also be returned but
Zagreb officials said that those who fled the draft between August
1990 and September 1992 have received an amnesty. Croatia will
allow Germans to monitor trials against deserters who fled after
that date. Since about 280,000 refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina
and about 250,000 displaced persons from Croatian areas live in
Croatia, the country has hardly any housing for returning
refugees. Nonetheless, Croatia hopes that the refugees returning
in 1994 will be able to move back to their own flats and houses or
find accomodations with relatives. Croatia expects that those
refugees returning in 1995 will have the accommodations now used
by its own Bosnian refugees when and if these are returned to
Bosnia. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

GLIGOROV ENDS BULGARIAN VISIT. DEL In ADD On the evening of 26
April Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov ended his third--but the
first to be termed "official"--visit to Bulgaria, BTA reports. At
a joint press conference with Bulgarian state chief Zhelyu Zhelev,
the two leaders stressed the positive aspects of Gligorov's talks
with Bulgarian leaders during the two-day visit. Whereas Gligorov
expressed his gratitude for Sofia's support in pushing for
Macedonia's international recognition, Zhelev said discussions on
bilateral relations, the problems of the Balkans, as well as
European integration, had been "exceptionally important." Both
nonetheless acknowledged that a linguistic dispute had marred the
visit, leading to the postponement of the signing of two bilateral
accords. To demonstrate their view that Macedonian is not a
separate language but a dialect of Bulgarian, Zhelev and other
officials in Sofia had consistently asked that interpreters cease
translating from Macedonian. Gligorov, for his part, insisted on
using interpreters and refused to sign any document which would
"call into question the language of our people." Kjell Engelbrekt,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BOSNIAN PRESIDENT CANCELS BUCHAREST VISIT. Bosnian president Alija
Izetbegovich has called off a visit to Romania scheduled for 27
April, Reuters reported from Bucharest. The Romanian Foreign
Ministry said on 26 April that escalating tension in Bosnia was
the reason for the cancellation and that no new date for the visit
had been set. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH GOVERNMENT YIELDS, STRIKES CONTINUE. Solidarity vowed to
transform its brown-coal strike into a nationwide general strike
beginning 28 April, despite the government's decision to annul a
contested directive that was intended to start the restructuring
of Poland's energy sector, PAP reports. Meeting with unionists in
Piotrkow on 26 April, Industry Minister Marek Pol called the
government's concession a "defeat for reform." Solidarity leaders
demanded that the government present, within 48 hours, a timetable
showing how and when it will meet the union's demands.
Solidarity's demands are extensive and include: the abolition of
wage controls, a 40-hour work week, the public distribution of
state assets, and various tax and welfare benefits. The
government's retreat has emboldened the union, prompting it to
schedule a general strike before the 48-hour ultimatum expires.
The cabinet convened late on 26 April to discuss the strikes.
There was no official statement, but ministers commented that the
government cannot allow a trade union to control the state. A
statement from Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak is expected on 27
April. Pawlak has adopted a hands-off style on the strike that
Gazeta Wyborcza suggests is meant to prevent economic disputes
from sullying his image. Solidarity's call for a strike in
Silesian hard-coal mines met with only a limited response;
management reported that only 6,500 of 170,000 workers were on
strike on 26 April. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH-LITHUANIAN TREATY SIGNED. Presidents Lech Walesa and
Algirdas Brazauskas signed the long-delayed Polish-Lithuanian
friendship treaty in Vilnius on 26 April, PAP reports. The treaty,
which is valid for fifteen years, expresses regret at the interwar
conflicts between the two countries and condemns the use of force
in their historical relations. It confirms current borders and
obliges both countries to adhere to international standards in
dealing with ethnic minorities. In speeches to the Lithuanian
parliament, both Brazauskas and Walesa praised the treaty as a
sound foundation for bilateral cooperation. Walesa stressed that
affirmations of ethnic identity should go hand in hand with
loyalty to the state in which one resides. Brazauskas repeatedly
stressed the "Lithuanian character" of Vilnius and restated his
country's claim that the Vilnius region belonged to the Polish
interwar state "in fact but not in law." He acknowledged that
Poles would likely not agree with this assessment of history but
urged future reconciliation. Walesa's spokesman reacted with
irritation to Brazauskas's remarks, Polish TV reports. Lithuania
abandoned its demand that Poland condemn its 1920 annexation of
Vilnius in the treaty. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN PREMIER MAY STILL MEET SLOVAK COUNTERPART. According to
Hungarian foreign ministry spokesman Janos Herman, Prime Minister
Peter Boross was ready to meet Slovak Premier Jozef Moravcik,
possibly on 30 May when the latter is scheduled to take part in a
conference in Visegrad, Hungary, organized by Hungary's two
liberal opposition parties, MTI reported on 26 April. Although
Moravcik has repeatedly sought a meeting with Boross, the latter
declined last week because of a Slovak demand for a joint
declaration after the meeting in which Hungary would declare "in
principle" the inviolability of the two countries' borders.
Hungarian Socialist Party Chairman Gyula Horn and Gabor Kuncze,
the Alliance of Free Democrats' prime minister-designate, recently
visited Bratislava for talks with Moravcik and were criticized by
Boross and Foreign Minister Geza Jeszenszky for undermining
Hungary's efforts to sign a mutually acceptable basic treaty with
Slovakia that would include both a border and a minority rights
clause. In an interview with TASR on 26 April, Moravcik said he
will probably not visit Hungary this weekend because he has other
matters to attend to. He did say, however, that a meeting with
Boross might still take place. He did not want to comment on
Boross's statement that Horn influenced him to delay his trip. In
another development, on 26 April Slovak President Michal Kovac
presented Eva Mitrova her credentials as the new Slovak Ambassador
to Hungary. Alfred Reisch and Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK ECONOMIC OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON. Deputy Premier for
economic issues Brigita Schmoegnerova addressed the IMF on 26
April, calling for more cooperation between the IMF and countries
in transition. In negotiations with IMF officials, Schmoegnerova
said that taxes on some goods would likely be raised to ensure
that the budget deficit does not exceed 4% of GDP in 1994. Meeting
with US Treasury Department officials on 26 April, Finance
Minister Rudolf Filkus said that thus far the budget results have
been positive; the present deficit is only 4 billion koruny (the
state budget sets the deficit at 14 billion koruny for 1994), and
the inflation rate was 0.5% in March. An IMF mission is expected
to visit Slovakia in May to decide whether the country will
qualify for a stand-by loan. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAKIA REGISTERS TRADE DEFICIT. According to figures released by
the Slovak Statistical Office and reported by TASR on 26 April,
Slovakia's foreign trade deficit in the first two months of 1994
reached 3.95 billion koruny. Imports rose 52.8% from the same
period of 1993, to a total of 32.24 billion koruny, while exports
increased 27.1% to 28.29 billion koruny. The Czech Republic
remained Slovakia's biggest trading partner, representing 37.6% of
Slovak exports and 30.4% of Slovak imports in January and
February. Germany and Russia were also important trading partners.
Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIA'S RULING PARTY UNWILLING TO RELINQUISH ALLIANCE WITH
EXTREMISTS. Following the last round of parleys with the ruling
Party of Social Democracy in Romania, the vice-chairman of the
Democratic Party-National Salvation Front, Adrian Severin, was
quoted by Radio Bucharest on 26 April as saying that the PSDR was
unwilling to renounce "political bigamy" and forgo its alliance in
parliament with the "extremist, xenophobe parties of nostalgic
restoration." The parleys, Severin stated, had not achieved their
initial purpose of forging a new parliamentary majority. However,
the two sides agreed to pursue further consultations with the
participation of other parties of the democratic opposition, and
to hold bilateral talks on ways of accelerating reforms, and
"perfecting legislation on the setting up and functioning of
political parties." Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

PRIVATE NATIONAL TV CHANNEL IN ROMANIA. A private national TV
channel, Tele 7 ABC, is to be soon launched in Romania, Radio
Bucharest and Western agencies reported on 26 April. At a press
conference in Bucharest it was announced that the channel, owned
by the Expres publications trust and by an investor of Romanian
origin from Germany, will be using a commercial satellite
television network. Tele 7 ABC will begin airing a mixture of
news, entertainment, and commercial programming in July, and will
initially cover 40 percent of the country's television network.
Ion Cristoiu, the chief editor of the daily Evenimentul zilei,
will be editorial director and Mihai Tatulici, a famous former
show host on Romania's state television, will be the channel's
director. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

MESHKOV SAYS CRIMEA DOES NOT WANT TO SECEDE. Crimean President
Yurii Meshkov, in an exclusive interview with ITAR-TASS on 25
April, is reported to have "categorically refuted" Ukrainian
President Leonid Kravchuk's assertion that Crimea intended to
secede from Ukraine. Meshkov added that Ukrainian Defense Minister
Vitalii Radetsky, by blocking Meshkov from attending the
Ukrainian-Russian negotiations on the Black Sea Fleet, in effect
"expelled" Crimea from Ukraine. Meshkov also said that Kiev was
making a serious mistake by ignoring the opinion of the people of
Crimea on the fleet issue and that the best approach to solving
Ukrainian-Russian differences would be to include Crimea as "an
equal third party." Roman Solchanyk, RFE/RL, Inc.

CONTRACT SERVICE INTRODUCED INTO BELARUSIAN ARMED FORCES. As of 25
April soldiers and sergeants who have completed their term of
military service can continue serving in the Belarusian armed
forces on a contract basis, Belarusian radio reported on 27 April.
The contracts are available to men aged 20-35, and women aged
19-35 who do not have children. Initial contracts would be offered
for a two-year period. After that women can sign further contracts
for 3 year terms, and men have the choice of 3 or 6 year terms.
The pay of contract personnel is a tax-exempt 400-500,000
Belarusian rubles per month, and they are entitled to a pension
after twenty years of service. Rules for a contract system for
officers have already been worked out and should come into effect
in the near future. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

BALTS AND NEIGHBORS TRY TO CURB ILLEGAL MIGRATION. BNS reported on
26 April that Estonian border guards had detained eight persons
with forged Polish passports; four of them were Kurds. A group of
63 illegal migrants of Kurdish nationality who were detained
earlier are being held at a detention center in Tallinn. For
Estonia illegal aliens pose a serious problem because the country
lacks the proper facilities and resources to deal with them.
Meanwhile Lietuvos Rytas reported the same day of a successful
operation carried out by Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian and
Belarusian police against a group of Chinese, Sri Lankan, and
Pakistani illegal migrants heading for the West. The newspaper
said that Asians and Africans are charged about $2000 by gangs in
Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine for transport to
the West. The gangs also engage in drug smuggling. Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ESTONIAN PREMIER PLEASED OVER US VISIT. Prime Minister Mart Laar
told Interfax on 26 April in Tallinn that much had been
accomplished during his recent one-week visit to the United
States. He stressed in particular the usefulness of the meetings
with US Secretary of Defense William Perry and UN Secretary
General Boutros Boutros-Ghali; both leaders expressed concern over
the continued presence of Russian troops in Estonia . Dzintra
Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Ustina Markus & Edith Oltay
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