Experience is in the fingers and head. The heart is inexperienced. - Henry David Thoreau
RFE/RL Daily Report

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
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1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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Updated: 1998-11-

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