|ZHivya s lyud'mi, ne zabyvaj togo, chto ty uznal v uedinenii. V uedinenii obdumyvaj to, chto uznal iz obscheniya s lyud'mi. - L.N.Tolstoj|
No. 168, 5 September 1994
RUSSIA MORE ARMED CLASHES IN CHECHNYA . . . A column of tanks belonging to the forces of Provisional Council Chairman Umar Avturkhanov was halted by government troops 30 km north of Grozny on 2 September, Russian and Western agencies reported; several were killed and others injured in the clash. The Russian Defense Ministry rejected charges by the Chechen Ministry of Information that the tanks were supported by Russian helicopter gunships. A Provisional Council spokesman told Interfax that the advance was merely "a reconnaissance in force," rather than an attempt to take Grozny. Further clashes took place on 4 September near the town of Argun between government forces and units loyal to Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev's former bodyguard, Ruslan Labazanov, ITAR-TASS reported; nine of Labazanov's men were killed. There were no casualties in a second attack by Dudaev's troops on units loyal to the Provisional Council in the village of Ken-Yurt, 20 km from Grozny. Also on 4 September, former Russian parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov told ITAR-TASS he would form his own paramilitary units which would be subordinate to the Provisional Council. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. . . AS WAR OF WORDS ESCALATES . . . On 2 September the Provisional Council issued a statement calling for Dudaev's ouster by military means as the only alternative to civil war, according to ITAR-TASS. On 3 September the Russian government issued an "Appeal to the Chechen People" to maintain calm in the face of what were termed "provocations" by Dudaev's leadership, and called on Dudaev himself to resign in order to avert further bloodshed and civil war. Also on 3 September, Sergei Filatov, the head of Boris Yeltsin's presidential apparatus, criticized as "dictatorial" the order issued the previous day by the Chechen government to all Russian journalists to leave Chechnya within 24 hours. Russian Federation Council Deputy Chairman Ramazan Abdulatipov ruled out negotiations between Dudaev and the federal authorities on the grounds that Dudaev had totally discredited himself; Chechen Vice President Zelimkhan Yanarbiev similarly told Interfax that talks between the Chechen leadership and the opposition were "impossible"; he reiterated that "Chechnya will not be a part of Russia." Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. . . BUT AT LEAST NO DANGER OF NUKES. On 2 September Trud carried an unsigned article quoting unidentified sources within the Russian Ministry of Defense as rejecting as untrue the statement made to Postfaktum on 1 September by a member of the Chechen military leadership that even after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya in 1992 Russia still maintained a secret nuclear airbase in the mountain village of Bamut, where there was a total of 24 nuclear warheads to which Chechnya might have access in the event of a military confrontation with Russia. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. SECRET SERVICE OPENS CASE AGAINST DUDAEV. The director of the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK), Sergei Stepashin, said that he had asked the Russian Prosecutor's Office to initiate criminal proceedings against Chechen President Dudaev, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 September. Stepashin confirmed earlier reports that an FSK colonel had been arrested by Dudaev's security service and accused of "espionage." Stepashin said the Chechen authorities had subjected the arrested officer to heavy pressure to extract confessions that could "compromise the position" of Russia. He added that the accusation of spying was absurd because Chechnya was de jure a territory of the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, Galina Starovoitova, one of the leaders of Democratic Russia and a former adviser to President Yeltsin, said that outright military and political support on the part of the Kremlin for the anti-Dudaev opposition could be counterproductive. In an interview with RFE/RL on 4 September, Starovoitova said that a massive anti-Chechen campaign in the Russian media could incite the other peoples of the Caucasus against Russia. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIA, CHINA NOT TO AIM MISSILES AT EACH OTHER. At their Kremlin summit on 3 September, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin pledged not to target strategic nuclear weapons against the other's country. According to the text of the agreement as broadcast by the Chinese Xinhua news agency, the two leaders also promised that neither country would be the first to use nuclear weapons against the other. In addition, they agreed to speed up the negotiations on reducing military forces along their mutual border, ultimately cutting them "to the lowest possible level." Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA SPEAKS OUT ON BEHALF OF CHINESE POLITICAL PRISONERS. Galina Starovoitova, Gleb Yakunin, and Lev Ponomarev, co-chairpersons of the Democratic Russia movement, called on President Yeltsin to raise the issue of human rights violations in China during Chinese President Jiang Zemin's state visit to Russia. Jiang Zemin, who arrived in Moscow on 2 September, is the first Chinese president to visit Russia for 37 years. ITAR-TASS said that on the opening day of his visit the leaders of Democratic Russia issued an appeal expressing concern about the fates of "hundreds of political prisoners currently suffering in Chinese prisons." While welcoming the improvements in Sino-Russian relations, they said President Yeltsin should urge his Chinese counterpart to proclaim a general amnesty for all political prisoners in China. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. SMOOTH START TO JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE. The joint Russian/American peacekeeping exercise being conducted on the Totsk training ground in the Southern Urals got off to a smooth start on 4 September despite the presence of a few protesters. Interfax reported on 3 September that an American officer had answered questions from the protesters at a meeting "held in a tactful atmosphere." ITAR-TASS on 4 September said that the exercise participants were acting as a peacekeeping force in the hypothetical state of "Atlantis" and were simulating such actions as countering terrorists and even handling drunks. In a 4 September statement reported by Reuters, former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi denounced the maneuvers as a violation of Russian sovereignty and the first step toward permanently stationing US troops in the country. He contended that Washington and the Russian leadership wanted to use Russian soldiers "against the fraternal Serb People." Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. GRACHEV: RAPID WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM GERMANY A "BLUNDER." At a 3 September Moscow press conference reported by Interfax, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev described the decision by former Soviet leaders Mikhail Gorbachev and Eduard Shevardnadze to repatriate the Western Group of Forces from Germany in only four years as "the crudest political blunder." However, once given the order, he said the military carried out the withdrawal successfully. "We did not run from Germany," he said, "but left it in the scheduled time with a proudly raised head." Grachev pointed to the lack of housing for the returning troops as a most serious problem and disclosed that he had appointed Colonel General Matvei Burlakov--his new deputy and the former commander of the WGF--to be in charge of this issue. Burlakov said that all officers and NCOs from Germany would be provided with flats in 1994-1995, while Grachev indicated that the military's housing problems would be largely overcome by late 1996. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN, CHERNOMYRDIN FIRE "FASCIST" MINISTER. Boris Mironov, the notorious chairman of the State Committee on the Press (see RFE/RL Daily Report of 2 September), was fired by a presidential decree later on 2 September. At a news conference the same day, Yeltsin's spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, branded Mironov's actions in office "odious," "chauvinistic," and "almost Fascist." Citing articles criticizing the press minister, Kostikov termed Mironov's removal "a great victory for the democratic press." This step, Kostikov added, must be seen as an indication of future political developments in Russia--that is, that Yeltsin has chosen the democratic option. Although Mironov was removed by presidential decree, Russian TV newscasts were careful to point out that the decision had been made jointly by the president and the prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin. Mironov, a protege of Mikhail Poltoranin, a longtime Yeltsin ally, is on record as claiming that his views enjoyed the support of both leaders. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. CHERNOMYRDIN APPOINTS NEW PRESS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN. The Russian prime minister has made Mironov's first deputy, Vladimir Volodin, the new chairman of the State Committee on the Press, Western agencies reported on 3 September. Volodin's appointment seems to reflect a lack of coordination at the top. The previous day presidential spokesman Kostikov had told Russian TV that no replacement for Mironov would be named and that Mironov's removal would probably be followed by a reorganization of the entire information system. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN ARMS EXPORTS UP IN 1994. Gennadii Yampolsky, the deputy chairman of the State Committee on the Defense Industry, told a 1 September Moscow press conference that the value of Russian arms exports in 1994 would be 40% higher than the $2 billion figure for 1993. As reported by Interfax, he pointed to the recent arms contracts with Malaysia and Kuwait as the major achievements. Yampolsky also announced that several new weapons systems would be displayed publicly for the first time at an arms exhibition to open on 11 September in Nizhnii Novgorod. He said that 230 Russian defense enterprises would have products on display. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KYRGYZ DEPUTIES REFUSE TO ATTEND PARLIAMENT SESSION. One hundred forty-three of the 323 deputies to Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Soviet have announced that they will boycott the session scheduled to begin on 27 September, thereby depriving the legislature of a quorum, Interfax reported on 2 September. The boycotters assert that the legislature has lost its authority and become an arena for political intrigues. On 3 September there were more calls for a boycott of the present Supreme Soviet and for the election of a professional parliament. During its upcoming session, Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Soviet was supposed to set a date for the election of a new parliament; most deputies want the election to be held in February or March 1995, while others want it to be held in December 1994. President Askar Akaev, who will have to set the date if the parliament does not, has called the present Supreme Soviet an irresponsible Communist-era relic and has shut down the parliamentary newspaper. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. RAKHMONOV PROTESTS PRESENCE OF MERCENARIES. Tajikistan's head of state, parliament chairman Imomali Rakhmonov, has protested the use of mercenaries by Tajik opposition forces based in Afghanistan who are trying to overthrow the present Tajik government, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 September. In a statement distributed in the UN Security Council, Rakhmonov asserted that the use of mercenaries was worsening the conflict in Tajikistan and endangering stability throughout Central Asia. Fighters from Algeria, Afghanistan, Sudan, "and other states" were cited in the complaint. Russian sources have said that some mercenaries fighting for the Tajik opposition are from various Arab countries. Rakhmonov appealed to the states whose citizens are serving as mercenaries to stop the practice and support the resolution of the conflict in Tajikistan by peaceful means. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT TENDERS RESIGNATION . . . On 2 September, Bulgaria's longest-serving postcommunist cabinet, headed by economic historian Lyuben Berov, announced it would offer its resignation to the parliament. In an address carried by BTA, Premier Berov urged the National Assembly to accept the resignation and the fact that early general elections were unavoidable. He defended the government's record over the past 19 months and noted that, since winning a vote of confidence on 26 May, it had been able to pass important legislation on debt rescheduling and mass privatization. As early as May, Berov had promised to step down in the fall to pave the way for new elections. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . REPLACES TOP MILITARY LEADER . . . Also on 2 September, the government replaced Chief of General Staff Gen. Lyuben Petrov. Petrov has recently been involved in a dispute with Defense Minister Valentin Aleksandrov over the retirement of some 330 colonels, whom Petrov felt should be retained, despite the fact they were past retirement age. The same day President Zhelyu Zhelev approved the decision, as required by the constitution, and appointed Col. Gen. (promoted from Lt. Gen.) Tsvetan Totomirov as chief of the General Staff. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . BUT CONSEQUENCES UNCLEAR. It is nevertheless uncertain whether the parliament will approve the cabinet's resignation and if Bulgaria will have early elections. The National Assembly is due to debate these related issues on 7 September, but Bulgarian dailies of 5 September suggest that a wide range of scenarios is possible. Even if Berov's resignation were accepted, the parliament could either chose to select a new government or let President Zhelev appoint a caretaker cabinet. Especially the smaller parliamentary groups appear to be opposed to elections, since they fear being pushed to the political sidelines by the Union of Democratic Forces and the Bulgarian Socialist Party. With regard to future civil-military relations, it is also unclear to what extent the appointment of Col. Gen. Totomirov will help to reduce tensions. Gen. Petrov grudgingly signed the order approving the retirement of 330 colonels before being replaced, but Totomirov has told Standart there will be no more staff reductions or replacements this year. The paper quotes former presidential advisor Gen. Stoyan Andreev as predicting that the crisis in the army will continue. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. BOSNIAN SERBS INTENSIFY "ETHNIC CLEANSING." International media report that Bosnian Serbs have intensified their ethnic cleansing campaigns. On 4 September, an estimated 800 Muslim refugees from the town of Bijeljina--mostly elderly citizens, women, and children--arrived in Tuzla, which is under Bosnian government control. Some 100 men accompanying the refugees were taken by Serbian troops to an unknown location. On 3 September, the Croatian agency Hina reported that some 500 to 700 refugees, all victims of the ethnic cleansing campaign, had arrived in the central Bosnian town of Travnik and had been subsequently transferred to Bugojno. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. PAPAL VISIT TO SARAJEVO STILL UNCERTAIN. After meetings with a papal envoy, officials of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb government say it is still uncertain whether Pope John Paul II will visit Sarajevo on 8 September. According to Borba of 5 September, Bosnian Serb officials have said the pontiff's safety cannot be guaranteed; Vatican officials, however, have requested such a guarantee. In recent days, there have been reports of increased violence and sniping activity in and around Sarajevo. Serbian gunners recently opened fire, less than half an hour before the arrival of UN inspectors, at the stadium where the pope is expected to celebrate Mass. Also, in the past few days Serbian guns have shot at planes landing at the airport where the pope may arrive. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. MILOSEVIC MEETS OWEN, STOLTENBERG. On 5 September Politika reports that the previous day Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic met with EU mediator Lord Owen and UN envoy Thorvald Stoltenberg. High on the agenda was the continuing crisis in Bosnia and the international sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. The mediators' meeting with Milosevic was the first in the latest round of talks with leaders throughout the former Yugoslavia. Owen and Stoltenberg also plan to meet with Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic before traveling to Zagreb for talks with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. WALESA COURTS FARMERS. Addressing some 100,000 farmers at the annual harvest thanksgiving festival at the national shrine of the Black Madonna in Czestochowa, President Lech Walesa defended Poland's peasant farmers against accusations of not moving with the times and against what he described as attempts to blame them for the inefficient rural structure and faulty agricultural policies. Commending family farms for having ensured "bread for the nation" at a time of political and economic change, Walesa said Polish peasant farmers had borne the brunt of Polish reforms, although they had paid and were still paying dearly for this. He warned that economic reform was "neither a political caprice nor an economic experiment" but a national necessity, and he called on the farmers to take advantage of the fact that they had their own peasant party prime minister in Warsaw. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH BARGES BLOCK TRAFFIC ON RIVER ODER. Polish barges have been blocking river traffic in the Szczecin area since 1 September in protest at the German government's decision to introduce the same day a ceiling on the number of Polish barges transporting goods on German territory and to ban those barges from entering German waters. Transport Minister Boguslaw Liberadzki told PAP that the German decision contravened the bilateral agreement of November 1993, which provided no such ceiling. The Germans side claims, however, that the Poles account for some 85% of the river traffic between the two countries, thereby contravening the principle of parity on which the 1993 agreement is based. The Poles argue that the tonnage of goods transported is more or less equal but that the smaller-capacity Polish barges have to make more trips to transport the same amount of goods. Polish transporters fear bankruptcy. The protesters allowed a German passenger ferry through on 3 September as a goodwill gesture. Negotiations between Polish and German government officials have so far failed to resolve the crisis. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL, Inc. CZECHS TO APPLY FOR EU MEMBERSHIP IN 1996? At a meeting of European politicians and economists in the Italian town of Cernobbio, Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus said he saw the year 1996 as "optimal" for the Czech Republic's application to join the European Union, Czech Radio reports. He noted that the "psychological attitudes" of EU members toward integrating Central European countries into the EU were changing. The membership of countries such as the Czech Republic, "which seemed far off some time ago," was now a "foregone conclusion," Klaus said. Several influential European politicians also expressed interest in speeding up the integration process. Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. MECIAR INTRODUCES POST-ELECTION STRATEGY. Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (MDS) Chairman and former Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar has revealed his party's post-election goals, TASR reports. With regard to the economy, Meciar said he favored abandoning the current cabinet's restrictive monetary and budgetary policies and pursuing instead an economic course that would lead to growth in GDP, a decline in inflation to 12%, a fall in unemployment to 10%, and a budget deficit of 3% of GDP. Meciar said he was not against foreign firms participating in privatization, but only if domestic investors were uninterested. On the media, Meciar said his party planned to introduce changes in the cabinet's press and information department and to revise the media policy of the Ministry of Culture. Meciar also commented that if the MDS gained enough seats to set up a cabinet but the president refused to accept the elections results, this would constitute a violation of the constitution. "We will have to look for another movement or another president," he said. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. SPLIT EMERGING IN SLOVAKIA'S PDL? On 2 September, Lubomir Fogas, a member of the Party of the Democratic Left (PDL) and the party 's leading candidate in the West Slovak region, said that while the leaders of certain political parties did not get along, their members were able to cooperate. Cooperation among party leaders would be a "grand gesture that would help Slovakia out of its political crisis," Fogas said. He went on to say that the PDL would welcome a continuation of the present wide coalition government if its current coalition partners garnered enough support in the elections. He also denied that a split was emerging within the PDL between supporters of Chairman Peter Weiss and those of Defense Minister Pavol Kanis. Similarly, PDL member Robert Fico denied that he belonged to a faction within the PDL that was leaning toward the MDS. On the possibility of cooperation with the PDL, MDS Chairman Vladimir Meciar said on 2 September that the PDL had blocked cooperation with the MDS in the past, thus making the party an "unreliable partner." He also said he did not know of any PDL experts whom he could imagine taking part in the new government. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN-BRITISH MILITARY EXERCISES. Some 140 British soldiers have arrived in the Hungarian town of Kecskemet to take part in military exercises with some 230 Hungarian troops, MTI reports. Organized within the framework of the Partnership for Peace initiative and expected to last three weeks, these are the first exercises involving Hungarian and foreign troops to take place in Hungary since the Soviet troops withdrew three years ago. The purpose of the exercises is to learn how to protect peacekeepers and safeguard aid sent to war-torn areas. Judith Pataki, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS ETHNIC HUNGARIAN LEADERS. On 2 September Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu met with a delegation from the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (HDFR) to discuss talks on a Hungarian-Romanian treaty due to start in Budapest on 5 September. Radio Bucharest quoted presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu as saying Melescanu had a mandate for "maximum openness" so that the treaty between the two countries could be concluded. But after meeting with the foreign minister, HDFR leaders were pessimistic. HDFR Honorary President Bishop Laszlo Tokes said there was no reason to "have confidence in the sincerity of the Romanian government." He noted that in keeping with past communist practice, the Romanian side wished to conclude the treaty at state level, without taking into consideration the Hungarian minority's aspirations and refusing to involve it in the negotiations. HDFR President Bela Marko said Melescanu had rejected an HDFR suggestion that the text of the treaty be accompanied by a detailed protocol specifying the rights of the Hungarian minority. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIA RENEWS CALL FOR EASING SANCTIONS AGAINST SERBIA. On 2 September, Western agencies quoted Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu as saying Serbia had demonstrated its good will by severing political and economic relations with the Bosnian Serbs. He added that the five-nation "contact group" dealing with the Bosnian situation must now ease UN sanctions against Serbia. He again called for compensation to all Serbian neighbors hurt by the sanctions. Bucharest claims the embargo has cost Romania several billion dollars. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. PROBLEMS WITH UKRAINE'S BUDGET. Ukrainian Finance Minister Petro Hermanchuk announced that Ukraine's budget limited the country's possibilities for development, Ukrainian TV reported on 1 September. He said that in the first half of 1994, expenditures totaled 25 trillion karbovantsy; while this was less than planned, the government had failed to collect much of the revenue it had anticipated. Hermanchuk pointed out that the state had made a meager profit from privatization and arms sales. Hermanchuk calculated that by year's end, the budget deficit would reach 196 trillion karbovantsy, owing to inflation. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN RESERVE OFFICERS MAY BE CALLED UP. On 2 September, Belarusian Radio reported that the Defense Ministry had issued a clarification on reports that the defense minister, Anatol Kastanka, had ordered several hundred reserve officers to serve in the armed forces. According to the press office of the Defense Ministry, a directive issued on 15 July by the government stated that reserve officers under 28 who had not served on active duty might be called up during peace time if the government decided they were needed for the officers' corps. The order affects reserve officers from the armed forces, the border guard, and the Interior Ministry troops. As the Defense Ministry is training young specialists, the report say it is unlikely that young reserve officers will be called up. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. ENERGY PRICES RISE IN BELARUS. On 1 September the price of fuel rose sharply in Belarus, Belarusian Radio reported the next day. Gasoline jumped 30-40%, while fuel went up 50%. A week earlier Gazprom had threatened to cut gas supplies to Belarus in September if the country did not pay its August debt. Gazprom has not made any such cuts, but the Belarusian government has said enterprises that fail to pay their bills will be disconnected from the energy supply system. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVAN LEADER ON ROMANIAN "DREAMS." Interviewed in the weekly Pamant si Oameni, as cited by Basapress of 3 September, Dumitru Motpan, the deputy chairman of Moldova's parliament and chairman of the ruling Agrarian Democratic Party, called Moldova's pro-Romanian opposition parties "a fifth column." "Unlike the situation in other countries, our opposition rejects the very existence of Moldova as a state" by calling for a merger with Romania, he said. The Romanian government, Motpan said, "is trying to lecture us as to how to live in our own country. . . . Some Romanian official circles stoop to the level of our revanchist opposition forces, as they keep dreaming about uniting Moldova with Romania." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. REGULATIONS ON MILITARY TRANSIT THROUGH LITHUANIA. On 31 August Virgilijus Bulovas, the head of the Lithuanian working group for talks with the CIS, said regulations on foreign military transit through Lithuania should be ready by late September, BNS reported on 1 September. The 10th version of the regulations, already approved by the government, has been sent for comment to experts in Northern and Western Europe. According to this version, written applications for transit of military cargoes must be submitted to the Lithuanian government in Lithuanian, Russian, and English 15 days in advance. Permits to transport military personnel and combat equipment can be issued only with the approval of the parliament. The transportation of nuclear, chemical, and bacteriological arms and their components is prohibited. Military transit is to be carried out by rail; only in exceptional cases is transportation by road to be allowed. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. TEACHERS HOLD WARNING STRIKE IN LATVIA. On 2 September, some 47,000 teachers and school employees staged a warning strike over low salaries and the unresolved problems in Latvia's education system. According to their trade union chairman, Agris Olmanis, participation throughout the country was about 90%. Olmanis also told Diena that if solutions to the problems were not actively sought, a meeting would be held on 13 September with medical and cultural workers to consider the possibility of holding a joint strike. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. BIRKAVS ON LATVIAN-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. On 2 September, the incumbent Latvian prime minister, Valdis Birkavs, who may serve as foreign affairs minister in the new government, commented on key elements in Latvian-Russian relations, Interfax reported. On the issue of Latvian territory appropriated by the RSFSR after World War II, Birkavs said that, "It is necessary to hold bilateral negotiations on the demarcation of the border between Latvia and Russia before raising this issue." Birkavs dismissed as impossible Latvian-Russian cooperation in the sphere of defense but stressed the necessity of normal, good-neighborly relations between the two countries in other spheres. Birkavs called for the prompt withdrawal from Latvia of the remaining Russian servicemen, especially those who retired after 28 January 1992. These and other issues are expected to be discussed by Latvian and Russian representatives at a meeting on 5 September. 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. This report is also available by postal mail, as are the other publications of the Institute, and by fax. 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