|We have to understand the world can only be grasped by action, not by comtemplation. The hand is more important than the eye....The hand is the cutting edge of the mind. - J. Bronowski|
No. 205, 27 October 1994
RUSSIA HIJACKING ATTEMPT ENDS IN MAKHACHKALA. The aircraft hijacking of an Aeroflot Yakovlev-40 plane in Dagestan ended 27 October when one of the men who seized the plane killed himself, Western agencies reported. Reports said the man blew himself up when Russian security forces stormed the plane. All hostages had been freed before then and no one else was injured. The other hijacker had surrendered earlier. The plane was hijacked in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, during the night of 25-26 October. The hijackers, identified as two Azerbaijani nationals, demanded a $2 million ransom, a tank full of gas and free passage to Iran. By evening on 26 October, the hijackers demands had been met, and they released all passengers and one of the three members of the plane's crew. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc. BACKGROUND ON THE DUMA'S NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin presented the 1995 state budget to the Duma on 27 October. After discussion of the budget, the Duma will take a vote of confidence in Chernomyrdin's government, agencies reported 27 October. According to the constitution, however, the Duma does not have the power to force the government to resign--only President Boris Yeltsin has such prerogative. Yeltsin, who has expressed his support for Chernomyrdin, is not required by the constitution to act on a first vote of no confidence by the Duma, but only if a second vote of no-confidence is taken within three months of the first. Then he would have two options: to ask the government to resign; or to disband parliament and set a date for new elections, thereby retaining the present government in transition. Finally, the constitution does not provide for no-confidence votes in individual ministers, it can only take such a vote in the entire government. State-run Radio Rossii stressed on 26 October that the Duma's deputies are well informed about these options and that they will focus hard on Chernomyrdin's budget proposal. The main debate is expected to be on the question of whether to preserve massive government subsidies for the debt-ridden military-industrial complex and the agrarian sector. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL Inc. SOLZHENITSYN TO ADDRESS DUMA ON 28 OCTOBER. Interfax cited State Duma officials on 25 October as saying that Nobel prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn will address the Duma on 28 October at 4 p.m. (Moscow time). The significance of the event was elaborated on in the liberal daily Izvestiya on 20 October, identifying Solzhenitsyn as probably the only man in Russia who enjoys the respect of all politicians regardless of their political affiliations. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc. VARIOUS PARTIES TO COMPETE FOR SEAT OF MURDERED DUMA DEPUTY. Twelve candidates will compete in an election on 30 October for the seat of murdered Duma deputy Andrei Aizderdsis, Izvestiya reported 26 October. Among the favored candidates are Aleksandr Fedorov, deputy to Aleksandr Barkashov, the leader of the fascist organization Russian National Unity; maverick businessman Sergei Mavrodi, recently released from custody as the head of the MMM pyramid scheme; Olga Volkova, representative of Sergei Shakhrai's Party of Russian Unity and Concord; and communist candidate Aleksandr Zharov. Fedorov and his party carried out a well-organized and aggressive campaign under the motto "Down With Zionism," according to Izvestiya. At a recent election rally they booed the leader of the Party for Economic Freedom, Konstantin Borovoy, who is Jewish. While campaigning for the election, the communists have tried to distance themselves from Fedorov's party. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL Inc. DUMA ADOPTS DRAFT LAW ON BROADCASTING. On 26 October the State Duma adopted the first reading of a controversial draft law on television and radio. Ostankino and Russian television newscasts reported that the bill provides "exclusive" state supervision over the Russian electronic media, puts limitations on the number of foreign films and documentaries on the country's airwaves, and begins a campaign aimed at purifying the Russian language used on radio and television. According to the reports, the bill would set up a special federal agency to monitor the content of all programs on national and regional radio and TV stations, both public and private. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc. GREEN LIGHT GIVEN FOR UNIFIED COMMAND. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told navy personnel in Petropavlovsk on 26 October that a territorial unified command would be set up on the basis of the Far Eastern military district. Interfax quoted Grachev as saying the command would be in charge of all arms and services in the Far East except for strategic nuclear forces. Grachev had announced in April 1993 that such a command was to be established by 1995, with a joint commander who would also be a deputy defense minister with his headquarters near Komsomolsk-on-Amur. In May of this year, however, he said the plan had been put on hold pending more exercises to verify the concept. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc. DUMA REJECTS DRAFT APPEAL AGAINST ATTACKS ON MILITARY LEADERS. According to Interfax and ITAR-TASS, on 26 October the State Duma rejected a draft appeal to Russian media and political movements that condemns attacks on military leaders suspected by some of being involved in the assassination of newspaper reporter Dmitrii Kholodov--i.e., Defense Minister Pavel Grachev and his deputy Matvei Burlakov, the former commander of Russian troops in Germany. The appeal was submitted by members of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) who are on the Duma's Defense Committee, the LDP's deputy leader, Aleksandr Vengerovsky told Ostankino TV. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc. GLOBAL MAFIA LAUNDERING ITS MONEY IN RUSSIA? Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) Colonel Vladimir Ovchinskii said in the Russian daily Trud on October 22 that organized criminal networks control about 40,000 Russian companies and banks. Ovchinskii said the international mafia and especially Latin American drug cartels are showing a keen interest in laundering their money in Russia, while the directors of state enterprises are gladly accepting the money as investments. Ovchinskii said about 400 Russian commercial institutions have been created with the help of capital provided by criminal organizations. Ovchinskii is the author of the book "Mafia: Unannounced Visit." -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL Inc. SCIENTIST: CHEMICAL WEAPONS TREATY UNDER THREAT. Dr. Lev Fyodorov, head of the Union for Chemical Security and an environmental activist, told a Moscow press conference on 25 October that the State Duma Defense Committee might recommend that the parliament not ratify the January 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. As reported by Interfax, Fyodorov complained that environmental organizations had not been allowed to attend the committee's 11 October closed hearings on the treaty. He alleged that officers from the defense ministry had spoken against the treaty. Fyodorov said that his organization would organize a public campaign should the committee recommend that the treaty not be ratified. While 157 countries have signed the treaty--which would ban the production, possession, or use of chemical weapons--only 14 have ratified it. It will not come into force until 180 days after it has been ratified by 65 states. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA TAJIK OPPOSITION STIPULATES CONDITIONS FOR EXTENDING CEASE-FIRE. The head of the Tajik opposition delegation to the UN-sponsored talks in Islamabad, Akbar Turajonzada, told Interfax on 26 October that the opposition would agree to extending the existing cease-fire within Tajikistan and along the Tajik-Afghan frontier for two months (i.e. until 6 January) provided that the government implements its promise to release 52 political prisoners and agrees to further talks on setting up a state council and abandoning criminal proceedings against opposition figures. Presidential candidate Abdumalik Abdullodzhanov called on the opposition to abandon their proposed boycott of the 6 November elections, arguing that civic accord could be attained only through "open and sincere dialogue." Meanwhile, on 26 October the Tajik authorities introduced a curfew in the opposition stronghold of Gorno-Badakhshon, reportedly in order to combat an upsurge in fighting between local criminal gangs. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc. TBILISI BANK DIRECTORS ABSCOND WITH $50 MILLION. Several hundred irate investors blocked the main boulevard in Tbilisi on 25 October to protest the disappearance of the directors of the investment bank Okros Tasi (Golden Bowl) with some $50 million and to demand their money back, Interfax and Reuters reported. Meeting with the protesters at their request, Georgian Parliament Chairman Eduard Shevardnadze promised to create a commission to investigate the situation. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc. CIS RYURIKOV PLAYS DOWN CIS SUMMIT RESULTS. Boris Yeltsin's foreign affairs adviser, Dmitrii Ryurikov, told Ostankino TV on 25 October that what had been presented as the chief "concrete" result of the 21 October CIS summit in Moscow, namely the Interstate Economic Committee (IEC), had, for the time being, been endowed with only modest powers: "research, preparation of documents for the meetings of heads of states and of governments, recommendations to CIS member states. Later on, and to the degree agreed upon by the states, the IEC will also perform executive functions." Ryurikov strongly agreed with Yeltsin that the creation of the IEC "demonstrated the need for integration" but mused that "reconciling the interests of twelve states is a very complex matter." -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. LEBED, "DNIESTER" LEADERS DISMISS TROOP WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT. Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed told Western visitors that his 14th Army's personnel "spit on" the troop withdrawal agreement recently signed by Moldova and Russia, Reuters reported from Tiraspol on 23 October. In interviews with Interfax on 21 October, Ostankino and Russian TV on 22 October, and Krasnaya zvezda of 26 October, Lebed reiterated the false claim that most of the 14th Army's servicemen are "local inhabitants" or "area natives" and will therefore refuse to withdraw, choosing instead to serve in the "Dniester" forces. Lebed predicted that only the 14th Army's command with the flag and the seal will eventually withdraw. He also predicted that his Army as such will stay put for a substantially longer time than the three years envisaged in the withdrawal agreement, because "the withdrawal is linked to the resolution of the Dniester problem." Lebed was nevertheless pleased that the troop withdrawal agreement, in his view, "confers a clear legal status on the [14th] Army," and "no one will hence be able to describe us as 'occupants'." "Dniester republic" president Igor Smirnov and Supreme Soviet vice chairman Aleksandr Karaman, who are in conflict with Lebed personally, echoed most of his arguments in interviews with Russian TV on 22 October, Interfax on 25 October, and Krasnaya zvezda on 26 October. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. WOULD-BE STATES CONFER. A "friendship and cooperation treaty" was signed on 22 October in Tskhinvali, Georgia, by delegates from host South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and the "Dniester" and Gagauz "republics," Russian TV reported that day. Before the signing, the delegations attended the 220th anniversary celebrations in Vladikavkaz of the Russian Empire's incorporation of North Ossetia, Basapress reported. The four would-be republics, together with Abkhazia, formed a "union of unrecognized states" in 1993 and have since concluded bilateral and multilateral treaties with one another. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES OFFENSIVE NEAR BIHAC. RFE/RL's South Slavic Service and international media reported on 26 October that government forces took barracks from which the Serbs had shelled Bihac in northwestern Bosnia. The mainly Muslim Fifth Corps ousted the Serbs from the strategic Grabez plateau to the east of the UN-designated "safe area" and headed along the Una River toward Bosanska Krupa. The unit is now pushing south toward Bosanski Petrovac in an apparent attempt to break through Serb lines and end the isolation of the "Bihac pocket." A Serb counteroffensive is expected. The Serbs have the advantage in tanks and artillery, but the government forces have more men and generally better morale. Radio Bosnia and Herzegovina on 27 October led off with the story on the "liberated territories," reported to cover 150 square kilometers. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc. DANES BLAST SERBIAN TANK IN NORTHERN BOSNIA. International media reported on 26 October that a Bosnian Serb T-55 tank fired on Danish peacekeepers, whose Leopard tanks returned the fire. Reuters said it was "the second major assault on UN troops in Bosnia this week," but the UN had no casualties in either. One Leopard suffered slight damage and a Serb recoilless rifle was "neutralized." The UN stressed that "the best tank-killing weapon is another tank. In the end, air [support] was not needed." The incident took place near Gradacac, a transportation hub and historic town that Muslim and Croat forces have been jointly defending for over two years. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc. MALAYSIA WANTS TO HELP MUSLIM-CROAT COOPERATION. Reuters reported from Kuala Lumpur on 26 October on the joint visit to Malaysia by Croatian Prime Minister Nikica Valentic and his Bosnian counterpart, Haris Silajdzic. Malaysian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abdullah Badawi said his country would help promote the fledgling Muslim-Croat federation and the confederation between Bosnia and Croatia through a series of economic projects. He added that Malaysia believes "comprehensive cooperation between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia is very important and can contribute to the peace process." Bosnia has asked one Malaysian to sit on the board of its new Agency for Reconstruction and Development and another to head its strategic planning office. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc. MILOSEVIC MEETS WITH STOLTENBERG, OWEN. Politika on 27 October reports that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic met with Thorvald Stoltenberg and David Owen the previous day, before the two international mediators traveled to Zagreb for meetings with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. On the top of the agenda in their meeting with Milosevic was the status of Krajina, a Serb-occupied territory carved out from roughly a quarter of Croatia. Milosevic reportedly sought to avoid acting as official negotiator for the Krajina Serb side. But AFP on 26 October suggests that, during his meeting with the mediators, the Serbian president was unwilling to isolate the Krajina Serbs completely, since his recognition of Croatian jurisdiction over Krajina remains out of the question as long as Croatia does not acknowledge "the legitimate interests of secessionist Croatian Serbs." Stoltenberg and Owen are scheduled to chair meetings between Krajina and Croatian officials on 27 October, but it appears that any resolution of remaining differences between the two sides is highly unlikely. Self-styled Krajina Foreign Minister Milan Babic has already expressed his intention to boycott the talks. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc. RUGOVA URGES MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS TO FORM COALITION. Kosovar shadow state president Ibrahim Rugova has called on Albanian political parties in Macedonia to form a coalition for the second round of elections in order to gain a larger number of seats in parliament, Rilindja reported on 22 October. Rugova added that "a political compromise does not show weakness but quality." The biggest Albanian party in Macedonia, the Party of Democratic Prosperity, split at a February congress into a parliamentary and a rival, radical wing. The parliamentary group plans to run in the second round of the elections under the party's old name, while the leaders of the radical faction, Menduh Thaci and Arber Xhaferi, are listed as independent candidates in the Tetovo district, Rilindja reported on 24 October. The second round of the elections are to take place on 30 October. -- Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL Inc. POLISH JUSTICE MINISTER ACCUSES OFFICIALS OF CORRUPTION. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said on 26 October that 21 government officials have violated the anti-corruption law by being involved in private companies. They are likely to be either dismissed from their posts or downgraded. Cimoszewicz also said 69 ranking officials---including three current ministers--have broken the law by drawing a supplementary income from sitting on supervisory boards of companies in which the state has a stake. The Polish media commented that it is unclear what, if anything, will happen to these officials because the law on supplementary income is rather vague. Cimoszewicz expressed the hope that his report will prompt changes in the legislation. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL Inc. POLAND BEGINS REDUCTION OF EXTERNAL COMMERCIAL DEBT. Poland on 27 October is to launch its long-awaited "commercial debt and debt service reduction program" by buying some 25 percent of its outstanding debt, estimated at $14.3 billion. To facilitate this move, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have each provided Poland with $400 million loans, while the Polish National Bank and government will spend in excess of $1 billion. The remainder of the debt will be paid off using Poland's own resources. Various bonds are to be issued to increase funds for this purpose. Rzeczpospolita on 27 October says the start of the program will help Poland regain credibility on the world financial markets. At the end of 1993, Poland's external debt amounted to $47.7 billion dollar, or 55 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Sixty percent of the debt was to the Paris Club of industrialized countries, 26.6 percent to commercial banks, 5.4 percent to the member countries of the former CMEA, and 7.6 percent to others. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL Inc. CZECH POLICE CHIEF DISMISSED. The Czech government on 26 October fired police chief Stanislav Novotny amid controversy over the recent fatal shootings of two German tourists by Czech police, CTK and Reuters report. Internal Affairs Minister Jan Ruml told a news conference that Novotny had been trying to sever relations between the police and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He accused the police chief of trying to make the police more autonomous and create a parallel structure to the ministry. Ruml did not link the dismissal to the shootings of the German tourists. A ministry spokesman said on 25 October that the reason for Novotny's dismissal was "a question of professionalism." -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc. COMPLICATIONS ON SLOVAK POLITICAL SCENE. Slovak media on 26 October reported that during discussions the previous day on the first session of the parliament, a major controversy arose over the current government's participation in that session. Under the Slovak Constitution, a government member cannot simultaneously hold a seat in the parliament. Because a new cabinet has not yet been formed, this poses a problem for the members of Premier Jozef Moravcik's government, 15 of whom have been elected as parliamentary deputies. Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky said the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, the Slovak National Party, and the Association of Slovak Workers are in favor of the first parliamentary session opening with 135 members, rather than the 150 required by the constitution. This would give the MDS and the SNP a parliamentary majority until a new government is formed. President Michal Kovac on 27 October will meet with the leaders of all parties represented in the new parliament for discussions on forming a coalition cabinet. -- Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc. US PRESIDENTIAL AIDE IN SLOVAKIA. Richard Schifter, aide to US President Bill Clinton and deputy chairman of the US Committee on Central and Eastern Europe, visited Slovakia on 26 October. Schifter, in a meeting with Slovak President Michal Kovac, said the US government has been following postelection developments in Slovakia and believes the new government will continue to be democratic, observe human rights, and pursue economic reform. Kovac said he is convinced that, despite the difficult coalition discussions, the new cabinet will not deviate from the present course of building a market economy and strengthening democracy. Schifter also met with representatives of the ethnic Hungarian parties to discuss the current political situation, TASR reported. -- Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc. HUNGARY REQUESTS EU LOAN. Prime Minister Gyula Horn confirmed reports earlier in the week that Hungary has requested a European Union loan worth 2 billion ecu ($2.5 billion) for restructuring purposes, according to MTI on 26 October. Horn said prospects for receiving the loan are good but Hungary has first to reach an agreement with the IMF. He also said Hungary will need credits worth some $8-10 billion to stimulate economic growth. -- Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL Inc. ROMANIAN CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES KEEPS HOMOSEXUAL BAN. Romania's Chamber of Deputies on 25 October voted to maintain the present ban on homosexual acts, Radio Bucharest and Western agencies report. The chamber, during debates on a new penal code, voted in favor of keeping Article 200 of the old code, which provides for prison sentences of up to five years for homosexual acts. The Senate previously voted that penalties should apply only if such acts cause a public scandal. A committee made up of representatives from both houses will now have to decide on the issue. Human rights groups and the Council of Europe have appealed to Romania to drop the ban on homosexuals. The head of the Helsinki Committee organization in Romania criticized the vote in the chamber, saying that the state had no right to interfere in the individual's private life. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL Inc. BULGARIAN ACTING FOREIGN MINISTER SEES FUTURE WITH EUROPE. Ivan Stanchoff, at his first press conference on 26 October, stressed that Bulgarian foreign policy would emphasize ties with the West. He said the ultimate aim of Bulgarian policy ought to be membership in such international organizations as NATO and the European Union. Stanchoff also noted that relations with Russia remained of great importance. He indicated that during his tenure he would seek to promote foreign trade and investment. It is unclear whether Stanchoff will continue to hold the foreign affairs portfolio after the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for 18 December. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc. UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR POWER PLANT CLOSED. The first reactor of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power station was shut down on 25 October because of a fault in the generator's feedwater pipeline, Ukrinform-TASS reported the next day. The repairs are expected to take six days. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. IMF APPROVES LOAN FOR UKRAINE. An RFE/RL correspondent on 27 October reported that the IMF has approved its first loan--worth $371 million--to Ukraine. The funds will be used to transform Ukraine's economy, including price and trade liberalization, and to establish control over government spending and the money supply. The loan was heralded as the first stage of a major effort to aid Kiev. If Ukraine uses the loan successfully, another $371 million installment will be approved in six months. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION CRITICIZES LUKASHENKA. The opposition Belarusian Popular Front convened to discuss President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his new government's performance during the first 100 days of his presidency, Belarusian Radio reported on 25 October. The BPF said after the meeting that Lukashenka has made a number of errors that will accelerate the country's economic decline. It also began preparations for next spring's parliamentary elections by forming a bloc of democratic forces. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. BELARUSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON HIS PREDECESSOR. Anatol Kastenka, in a recent interview with Zvyazda, said he did not believe there was any place for former Defense Minister Paval Kazlouski in the military forces. Lukashenka has accused Kazlouski of abusing his office and has demoted him. Kazlouski has refuted the charges. Kastenka says his predecessor is aware that there is no place for him in the armed forces. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. "DNIESTER" SCHOOL CONFLICT INTENSIFIES. The "Dniester" militia on 24 October evicted Moldovan parents, teachers, and students from Bendery's only Moldovan school still teaching in the Roman alphabet. The militia also cordoned off the school. Bendery's other Moldovan school--at which Moldovans have been demanding the reinstatement of the banned Roman alphabet--has been converted by a "Dniester" decree into a Russian-Moldovan school obligated to use the Russian alphabet only, Basapress reported on 24 October. The same day, a group of Russian Cossack volunteers for the "Dniester" forces caused serious damage to the last remaining Moldovan school in Tiraspol. One week earlier, CSCE General Secretary Wilhelm Hoynck, during a visit to Moldova, urged "Dniester" leaders to show tolerance and restraint on the alphabet issue. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. EU ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP FOR BALTIC STATES RECOMMENDED. The European Union's Executive Commission on 26 October adopted a policy paper on the Baltic region saying it would seek a mandate from the Council of EU Ministers to negotiate "Europe Agreements" with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Western agencies report. These agreements, which amount to associate member status, have been signed with six other East European countries--Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. The EU has signed free trade agreements with the Baltic States, to go into effect on 1 January 1995. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc. US UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE IN LITHUANIA. Lynn Davis, US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, said at a press conference in Vilnius on 26 October that her meetings with Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys and other high-ranking officials had started a "very important" dialogue, Radio Lithuania reports. She said that Lithuania was on the right track toward integration with Western economic and security structures and that the process would not be hindered by Russian military transit through its territory. She avoided answering directly whether Lithuania's special services were prepared to combat nuclear smuggling or drug trafficking but assured every kind of assistance from US experts. The same day, she traveled to Tallinn and will also visit Poland, Latvia, and the Czech Republic. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc. MILITARY TRANSIT THROUGH LITHUANIA. Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Secretary Albinas Januska on 26 October said Russia does not recognize the recently adopted Lithuanian military transit regulations, Interfax reports. The Russian Foreign Ministry was reported to have sent an unsigned fax to the Lithuanian government. Russian chief negotiator with Lithuania Viktor Isakov, however, said Russia has not officially responded to the military transit regulations. He said talks on a military transit agreement should continue and noted that a planned meeting in Moscow on 27 October had been postponed for a week at Lithuania's request. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc. COUNCIL OF EUROPE COMMITTEE SUPPORTS LATVIAN MEMBERSHIP. The Legislative Committee of the Council of Europe, meeting in Rome on 24 October, has backed Latvia's full membership in the CE. The committee recommended Latvia's admission after listening to a report on Latvia by German representative Friedrich Vogel. The group also considered convening in February the Ministerial Committee--the CE's highest executive body. The Ministerial Committee's decision would formally conclude the process of Latvia's admission. Meanwhile, Latvian Saeima Chairman Anatolijs Gorbunovs has received letters from his Belgian, British, Norwegian, Finnish, Swiss, and Polish counterparts supporting Latvia's acceptance into the CE, according to BNS reports on 25 and 26 October. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc. [As of 1200 CET] (Compiled by Jan Cleave and Pete Baumgartner) 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 Inquiries about specific news items should be directed as follows (please include your full postal address when inquiring about subscriptions): Mr. Brian Reed RFE/RL, Inc. 1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 Fax: (202) 457-6992 Internet: REEDB@RFERL.ORG Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.
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