We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 150, 9 August 1994

                              RUSSIA

SITUATION IN CHECHNYA. On 8 August, the Chechen opposition
Provisional Council announced that it had formed a government in
the republic's Nadterechnyi region. The Council claimed it had the
support of the whole of Chechnya except the capital Groznyi and
its surroundings. The same day, Interfax reported that anti-Dudaev
volunteer forces were being formed in Nadterechnyi region. The
Information Department of President Yeltsin's administration
circulated a press release saying that Dudaev's decrees were being
sabotaged by regional Chechen officials, and that the Chechen army
commanders had openly declared they will not fight against their
own people, ITAR-TASS reported. The leadership of President Dudaev
maintains, however, that in fact it is still in control of the
situation in the republic. On August 8 Dudaev accused Russia's
secret services of planning to stage "provocations" against
Russians living in Chechnya to spark unrest and thereby create a
pretext for military intervention in the break-away republic.
Dudaev told ITAR-TASS that he would be willing to resign as
president on condition that Moscow and the international community
recognize Chechnya's independence from Russia. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MMM CASE DEMONSTRATES LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES.
About 200 shareholders of the MMM joint stock company were
picketing the Russian government headquarters in Moscow on 8
August. According to an ITAR-TASS report of 8 August, the pickets
chanted "We Will Mobilize the Whole of Russia," and were carrying
placards that read "Lawlessness Will Not Succeed" and "Hands off
Mavrodi." Sergei Mavrodi, the MMM president, was detained last
week in connection with irregularities in another company, "Invest
Consulting." The investigators in charge of Mavrodi's case told
Russian TV news on 8 August that they are going to file a formal
charge against Mavrodi within a few days. Meanwhile, the liberal
Literaturnaya gazeta questioned in a front-page article on 3
August whether MMM was really a pyramid scheme scam, as the
government claimed. The weekly quoted MMM shareholders as viewing
the affair as yet another government plot against the poor, in
line with the confiscation of banknotes by the last USSR Prime
Minister Valentin Pavlov in 1990, the devaluation of savings and
pensions by the reformist Russian PM Egor Gaidar, or the recent
reduction without any warning of State Bank interest rates. Julia
Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

OPPOSITION TO MARK AUGUST 1991 COUP ANNIVERSARY. Members of the
Russian Communist Workers' Party as well as of Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party and other hard-core
illiberal organizations are to rally on 21 August in front of the
Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Interfax announced on 8 August. The
demonstration is called to commemorate the anniversary of the
August 1991 attempted coup against Soviet President Mikhail
Gorbachev. 21 August, the day of Yeltsin's and Gorbachev's victory
over the putschists, is viewed by the demonstrators as "A Day of
Great Deceit." The organizers do not plan to invite the leaders of
today's opposition to Yeltsin--former speaker of the Russian
parliament Ruslan Khasbulatov or former vice president Aleksandr
Rutskoi--because at the time of the coup they sided with Yeltsin,
and are therefore regarded as having contributed to the ensuing
collapse of the Soviet Union, Interfax added.  Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL, Inc.

NEW POLITICAL PARTY CREATED IN MOSCOW. The famous Russian
ophthalmologist, Svyatoslav Fedorov, has set up a political party,
ITAR-TASS reported on 8 August. The group, called the Party of
People's Self-Government, is planning to hold its founding
conference in Moscow on 15 October. The party's goal is to support
small-and medium-scale private businesses.  Vera Tolz, RFE/RL,
Inc.

GOVERNMENT TACKLES "BAD DEBTS". Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
on 8 August chaired a session of a special government commission
set up to cope with the problem of interenterprise debt, ITAR-TASS
reported the same day. The commission includes Deputy Prime
Ministers Anatolii Chubais and Aleksandr Shokhin and Central Bank
President Viktor Gerashchenko, and is chaired by First Deputy
Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets. The government is reportedly
drafting a new package of five decrees that will focus on the "bad
debts" problem. "Bad debts" are a shorthand for the informal and
often involuntary mutual crediting that state firms employ as a
way of blunting the impact of tight fiscal and monetary policies
imposed from the center. Officials told Interfax on 5 August that
total interenterprise debt now amounts to 30 trillion rubles ($15
billion), with arrears owed the energy complex set at 17 trillion
rubles ($8.5 billion). Soskovets said on 5 August the problem is
so serious that "it must be resolved without a single minute of
delay." Most recent labor protests in Russia have been attributed
to wage arrears resulting from the debt crisis. The ITAR-TASS
report said that the commission is working on measures to prevent
firms from hoarding cash that could be used to pay taxes and meet
other payments.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

BAILOUT PLEDGED FOR ZIL AUTOWORKS. After a visit to the ZIL auto
plant in Moscow on 3 August, Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets
said that the government will prepare a rescue plan for the
loss-making factory within ten days, Interfax reported. Soskovets
visited the plant in the company of Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov.
ZIL's director said that production had fallen from a peak of
210,000 trucks per year to only 34,000 in 1994, and that the plant
loses 2 billion rubles ($1 million) per day. Proposals under
consideration by the government include freezing ZIL's debt of 300
billion rubles ($150 million) for at least a year and imposing
measures to protect ZIL's markets. Soskovets indicated that
government ministries may be required to purchase their trucks
from ZIL.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIA TO INTRODUCE LIFE SENTENCES. The new draft Russian Criminal
Code provides for life sentence to be the maximum term of
confinement, according to Moskovsky komsomolets of 5 August.
Currently, the maximum term of imprisonment in Russia is 15 years,
except for the cases of convicts who had been sentenced to death
but subsequently pardoned. The introduction of life terms of
imprisonment may reduce the number of death sentences in Russia
but it is highly unlikely that capital punishment will be
abolished in Russia in the near future, according to Sergei
Medvedev, the anchor of the 6 August issue of the Ostankino weekly
newscast, "Novosti Plus." Medvedev's pessimism was occasioned by
the lack of space and appalling conditions in Russian penal
institutions.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

LEBED AFFAIR: POLITICAL ASPECT. The barely-disguised removal of
Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed from the command of Russia's 14th Army
in Moldova is being interpreted by Russian liberal commentators as
certain to please the "Dniester republic" leadership, whom Lebed
had accused of criminal corruption and political extremism. As
Moskovsky Komsomolets and Izvestiya had done earlier, the program
Itogi of Independent Television on 7 August saw that as one of the
causes behind the seeming removal of Lebed. These and other
liberal commentators at the same time stress with some concern
Lebed's political potential in the Russian Federation. Segodnya of
5 August and Rossiiskaya gazeta of 6 August note that Lebed enjoys
"a simply unique authority among officers" and is "in great
political demand" in Russian society, and that most Russians will
sympathize with him as a perceived victim of official intrigues.
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

LEBED AFFAIR: MILITARY ASPECT. In a communique by Russia's Defense
Ministry published in Krasnaya zvezda of 5 August and in remarks
by its spokesmen to RIA and Rossiiskaya gazeta of 6 August, the
Ministry explained that its decision to dissolve the 14th Army
command structures and downgrade it to an operational group was
meant to bring those attributes into line with the army's current
manpower, barely enough for its single remaining division (recent
estimates range from 8,000 to 10,000). According to the Ministry,
the Army's command staff of more than 200 officers is adequate for
an army of up to five divisions. The officers serving in Moldova,
moreover, cost Russia far more than those serving in Russia
itself: for example any one of the many staff colonels in the 14th
Army earns as much as a three-star general serving in Russia.
Various reports in the Russian media suggest that Russia may ask
Moldova for basing rights for the down-sized operational group.
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

KUWAIT, RUSSIA FINALIZE ARMS DEAL. An official of Russia's
state-owned arms trading company, Rosvooruzheniye, announced on 8
August that Moscow had that day signed a contract with Kuwait for
delivery of Russian BMP-3 armored personnel carriers and "Smerch"
("Tornado") multiple rocket launcher systems. Terms of the deal
were not made public, but Interfax quoted experts who suggested
that it was comparable to a $600 million contract that Russia
signed earlier this year with Malaysia. Interfax also said that
Kuwait was the first to purchase the "Smerch" system, believed to
have been introduced in the Soviet army in 1987.  Stephen Foye,
RFE/RL, Inc.

DAM BURSTS IN BASHKORTOSTAN. Four towns in the Russian
Federation's republic of Bashkortostan have been flooded by a dam
burst, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 August. An estimated 20 people were
killed. Heavy rains poured water into the Tirlyan reservoir on the
Belaya River north of the town of Beloretsk, the Russian Ministry
for Emergency Situations reported. Bashkortostan President Murtaza
Rakhimov blamed the disaster on the dam's owners, saying the dam
had no maintenance checks since 1990.  Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

RUSSIA HINTING AT END OF PEACEMAKING IN MOLDOVA. On 5 August
ITAR-TASS cited Russian Defense Ministry sources as implying that
Russia may decide to recall its peacemaking troops from Moldova
owing to the expiry of their mandate on 15 August. This was the
second recent hint to this effect after the Russian Foreign
Ministry spokesman's statement on 26 July. As anticipated (see
RFE/RL Daily Report of 27 July) Moldova is unhappy at the prospect
of facing the superior and trigger-happy "Dniester" forces without
a force of interposition. On 8 August Maj.-General Victor Catana,
Moldovan co-chairman of the Joint [Armistice] Control Commission,
told the media that under the armistice convention, any decision
to recall the peacemaking troops requires the agreement of both
sides unless one side renounces the convention itself. Moldova,
Catana said, "considers any withdrawal of the peacekeeping force
as ill-advised." Moldova's dilemma is a result of Russia's
monopoly on peacekeeping in the area and of its ability to extract
the local country's consent to the presence of Russian forces by
conjuring up the prospect of unleashing proxies previously armed
and organized by the Russian military. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KAZAKHSTAN AND TURKEY SIGN MILITARY AGREEMENT. Kazakhstan's
Minister of Defense Sagadat Nurmagambetov and his Turkish
counterpart signed an agreement on military cooperation between
the two countries on 8 August, Interfax reported. Nurmagambetov
later characterized the agreement as "preliminary," dealing
primarily with cooperation in arms production; he said that it did
not contradict Kazakhstan's military agreements with other
countries, including Russia. The Turkish defense minister is in
Kazakhstan to promote cooperation in military training--the
Central Asian states have so far made surprisingly little use of
Turkish offers to train their officer corps. Bess Brown, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

KUCHMA ISSUES DECREES STRENGTHENING HIS POWERS. Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma issued two decrees on 8 August which put
him in charge of the government and subordinated local councils to
his authority, Ukrainian television reported. The first decree
places Kuchma at the head of the cabinet, giving him the right to
determine the cabinet's activities and to appoint and dismiss the
heads of state committees, deputy ministers and other authorities;
it also orders the cabinet to submit proposals for improving the
system of central governing bodies within a month. The second
decree subordinates the heads of regional councils to the
president and makes lesser councils responsible to their regional
superiors. Kuchma has reportedly called for changing Ukraine from
a parliamentary-presidential republic to a
presidential-parliamentary republic in order to facilitate the
implementation of reforms. Left wing parties in the parliament
have been opposed to a strong presidency, although the
parliamentary speaker, Oleksandr Moroz, who heads the Socialist
Party, has reportedly decided to support Kuchma's appeal for a
strong executive. Ukraine still has not adopted a new constitution
which defines the president's powers; however, the drafts endorsed
by the left wing majority in parliament call for a weak
presidency.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE. On 7 August another round
of parliamentary elections were held in 34 districts in Ukraine,
Ukrainian television reported. Interfax reported on 8 August that
a total of 27 new deputies were elected. The parliament now has
393 members, of whom 219 are independents, 91 are communists, 13
are socialists and 2 belong to the Agrarian Party. ITAR-TASS
reported that Mykola Bahrov, formerly a deputy of the Crimean
parliament and a contender in Crimea's presidential election in
January, was unsuccessful in his parliamentary campaign in Crimea.
Bahrov has reportedly said he will no longer be active in
politics, but will concentrate on putting together an encyclopedia
on Crimea.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

ATHENS PLEDGES TO DEFEND ALBANIA'S GREEKS. Commenting on the
upcoming trial against five members of the Omonia Greek minority
organization in Tirana, Athens warned on 8 August that it could
"take action" if Albania violated the rights of ethnic Greeks.
Speaking at a press conference, Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias
refused to detail the warning but said the Greek government had
the "will and strength to confront any situation which would have
negative consequences and limitations on the human rights of the
Greek minority." Western agencies quoted Papoulias as slamming the
trial, which could lead to death penalty for the defendants, as a
"farce based on a penal code used by the [previous] Stalinist
regime." Addressing the same news conference, Omonia leader
Sotiris Kyriazatis appealed to both sides to "solve all the
problems in a peaceful and democratic manner." But in a statement
released in Athens, Omonia charged that Albanian authorities had
conducted the investigations in a breach of domestic legislation.
Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc.

BOSNIAN SERBS EXPAND THE WORK WEEK. On 8 August Bosnian Serb
authorities announced the wording of the referendum slated for 27
and 28 August and instituted a series of measures to place their
territories on a tighter war-footing. AFP said that holidays and
paid vacations are "suspended for the duration of the emergency
measures" effective immediately, and that the work week has been
lengthened to 60 hours with only Sundays free. Gen. Rose told
Reuters that enforcing its new fuel embargo against the Bosnian
Serbs could enable Belgrade to have a devastating effect on its
erstwhile proxies, noting that "modern armies work on fuel.
Without fuel, you've just got lumps of metal." Nonetheless, the
Contact Group is continuing to plan sanctions against rump
Yugoslavia. Finally, AFP reports from Zagreb that some 1,000
Bosnian civilians loyal to Bihac kingpin Fikret Abdic have fled to
Serb-held territories in Croatia in the face of a successful
offensive by government troops.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

US TO LIFT ARMS EMBARGO BY 15 OCTOBER? On 9 August The Washington
Post says that "under a measure being worked out with Congress,
the Clinton administration may appeal to the United Nations as
early as 15 October to exempt the Muslim-led Bosnian government
from a regional arms embargo, if Serb separatists continue to
reject a peace plan." The article notes that Congress has taken
several such initiatives of its own, and that "setting a deadline
on the Serbs would be a distinct departure for the administration
. . . " Meanwhile in Bosnia, the Muslim and Croat forces have
seized the initiative and launched an offensive against the Serbs
south of Vares. At stake is the road link between Tuzla and
central Bosnia. UN commander Gen. Sir Michael Rose said the
attacks "are one of the reasons why the Serbs feel quite justified
in closing off Sarajevo." Rose has previously been criticized by
UN personnel as being too accommodating to the Serbs in order to
keep channels open to them. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

SARAJEVO UPDATE. News agencies report that the humanitarian
airlift to Sarajevo will be restored on 9 August, and The New York
Times adds that the world body is seeking demilitarized status for
the Bosnian capital. Reuters notes that NATO is preparing
contingency plans to extend the type of exclusion zone obtained
for Sarajevo and Gorazde to the four "safe areas" of Tuzla, Zepa,
Srebrenica, and Bihac. Finally, Gen. Rose told the BBC on 8 August
that French and Russian peacekeepers had distinguished themselves
in helping put an end to the renewed activity of Serb snipers in
the Bosnian capital.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

PAVLE IN PALE. On 9 August both Borba and Politika report that on
the previous day Serbia's Orthodox Church leader, Patriarch Pavle,
traveled to the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale to attend meetings
with Bosnian Serb leaders. Pavle, on a self-proclaimed "mission"
to patch up the seeming rift between Belgrade and the Bosnian Serb
leadership and to bring "peace among brothers," was accompanied by
other prominent Church officials, notably the Bishop of
Zahumlje-Herzegovina and the Metropolitan of Montenegro-Littoral.
Borba also notes that the Montenegrin cleric used the opportunity
afforded by the visit to suggest that any Serbian parties willing
to accept the terms of the international peace plan for Bosnia and
Herzegovina were nothing short of "traitors" to the Serbian
nation. According to a Reuters account of 8 August, Bosnian Serb
leaders welcomed the clerical initiative, but expressed some
measure of doubt as to its efficacy. Speaker of the
self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb parliament, Momcilo Krajisnik,
reportedly observed that "It is obvious that there is a big
political rift between [rump] Yugoslavia and ourselves." Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOSOVO UPDATE. Seven ethnic Albanians, charged with having
received military training in Albania in 1992 and 1993, were
sentenced in Pristina on 8 August, Tanjug said. They received
terms ranging between two and four years. Rilindja reported on 5
August that the seven were accused of preparing an armed uprising
in Kosovo but denied the charges, saying that they went to Albania
to avoid conscription into the rump Yugoslav army. According to
Amnesty International, they said that a camp in Labinot, where
they spent some time, was not a military training center but a
camp for refugees from Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina. One of the
ethnic Albanians told the court that he had been tortured with
electric shocks and that Serb police officers had threatened to
kill him. Elsewhere, Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova
said that he is aiming for a solution to the Kosovo crisis in the
framework of a global solution in the former Yugoslavia. He added
that he favors a confederation between the self-declared Republic
of Kosovo and Albania, Rilindja reported the same day.  Fabian
Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc.

WILL THE KOSOVARS CONTINUE THEIR PEACEFUL POLICY? Serbian police
recently surrounded an ethnic Albanian village, killing one of the
inhabitants and burning his house. As a result, Rugova said that
he is not sure that ethnic Albanians can keep up their policy of
peaceful resistance. Among those Albanians there has been much
criticism of Rugova's line, although that policy has won much
praise abroad. RFE/RL's South Slavic Language Service carried the
story on 8 August.  Nenad Pejic and Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

HEADS ROLL IN POLISH POLICE. Deputy Internal Affairs Minister
Jerzy Zimowski announced on 8 August that the prime minister will
soon accept the resignations of Police Commander Zenon Smolarek
and his deputy, Zdzislaw Centkowski, Gazeta Wyborcza reports. The
two officials are the highest-ranking casualties of the Poznan
corruption scandal that was exposed by reporters from Gazeta
Wyborcza and Radio "S" in March. Smolarek offered to resign two
weeks after the story broke, but insisted that he was innocent of
all charges and that the newspaper reports were designed to
destroy the Poznan police force's morale. Zimowski stressed on 8
August that the two were resigning "for the good of the service"
and that none of the charges had been proven. The Katowice
prosecutor's office and the internal affairs ministry are both
still investigating the accusations, which center on ties between
police officers and their business "sponsors." Cracow police chief
Boguslaw Strzelecki is expected to be appointed to replace
Smolarek. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA REQUESTS RULING ON CONCORDAT. President Lech Walesa on 8
August asked the Constitutional Tribunal to rule on the legality
of a Sejm resolution passed on 1 July postponing ratification of
the concordat with the Vatican until after the adoption of a new
constitution, Rzeczpospolita reports. Although the government had
recommended ratification, the resolution to postpone was carried
on the votes of the ruling coalition and over the opposition's
protests. The failure of Polish Peasant Party deputies, in
particular, to support ratification has caused a chill in that
party's relations with the Polish bishops. In his request to the
tribunal, Walesa questioned the legality of the Sejm's attempt to
link the fate of the concordat to a document that does not yet
exist. He also argued that the resolution violates the
constitution by infringing on the president's prerogative to
ratify international agreements. In Polish practice, the
parliament recommends ratification of international agreements,
but the president enacts it. Walesa also noted that the logical
extension of the Sejm's reasoning would be to postpone action on
all major legislation until the new constitution is adopted.
Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc.

CANADA SIGNS DEFENSE MEMORANDUMS WITH CZECH AND SLOVAK REPUBLICS.
On 8 August, Czech Defense Minister Antonin Baudys and his
Canadian counterpart, David Collenette, signed a memorandum of
understanding on cooperation in military training. Speaking to
journalists after the signing ceremony, Collenette said that the
accord will provide military training for officers. Baudys said he
and Collenette also discussed UN peacekeeping operations and the
Czech Republic's participation in European security and economic
structures. According to Baudys, a team of Canadian experts will
soon come to the Czech Republic for talks on cooperation in arms
production. Later, Collenette met with Foreign Minister Josef
Zieleniec. Before arriving in the Czech Republic, Collenette spent
three days in Slovakia, where he and his Slovak counterpart Pavol
Kanis signed a similar memorandum, TASR reported on 4 August. A
more detailed agreement on Slovak-Canadian military cooperation is
expected in the future.  Jiri Pehe and Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK REACTIONS TO HORN'S VISIT. On 8 August a commentary in the
Slovak daily Narodna obroda reacted to the 5 August visit of
Hungarian Premier Gyula Horn to Slovakia. According to the report,
both Slovakia and Hungary realize that if they do not resolve
their conflicts over border recognition and minorities, their
chances of joining such organizations as the EU and NATO are slim.
Although Hungary strives to gain a combination of individual and
collective rights for the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, this
would go beyond what is presently recommended by the UN, the CSCE
or the Council of Europe. The commentator says that Hungary's
goals are not "illegitimate;" however, they are "unrealistic,"
since Slovakia cannot afford to make concessions on its own. It is
thus recommended that the CE adopt a charter on minorities as soon
as possible which would be binding for all council members,
including Slovakia and Hungary. Also on 8 August, the Office of
the Slovak President confirmed the authenticity of Michal Kovac's
statement to CTK that Horn had apologized for "injustices
committed against ethnic minorities in Hungary" during his visit.
Although Hungarian government spokeswoman Evelyn Forro later
denied the report, Kovac's office said that the authenticity of
Kovac's statement as reported by CTK "was confirmed by other
Slovak participants in the talks," TASR reported. Sharon Fisher,
RFE/RL, Inc.

MAYORS AT HUNGARIAN-SLOVAK BORDER CALL FOR NEW BORDER CROSSINGS.
In a joint letter to Hungarian President Arpad Goncz and his
Slovak counterpart Michal Kovac, mayors of several towns called
for the opening of new border crossings between Hungary and
Slovakia, MTI reported on 8 August. The mayors recalled that under
a Hungarian-Slovak agreement of August 1993, the border crossings
Letkes-Salka, Pacin-Velky Kamenec, and Satoraljaujhely-Slovenske
Nove Mesta were to be opened by 31 December 1993. The mayors
expressed "deep shock" over the fact that Hungarian Premier Gyula
Horn succeeded during his 5 August 1994 talks in Bratislava in
getting verbal agreement from the Slovak side for the opening of
only one of the border crossings. Pointing out that the three
border crossings are fully equipped and ready for use, they
appealed to the presidents to use their personal influence to have
them opened by 31 August 1994.  Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc.

LUKASHENKA CONSIDERS RAISING IMPORT TAX. On 8 August Interfax
reported that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is
considering issuing a decree to increase customs duties and taxes
on imported goods which compete with Belarusian products. The
decree may also annul taxes on Belarusian exports. In an earlier
interview Lukashenka said that he wished to reduce western imports
which compete with products made in Belarus. The move has
reportedly been prompted by Western Europe's refusal to increase
the quotas for Belarusian potassium fertilizers and textiles.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

KAZAKHSTAN PRESIDENT IN ESTONIA. On 8 August Nursultan Nazarbaev
and his Estonian counterpart, Lennart Meri, signed a joint
statement on bilateral relations, calling for regular meetings to
help expand trade and economic relations as well as creating a
favorable legal climate for mutual investments and joint ventures,
BNS reports. The two sides agreed to set up diplomatic
representation in Tallinn and Almaty and to expand cooperation in
science, education, and culture.  Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN WITHDRAWAL FROM LATVIA BEHIND SCHEDULE. Ludis Pavilonis,
the deputy head of the Latvian bureau monitoring Russian troop
withdrawal, said that there were still 2,428 Russian military
personnel at 63 bases in Latvia on 1 August, BNS reported on 8
August. He regretted that the departure of several Russian army
units was behind schedule, with the greatest delay being the
infantry unit at Aluksne that should have pulled out by 30 July.
Pavilonis told an RFE/RL correspondent that the Russians had asked
for a new deadline--31 December--for the withdrawal of the
families of military personnel due to a shortage of suitable
housing. Latvia agreed to examine the cases individually but will
not grant an overall waiver for the families.  Saulius Girnius,
RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIA, CANADA SIGN AGREEMENT. On 8 August Jesse Flis, the
Canadian parliament secretary for foreign affairs, held talks in
Vilnius with Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius and Deputy Foreign
Minister Albinas Januska, Radio Lithuania reports. Flis signed a
trade and commerce agreement with Lithuania, aimed at increasing
bilateral trade. At a press conference after the signing, Januska
noted that Lithuania's trade with Canada comprised only 0.3% of
the country's total trade but the proportion should increase due
to the agreement. The talks also focused on Lithuanian-Russian
relations and the problem of transit to and from Kaliningrad.
Januska noted that Canada has been more supportive than other NATO
members concerning the organization's expansion to the East.
Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]
  Compiled by Liz Fuller and Sharon Fisher
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1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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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