This is the true nature of home-- it is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from injury, but from all terror, doubt and division. - John Ruskin
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 99, 26 May 1994

RUSSIA


RUSSIA TO JOIN NATO PARTNERSHIP, BUT QUESTIONS REMAIN. Addressing
the inaugural meeting of the NATO Partnership for Peace program on
25 May, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev affirmed Russia's
readiness to join the program without conditions, but also
reiterated Moscow's view that the partnership was "not a complete
answer, but only a first step" toward dealing with the Post-Cold
War security environment in Europe. According to The Washington
Post, Grachev suggested that Russia's nuclear status required it
to aim for a "consultative mechanism" with NATO that went beyond
the partnership; he was quoted as saying that "what we suggest is
not to limit the sphere of partnership, but to enrich it with
cooperation between Russia and NATO, not only in military areas
but on other important issues." Grachev offered the assembly what
was described as a lengthy document that described a number of
possible joint projects involving, among other things,
peacekeeping operations, strategic planning, and exercises.
Western officials went out of their way to praise Grachev's
performance, both for the substance of his remarks and for the
spirit of cooperation that they were said to have evidenced, but
also reiterated that Russia would not play a special role in the
partnership. No date was given for Russia's actual signing of the
partnership agreement.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

ON MILITARY DOCTRINE, CFE. In remarks made to NATO Defense
Ministers a day earlier, on 24 May, Grachev reportedly labored to
reassure his audience that Russia's new military doctrine was
defensive and that Russian peacekeeping activities in the
countries of the former Soviet Union were not animated by
neo-imperialist ambitions and that they would respect UN
guidelines. He also was reported to have said that the problems of
Russian minorities in the "near abroad" should be resolved by
political rather than military solutions. On 25 May, however,
Reuters reported that NATO and Russian officials continued to
clash over Moscow's request that the CFE (Conventional Forces in
Europe) Treaty be amended to allow Russia to augment its military
forces in the Caucasus region.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

CHERNOMYRDIN ARRIVES IN BEIJING. Reuters reported on 26 May that
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin had arrived in Beijing
to begin a three-day visit expected to focus on promoting
bilateral trade. His arrival caps a month of high-level visits by
Russian leaders. Reuters reported that trade between the two
countries amounted to $7.68 billion in 1993, an increase of 31%
from the previous year. A drop of 50% in the first two months of
1994, attributed to tightened visa conditions, was said to be both
a cause of concern and a result of the fact that cross-border
bartering had been significant. A Western diplomat was quoted as
saying that "both sides are interested in trying to ease the
bilateral trade away from border trade to state-to-state and
corporation-to-corporation." In remarks reported by Interfax on 25
May, Chernomyrdin said that Russia and China should have friendly,
or even fraternal, relations. He also suggested that arms sales
would be an important topic of discussion in Beijing.  Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL, Inc.

SOCIOLOGIST ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. The well-known sociologist
Igor Klyamkin published an article in Rossiiskaya vesti on 25 May
arguing that Yeltsin remains the top favorite for presidential
elections, adding that economist Grigorii Yavlinsky has a good
chance to challenge him. But Klyamkin also opined that the "ruling
bureaucracy" in Russia will put forward its own candidate for
presidential elections in 1996 and will do its utmost to prevent
the emergence of a leader who, like Yeltsin in 1991, could appeal
to the masses for popular support. According to him, popular
elections will be delayed or cancelled should the "ruling
bureaucracy" feel threatened by the emergence of an independent
leader. Klyamkin stated that various old style political, economic
and military lobbies have formed an alliance in order to regain
control over politics in the country.  Alexander Rahr, RFE/RL,
Inc.

REACTION TO YELTSIN'S ECONOMIC PACKAGE. Domestic reaction to the
economic decrees issued by President Yeltsin on 23 May has been
generally favorable, to judge from Russian agency and radio
reports. Some key legislators, including Egor Gaidar and Vladimir
Medvedev, particularly welcomed the decree abolishing export
quotas and licenses. Western business circles were more
circumspect. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal of 26
May cite an accounting firm executive as criticizing the decrees
for their vague wording, while a tax specialist pointed out that
the promised tax holidays on profits during the first two years of
operation would bring little if any joy to foreign joint ventures
that typically generate no profits during their startup period.
Yeltsin sent a letter to the parliament elaborating on the decrees
and urging prompt enabling legislation. His office promised
another six decrees by 27 May and another 100 by year's end.
Keith Bush, RFE/RL, Inc.

KHASBULATOV SAYS YELTSIN AND DUDAEV MUST GO. In Nezavisimaya
gazeta of 25 May, former speaker of the Russian parliament Ruslan
Khasbulatov said that both Yeltsin and Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudaev enjoyed no widespread social support and were kept in power
by the army. In his view both should go, and the sooner the
better. Khasbulatov was commenting on the situation in Chechnya
where he recently spent several weeks after he was amnestied. He
said that the Dudaev regime has caused untold harm to Chechnya.
While agreeing that a serious dialogue between Moscow and Chechnya
was necessary and that Chechnya should be brought back into the
Russian fold, he doubted that talks between Yeltsin and Dudaev
would provide the answer.  Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA SIGNS 10 AGREEMENTS WITH BASHKORTOSTAN. On 25 May Russian
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and his Bashkortostan counterpart
Anatolii Kopsov signed ten agreements on cooperation and
delimiting powers between the governments of Russia and
Bashkortostan, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Bashkortostan thus
became the second territory after Tatarstan to sign such a set of
agreements with the Russian government. Two further agreements--on
budget and banking relations--were not signed because of remaining
differences. According to Chernomyrdin, the main power-sharing
treaty between Russia and Bashkortostan will be signed as soon as
these two documents are finalized. Ann Sheehy, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHAKRAI'S RESIGNATION REJECTED. Interfax reported on 24 May that
Russian President Boris Yeltsin had rejected Sergei Shakrai's
resignation from the post of deputy prime minister.  John
Lepingwell, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

NO AGREEMENT ON BLACK SEA FLEET. There is still no agreement on
the Black Sea Fleet after three days of talks and further
discussions have been put off for 10 days, various agencies
reported. The division of the fleet itself has reportedly been
agreed on, but talks have stalled over the issue of basing. Russia
insists its share of the fleet must be based in Sevastopol and has
proposed Ukraine use other bases in Crimea such as Donuzlav and
Balaklava. Ukraine maintains that it is necessary for it to
station at least some of its ships in Sevastopol so that the base
would have to be shared between the two navies.  Ustina Markus,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CRIMEAN UPDATE. The speaker of the Crimean parliament, Serhii
Tsekov, said that Simferopol would be prepared to settle for a
power sharing agreement with Kiev similar to that between Russia
and Tatarstan, various agencies reported on 25 May. He called for
the adoption of legislation which would settle the differences
between Ukraine and Crimea. According to Tsekov the current
tension not only stems from Simferopol's recent decisions, but
also from Kiev's inconsistent policy towards Crimea over the past
18 months. As for the adoption of the republic's 1992
constitution, Tsekov said that under it Crimea is still a part of
Ukraine and "that's all there is to it." Crimean Interior
Minister, Valerii Kuznetsov, said that Ukraine is continuing with
the formation of a 2,500-3,000-strong National Guard brigade in
Crimea. It was also reported that Ukrainian Internal Affairs
Minister Andrii Vasylyshyn delivered an address to the leadership
and personnel of internal affairs agencies in Crimea condemning
the failure of the Crimean authorities to carry out directives
from Kiev and asking for assurances that the Crimean Interior
Ministry will remain a part of the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

PROBLEMS WITH THE BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN MONETARY UNION. The chairman
of the National Bank of Belarus, Stanislau Bahdankevich, described
the agreement on monetary union with Russia as "stillborn,"
Interfax reported on 20 May. Many details of the merger had not
been worked out at the time of the document's signing on 12 April
and these persist in being stumbling blocks as the two sides
continue negotiating the exact terms of the union. According to
Bahdankevich, the document remains a "letter of intent." In other
news Interfax reported on 24 May that as of 1 June the Belarusian
ruble will be the only legal tender in Belarus and all accounting
will be carried out in that currency until the monetary union
officially takes place. It was also reported by Belarusian radio
on 25 May that Russia has agreed to give Belarus credits worth 150
billion rubles for the first half of 1994.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIAN POLITICAL PARTIES SIGN DECLARATION ON NATIONAL UNITY. On
25 May representatives of 34 Georgian political parties signed a
nine-point declaration of National Accord and Unity, modelled on
Yeltsin's Civic Accord and affirming Georgia's independence and
territorial integrity and commitment to democracy and economic
reform, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Georgian radicals,
including National Independence Party chairman Irakli Tsereteli,
refused to sign the document.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

AKAEV ON EFFECTS OF REFORMS. Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev
told an Interfax interviewer on 25 May that the strict monetary
policy of the National Bank has reduced the monthly inflation rate
from 40% immediately after Kyrgyzstan introduced its own currency
in May 1993 to 4.9% today. Kyrgyzstan's chief economic weakness
now, according to Akaev, is the malfunctioning of the tax system,
resulting in the loss to the national treasury of half its planned
income. Akaev noted that foreign donors are insisting that
Kyrgyzstan's government stop funding its state budget at their
expense. He criticized the parliament for frightening off foreign
investors with its attacks on a deal with a Canadian firm to
exploit gold deposits in Kyrgyzstan. The affair led to the fall of
the government and still raises passions in Bishkek.  Bess Brown,
RFE/RL, Inc.

JOURNALISTS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER TAJIK SITUATION. The
International Confederation of Journalists' Unions (ICJU) has sent
an open letter to Tajikistan's leader, Imomali Rakhmonov,
expressing grave concern about the safety of journalists in that
country, ITAR-TASS reported on 25 May. The letter, signed by ICJU
President Eduard Sagalaev, was written in the wake of the recent
slaying of two journalists in Dushanbe; one, Khushbakht
Khaidarsho, was responsible secretary of Dzhumhuriat, a prominent
Tajik newspaper. Sagalaev noted that 35 journalists have been
killed in Tajikistan over the past two years, and that the rights
of journalists and freedom of the press continue to be violated.
The letter also protested the continued confinement of several
journalists, including Mirbobo Mirrakhimov, a well-known leader of
the Tajik opposition. The International Confederation of
Journalists' Union is the successor organization to the USSR
Journalists' Union, and represents journalists from most CIS
states.  Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIA TALKS CONTINUE, RENEWED FIGHTING REPORTED. On 26 May
international media report that talks between Bosnian Croat,
Muslim, and Serb leaders continue with international mediators in
the French town of Talloires. Virtually no details are available
as negotiations are being kept out of the public eye. Meanwhile,
on 26 May Reuters reports that combined Bosnian Muslim and Croat
forces have attacked Serbian troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
near the town of Tesanj. On 25 May Reuters also reported that
Bosnian Serb and Muslim troops fought around Tesanj. Twelve people
were killed.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

CROATIAN PARLIAMENT BOYCOTTED. On 25 May RFE/RL's South Slavic
Language Service reported that Croatian opposition parties
boycotted the 25 May parliamentary session in protest of Stipe
Mesic's removal from his speaker's post. On 24 May the ruling
Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), from which Mesic and fellow
HDZ-supporter Josip Manolic broke to form their own party, used
its majority to elect Nedjeljko Mihanovic in Mesic's place, after
opposition parties left the legislative session in protest against
Mesic's removal. Following his replacement by Mihanovic, Mesic
continues to claim he is the legitimate speaker. Relations between
the HDZ and the opposition parties appear to have hit yet another
serious snag; on 26 May Vjesnik reports that on the previous day
negotiations between the HDZ and the opposition broke down when
HDZ officials produced a copy of a letter which they allege was
written by Mesic and Manolic, distributed internationally, and
intended to "sully and indict the Croatian nation." The exact
contents of the alleged letter remain unknown, and Mesic and
Manolic have said they were not involved in writing it. Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

530 MILLION DOLLARS TO START REBUILDING SARAJEVO. On 25 May
international agencies reported that UN officials and
representatives of the Bosnian government revealed plans for
rebuilding the Bosnian capital Sarajevo at a Vienna-based
conference devoted to the reconstruction of the city. The
estimated cost of a project to begin rebuilding Sarajevo's
war-ravaged infrastructure is some 530 million dollars. The city,
seriously damaged after a two-year siege, has been relatively calm
since attacking Serb forces stopped shelling in February, in
response to a NATO ultimatum. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

TELEVISION DEBATE BETWEEN HORN AND KUNCZE. Hungarian Socialist
Party chairman Gyula Horn and Alliance of Free Democrats prime
minister candidate Gabor Kuncze discussed on 25 May the
possibility of an HSP-AFD coalition, the prime minister's person,
and relations with neighboring countries, MTI reports. Horn
reiterated that he would be ready to head the new government if
asked by his party but said that the prime minister's person will
also depend on the outcome of the second decisive round of
elections on 29 May. He insisted that a possible coalition
agreement state that wage earners should no longer bear the brunt
of the costs of economic reforms, and stressed that the help of
the unions was needed to forge a social pact between the
government, workers, and employers. Kuncze expressed concern that
major trade unions leaders, who will most likely belong to the HSP
faction, will exercise excessive influence over the HSP, and said
that the terms of a social pact should not be decided in the HSP
but outside parliament. The two politicians called for a
"historical reconciliation" with neighboring countries and
advocated bilateral agreements stipulating the inviolability of
the borders and including guarantees for the minority rights of
ethnic Hungarians.  Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

PINOCHET TO VISIT THE CZECH REPUBLIC. Czech media reported on 25
May that General Augusto Pinochet will be among the members of a
Chilean military delegation that is scheduled to visit the Czech
Republic on 30 May. The visit was confirmed by Czech politicians,
including Premier Vaclav Klaus and Foreign Minister Josef
Zieleniec. Klaus, who recently visited Chile, said that Pinochet's
visit will take place at the invitation of Czech arms producers
and will be "purely private." He ruled out any contacts between
top Czech politicians and the Chilean delegation. According to
CTK, Pinochet and his delegation will also visit Slovakia, Russia,
Switzerland, and England.  Jan Obrman, RFE/RL, Inc.

HAVEL AND KOVAC ON CZECH-SLOVAK RELATIONS. On the eve of Czech
President Vaclav Havel's visit to Slovakia, on 25 May Slovak
Television broadcast a discussion of Havel and Slovak President
Michal Kovac concerning bilateral relations. Kovac stressed the
importance of Slovakia's relations with the Czech Republic.
Expressing concern that activities in the intellectual sphere have
already weakened because of a decline in the exchange of
information, Kovac said he wants to increase the number of
meetings between the two presidents. Kovac mentioned that both
countries want to be integrated in European structures as soon as
possible. Havel said that although the Czechs do not want to
outrun other countries in the race towards the West at any price,
the period when everything must be done together has passed; each
country now has the opportunity to gain visibility on its own.
Noting that the decline in economic cooperation has ended, Havel
said it is now time to renew and extend bilateral relations.
Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

TRADE UNION PROTESTS IN SLOVAKIA. On 25 May representatives of the
KOVO Trade Union demonstrated peacefully in front of the new
parliament building to protest against a government bill on
allowances for children, TASR reported. Approximately 400 union
members traveled from all over Slovakia to show support for the
version of the bill submitted by the trade unions, which offers
more income to larger families. After meeting with union
representatives, parliament chairman Ivan Gasparovic said that the
parliament must look for reserves elsewhere, and not at the
expense of families. According to Premier Jozef Moravcik, the
unions' plan would cost 1 billion koruny, meaning that either
taxes or the deficit would have to be increased, both of which are
"unacceptable," SME reported on 25 May.  Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL,
Inc.

PROSECUTION RESTS IN POPIELUSZKO MURDER TRIAL. The prosecutor in
the trial of the two secret police generals charged with
organizing the 1984 murder of Father Jerzy Popieluszko rested his
case on 25 May with a demand for 15-year prison terms. Given the
lack of any clear evidence that the two generals--Wladyslaw
Ciaston and Zenon Platek--explicitly ordered the priest's
kidnapping and murder, the prosecutor reduced the charges from
"directing" the murder to "inciting and abetting" the crime. In
fact, the only evidence implicating the generals are statements by
the four secret police officers convicted of the murder in a 1985
trial. The prosecutor argued, however, that there was abundant
evidence that the two generals had supervised a campaign of
intimidation against Popieluszko and other activist priests, and
that the murder was the logical conclusion of this campaign. The
generals also attempted to cover up their subordinates'
involvement in the crime. The court reconvenes on 6 June, PAP
reports. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA: FOR A EUROPEAN ORDER LIKE A SWISS WATCH. Opening a
three-day official visit to Switzerland on 25 May, Polish
President Lech Walesa called for the construction of a new order
in Europe that would prove "as durable and reliable as a Swiss
watch," PAP reports. "The new Europe should be a compromise
between the necessity of integration and each nation's right to
its own identity," Walesa said. Swiss President Otto Stich called
Polish-Swiss relations "excellent" but was cautious about any new
financial commitment to Poland. A large business delegation
accompanied the Polish president. No accords are to be signed
during the visit, but it has great symbolic significance.
Switzerland receives only one state visit per year; Poland is the
first East European country invited. Speaking to the Polish emigre
community in Bern, Walesa tried to ease fears of a communist
resurgence. "The communists never give up anything for free,"
Walesa jested; now that they are capitalists, they will not give
up their capital and go back to being communists.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

CRIMEA CONFLICT WORRIES POLAND. In a letter to his Ukrainian
counterpart on 24 May, Polish Foreign Minister Andrzej Olechowski
expressed Poland's concern at the situation in Crimea and the
"possibility that a Ukrainian domestic problem could evolve into
an international conflict." The letter said that Poland supports a
peaceful resolution of the conflict, in keeping with the
democratic legal order; it restates Poland's support for Ukraine's
independence and territorial integrity, PAP reports. The letter
prompted a demand from the Confederation for an Independent Poland
(KPN) for a Sejm debate on the government's planned response,
should the Russian-Ukrainian conflict escalate.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIA ON THE CRIMEAN CRISIS. A spokeswoman for the Romanian
Foreign Ministry said on 25 May the government is following the
Crimean situation closely, but views it as an internal Ukrainian
problem. Radio Bucharest quoted Simona Miculescu as saying that
Romania hopes the crisis in Crimea will be settled through
political means. She added that Romanian regards Crimea as an
integral part of Ukraine, whose stability and independence are
very important for the region and for the rest of Europe.
Miculescu praised the attitude taken by Russia on the issue,
calling it a "positive sign." Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIA'S GOVERNMENT CRISIS. On 25 May representatives of the
Bulgarian government and the National Assembly failed to agree on
a way out of the political crisis, domestic media report. Whereas
the Bulgarian Socialist Party said it was ready to consider Prime
Minister Lyuben Berov's proposal on a political accord which would
enable the cabinet to promote the adoption of key economic and
other legislation until new elections are held sometime in autumn,
all other parliamentary factions were reluctant or--as in the case
of the opposition Union of Democratic Forces--outright rejected
the initiative. UDF leader Filip Dimitrov accused Berov of
violating an elementary principle of parliamentarism by refusing
to step down after having failed to gain support from a majority
of the deputies in two ballots on 19 and 20 May. Assembly Chairman
Aleksandar Yordanov, also a UDF member, noted in a statement that
a political accord would be of no juridical value since the 1991
constitution makes no reference to that possibility. He instead
urged Berov to comply with parliamentary logic and resign. A new
no-confidence vote was originally scheduled for 25 May but has
been postponed.  Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

ETHNIC HUNGARIANS PROTEST ANTONESCU STATUE. An RFE/RL
correspondent reported on 24 May that the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania has again protested against the project to
erect a statue of Romania's wartime dictator Ion Antonescu in the
Transylvanian town of Targu Mures, which is heavily populated by
ethnic Hungarians. The statue is sponsored by an association of
wartime veterans. Jewish and Hungarian groups in Romania protested
against the project and the mayor of Targu Mures, Gyozo Nagy,
banned it and fined its promoters two million lei (about $1, 400
dollars). But a court of justice in the city ruled that the
erection of the statue was legal. Another monument to Antonescu
has been erected in the southern town of Slobozia in 1993.
Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc.

ROMANIA TO OPEN CONSULATE-GENERAL IN LOS ANGELES. The Foreign
Ministry in Bucharest announced on 25 May that Romania will open a
consulate-general in Los Angeles on about 1 June. Petre Catriniuc,
a secretary with the Romanian embassy in Washington, will act as
an interim consul general until a final appointment is made, Radio
Bucharest reports. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

"DNIESTER REPUBLIC" CURRENCY BLOCKED BY RUSSIA. "Dniester
republic" president Igor Smirnov and the "republic bank" chief
told their Supreme Soviet on 25 May that the Russian Federation
government has blocked the shipment of "Dniester" rubles already
printed by Russia's mint Gosznak, Basapress and ITAR-TASS report.
Members of the Chernomyrdin government have ignored a ruling by
Russia's State Arbitration authorizing the release of the cash and
have caused a liquidity crisis in the "Dniester republic" with
destabilizing effects, the Tiraspol officials charged. Tiraspol is
sending a delegation to ask Russia's government and parliament to
release the currency. Obliquely appealing to Russia's hardliners
for support, Smirnov charged that "certain circles in Russia and
Moldova seek to blackmail the Dniester republic into concessions
on matters related to the withdrawal and disposition of the
[Russian] 14th Army's equipment." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

DEPUTIES RETRACT SUPPORT FOR KARPENKA. On 24 May Belarusian
television reported that several deputies who had signed up to
support the presidential candidacy of Henadz Karpenka, the leader
of the Party of Popular Accord, have retracted their support. On
16 May nine deputies belonging to the Social Democratic Hramada
retracted their support for Karpenka. The latest three deputies to
do the same are Barys Savitsky, Aleksandr Spihlazau and Uladzimir
Vlachietsky. This leaves Karpenka with 65-66 deputies' signatures.
In addition it was reported that 4,000 signatures from Belarusian
citizens gathered by the Party of Popular Accord in Karpenka's
support have been invalidated. Karpenka had gathered around
110,000 signatures in all.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

COUNCIL OF BALTIC SEA STATES MET IN TALLINN. On 25 May the third
annual meeting of the foreign ministers of the ten member states
of the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) opened in Tallinn. On
26 May it issued a joint communique expressing satisfaction with
the great advances made in the political and economic relations of
its members, BNS reports. It welcomed the withdrawal of Russian
troops from Lithuania and Poland and repeated that similar troops
should be withdrawn from Latvia and Estonia quickly, orderly, and
completely. The Russian delegation circulated a memorandum
accusing Estonia of adopting and enforcing laws discriminating
against its Russian speaking minorities. The session elected
former Danish Justice Minister Ole Espersen CBSS Commissioner of
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights for a three-year term
beginning on 1 October. The next meeting will be held in Poland in
May 1995 as it is Poland's turn to hold the CBSS rotating
presidency.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

ULMANIS MEETS WITH BOUTROS GHALI, CLINTON. On 24 May Latvia's
President Guntis UImanis met with UN Secretary General Boutros
Boutros-Ghali and members of the UN Security Council to discuss
security in the Baltic region, a topic that Latvia wants to raise
at the next session of the General Assembly. The discussions also
focused on issues related to the withdrawal of Russian troops from
Latvia and Estonia and the role of the UN in this process. Ulmanis
repeated Latvia's proposal to host a conference in Jurmala in 1996
or 1997 on "Disarmament and Environment." Later that day, Ulmanis
met with US President Clinton to talk once more about the
withdrawal of Russian forces from the Baltics and reviewed US
bilateral assistance programs aimed at supporting Latvia's
transition to a market economy. Clinton praised "the vision and
statesmanship" of Yeltsin and Ulmanis for signing on 30 April the
Russian-Latvian treaty on the pullout of Russian forces from
Latvia, and expressed optimism that Russian troops would soon
depart also from Estonia. Commending US involvement, Ulmanis said
that the Latvian-Russian accords are also an achievement "for the
United States, since we worked together on this issue and were
able to resolve it together," Western and Latvian media reported
on 25 May.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

SWEDEN INVITES DEPORTED BALTS. While visiting Tallinn on 24 May,
Swedish Foreign Minister Margaretha af Ugglas extended an
invitation to Baltic citizens who were deported to the Soviet
Union from Sweden in 1946 for a visit to her country in late June.
The invitation comes as a gesture to make amends for a highly
controversial decision made by the Swedish government in 1945;
Ugglas called it "one of the darker sides of the history of
Sweden." Many of the deportees were young men conscripted into the
German armed forces, who had sought refuge in Sweden when World
War II ended, BNS reported on 25 May.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Saulius Girnius and Michael Shafir
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Updated: 1998-11-

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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole