|The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that's the essence of inhumanity. - George Bernard Shaw|
No. 165, 31 August 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN WILL DISCUSS NUCLEAR SMUGGLING WITH CHANCELLOR KOHL. The prevention of nuclear smuggling from Russia will be an important issue in the negotiations on 31 August between Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Boris Yeltsin in Berlin, according to German media reports. These reports say the German side is ready to provide Russia with financial and technical assistance, if the Russian authorities show a genuine desire to prevent the outflow of fissile materials from its nuclear installations. The beginning of the Russian-German nuclear smuggling negotiations has not been without incident; on 30 August Moskovsky komsomolets claimed that two officers of the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) had been arrested for smuggling nuclear materials. Yeltsin's spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, called the report a "provocation," while FSK spokesman Aleksandr Mikhailov said his agency would sue the newspaper for libel. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. NAVY CANNOT DUMP NUCLEAR WASTE AT SEA. The Russian Pacific Fleet wants to dump some 2,000 cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste into the Sea of Japan but cannot get authorization from the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources. Viktor Kutsenko, head of the ministry's department for environmental safety, was quoted by Interfax on 30 August as saying only the government could okay such a project. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin banned the dumping of such wastes last year and is awaiting the recommendations of the governmental commission on nuclear safety. Previous discharges of nuclear waste into the Sea of Japan provoked strong protests from Japan and South Korea. Much of the Pacific Fleet's nuclear waste is currently being stored aboard two rusting tankers moored near Vladivostok. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. KOZYREV URGES WEST TO SUPPORT SERBIA. ITAR-TASS reported on 30 August that Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, upon completing a visit to the former Yugoslavia, had again observed that the Western partners in the "contact group" ought to reward Serbia for severing political and economic ties with its erstwhile Bosnian Serb allies. Belgrade's move, which came in response to the Bosnian Serb failure to accept the peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina, indicates, Kozyrev said, that conditions in the former Yugoslavia have fundamentally altered. He argued that Serbia was now an ally in the peace process and should be rewarded by at least a partial lifting of the sanctions on the rump Yugoslavia. Kozyrev has proposed a new meeting of "contact group" foreign ministers, which would give the Russian side the opportunity to seek support for the idea of lifting some sanctions. In Kozyrev's opinion, a lack of "flexibility" is one of the main factors behind the West's reluctance to change its policies vis-a-vis the rump Yugoslavia. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. MINISTRY OF JUSTICE: "FORGET THE 1990 LAW ON REFERENDUMS!" An employee of the Russian Ministry of Justice was quoted on 30 August as advising Russian citizens "to forget" the law that had enabled Boris Yeltsin to be elected Russian president in 1991. The statement was made in response to a campaign organized by shareholders of the MMM investment company to gather one million signatures to force a referendum, in which voters would be asked whether the Russian government should resign. Under the Russian Law on the Referendum, one million signatures is sufficient to force the holding of such a vote. The law was adopted by the Russian parliament in 1990, when Yeltsin was its speaker, and was used in March of the following year to introduce the Presidency in Russia. Now, the Ministry of Justice claims that the law is no longer valid and that Russia's citizens "can forget" about it. According to ITAR-TASS, the jurist in question said that under the new Russian Constitution only the president could call a referendum in Russia until a new law on the subject is passed by the State Duma. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. GAIDAR AND YAVLINSKY DEFEND ARRESTED BUSINESSMAN VAINBERG. The leader of the reformist Russia's Democratic Choice party, Egor Gaidar, says that he personally appealed to President Yeltsin in defense of the arrested banker and businessman Lev Vainberg, according to a Russian television report of 30 August. Grigorii Yavlinsky, the leader of the democratic bloc Yabloko, also said that he had sent Yeltsin a letter asking that Vainberg be released. Yavlinsky argued that the charge leveled against Vainberg of bribing an official did not require that he be remanded in custody and that the arrest of such a prominent businessman signified an attack on the business community as a whole. Vainberg is the president of the Solev management company, which deals in the extraction of precious metals from surplus military equipment. He made his fortune during the Gorbachev era, when he set up the first Soviet-French computer company, Interquadro, in 1987. In 1990 Gorbachev appointed Vainberg chairman of the Board of the USSR Association of Joint Ventures, International Concerns, and Organizations. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. DIRECTIVE TO REDUCE 14TH ARMY RESCINDED. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's directive to reduce Russia's 14th Army in Moldova in number and status, pending its withdrawal within three years, has been superseded by a new directive worked out with the participation of the army's commander, Lt.-Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, Russian TV reported on 30 August. The new order provides only for the army's command staff (currently comprising more than 200 officers) to be reduced by 15% to 20% within three years. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN TV CAMPAIGNS AGAINST TROOP AGREEMENT WITH MOLDOVA. In three different programs on 29 and 30 August, the state-controlled and pro-Yeltsin Russian TV made a strong case against the withdrawal of Russia's 14th Army from Moldova. Terming the idea "groundless," the TV's presenters argued that the "Dniester" forces would be unable to maintain parity with those of Moldova in the event of the 14th Army's withdrawal, that "local people don't accept the idea of a Russian withdrawal," and that a pullout would be too expensive for Russia; the reports portrayed the 14th Army as "the sole stabilizing factor in the region." All three programs interviewed Lebed, who reiterated his allegation that a majority of the 14th Army's personnel are "local people" and that Russians risk being "butchered" in the event of the army's departure. On 30 August "Dniester" leader Igor Smirnov was also given an opportunity to make his case against the withdrawal. The stance of Russian TV and other government-controlled media is another indication that Moscow may be backtracking from the agreement recently initialed, but not signed, with Moldova on the withdrawal of the 14th Army within three years. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CHECHNYA ROUNDUP. A hotel in central Grozny where troops loyal to President Dzhokhar Dudaev are quartered was subjected to artillery fire by opposition forces on the night of 29-30 August, but there were no casualties, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported, quoting an opposition spokesman. Talks between representatives of the Russian Counter-Intelligence Service and Chechen officials in North Ossetia on 30 August failed to reach agreement on the terms for the release of a Russian counter-intelligence agent apprehended in Chechnya last week. A spokesman for the opposition Provisional Council characterized as "an important step" the agreement on cooperation reached on 29 August between Ruslan Khasbulatov and Provisional Council Chairman Umar Avturkhanov; detailed plans of action are currently being drawn up and could be signed within the next few days. They include plans for TV broadcasting from Khasbulatov's headquarters in the village of Tolstoi-Yurt. In Moscow, the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations issued a statement, summarized by ITAR-TASS, that it is not empowered to impose a state of emergency in Chechnya and has no intention of doing so; this is the prerogative of the Russian president. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. SELF-DECLARED TATAR MILLI MAJLIS DEMANDS DISMISSAL OF PRESENT LEADERSHIP. In comments she made to Interfax on 30 August Fauziya Bairamova, Chairman of the self-declared Tatar Milli Majlis--a radical wing of the Tatar National Movement--and a member of the Tatarstan Parliament, criticized the present leadership of Tatarstan for being "incapable" of taking the final steps toward complete independence, in spite of the fact that a basis for this was provided by the declaration of sovereignty and the new Tatar Constitution adopted in 1992. Bairamova stressed that Tatarstan needs new political leadership, a goal the Tatar Milli Majlis will work toward as it presses for simultaneous early presidential and parliamentary elections in Tatarstan in March 1995. Bairamova led a rally of activists of the Tatar National Movement in Kazan on 30 August dedicated to the fourth anniversary of the adoption of the declaration of Tatarstan's sovereignty. Charles Carlson, RFE/RL, Inc. ARMS WHISTLE-BLOWER FREE TO TRAVEL ABROAD. Vil Mirzayanov, the chemist who was jailed and charged with disclosing state secrets after he revealed details of Russia's chemical weapons program, has won the right to travel abroad. Interfax of 30 August said a government commission had overturned the decision of Moscow visa authorities to bar Mirzayanov from leaving the country. The case against him was eventually dismissed; he subsequently won a lawsuit against the state prosecutors and his former employer. Despite this, he was still prohibited from foreign travel because of the sensitive nature of his former work. The commission ruled that his knowledge of state secrets did not bar him from leaving the country. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. SCANDAL IN STATE COMMITTEE ON THE PRESS. At a session of the Russian State Committee on the Press earlier this week, according to ITAR-TASS of 30 August, committee chairman Boris Mironov and his deputy Sergei Gryzunov urged each other to resign. The reason for the dispute was a reprimand Gryzunov gave to a number of anti-Semitic newspapers that, in Gryzunov's view, were inciting hatred between various nationalities. Mironov was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying that his deputy was not entitled to issue such reprimands during the chairman's absence on vacation. Mironov is widely reputed to be a Russian nationalist and an opponent of democracy and freedom of the press. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA AZERBAIJAN CONDEMNS PROPOSED ARMENIAN-NKR MONETARY UNION. In an interview with Interfax on 30 August, Vafa Guluzade, foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijan's President Heidar Aliev, condemned as "yet another provocation aimed at undermining the peace settlement" the announcement by a spokesman for Armenia's Central Bank that Armenia and the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic had signed an agreement on monetary union, under which the Armenian dram will become the sole legal tender in Karabakh. The Armenian spokesman told Interfax that the NKR parliament had already voted last year to adopt the dram and that there was no alternative to monetary union; he said the decision was unlikely to have political repercussions. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. ELECTION IN TAJIKISTAN MAY BE POSTPONED. A special session of Tajikistan's Supreme Soviet will be held on 7 September to decide whether to postpone the presidential election set for 25 September to a later date, Russian news agencies reported on 30 August. Deputy parliament chairman Kozidavlat Koimdodov was quoted by Interfax as saying that the referendum on a new constitution that was scheduled for the same day as the presidential election might be postponed as well. The decision to hold the special session was reported to have been taken only after a lively debate in the Supreme Soviet Presidium. Foreign states including Russia have pressured the Tajik government to defer the election because of the continued fighting in the country. The official statement of reasons for a possible postponement mentions the unresolved problem of Tajik refugees in Afghanistan, the beginning of the harvest, and instability in some regions of Tajikistan. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE MACEDONIAN-SERBIAN BORDER INCIDENTS. The Belgrade daily Borba of 31 August and Western agencies on 30 August report that for the second time in ten days Macedonian police have shot and killed a rump Yugoslav citizen near the country's border with Serbia. Internal Affairs Ministry officials in Skopje say the Yugoslavs in both incidents--on 20 and 29 August--were suspected smugglers who had been discovered on Macedonian territory near the Serbian border but had ignored orders to halt. However, on 30 August the Foreign Ministry of rump Yugoslavia rejected that version, saying the killings took place on Yugoslav territory. The Belgrade ministry called the Macedonian account of the incidents "provocations" intended "to justify the presence of international troops on its soil and to obtain a lifting of the arms embargo." Some 1,000 US and Nordic peacekeepers are currently stationed in Macedonia. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBIAN GOODS "PLENTIFUL" ON BOSNIAN SERB TERRITORY. The Boston Globe reports on 31 August that "Serbian gasoline and other goods remain plentiful on the black market" in Bijeljina, northeastern Bosnia. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung pointed out the previous day that even if Serbia agreed to stationing international monitors along the River Drina, "Belgrade knows full well that a couple of hundred observers cannot in any event keep an eye on everything along such a lengthy frontier." Reuters reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross had called on the Bosnian Serbs to stop the newly intensified "ethnic cleansing" in Bijeljina and elsewhere. Last weekend 432 Muslims--mainly women, children, and elderly--were expelled from their homes. Men were often sent to work units along front lines. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. IS GENERAL MLADIC "THE SERBIAN DE GAULLE"? Berlin's Tageszeitung on 30 August reported on the discussion in the Serbian media about the role and future of the Bosnian Serb commander. The normally outspoken Gen. Ratko Mladic has kept an unusually low profile since the feud between Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic became public. The article concluded that Mladic might simply be disoriented by mutual claims to his loyalties, but suggested that competition for his support may be intense. He supposedly turned down an offer of a rump Yugoslav generalship from Milosevic, whose press flattered the commander as "the Serbian de Gaulle." Other sources have suggested that Mladic may be involved in coup plans against either Milosevic or Karadzic. Whatever the case, the Daily Telegraph of 31 August reports that Mladic warned a US general a few days earlier that he would launch pre-emptive strikes against the Muslims if the US lifted the arms embargo against the Bosnian government. Bosnian Serb leaders have also threatened UN personnel in such a case. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. CROATIAN UPDATE. Vecernji list of 31 August reports on a meeting of the joint Church-state committee to plan the pope's visit next month. Church and opposition figures are watching closely lest President Franjo Tudjman try to exploit the pontiff's presence as an endorsement of his and his party's rule. Meanwhile, The Independent notes that Bosnian warlord Fikret Abdic is still inciting fear among refugees from his Bihac area via a transmitter in Serb-held Croatia. The US ambassador to Croatia had worked to set up a "safe area" for the 25,000 refugees back in their home area. Finally, Serbian and Croatian dailies have reported in recent days on a protest note by Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak to Muslim leaders about anti-Croat propaganda in some Muslim media. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. DISCORD WITHIN SANDZAK MUSLIM LEADERSHIP. The Executive Committee of the Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) has overruled party leader Sulejman Ugljanin's decision to establish a coordinating board. Ugljanin's aim was to maintain influence over party affairs even though he is in exile in Turkey, Borba reported on 29 August. The board, set up at a meeting between some SDA leaders and Ugljanin in Turkey in mid-August, was expected to cooperate with the party's other legal bodies. SDA General-Secretary Rasim Ljajic opposed the move on the grounds it violated party statutes. Borba quoted Ljajic as saying that "Ugljanin remains the leader of the SDA as long as he cooperates with the legal bodies of the party, but not with some informal groups trying to usurp full power." Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA BLOCKS APPOINTMENT OF FORMER POLISH SPY. President Lech Walesa's determination to block the appointment of former spy Marian Zacharski as chief of civil intelligence has prevailed. Internal Affairs Minister Andrzej Milczanowski told Walesa on 29 August that Zacharski had upheld his decision to resign from the post against his (Milczanowski's) urging. Walesa expressed his continuing confidence in Milczanowski, despite their differences over Zacharski, PAP reports. On 30 August Milczanowski was grilled on the same subject by the Sejm Internal Affairs Commission. He pledged to consult the president and prime minister about future appointments. PAP reports that the commission will speed up preparations for establishing a standing committee to monitor the activities of the security services. Milczanowski revealed that consultations between himself, the prime minister, and the president on whom to appoint as chief of police continued, with three candidates in the running. The incumbent, Zenon Smolarek, resigned at the beginning of August in connection with corruption allegations. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA AND SOLIDARITY RECONCILED? On the eve of the anniversary of the Gdansk agreement of 31 August 1980, which gave rise to the Solidarity movement, President Lech Walesa met with the Solidarity union's Presidium--the first such meeting since their rift in June 1993, when Solidarity brought down the government of Hanna Suchocka. Walesa said he had always considered himself a Solidarity member and would do what he could for the union, according to PAP. He pledged not to involve the union in "political maneuvers" but said that "reconstruction" of the post-Solidarity political scene was essential if the ideals of August 1980 were to be realized. He gave the union to understand that its draft constitution, which now has the support of 500 citizens and will have to be considered by parliament, was close to his own ideas. Both Walesa and Solidarity Chairman Marian Krzaklewski appealed for unity. Mending fences with his former social base is Walesa's second move in his campaign for reelection as president. Only a few days ago, he revealed plans to reorganize his staff. The only change so far is the replacement of his press spokesman. Although a formal appointment has yet to be made, domestic media reported on 30 August that Leszek Spalinski, an independent journalist specializing in rural affairs, had been shown the ropes. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER IN PRAGUE. On 30 August Laszlo Kovacs arrived in Prague for a two-day visit at the invitation of Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Josef Zieleniec. CTK reports that the same day Kovacs met with President Vaclav Havel, Premier Vaclav Klaus, and parliamentary chairman Milan Uhde. Klaus and Kovacs discussed cooperation between the Czech Republic and Hungary under the Central European Free Trade Agreement and agreed to expand bilateral contacts, particularly the coordination of the two countries' efforts to join the European Union. Havel and Kovacs discussed regional cooperation and integration into European structures. Kovacs's visit to the Czech Republic is the first by a Hungarian foreign minister since the Czech Republic became an independent country in January 1993. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. SLOVAKIA TO BEGIN SECOND WAVE OF COUPON PRIVATIZATION. In a press conference after a cabinet session on 30 August, Privatization Minister Milan Janicina announced that shares worth 13.59 billion koruny in two energy firms would be sold in the second round of coupon privatization, TASR reported. Property worth 20 billion koruny was earlier approved for coupon privatization, and the National Property Fund has promised real estate worth another 12 billion koruny. Deputy Premier Roman Kovac announced later on Slovak Television that the total amount of property offered should reach 60-70 billion koruny. The second wave of coupon privatization is to begin on 5 September. Participants will have until 30 November to register their coupon books at the 229 registration booths throughout Slovakia. Investment funds are required to register between 5 September and 18 November. Meanwhile, the parliament's recent approval of amendments to the law on securities is seen as positive, according to Bratislava Options Exchange Chairman Rene Vochyan. He noted that the amended law rectified several provisions that had slowed share trading. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARY SEIZES NUCLEAR MATERIAL. Hungarian police seized on 29 August two kilos of nuclear material and arrested two men who were trying to sell it in the parking lot of a Budapest hotel, MTI reports. Laszlo Tonhauser, the head of the police department's organized crime unit, and Lajos Tapi, the director of the information agency in charge of national security issues, said their organizations had cooperated in preparing the seizure. Tapi said experts were examining the seized material, which was reported to be uranium fuel rods--probably from Russia. The two officials said they had not yet been able to determine for whom the seized material was intended and regretted that a potential buyer had escaped as the police closed in. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIA'S RULING PARTY ON ITS ALLIES. Adrian Nastase, executive chairman of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PSDR), told reporters on 30 August that his party needed parliamentary support for the continued implementation of the program presented by Nicolae Vacaroiu's cabinet in the fall of 1992. Nastase, who defended the government's recent decision to offer two seats to the ultranationalist Party of Romanian National Unity, maintained that these changes would not essentially alter the government's policies. An RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest quoted him as saying that any other parties that joined the government would also have to comply with PSDR's program. The PSDR is negotiating with the Socialist Labor Party (the reborn communist party) and the chauvinistic Greater Romania Party over their possible participation in government. Nastase tried to put the blame for the inclusion of extremists in the cabinet on what he described as the opposition's constant refusal to cooperate with his party. A spokesman for the opposition rejected the accusation, saying that the PSDR had always demanded impossible conditions for an alliance. Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. BUCHAREST DECLINES TO SEND AID TO MOLDOVA. In two statements reported by Radio Bucharest on 30 August, Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu said his government had asked Romania's counties, state-owned and private firms, and citizens to send relief to the Republic of Moldova--"whatever they can and however they can"--in the wake of the hurricane and floods there. The County of Iasi, bordering on Moldova and in which that country's historic capital is located, has been the first to respond by saying it would send a relief convoy by 4 September, that is, eight days after the disaster. On 28 August an official spokesman, cited by RFE/RL, said the government had decided to leave the task to initiatives from below, which, given Romania's current situation, are bound to be meager. The decision reflects Bucharest's irritation, expressed in numerous political statements, over Moldova's refusal to unify with Romania. The Russian government, for its part, is scoring propaganda points in Moldova, having dispatched a rescue team and first consignments of aid and promising more relief in the form of construction materials, clothing, medicine, and tents. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has also pledged government aid in a message to Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, Ukrainian TV reported on 29 August. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. "DNIESTER" HANDGUNS FOR RUSSIA'S "RED-BROWNS." "Dniester" president Igor Smirnov has made personal gifts of Nagan revolvers to leaders of Russia's procommunist and ultranationalist opposition in recognition of their support for the "Dniester republic," an RFE/RL correspondent in Moscow reported on 30 August. The report listed the serial numbers and recipients of the revolvers. Included among the recipients were such "red-brown" leaders as retired Col. Gen. Albert Makashov (who commanded Dniester fighters in the October 1993 rebellion in Moscow), newspaper editor Aleksandr Prokhanov, "black Colonel" Viktor Alksnis, and Estonian Interfront leader Evgenii Kogan, all of whom have repeatedly visited the "Dniester republic" and spoken up for it in Russia. The Nagan revolver is a Bolshevik symbol dating back to the Russian civil war. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN AND CRIMEAN PRESIDENTS MEET. On 29 August Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met with Crimean President Yurii Meshkov and Crimean parliamentary speaker Serhii Tsekov, Ukrainian Radio reported. They discussed economic reforms on the peninsula and normalizing relations between Kiev and Simferopol. Tsekov has frequently said he wants relations with the Ukrainian government to be based on bilateral treaties with Crimea. It is expected that Kuchma will take a tough stand on the issue of Sevastopol's self-proclaimed Russian status. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. LUKASHENKA REDUCES NUMBER OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir said President Alyaksandr Lukashenka had approved the new structure for the presidential administration and government, Interfax reported on 30 August. During the election campaign, Lukashenka had promised to reduce the administration by 30%. The decree on the reorganization says the cabinet will have a staff of 200 and the presidential administration 100. Belarusian Radio reported on 29 August that the government reductions were being made by merging departments. For example, the Ministry of Road Building, the State Committee on Building, and the Ministry of Building Materials have all been merged to form the Ministry of Architecture and Building. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN LITHUANIAN RESORT. On 30 August Foreign Ministers Povilas Gylys (Lithuania), Juri Luik (Estonia), and Valdis Birkavs (Latvia) met in the seaside resort of Palanga, Radio Lithuania reports. They signed a trilateral agreement simplifying customs at their borders and issued a joint statement expressing the desire to join the European Union and criticizing Russia's policies linking trade with military transit. A trilateral agreement on free trade in agricultural goods is expected to be signed later. The three ministers also approved guidelines for the Baltic Council of Ministers and the formation of 15 joint committees tasked with increasing cooperation in various fields. On 31 August they are to meet with their counterparts in the Nordic Council (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland). The meeting is expected to issue a joint communique welcoming the completion of the formal withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltic States and calling for the demilitarization of Kaliningrad. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. ISRAELI PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN IN LITHUANIA. On 28 August, at the start of a three-day visit to Lithuania, Shevah Weiss attended ceremonies in Vilnius at which diplomas were awarded to nine Lithuanians who saved Jews during the Nazi occupation. The next day he met with President Algirdas Brazauskas, Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, and other leading officials, Radio Lithuania reported. Weiss said that he did not believe in the collective guilt of nations and noted that the Lithuanian authorities were committed to investigating crimes that occurred during the war. He also said that relations between the two countries should improve after the visits to Israel by Slezevicius in October and Brazauskas next year. On 30 August Weiss visited a monument to the victims of genocide in Seirijai, where his wife was born, and then left for Riga. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN-ISRAELI RELATIONS EXPAND. The Latvian Foreign Ministry on 25 August accredited Arturs Puga as temporary charge d'affaires to Israel, BNS reported on 29 August. This move precedes the opening of a Latvian embassy in Israel and expands bilateral cooperation. Until now Latvia was represented by two honorary consuls in Israel. Following a visit to Lithuania, on 30 August Israeli parliamentary chairman Shevah Weiss met with Chairman of the Saeima Anatolijs Gorbunovs in Riga. On 31 August he is to meet with President Guntis Ulmanis and Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Penny Morvant and Jan Cleave 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. 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