This communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joy, and cutteth griefs in half. - Francis Bacon
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 176, 15 September 1994

                              RUSSIA

YELTSIN CREATING RING OF LOYAL ELITE TROOPS. The newspaper
Nezavisimaya gazeta said on 14 September that Russian President
Boris Yeltsin was creating a ring of elite military units around
Moscow that might be used to protect the government from revolts
by dissatisfied units returning from Germany and the Baltic
States. As reported by ITAR-TASS, military loyalty to the
president was also to be ensured by the new Department of Military
Politics in the presidential chief of staff's office. This office
would assume the sort of political screening function once
performed by the administrative bodies of the communist party and
would select all command personnel from division command on up.
They would be judged on their loyalty and readiness to carry out
any order issued by the supreme commander in chief, the president.
Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.

LEBED ON MILITARY DISCONTENT, PULLOUT FROM GERMANY. Interviewed in
Nezavisimaya gazeta of 15 September, Lieutenant General Aleksandr
Lebed, the commander of Russia's 14th Army in Moldova, rated the
chances of "a rebellion of the discontented" in the Russian armed
forces as "fifty-fifty." "If the government provides for a normal
existence for the armed forces, then there won't be a rebellion,"
he said. While deploring the conditions surrounding the Russian
forces' pullout from Germany, Lebed gave German Chancellor Helmut
Kohl the maximum possible credit as "a wise person both as a
theoretician and as a man of action: in our country only Lenin was
as capable as Kohl." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

HOUSING WOES OF RETURNING TROOPS. Petr Shirshov, chairman of the
Federation Council's Security and Defense Committee, told visiting
French parliamentarians on 13 September that 40% of the officers
and warrant officers returning from Germany "still remain under
the open sky," while 43,000 officers' families were without homes
of their own. As reported by Interfax the next day, he joined the
many recent critics of the hurried withdrawal, saying that
"politics came before good sense." Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.

CHECHNYA. Chechen opposition forces commanded by Ruslan Labazanov
attacked government forces and temporarily gained control of
Chervlen bridge 40 km north of Grozny during the evening of 13
September, Interfax and Western agencies reported. On 14 September
former Grozny Mayor Beslan Gantemirov was named military commander
of the combined forces of the opposition Provisional Council,
according to Reuters and ITAR-TASS. Speaking at a press conference
in Moscow, Russian Minister for Nationalities Nikolai Egorov
characterized the situation in Chechnya as "a stalemate," in that
neither President Dzhokhar Dudaev nor the opposition was strong
enough to assert total control over the country; Egorov excluded
the possibility that the Chechen conflict might spill over into
neighboring regions of Russia.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.

CONGRESS OF ANTI-YELTSIN OPPOSITION IN KALININGRAD. The first
united congress of communist and nationalist forces, chaired by
former Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, will open on 16 September
in Kaliningrad, according to an RFE/RL correspondent in Vilnius.
The congress is to be attended by practically all the leaders of
the "irreconcilable opposition": these include the leader of the
Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennadii Zyuganov;
former Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Anatolii Lukyanov;
former Chairman of the Supreme Court Valerii Zorkin; and the
generals Valentin Varennikov, Albert Makashov, and Vladislav
Achalov. The congress will be held under the slogan "A Russian
Frontier from Kaliningrad to the Kuril Islands." According to
Zyuganov, the goal of the congress is to "unite all anti-Yeltsin
forces" and to demand preterm presidential elections in the spring
of 1995. The leader of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic
Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, is not expected to attend the
congress.  Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL Inc.

YELTSIN SUPPORTERS OPPOSE POSTPONEMENT OF ELECTIONS. Holding
elections promptly when the terms of the current president and
parliament are due to expire is a top priority for Egor Gaidar,
the leader of the proreform party Russia's Democratic Choice. In
an interview with RFE/RL on 14 September Gaidar said that,
throughout his travels across the whole of Russia, he had never
met anyone in favor of either postponing the elections or calling
them off entirely. (Such measures had been suggested by an
influential State Duma deputy, Mikhail Poltoranin, and later by
the chairman of the Council of the Federation, Vladimir Shumeiko;
both had been elected on the ticket of Democratic Choice.) Also on
14 September Interfax cited two liberal Yeltsin aides, Georgii
Satarov and Mark Urnov, as saying that they favored holding
simultaneous elections to the parliament and the Presidency. The
parliamentary elections are currently scheduled for December 1995
and the presidential ones for June 1996.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL
Inc.

RUSSIA WILLING TO REEXAMINE SWEDISH SUB CHARGES. Yurii Baturin,
Yeltsin's national security adviser, said that Russian and Swedish
experts would reexamine all the data connected with Swedish
charges that Soviet and Russian submarines have been secretly
entering Swedish waters for years. In comments published by
ITAR-TASS on 14 September Baturin said that, according to the data
available so far, Soviet and Russian submarines had not been
involved, other than the notorious 1981 "Whiskey-on-the-rocks"
incident. He also said that Russian experts had agreed that
underwater sounds recorded by the Swedes in 1982 and 1992 had been
caused by submarines, but that additional in-depth analysis of all
the data would be required to determine their nationality. In
August a former Swedish naval commander had said that he believed
many of the sounds had been caused by animals, possibly seals or
otters. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.

GRACHEV WANTS TO PUSH ARMS EXPORTS. In an interview published by
Interfax on 14 September, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
said that Russia must regain its "traditional arms markets" in the
Middle East, Eastern Europe, and India and gain new ones in
South-East Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He said that Russian
arms were often superior to their Western counterparts and
suggested that the substantial reduction in Russian arms sales in
the past three years had been politically motivated. He charged
that the United States and Western Europe had stepped in to take
Russia's place. In the minister's view, inadequate financing of
the Russian defense industry was the biggest hurdle to overcome.
The Defense Ministry's information department said that the
defense industry had not received 2.1 trillion rubles due to it
under the 1994 national budget. Speaking to journalists at the
Farnborough air show in England, the director-general of
Rosvooruzheniye--Russia's arms exporter--said that the returns
from arms sales in 1994 might be double the $2.2 billion 1993
total. Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc.

CLAIMANT TO RUSSIAN THRONE TO ENROLL IN ST. PETERSBURG NAVAL
COLLEGE. Count Georgii Romanov, who is considered a possible
candidate for the Russian throne, is to be enrolled in St.
Petersburg's Nachimov Naval College, according to Moskovskie
novosti (no. 37). Romanov, the 12-year-old grandson of Grand Count
Vladimir Kirillovich, lives with his mother in Madrid and is
currently studying at a private school in the United Kingdom.
Several prominent Russian politicians have proposed the
restoration of a constitutional monarchy in Russia with Georgii as
tsar and Yeltsin acting as regent. If Count Georgii does enter the
naval college, he will acquire Russian citizenship, which will
enhance his supporters' chances of achieving a constitutional
monarchy.  Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL Inc.

NATIONAL COUNCIL ON ADVERTISEMENTS SET UP. The Chamber of Trade
and Industry of the Russian Federation, the Russian Union of
Journalists, and the International Confederation for the Defense
of Consumers' Rights have founded the National Council on
Advertisements, Russian Television newscasts reported on 14
September. The idea of setting up such a body came in response to
government moves against certain firms, such as MMM and Tibet,
whose shares have been extensively advertised in Russia's
broadcast and print media; in the course of this campaign the
government prepared a draft law on advertising, making the
production of "indecent" or "untruthful" advertisements a criminal
offense. According to the Russian TV reports, the draft
legislation has aroused concern among the managers of major
Russian advertising agencies and other businessmen. The head of
the Chamber of Trade and Industry, Sergei Smirnov, told Ostankino
TV that the aim of the new council would be to establish order in
the sphere of commercials "not by punitive measures but by
creating a balance of interests" between the producers,
distributors, and consumers of advertisements.  Julia Wishnevsky,
RFE/RL Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

TENSIONS OVER REPATRIATION OF GEORGIANS TO ABKHAZIA. An Interfax
report of 14 September quoted Abkhaz parliament Chairman Vladislav
Ardzinba as claiming that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii
Kondratev had initiated the mass repatriation of Georgian refugees
to Abkhazia's Gali Raion beginning on that same day. The Abkhaz
leadership termed Kondratev's move a provocation and violation of
the existing agreement on repatriation, and it put troops on the
alert to prevent a mass influx of refugees; spontaneous
demonstrations took place in several Abkhaz towns to protest the
anticipated return of the Georgian refugees. ITAR-TASS quoted a
spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry as denying reports that
Georgia and Russia had reached a separate agreement on the
repatriation of refugees from Abkhazia on 12 September. Meanwhile
a representative of the UNHCR told Reuters in Tbilisi that
adequate measures had still not been taken to ensure the safety of
Georgian refugees returning to Abkhazia.  Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

KIEV SENDS MEDIATOR TO CRIMEA, THREATENS ACTION . . . Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma appointed Deputy Prime Minister Yevgenii
Marchuk as special representative charged with ending the
political crisis in Crimea, ITAR-TASS reported on 14 September. An
aide to Kuchma said Crimean President Yurii Meshkov had agreed to
Marchuk's appointment. The Crimean parliament's response is not
known. The crisis in Crimea began on 11 September, when Meskov
suspended the parliament after deputies voted to curb his powers.
On 14 September, Kuchma renewed his "zero option" proposal,
whereby the parliament would rescind its amendment on limiting
Meshkov's powers and Meshkov would revoke decrees disbanding the
parliament and imposing presidential rule. Meshkov has said he is
agreed to Kuchma's proposal but the parliament has so far rejected
it. Ukrainian National Security Service Secretary Volodymyr
Gabulin said Kiev did not want the power struggle in Crimea to
take a violent turn. He added that the Ukrainian authorities were
prepared to take "serious measures" to prevent such a scenario.
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

. . . WHILE CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT WANTS GOVERNMENT REPORT. The
Crimean parliament has asked for a report by acting Prime Minister
Yevgenii Saburov on the government's activities, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported from Simferopol on 14 September. Parliament
leaders warned that if Saburov did not respond on 14 September,
the parliament would vote on whether to call for the government's
resignation. Government officials have said that until the crisis
in Crimea is resolved, the government will not participate in
parliament sessions.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

BELGRADE GIVES FORMAL NOD TO OBSERVERS. Rump Yugoslavia has
officially consented to the stationing of international observers
along Serbia's border with Bosnia, Tanjug reported on 14
September. The civilian monitors will determine whether Belgrade's
embargo against the Bosnian Serbs is being observed. Only
humanitarian aid is permitted to reach the Bosnian Serbs. Also on
14 September the head of the monitoring mission, former Swedish
General Bo Pellnas, arrived in rump Yugoslavia to prepare for the
stationing of 135 sanctions monitors. Meanwhile, an RFE/RL
correspondent reported the same day that Croatia, at a CSCE
meeting, opposed lifting sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, saying
such a move would only serve to reward an aggressor. The Croat
delegate reportedly took the floor after a Russian counterpart
remarked that rump Yugoslavia ought to be rewarded with a lifting
of sanctions for blockading Bosnian Serbs and accepting sanctions
monitors along the border with Bosnia.  Stan Markotich, RFE/RL
Inc.

PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTING CROAT-MUSLIM FEDERATION. "A Big Step
Forward" is how Vjesnik of 15 September headlines its coverage of
talks between Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, Bosnian President
Alija Izetbegovic, and other Croat and Bosnian officials. The
two-day talks, held in Zagreb on 13-14 September, focused on
implementing an agreement on a Bosnian Muslim and Croat federation
in advance of forming a confederation with Croatia. The original
deal was struck in Washington in March 1994. Both Tudjman and
Izetbegovic said after the meetings that great strides have been
made toward achieving the federation. Izetbegovic observed that
agreement was reached on opening roads, establishing joint
municipal and other local districts, and creating a Croat-Muslim
army under joint command. The Guardian of 14 September reports
that the meetings between Izetbegovic and Tudjman have taken place
during a nadir in Muslim-Croat relations and speculates that the
purpose of the Zagreb meeting was "salvaging a five-month-old
rapprochement in Bosnia which is threatening to relapse into
warfare." Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc.

BIHAC FIGHTING CONTINUES. International media on 14 September
reported continued fighting in Bosnia. The Bihac pocket in
northwestern Bosnia remains the scene of reportedly heavy combat.
Both AFP and Reuters say that Muslim troops have begun to reclaim
territories in Bihac recently lost to Serb forces.  Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL Inc.

RUGOVA ADVOCATES CONFEDERATION WITH ALBANIA. Ibrahim Rugova,
leader of the Kosovar Albanians, is now advocating Kosovo's union
with Albania, the Serbian daily Borba reported on 13 September.
Rugova is reportedly demanding that Kosovo reach some sort of
confederation deal with Albania--but only if Bosnian Serbs are
permitted to enter into a "Greater Serbia" union. The newspaper
quotes him as saying that "if confederal relations between the
Bosnian Serbs and Serbia are legalized, then we will immediately
look for a similar arrangement with Albania." Rilindja of 13
September also reports on Rugova's new position, based on
citations from the Serbian news agency Beta and other sources.
Stan Markotich and Louis Zanga, RFE/RL Inc.

WALESA: SOMEONE SHOULD RESIGN. Summing up his four-day state visit
to Canada after returning to Warsaw on 14 September, President
Lech Walesa said both sides expected impressive results from
long-term plans for mutual cooperation, PAP reports. The Canadian
government announced a US $2.8 million technical aid package for
Poland and stressed its long-standing support for Poland's
membership in NATO. Polish reporters , however, were more
interested in Walesa's reactions to the latest twist in the saga
of Poland's police chief. The post has been vacant since 12 August
when Interior Minister Andrzej Milczanowski finally accepted the
incumbent Zenon Smolarek's resignation in connection with press
allegations of corruption. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak has the
last word on the appointment of a new police chief and is intent
on appointing his own candidate. He recently rejected Boguslaw
Strzeclecki, who was nominated by Milczanowski and endorsed by the
minister's political advisory committee and by Walesa. After
Pawlak's own nominees were disqualified either on grounds of
insufficient experience or failing health, he proposed on 11
September yet another relatively unknown but already controversial
candidate, Krzysztof Dybiec. Walesa said "such obstacles and
[political] games" at a time when the country is faced with
internal and external security problems warranted the resignation
of "someone higher up." He declined to specify whose resignation
he had in mind but warned "this game has lasted too long." Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL Inc.

POLAND SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH LONDON CLUB. Polish Finance Minister
Grzegorz Kolodko on 14 September signed an agreement with the
London Club, Poland's commercial creditors. He hailed it "the end
of 15 years of abnormal financial relations between Poland and the
world," PAP reports. The agreement, reached through lengthy
negotiations that were described by Bernard Hunter of the Dresdner
Bank as "hard but fair, " provides for a 49.2% reduction in
Poland's debt to Western commercial banks, which totals almost $14
billion. The agreement enables Poland to buy back one-quarter of
the debt incurred in the 1970s at a cost of 41 cents to the dollar
for the principal and unpaid interest. The rest of the debt will
be converted into 30-year bonds, which the creditors hope to
exchange later for shares in the Polish economy.  Anna
Sabbat-Swidlicka, RFE/RL Inc.

BAVARIA ASKS FOR CLARIFICATION OF CZECH SHOOTING INCIDENT. In a
letter published on 14 September, Bavarian Internal Affairs
Minister Gunther Beckstein asked his Czech counterpart, Jan Ruml,
to take all necessary measures to clarify the 11 September
incident in which a Czech policeman shot dead a 23-year-old German
tourist near Frantiskovy Lazne. The policeman has argued that the
tourist, who refused to stop his car when signaled to do so by the
police, was suspected of having committed a criminal act. The
ongoing investigation has indicated, however, that the policeman
did not follow the usual procedures. Beckstein said Czech-Bavarian
cooperation will benefit if Ruml informs him about the
investigation. He also stressed he will do everything to make sure
that the "young friendship" between the neighboring states does
not suffer as a result of the incident.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

DLOUHY ON CZECH ECONOMY. Speaking at a Confederation of British
Industry conference in London on 12 September, Czech Trade and
Industry Minister Vladimir Dlouhy said the Czech Republic has
virtually completed its mass privatization program. But he added
that painful restructuring of the newly privatized companies lies
ahead and the economy requires more foreign direct investment to
penetrate new markets. The 13 September issue of the Financial
Times reports Dlouhy as saying the Czech government now forecasts
a 2-3% rise in GDP in 1994, fueled by rapid growth in service
industries and an upturn in industrial output. Dlouhy identified
the Czech Republic's high skill/low wage costs and undervalued
currency as the economy's main assets. He warned, however, that
these short-term advantages will be eroded as living standards
rise and the government moves toward the full convertibility of
the Czech koruna.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT WARNS OF MECIAR CULT. Slovak President Michal
Kovac has warned voters that Slovakia will be ruled by a dangerous
personality cult if former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar is
reelected in the upcoming elections, international and Slovak
media reported on 14 September. According to Reuters, Kovac says
that a Meciar comeback would represent "an inadmissible
revitalization of a cult of personality. The citizens don't wish
to see promotion of hate in society." A presidential spokesman
told CTK on 14 September that Kovac's statements were prompted, in
particular, by an election poster featuring Meciar and the words
"Mr. President, Only He Can Do It." Kovac says the poster calls on
citizens to opt for "a strong-arm rule rather than partnership and
cooperation." He adds that it is "dangerous to rely on one person,
regardless of who it is," and he is convinced that even after the
upcoming parliamentary elections, "some forces do not intend to
respect constitutional institutions or to strive for creating an
atmosphere of understanding and tolerance." Meciar's Movement for
a Democratic Slovakia has protested Kovac's statements. It says
the poster was produced by the Association of Citizens for Meciar,
which is not part of the MDS.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

SLOVAK-SLOVENIAN AGREEMENT. Slovak Internal Affairs Minister
Ladislav Pittner and his Slovenian counterpart, Andrej Ster,
signed on 14 September an agreement on cooperatiion in fighting
terrorism, organized crime, and narcotics trafficking. An accord
was also signed on preventing illegal migration. TASR quotes Ster
as saying that although illegal drugs are not a problem in
Slovenia, his country is one of the drug smugglers' transit routes
from the Balkan states to Western Europe.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

THIRTY SLOVAKS RECEIVE ISRAELI HONORS. On 13 September 30 Slovak
citizens received the "Just among the Nations" award from Israeli
Ambassador to Slovakia Josef Govrin. The award, Israel's highest,
is given to people who distinguished themselves in saving Jews
from the Nazis. Slovak media reported that Slovak President Michal
Kovac and the chairman of Jewish Communities in Slovakia, Pavol
Traubner, attended the ceremony.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

ROMANIA COMPLETES JOINING PFP PROGRAM. At a ceremony in Brussels
on 14 September, Romania became the third country, after Poland
and Sweden, to complete the process of joining NATO's Partnership
for Peace program. The ceremony was attended by a Romanian
delegation that included Virgil Constantinescu of the Foreign
Affairs Ministry and Mircea Ioan Pascu, state secretary at the
National Defense Ministry. Both officials stressed that Romania
sees the PFP program as a preliminary step toward full NATO
membership. In January, Romania became the first former communist
country to sign an agreement with NATO on the PFP program.  Dan
Ionescu, RFE/RL Inc.

ROMANIAN CONSTRUCTION WORKERS STAGE PROTEST. Radio Bucharest
reported on 13 September that hundreds of construction workers
marched through Bucharest to protest pay arrears, falling living
standards, the lack of job security, work conditions, high
seasonal unemployment, and inflation. Representatives of trade
unions in the construction sector presented the workers'
complaints to the government and the two chambers of the
parliament.  Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL Inc.

MOLDOVA WANTS ROMANIA TO "RESPECT ITS INDEPENDENCE." At a news
conference following acrimonious talks in Bucharest, Romanian
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu insisted that a bilateral treaty
have a "special," even "unconventional" character. He also
referred to Moldova as another "Romanian" state. Moldovan Foreign
Minister Mihai Popov, speaking at the same news conference, said
Romania is not Moldova's "special" partner but only one of a
number of partners. He added that Moldova will sign a treaty "when
Romania commits itself to respecting Moldova's independence and
state sovereignty." Melescanu called for coordinating
Romanian-Moldovan positions in the UN and other international
bodies, but Popov said Moldova will support "any initiatives that
accord with its interests." Popov also dismissed the familiar
Romanian calls for "liquidating the consequences of the
Ribbentrop-Molotov pact" (implying Romania's right to incorporate
most of Moldova). Radio Bucharest, ITAR-TASS, and RFE/RL reported
the news conference on 13-14 September.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL
Inc.

UN RESOLUTION ON AID TO MOLDOVA. The United Nations General
Assembly on 14 September adopted a resolution on "Emergency
Assistance to Moldova," ITAR-TASS reported. Expressing "deep
concern over the enormous damage and devastation" wrought by
drought, hurricanes, and floods in recent months, the General
Assembly noted that the situation may "disrupt the Moldovan
government's significant efforts to implement economic reforms."
Assessing the damage at $600 million, the assembly called on all
governments and international organizations to "urgently provide
additional assistance to Moldova." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN ALBANIA. Antonio Martino's one-day
visit to Tirana on 13 September has given rise to speculation that
Rome will try to mediate in the current Greek-Albanian dispute. He
told Corriere della Serra on 13 September that "we have not been
asked to mediate, but of course if this is the case, we will be
glad to try to help establish stability in the region." In talks
on the continued illegal emigration of Albanians to Italy, Martino
commented that "international cooperation must be intensified,
especially within the European framework, so as to avoid another
human exodus," Gazeta Shqiptare reported. He also noted that
Albanian-Italian relations are "very good at present and will be
better in the future." He identified the main areas of future
cooperation as transportation, telecommunications, and culture.
Louis Zanga, RFE/RL Inc.

CHOLERA SPREADS IN ALBANIA. Some 130 people are reported to be
suffering from cholera in the southern city of Kucova and the
historical town of Berat, according to Gazeta Shqiptare on 14
September. Final confirmation is expected after analyses of the
virus have been carried out in French laboratories. Medical teams
from Tirana have been arriving in Kucova to help those stricken by
the disease. The city is currently being supplied with water by
tankers. The local government in Berat has convened an emergency
session attended by medical and government officials from Tirana.
Local citizens have been buying up anti-biotics and bottled water,
and prices on these items have begun to rise. Preventive measures
are being taken along the Albanian-Macedonian border.  Louis
Zanga, RFE/RL Inc.

BALTIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERS SETS UP SECRETARIAT. The Secretariat
of the Baltic Council of Ministers was officially opened in Riga
on 13 September in the presence of Baltic Assembly President
Egidius Bickauskas, Nordic Council of Ministers Secretary General
Par Stenback, and the prime ministers of Latvia, Lithuania, and
Estonia. Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs, who also heads the
BCM, said a new stage had begun in relations between the Baltic
States. These countries resumed active cooperation at both the
legislative and executive levels after regaining independence from
the Soviet Union in 1991.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.

RUSSIAN OFFICIAL ON BALTIC-RUSSIAN RELATIONS. Sergei Prikhodko, a
senior official at the Russian Foreign Ministry, told the RIA news
agency on 14 September that his country regards the ratification
of troop withdrawal accords with Latvia and Estonia as a priority.
Noting that the Russian State Duma and the Latvian Saiema are
currently examining those documents, he claimed Estonia's attitude
was unclear, especially on account of statements by leading
Estonian politicians who question even the need to have those
documents ratified. He added that if the Estonian parliament fails
to ratify the accords, this will show "Estonia's inconsistency not
only toward Russia but also the CSCE." In this context, he noted
"it was the CSCE that called on both Russia and Estonia to
conclude the agreements and pull out the troops." The text of the
relevant CSCE document differs from Prikhodko's account. BNS
reported on 14 September that the Estonian Justice Ministry
earlier that day received for inspection the texts of the
Estonian-Russian agreements. Some of the documents were returned
from Moscow to Tallinn only last week.  Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.

ESTONIAN MINISTER TO PRESIDE OVER WHO COMMITTEE. BNS reported on
14 September that Estonian Social Affairs Minister Marju Lauristin
was elected president of the World Health Organization's European
Committee. In this capacity, she will preside over plenary
meetings of the regional committee during the next twelve months.
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.

[As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Eileen Downing and Jan Cleave

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