|The road uphill and the road downhill are one and the same. - Heraclitus|
No. 126, 6 July 1994
RUSSIA CLINTON ON REFORMS IN RUSSIA. Speaking in Washington before a group of business leaders on 5 July, US President Bill Clinton said the Russian government deserved "enormous credit" for staying on the path reform, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the US capital. Clinton was quoted as saying that "slowly, but surely, reform is working in Russia." He said that while life for many Russians was still difficult, the people now had "tangible" reasons for hope. The US president noted that Russian President Boris Yeltsin would be a full participant in political discussions at the upcoming G-7 summit in Naples. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. ZHIRINOVSKY DECLARED UNWELCOME IN VIENNA. Ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky's remarks at a meeting of the CSCE in Vienna on 5 July provoked a sharp protest in Austria, AFP reported. The president of Austria's parliament, Heinz Fischer, declared Zhirinovsky unwelcome at a reception in parliament for the meeting's delegates. Earlier in the day, Zhirinovsky outraged the meeting on European unity by saying Europe should be divided again and that Russia would win a third world war. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. DOES RUSSIA FACE "DEINDUSTRIALIZATION?" Echoing criticisms that have become standard fare in transitional economies suffering from deep recessions, the chairman of the State Duma's economic policy committee charged on 5 July that the government's fiscal policies are destroying national industries. In a report presented to the parliament to open a debate on Russia's current social and economic situation, Sergei Glazev argued that the government's stress on fighting inflation has proved too crippling a blow to Russia's industries. The continued pursuit of current policies threatens "deindustrialization" that could reduce Russia to the third-world status of a raw materials exporter, he argued. Glazev noted that output has dropped far more drastically in technologically-advanced branches, such as machine-building and defense, than in mining and other raw materials sectors. Other speakers argued that criminal operations have perverted new economic freedoms, and faulted voucher privatization for failing to establish clear ownership and leaving industrial decision-making in the hands of poorly organized employee and management bodies. Glazev demanded policy changes to protect threatened industries, Interfax reported. Government supporters have argued, in contrast, that huge statistical drops in production distort the true picture of the economy; the recession also reflects the cleansing impact on output of real prices and tight credit, they say. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. PROBLEMS FACED BY FEDERAL COUNTERINTELLIGENCE SERVICE. The Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) supports President Yeltsin's decree on combat against organized crime, but faces legal problems with respect to its implementation, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 June, quoting FSK director Sergei Stepashin. Stepashin blamed the court system, the State Procuracy, and the Russian legislature for ineptness in combating corruption. Although investigating corruption among high ranking officials is backed by President Yeltsin, Stepashin said, the Procuracy is reluctant to open legal cases against such officials. Stepashin also admitted that his agency faced difficulties in shutting down leaks of information, attributing the problem to the fact that the FSK inherited many officers from the Soviet KGB who lack democratic convictions. Stepashin called for adoption of a law aimed at rectifying this problem. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. LEBED AIMING HIGH? The command of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova has leaked to the press in Tiraspol the results of a purported opinion survey among officers of the Moscow garrison and staffs of Moscow military academies, Basapress reported on 28 June and 2 July. Of the 1,867 respondents in the sample, 84% favored a full shakeup of the Russian Defense Ministry's senior staff; 76% favored Lt.-Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, commander of the 14th Army, for the post of Defense Minister, with 19% favoring Col.-Gen. Boris Gromov, and 3.5% favoring Gen. Mikhail Kolesnikov. An unspecified majority blamed the incumbent minister, Gen. Pavel Grachev, for dragging his feet on military reform. Lebed himself has, in past interviews, indicated frustration with his long-time protector Grachev's performance on military reform. Whatever the accuracy of the survey in Moscow, the fact that it was leaked by Lebed's staff may reflect a stake in its purported findings. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA PERES IN TURKMENISTAN. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, accompanied by Israeli businessmen and economic experts, began an official two-day visit to Turkmenistan on 5 July, Russian news agencies reported. Peres met with Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov to discuss economic cooperation between the two countries; the Israeli foreign minister told a news conference later that he had also discussed Muslim fundamentalism and the political situation in Central Asia and the Middle East with Niyazov. The Turkmen president insists that Muslim extremism is no threat to his country. Russian sources noted that Turkmenistan is particularly interested in Israeli food-processing know-how. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. IRAN BLASTS PERES VISIT. The semi-official Tehran Times, other newspapers, and Tehran Radio have sharply criticized the visit of Israel's foreign minister, Shimon Peres, to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, Western agencies report. Remarkably, the criticism focused as much on Uzbekistan's leadership as on Peres; the Tehran Times said that Uzbek President Islam Karimov had been reinforcing dictatorial rule through a "brutal repression of democratic and Islamic forces." The Iranian comments apparently mark a rapid deterioration of relations between the two countries, which had seemed close to a rapprochement when Iranian president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani visited Tashkent in October 1993. Disagreements between the governments over Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and the implementation of bilateral accords, as well as the resurgence of hardliners in the Iranian government have all strained bilateral relations over the last months. Turkmenistan, Peres' last stop, was apparently not criticized by the Iranian media; the two neighboring countries have established close, friendly relations. Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS RUSSIAN PEACEMAKING IN CIS PRAISED BY "DNIESTER" LEADER. The liberal, pro-Yeltsin Rossiiskie vesti and the procommunist opposition's Sovetskaya Rossiya published on 5 July separate interviews with "Dniester republic" leader Igor Smirnov arguing the case for Russian peacemaking in the "near abroad," a topic on which he had recently been invited to speak at an international conference on the subject organized in Moscow by the Russian government. According to ITAR-TASS, Smirnov said in the interviews that the "Dniester," Abkhaz, and Ossetian peoples were grateful for Russian peacemaking, that only Russian troops could function as "blue helmets" in CIS states, and that the latter ought to finance Russian peacemaking. He also chastised Western reluctance to legitimize and finance Russia's operations. A citizen of the Russian Federation, Smirnov said that Moldovans and Ukrainians on the Dniester "consider themselves Russian" and that the region (only 25% Russian and situated 1,000 kilometers from Russia) is "ancestral Russian land." He said that talk of Russian military bases in Moldova is unnecessary since the "Dniester republic" wants Russia's 14th Army to stay where it already is. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. "UNRECOGNIZED STATES" SIGN "TREATY." During the last days of June, a delegation from South Ossetia, headed by its Supreme Soviet Vice-Chairman, Z. N. Naseev, signed in Tiraspol a "treaty of friendship and cooperation" with the "Dniester republic," Basapress reported on 29 June and 4 July. Abkhazia and "Dniester" had signed a similar document in Tiraspol in 1993. At a conference in the same city in May 1994, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Karabakh, and "Dniester" founded an "Association of Unrecognized States," invited others from the former USSR to join, and endorsed integration within the CIS. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE US PRESIDENT APPROVES RFE/RL MOVE TO PRAGUE. International and Czech media report that US President Bill Clinton approved the relocation of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from its headquarters in Munich to Prague. A White House statement issued on 5 July said Clinton had accepted the offer of the Czech government to make the former parliament building in Prague available for RFE/RL. The decision is subject to congressional approval; consultations are currently under way. The statement said that in making the decision, Clinton praised the radios for making a "significant contribution to the victory of freedom during the Cold War." He also expressed thanks to the German government and, in particular, to Bavarian officials for their support over the last four decades. "With this move, the radios begin a new chapter in continuing struggle to consolidate democracy throughout the former communist bloc," said Clinton. The statement said Clinton made the decision "only after being assured" by RFE/RL, the Board for International Broadcasting--which administers the two radios--and the US Information Agency, that the move could be completed within the budget limits set by the Congress. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. CLINTON ARRIVES IN RIGA. Clinton arrived in Riga on 6 July and was welcomed by the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and Latvian government officials. On the eve of his arrival, Russian demonstrators accused Latvia of promoting "fascism" and "apartheid" because they had not been granted Latvian citizenship. Latvian protesters, in contrast, demonstrated for the speedy withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia and the removal of US objections to the citizenship law passed by the Latvian parliament. The Baltic presidents focused on security issues. Estonia's Lennart Meri said that "the colonial and expansionist tradition [in Russia] is still strong and that is worrying us." Latvia's President Guntis Ulmanis said that the Baltic States want "a guarantee that they will no longer be occupied," Western media reported on 5 July. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN LINKS TROOP PULLOUTS TO RUSSIAN MINORITIES. Prior to his departure for Latvia, Clinton telephoned his Russian counterpart, Western media reported on 5 July. President Yeltsin expressed "his concern over the unending violations of the rights of the Russian-speaking population in Latvia and Estonia," according to a statement released by the Russian president's office. Yeltsin added that if the Baltic States cancel "discriminatory legislation, Russia will be prepared to sign a schedule for withdrawing its troops." Similar accusations were expressed in stronger terms by Abdullakh Mikitaev, chairman of the Russian president's commission on citizenship, Interfax reported on 5 July. Mikitaev termed what was happening to "our compatriots" in Estonia and Latvia as "genocide." He added Estonia and Latvia should grant citizenship to every resident who wants it and noted that 80% of the "Russian-speaking" populations want to stay in those countries. As of 1 July the Russian embassies in the Baltics had granted Russian citizenship to 42,000 residents of Estonia, 25,000 residents of Latvia, and 15,000 residents of Lithuania. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN BORDER CONFLICT. On 5 July the Estonian Foreign Ministry's Press Secretary, Mari-Ann Rikken, told Interfax that the ministry will not officially respond to the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement of 4 July declaring that the law on borders, which Estonia adopted on 30 June, has opened the Estonian-Russian border and the whole region to destabilization. She noted that Russia had not properly examined Estonia's previous statement in which Estonia expressed its willingness to work out "mutually acceptable solutions to the problem with no haste and mutual accusations." She also noted that the meeting that day in Geneva between Russian and Estonian Deputy Foreign Ministers Vitalii Churkin and Raul Malk had made "no breakthrough" on the issues of the Russian troop withdrawal from Estonia and residence permits for military retirees. This was the fourth such meeting between the two deputy foreign ministers since an agreement to hold talks on the subject was reached in May. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. BOSNIAN PEACE PLAN BEING PRESENTED. International media reported on 5 July that the foreign ministers of the US, Russia, and EU countries had agreed on a map that would give the Bosnian Croats and Muslims together some 51% of the embattled republic's land and the Serbs 49%. The Serbs make up less than a third of the population but have conquered some 70% of the republic, and it is not clear exactly how the major powers intend to get them first to withdraw and then to come to an overall political settlement with their neighbors. It appears, however, that a carrot-and-stick approach is in the offing, with the Muslims threatened with an easing of sanctions on Serbia if President Alija Izetbegovic's government balks, while the Serbs could face the lifting of the arms embargo on the Muslims if the Radovan Karadzic leadership proves too stubborn. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev called the approach "a peaceful ultimatum," while his US counterpart warned the Bosnian factions that they would be ill-advised to reject the plan. No details have been made public, but both CNN and Newsweek have shown what they say is the final map. Reuters quoted Izetbegovic as saying that "our answer will not be some radical 'no,'" but Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic charged the plan would legitimize mass murder and "ethnic cleansing." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. UN SAYS SERBS BEAT MUSLIMS OUTSIDE ITS DOOR. The New York Times and the Washington Post report on 6 July that officials representing the UN High Commissioner for Refugees charge that Serb police beat up 40 Muslims on 4 July. The civilians were waiting outside UNHCR offices to file their requests for evacuation when the Serbs attacked. A UN spokesman said that "beating people up right outside the United Nations office is taking things to a new level of intimidation." There is an additional element of irony to the story, in that the evacuation of Muslim and Croat civilians actually serves the Serbs' goal of "ethnically cleansing" the Banja Luka area. Meanwhile in Croatia, the press and top officials continue a prominent theme of recent weeks in stressing that UNPROFOR must cease being a de facto protector of Serb conquests in Croatia if Zagreb is to renew its peace-keeping mandate and if a new Serb-Croat war is to be avoided. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. KOSOVO UPDATE. "The Kosovo crisis could reach a crucial point in the coming weeks." This is how the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 4 July described the chances for a dialogue between the ethnic Albanian "shadow state" and the Serbian government. Kosovar President Ibrahim Rugova said that the Albanians are ready for negotiations under international mediation, adding that talks about autonomy could resume as a first step towards independence. To date officials of Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK ) have ruled out the return of the self-declared republic to some sort of autonomy within rump-Yugoslavia, arguing that a referendum for independence was held in 1991 and that only another referendum could change their policy. Now, however, Rugova says he is "open to all kinds of proposals," but said that Kosovo should be declared either an EU or UN protectorate to help build up a civil administration. The LDK's party congress is scheduled for July. Elsewhere, trials of 14 Albanians charged with founding an alleged Defense Ministry of the Republic of Kosovo continued in Pristina, Rilindja reported on 1 July. The paper charged that the detainees had been tortured. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. CRACKDOWN ON RADIO AMATEURS IN RUMP-YUGOSLAVIA. Since the leadership of the rump-Yugoslav Amateur Radio Association banned the broadcasting of humanitarian messages in March, most hams have stopped broadcasting, The Humanitarian Law Fund reported on 30 June. That ban was followed by even further limitations by the defense minister on 19 April, who forbade the transmission of messages without the specific approval of the ministry for transport and communications. The measures are allegedly aimed at "harmonization of amateur radio frequencies with the needs of the army." Infringements allegedly committed by hams included: failing to identify the radio station linking the amateur radio with the telephone network, passing messages with suspicious contents and thus "providing logistical support to the enemies of the Serb people," and working with Muslim radio stations in Bosnia and Sandzak as well as with others in Kosovo. Media in Serbia had formerly reported favorably about the work of radio amateurs, who kept contact between displaced persons and their relatives in Bosnia. Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. BAN ON SERBIAN PRESS IN MACEDONIA. On 5 July Reuters and on 6 July Politika reported that Macedonia has prohibited the import and distribution of a number of rump Yugoslav publications. However, prominent and independent Serbian dailies, notably Politika and Borba, remain available. Evidently among the most contentious publications from the Macedonian perspective is the propagandistic and state-backed Serbian daily Vecernje novosti which, according to an anonymous Macedonian Interior Ministry source, has been notorious for "not objectively portraying the situation in Macedonia." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. ZHELEV APPEALS FOR BALKAN ECONOMIC COOPERATION, REJECTS LAW. On 5 July AFP reported, citing the Turkish daily Milliyet, that Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev used an official state visit to Turkey to launch an appeal for regional economic cooperation. Meanwhile, on 5 July RFE/RL's Bulgarian service reported that Zhelev had recently requested that parliament reconsider a law that could effectively limit service in the nation's highest courts. Zhelev outlined his objections to the legislation in a seven-page document in which he concluded that at least parts of the law are unconstitutional. If the law is not revoked or amended, only individuals with at least five years experience as justices or prosecutors will be able to sit on the highest courts, thereby effectively restricting the country's highest judicial offices to persons who served during the communist era. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA SUPPORTS KEBICH FOR BELARUSIAN PRESIDENCY. While the maverick Alyaksandr Lukashenka appears to have won the hearts of many ordinary Belarusians in his bid for the presidency, Prime Minister Vyacheslau Kebich is still the choice of the establishment. On 5 July Kommersant reported that the Russian deputy prime minister, Aleksandr Shokhin, told a press conference that if a "new man" were to be elected president of Belarus, the agreements regarding the Russian-Belarusian monetary union would have to be "renegotiated from the start." He also downplayed the widely publicized meeting between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Lukashenka during Chernomyrdin's visit to Minsk, stressing that it did not last more than five minutes and took place during a ceremony honoring Belarus's WW II dead. Kebich is also the choice of the Popular Movement of Belarus (PMB), the umbrella organization for conservative and pro-Russian parties and movements. In the first round, the PMB supported Vasil Novikau, leader of the Party of Communists of Belarus. On 1 July Interfax reported that PMB leaders had issued a statement supporting Kebich in the second round of elections, saying he was "the most reliable guarantor for a union with Russia and domestic stability." Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN LEADERS EYE FORMER TIES WITH RUSSIA. President Ion Iliescu told a news conference in Bucharest on 4 July that Russia "has been, is, and will remain a great power, the largest country in the world...and remains our great neighbor, even if it does not directly border on Romania today." The remarks were reported by ITAR-TASS but not by Romania's official media. The latter did, however, on 1 July quote Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu as noting both governments' wish to "overcome this unnatural regress in our bilateral relations" and "return to the normal, traditional dimensions of our relationship." Vacaroiu proposed reactivating joint Russian-Romanian projects in the extractive sector in Russia and in the metallurgical, machine-building, and chemical industries in Romania--a pattern of economic relations which had developed among the two countries in the last years of communist rule. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN SENATE PROTESTS FRENCH SOCCER REPORT. Romania's Senate on 5 July voted to convey a strong protest to the French Foreign Ministry, the French embassy in Bucharest, and Agence France Press over an AFP report on Romania's 3-to-2 victory over Argentina on 4 July. An AFP reporter used the word "Tsigan" (Gypsy) in the context. Senator Emil Tocaci from the Party of Civic Alliance said during the debates that the report's wording was reminiscent of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's insulting statements about Romanians. In an interview with Rompres, Romanian Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu joined in the protest and asked AFP to retract the commentary. In a fax to Rompres, AFP apologized and explained that the word was used to evoke the generally recognized virtuosity of Gypsy musicians. The editors, the communique added, were unaware of the word's offending nature. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. CONTROVERSIAL ARCHEOLOGICAL DIGS IN CLUJ APPROVED. In a statement broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 5 July, the ultranationalist mayor of Cluj, Gheorghe Funar, said that the town council had approved, in an extraordinary session, the start of archaeological digs in Unity Square. According to Funar, the excavations will not affect either King Matthias Corvin's statue or the Catholic cathedral there. The controversial Cluj mayor accused the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania of having tried to block the excavations. Funar's earlier plans to move King Matthias's statue from the center of Cluj had triggered heavy protests from the Hungarian minority in Transylvania. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN MILITIA MEMBERS DENY 1956 GUILT. On 5 July, Judge Janos Strausz of the Budapest District Court concluded a hearing of twelve former members of the special militia unit that helped to put down the 1956 revolution, MTI reports. The men are charged with firing into a defenseless crowd in the city of Salgotarjan on 8 December 1956. At least 46 people were reported killed. According to MTI, none of the twelve pleaded guilty. Lajos Orosz, who had previously acknowledged firing into the crowd and admitted his guilt, withdrew his previous testimony. The judge was then forced to read the protocol of previous hearings in which Orosz made references not only to his own guilt but to the wrongdoing of others who are now charged with crimes against humanity. The trial is scheduled to continue on 7 July. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc. POLAND'S BROADCASTING COUNCIL SURVIVES REVIEW. The Sejm voted on 2 July to approve the National Broadcasting Council's first annual report, prolonging the embattled body's existence for another year. The council, which supervises public broadcasting and issues radio and TV licenses, won approval by an unexpectedly large margin; the vote was 255 to 16, with 41 abstentions. The council was criticized from all sides, however, particularly for appointing Wieslaw Walendziak to head public television. Left-wing deputies charged that Walendziak has a right-wing bias, while right-wing parties accused him of catering to the government's whims in news reporting. The Sejm vote was crucial, as the council reports to the three institutions--the Sejm, Senate, and president--that selected its nine members. If all three reject the annual report, the council is dissolved and new members are selected. President Lech Walesa had long indicated his hostility to the council's membership, and the Senate had already rejected the report on 1 July, by a vote of 35 to 10, apparently because Polish TV aired a satirical program the night before the vote that peasant deputies found demeaning. The Sejm seemed to prefer to avoid giving Walesa the final say on the council's future. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. IRAQ'S FOREIGN MINISTER IN PRAGUE. On 5 July Czech Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec told visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Muhamad Said Kazim Al-Sahhaf that it is in Iraq's interest to accept conditions set by the UN Security Council so that trade sanctions against Iraq could be lifted. The sanctions were imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Recognition of the existing Iraq-Kuwait border is one of the conditions for having them lifted. CTK quotes Zieleniec as saying Iraq and the Security Council are still at odds over the border issue. He said Sahhaf showed an accommodating approach. Meanwhile, Czech President Vaclav Havel told journalists in Prague on 5 July that he had not known about Sahhaf's visit until last week. He said he was assured it did not change Prague's "firm determination" to maintain the sanctions against Iraq. Havel said Sahhaf's visit was the subject of a telephone conversation he had with US President Bill Clinton on 4 July, while on a private visit to the US. He said he expressed to Clinton a "certain doubt about the propriety of this visit." Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. PRIVATIZATION IN UKRAINE CRITICIZED. On 4 July Ukrainian television carried a report blasting the slow pace of growth of small private enterprises in Ukraine. According to the report there are some 70,000 registered small enterprises in Ukraine, although the real number of such businesses is actually closer to 130,000. Only some 130 of the registered small businesses are completely independent of government ownership. This is due to complications in the Law on Small Businesses which prevents many from registering. According to the deputy minister of economics, Yurii Ekhanurov, there are currently more obstacles to the establishment of small enterprises than stimuli for the spread of such businesses. Only about 5% of all production in Ukraine is carried out by private enterprises. Ekhanurov claims that the "instability" of the laws, periodic changes in the "rules of the game," unfairness in taxation, and other factors hinder the growth of small enterprises. Under such circumstances he says it is simply too difficult to engage in production; businesses instead operate outside of the law in the realm of the "shadow economy" and do not report their true earnings. This situation, Ekhanurov says, is the fault of the government and National Bank of Ukraine. The deputy economics minister also charged that while the bank was supposed to distribute credits to small private enterprises, the money allotted for this purpose has instead gone to state enterprises. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVA'S ECONOMIC REFORMS PRAISED. In an address in Chisinau on 4 July the US Ambassador to Moldova, Mary Pendleton, said as quoted by Basapress that "Moldova has, since independence, become an example with regard to economic reforms, worth being emulated by other states of the former USSR." She also pointed out that Moldova's currency is the most stable among the currencies of CIS states. For his part Valentin Tolkachev, chairman of the "transnational" Russian electronics firm TVT which is investing in Moldova, told the Moldovan business weekly Logos Press on 1 July that Moldova's business climate is favorable, the government supports foreign investors, and customs duties and VAT are lower than in Russia. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. FRANCE WANTS BALTIC STATES AS EU ASSOCIATES IN 1995. On 5 July, speaking after a one-day Franco-Danish conference in Copenhagen to promote closer relations with the Baltic States, French European Affairs Minister Alain Lamassoure said that his country wants to see the Baltic States conclude association agreements with the European Union in the first half of 1995, Reuters reports. France takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU from Germany in January 1995. He said: "Some of the Baltic States have problems but they have made great progress economically and politically since becoming independent" and "France wants them to continue their gradual process of integration with the rest of Europe." Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Stephen Foye and Louisa Vinton 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. RFE/RL NEWS BRIEFS, an edited compendium of items first published in the Daily Report, is distributed along with the RFE/RL RESEARCH REPORT, a weekly journal providing topical analyses of political, economic and security developments throughout the Institute's area of interest. Longer analyses are available in a monograph series, RFE/RL STUDIES, and brief analytic summaries appear monthly in the RESEARCH BULLETIN. 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