|When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. - Mark Twain|
No. 215, 11 November 1994
RUSSIA POLTORANIN ALARMED AT YELTSIN VETO OF MEDIA BILL. Mikhail Poltoranin, the chairman of a State Duma communication committee, has sharply criticized President Boris Yeltsin for his veto of amendments to a proposed media law on 10 November, Interfax reported. Poltoranin, a former Information Minister in Yeltsin's government, said that Yeltsin's veto was proof that the country is slipping towards a totalitarian regime, saying that Yeltsin had the opportunity to prove he was a true democrat and instead showed "there is no true democrat in him." The amendments proposed by the Duma stipulated that state authorities at the federal and constituent level could not set up new media outlets such as periodicals. Poltoranin said the amendments would help to end journalists' reliance--what he called "serfdom"--on government funding. Representatives of Yeltsin's staff told an RFE/RL correspondent on the same day that Yeltsin saw the amendments as limiting freedom of information. -- Pete Baumgartner, RFE/RL, Inc. DUMA COUNCIL APPROVES PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DRAFT LAW. Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of the reformist Yabloko Bloc, said on 10 November that the State Duma Council has approved a draft law on presidential elections, Interfax reported. The law was proposed by Yabloko Duma deputies. Yavlinsky told Interfax that under the draft, candidates for the Russian presidency could be put forward by President Boris Yeltsin or groups of deputies from either chamber of parliament. Individual citizens would need to collect at least 250,000 signatures to propose a candidate. Yavlinsky said the draft calls for suspension of the powers of the incumbent president during the election campaign if he also runs in the election. Russia's presidential elections are scheduled for June 1996. -- Pete Baumgartner, RFE/RL, Inc. CHEVRON CHIEF ON PIPELINE PROJECT. Interfax reported on 10 November that Chevron President Kenneth Derr had told Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin that Chevron is prepared to guarantee half the cost of the Tengiz-Novorossiisk pipeline project in return for half the shares in the construction consortium. Russian Minister of Energy Yurii Shafranik told the news agency that the Russian side finds the Chevron proposal unacceptable, as it did a Chevron demand for lower fees for the transport of oil across Russian territory. A construction consortium with Russian, Kazakh and Omani participation was formed in 1992 to build a pipeline to carry oil from the Tengiz field in western Kazakhstan to the Russian port of Novorossiisk on the Black Sea. Disagreements between the consortium and Chevron, which is developing the Tengiz field, have been reported to have endangered the pipeline project, which would significantly increase the volume of oil that can be exported from western Kazakhstan. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN OFFICIAL SAYS IT IS TOO EARLY TO LIFT SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ. Reuters reported on 11 November that an unnamed senior Russian official has declared that sanctions against Iraq, imposed for that country's 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait, should not yet be lifted, despite the Iraqi parliament's 11 November vote to recognize Kuwait. The remarks come in the wake of a visit to Baghdad by Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who has urged Iraq to recognize Kuwait as the first step in moving towards a lifting of the international sanctions. According to the Reuters report, the Russian official outlined three conditions which Moscow saw as having to be met before any easing of sanctions would be contemplated: Recognition of Kuwait, accounting for missing Kuwaitis, and starting up a UN monitoring system to ensure that Iraq has stopped making weapons of mass destruction. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. GRACHEV RESISTING DUMA'S CORRUPTION PROBE. The Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Col.-General Mikhail Kolesnikov, notified Duma chairman Ivan Rybkin by letter on 10 November that Defense Minister Pavel Grachev would not appear at the parliamentary question session scheduled for the next day, AFP reported from Moscow. Grachev and other generals had been scheduled to answer deputies' questions on high-level military corruption. The letter said, however, that the defense ministry's hierarchy would first have to meet and discuss the allegations. The allegations are of course hardly new. Also on 10 November, Grachev told journalists that "the issue of the alleged possible involvement of the command of the armed forces, including the Western Group of Forces, in corruption should be taken off the agenda," Interfax reported. Possibly signalling top-level backing, Grachev made his statement while accompanying President Boris Yeltsin to Izhevsk. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CRACKS AT THE TOP OF THE DEFENSE MINISTRY. Praising his suspended deputy Matvei Burlakov, accused of corruption in his capacity as commander of the Western Group of Forces, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev charged in his statement that "the organizers of the anti-military campaign fear the strong ties" between him and Burlakov. Far from all senior commanders are behind that tandem, however. The Air Force Commander in Chief, General Pyotr Deynekin, has sided with their most vocal accuser, Lt.-General Aleksandr Lebed. "I greatly respect General Lebed . . . am impressed by him as a military figure. He has my confidence," Deynekin told Russian Independent TV's program "Itogi" on 6 November. The program described Lebed as "the army's undisputed informal leader." -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. BALTIC FLEET ADMIRAL ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION. Rear Admiral Valery Stalev, the former commander of the Russian naval base in Liepaja, Latvia, was charged on 8 November with taking bribes. Interfax reported on 11 November that he was in custody and that the military prosecutor of the Baltic Fleet had proof that he received large amounts in bribes for helping Latvian companies acquire the fleet's decommissioned military property and ships. Stalev reportedly sold ships' propellers, scrapped non-ferrous metal, and other items to Latvian firms. The last Russian naval vessels left Liepaja in June. It had been home for all the submarines in the Baltic fleet, as well as for other warships. Ten ships were left sunk in the harbor, including a cruiser. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. BATURIN CAUTIOUS ON IDENTITY OF INTRUDING SUBMARINE. Yeltsin's National Security Advisor, Yuri Baturin, told ITAR-TASS on 9 November that it was "inappropriate" to claim that the submarine supposed to have intruded into Russian waters off the Kola peninsula on 2 November was American. He said that the brief sonar contact of the submarine made it very difficult to establish its nationality. Baturin also referred to the difficulties the Swedes have had in proving that Russian submarines had been violating their territorial waters--a charge the Russians have consistently denied. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. NORTH OSSETIA CHANGES ITS NAME. On 10 November the Republic of North Ossetia's parliament voted to change the republic's name to the Republic of North Ossetia--Alaniya, to reflect the ethnic origin of the Ossetian people, Interfax reported. The Alans were an Indo-European people whose original homeland was in the North Caucasus close to the Sea of Azov. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN, NORTH OSSETIAN AUTHORITIES CRITICIZED OVER INGUSH SITUATION. Duma deputy and veteran human rights campaigner Sergei Kovalev, currently chairman of the Human Rights Commission attached to Russia's presidency, told the daily Segodnya on 9 November that he has just addressed a memorandum to Yeltsin on the situation in Ingushetia and North Ossetia--Alaniya upon inspecting the region. In the state-of-emergency zone he found "large-scale, gross violations of human rights, the main reason for the deteriorating situation [being] the totally unconstructive position of the North Ossetian leadership." The Ingush in turn are being radicalized "partly due to the lack of progress on the return of expellees" to Prigorodnyi raion, from which the Ingush were violently evicted by the North Ossetians with Russian support in November 1992. In a separate report, also highlighted by Segodnya, titled "Two Years After the War," the Moscow-based human-rights center Memorial rejects recent claims that an organized repatriation of the Ingush expellees has begun, observing to the contrary that "the federal authorities have been unable and unwilling to ensure in practice the observance of human rights." Noting that the abuses have mainly victimized the Ingush, the report concludes that "the blame lies with the Russian leadership and officials administering the state of emergency . . . The federal organs could not or would not" restrain the perpetrators. Large North Ossetian paramilitary units "existed officially until May 1994, and the federal organs gave them a large amount of weapons," Memorial's report said. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KARABAKH MEDIATION UPDATE. On his first visit to the Transcaucasus, the newly-designated acting chairman of the CSCE Minsk group, Anders Biewrner, held talks in Baku on 10 November with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov and President Heidar Aliev, Russian agencies reported. ITAR-TASS quoted Biewrner as assuring Aliev that the prospects for creation of a multinational CSCE peacekeeping force were good; but Reuters on 10 November quoted Western military analysts as predicting that Russia would veto the deployment of such a force. A third round of Russian-mediated Karabakh peace talks opened in Moscow on 9 November. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CLEMENCY GRANTED TO UKRAINIAN MERCENARY IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH. ITAR-TASS reported on 10 November that the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Nagorno-Karabakh commuted the death sentence of a Ukrainian mercenary, Yurii Belichenko, to 25 years imprisonment. Belichenko was convicted last May of flying bombing missions which allegedly resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians on behalf of Azerbaijan, and was sentenced to be shot. After appeals by the Nagorno-Karabakh committee "Helsinki-92" and Belichenko's own repentance, it was decided to show the Ukrainian clemency. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS BOLSHAKOV TO PURSUE INTEGRATION "FROM ABOVE." Russia's newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister responsible for CIS affairs, Aleksei Bolshakov (10 November Daily Report) told ITAR-TASS on 10 November that his main tasks concern the integration of "the economic-industrial complex" of CIS member states and that "the emphasis will fall on integration from above, rather than from below." Nevertheless he described himself as "a firm adherent of the market approach" in macroeconomics. He insisted on "the legal difference between cooperation within the CIS on the one hand and economic relations with states of the 'far abroad' on the other hand," but conceded that "this difference has not yet found a clear legal expression." Bolshakov indicated that he had "agreed in principle" with Yeltsin on developing "a more clearly defined Russian position on integration." -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN-UZBEK COOPERATION AGREEMENT. An Uzbek delegation led by President Islam Karimov arrived in Kiev on 10 November for an official visit to discuss relations between Uzbekistan and Ukraine, ITAR-TASS reported. The delegation met with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and the two presidents signed four agreements on trade, economic and military cooperation, and technical and cultural exchanges for 1995. At a press conference following their meeting, Kuchma and Karimov stressed that neither discriminated against the minorities in their country; 300,000 Ukrainians live in Uzbekistan and 36,000 Uzbeks reside in Ukraine. Karimov also said he was opposed to any supranational CIS governing bodies or an Eurasian union, although he upheld the economic integration of the independent states of the former USSR as independent entities. Kuchma agreed with Karimov on the need for economic integration within the CIS, and also emphasized his opposition to any supranational bodies. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE POLISH DEFENSE MINISTER DISMISSED. Acting on a request of Premier Waldemar Pawlak, on 10 November President Lech Walesa dismissed Defense Minister Piotr Kolodziejczyk for failing to "stabilize the ministry." The dismissal brought an end to a long-running feud between Walesa and Kolodziejczyk prompted by the minister's opposition to the president's plans to directly control the armed forces. In late September Walesa asked for Kolodziejczyk's resignation, but the minister failed to heed the request after receiving open support from the parliament and tacit encouragement from Pawlak. It appears that the prime minister has now changed his mind. Kolodziejczyk's departure is unlikely to ease tension within the government and between the president and the parliament over the control of armed forces, however, and might even exacerbate problems regarding personnel and policy decisions. Pending the nomination of Kolodziejczyk's successor, the ministry is to be headed by Deputy Minister Jerzy Milewski, who has been critical of Walesa. Polish TV reported on 10 November that the post could eventually go to former Quartermaster General and current Deputy Defense Minister Jan Kuriata. The final appointment will be made by the president at the prime minister's recommendation. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. US TO STOP ENFORCING ARMS EMBARGO AGAINST CROATIA AND BOSNIA. The New York Times reports on 11 November that the Clinton administration has directed the military to stop enforcing the arms embargo against these two republics as of 12 November. The US will also cease to share intelligence with countries still policing the ban. Commentators on the VOA and BBC suggested that the move will not have much practical effect, since relatively few weapons arrive by sea and since it appears to be a response to growing domestic political pressures to drop the arms embargo altogether. It nonetheless underscores the fundamental policy differences between Washington and London throughout much of the Yugoslav conflict. Some observers believe Britain is willing to let the conquests of its traditional Serb ally stand to offset a German-backed Croatia and a US-supported Bosnia, while Washington favors equalizing the military balance between Serbs and the Bosnian government as the best way to push the former toward a peace settlement. Elsewhere, Vjesnik reports that the US and Croatia have agreed to sign a memorandum on military cooperation, but no details have been published. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. CROATIA MAY "DO SOMETHING" AGAINST KRAJINA SERB MILITARY. International media on 10 November quoted Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak as saying his forces may take action in view of continued Krajina Serb artillery and air support for the Bosnian Serbs, whose offensive against Bihac continues. The Serbs themselves continued deliberations at their legislative session in Pale, where "Radio Yugoslavia" said that 28 items were on the agenda. These center on the controversial proposal for parliament to give up its rights, including the immunity of its members, to Radovan Karadzic and the military. The London Times reported on the "current tense atmosphere" among the Bosnian Serb leadership, with Karadzic threatening to shoot anyone spreading rumors that the recent Serb territorial losses were part of a secret deal. He has also demanded "for the last time" that Bosnian Serbs who have fled the country come home or risk loss of their property. The New York Times on 11 November reports on UN charges that the Bosnian Muslims shelled their own people in Sarajevo recently in an apparent attempt to provoke a retaliatory strike against the Serbs. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. PRE-ELECTION POLLS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC. An opinion poll released by the Institute for Public Opinion Research on 10 November indicates that 74% of the poll's 1,524 respondents have decided to participate in the 18-19 November local government elections. A total of 9% said they would not vote; the rest were undecided. More than 30% of all respondents were convinced that the Civic Democratic Party of Premier Vaclav Klaus will win the elections in their municipality but only 18% said they would vote for the party. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, the Christian Democratic Union and the Civic Democratic Alliance would each receive 5% of the vote, while 8% said they would support independent candidates. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. LATEST CZECH CORRUPTION AFFAIR: AN UPDATE. Charged with attempting to bribe Czech Deputy Defense Minister Miroslav Kalousek during his trip to Israel in May 1994, Vera Asherova, a representative of the Singapore-based marketing company Eagle Group, told CTK on 10 November that Kalousek invented the story to "strengthen his position [within the ministry]." Kalousek himself refused to comment on the case until the investigation has been completed. Kalousek's charges against Asherova came shortly after Czech police charged the head of the Czech Center for Coupon Privatization, Jaroslav Lizner, with accepting bribes. Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Prague Adrian Basora told a forum on Czech-US relations that it would take time to set up laws and a regulatory system to ensure relatively crime-proof financial markets but that, in the meantime, there was no point in becoming defensive to criticism and trying to suggest that the system was perfect, Reuters reports. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. CRITICISM BY HUNGARIAN MINORITY SPARKS SLOVAK REACTION. Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement Deputy Chairman Pal Csaky spoke at the Christian Democratic Peoples' Party headquarters in Budapest about the situation in Slovakia following Vladimir Meciar's election victory. Noting that Meciar is capable of doing anything to gain absolute power, that he does not believe in democratic principles and does not keep his promises, Csaky warned Hungarian politicians that it would be a mistake to start negotiating a friendship treaty with Slovakia under the given circumstances. Although Csaky said it was not in the Hungary's interest to have an unstable Slovakia as its neighbor, he noted that he did not foresee any reasonable solutions under the present circumstances. Without the Soviet empire the Slovak absolutist regime cannot survive, and an Iliescu-type of political maneuvering might develop, Csaky warned. On 10 November CTK reported that the press department of Meciar's party, the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, asked Csaky for a public apology for "slandering the Slovak Republic." -- Judith Pataki and Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN MINORITY PROTESTS ROMANIAN PENAL CODE ARTICLE. The Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania protested on 10 November against an article in the new Penal Code approved in the Chamber of Deputies, which provides for prison sentences ranging from six months to three years for the unauthorized display of foreign flags and the singing of foreign national anthems. The RFE/RL correspondent in Bucharest and Radio Bucharest reported that Gyorgy Tokay and Ervin Szekely said their group would ask the Constitutional Court to strike out the clause if the mediation commission of the Chamber and the Senate (which adopted a draft of the Penal Code that does not include this provision) fails to solve the problem. The new clause was proposed by the junior coalition partner, the extreme nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity. -- Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. IMF OFFICIAL URGES FASTER PRIVATIZATION IN ROMANIA. Max Watson, the International Monetary Fund's chief negotiator for Romania, said on 10 November that Bucharest should accelerate privatization, which he claimed has slowed in recent months, an RFE/RL correspondent in the Romanian capital and Radio Bucharest reported. Watson said he sees signs of economic growth and noted that Romania has become more attractive to foreign investors in the past year. Although he cited currency stability as a success, Watson warned that prices could still get out of control. He also stressed that the government should keep state subsidies within reasonable limits and devote more of its spending to infrastructure. -- Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. ORGANIZED CRIME IN ROMANIA. Romanian Interior Minister Doru Ioan Taracila told reporters on 9 November that organized crime poses a great threat to the country's moves toward democracy, Reuters reported. Taracila said Mafia activities in Romania must be stopped before it is too late. The Interior Ministry, he added, is cooperating with Interpol and with neighboring countries, since strong international links between crime groups make the situation impossible to fight alone. Bucharest police chief Ion Pitulescu said many of the most dangerous criminals in Romania come from Russia and other CIS states. He said all types of crime, including drug trafficking, uranium smuggling and weapons dealings are on the rise. Illegal trade in children has also not been overcome; authorities in the Black Sea port of Constanta recently uncovered a criminal ring trying to acquire babies for buyers in Italy. -- Michael Shafir, RFE/RL, Inc. FIVE YEARS AFTER COMMUNISM'S COLLAPSE IN BULGARIA. The fifth anniversary of the end of communist dictatorship in Bulgaria was marked on 10 November with little fanfare, international media report. Few public commemorations were held, and the mood was characterized by indifference. In a speech on state radio President Zhelyu Zhelev observed that the public's apathy and disillusionment stem in part from exaggerated expectations in the wake of communism's collapse. Zhelev, as quoted by Reuters, said "we all had many illusions in the early days, me included . . . We thought that the changes would come about more quickly, much more easily . . . Alas, reality turned out to be cruel and much more severe, and now we are paying the price for our own illusions." Zhelev also criticized the country's major political parties, observing that both the former communists and anti-communists had to some degree stifled the reform processes. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN TREATMENT OF ROMAS CRITICIZED. On 9 November the New York-based human rights group, Helsinki Human Rights Watch, issued a report which is in part critical of the Bulgarian government's treatment of the country's Roma minority, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Observing that Bulgarian authorities' failure to enforce laws has triggered a significant rise in violent crimes against Bulgaria's Romas, the report says, "the Bulgarian state bears direct responsibility for ill-treatment, arson and murder." The report also claims that police officers who themselves may be responsible for serious offenses often go unprosecuted. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN ARMS FAIR. A total of 43 Bulgarian and 13 foreign defense firms displayed a wide range of military equipment at the "Hemus 94 International Defense Show" in Plovdiv, which opened on 8 November. Reuters said the largest displays were by the Vasov Engineering Plants in Sopot, which specializes in guided missiles, and Beta of Cherven Bryag, a producer of armored personnel carriers. Ironically, thousands of Vasov workers went on strike that same day, demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Several companies reported that their business was picking up; in October a defense ministry official said Bulgaria had sold $300 million in arms through September compared with just $70 million for all of 1993. Bulgaria reported to the United Nations that it sold 24 tanks and 50 armored personnel carriers in 1993, all to Angola. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. UKRAINIAN NEWS. On 10 November various agencies reported that Ukraine's parliament voted to maintain the ban on the Communist Party of Ukraine. An earlier decision to lift the ban was voided as being fraudulent after some deputies charged that there were voting irregularities. After the vote, which took place amid a noisy scuffle, communist deputies walked out of the parliament. Should the ban on the Soviet communist party be lifted, its new successor communist party could reclaim confiscated party property. That same day, President Leonid Kuchma touched on the subject of land reform in an interview with Ukrainian Radio, saying that he wanted land to be distributed to those who worked it, and calling on legislators to speed up drafting mechanisms for its privatization. In Crimea, ITAR-TASS reported that the entire parliamentary presidium in Simferopol has decided to travel to Kiev with a message to the Ukrainian parliament, proposing that Crimean deputies be allowed to participate in the drafting of Ukraine's constitution. Crimea failed to meet the 1 November deadline to bring its constitution in line with Ukraine's, and Crimean legislators have argued that it would be more logical for Ukraine to adopt its constitution first and for the Crimean parliament to then amend its own constitution. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN UPDATE. On 10 November Belarusian Radio reported that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is considering cutting short his stay in Sochi, where he is recovering from a spinal problem, and returning to Minsk to insure that his decrees are being carried out. He is also reportedly considering proposing Dzmitry Bulakhau, who was previously rejected by the parliament for a Constitutional Court post, as a candidate for mayor of Minsk. In economic news, the country's statistics department, Derzhkamstat, reported that over five million Belarusians (half the population) live below the poverty line. The lowest paid workers are health care personnel, earning 61,809 Belarusian rubles per month. Even collective farm workers earn more, at 64,797 rubles. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. BERISHA CALLS FOR NEW CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION. News agencies reported from Tirana on 10 November that Albanian President Sali Berisha said again that his constitutional referendum has been defeated, even though official vote totals have not yet been released and his own party refuses to concede the loss. He called for the five parties in parliament to approve a commission of foreign and domestic experts to draft a new document and put it to another referendum. All parties agreed, except for the ex-communists, or Socialists, who want the document approved in parliament only and who seem bent on using Berisha's defeat in the 6 November poll to force early elections. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. DEATH PENALTY IN LITHUANIAN TRIAL. On 10 November the Lithuanian Supreme Court sentenced the 32-year old Boris Dekanidze to death for ordering the murder of Respublika Deputy Editor Vitas Lingys, Radio Lithuania reports. Igor Akhremov, who admitted shooting Lingys on 12 October 1993, was sentenced to life imprisonment. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. TWO NEW MINISTERS IN LATVIA. On 10 November, the Saeima approved the government's nominees for two new cabinet members: Janis Adamsons as Minister of Internal Affairs and Vladimirs Makarovs as State (i.e. deputy) Minister for Social Affairs, Latvian media reported. Makarovs was born in the Rezekne district in 1957, and he graduated in 1982 from the University of Latvia with a degree in history and philosophy. Since December 1992 he has worked as the Welfare Ministry's social assistance department director. (For a short biography of Adamsons, see the 2 November Daily Report.) -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN PARLIAMENT FAVORS RATIFICATION OF ACCORDS WITH RUSSIA. In its second reading of the legislation on the ratification of the four accords related to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia, the Saeima once again voted in favor of ratification, Baltic media reported. According to Saeima's Foreign Affairs Commission Chairman Aleksandrs Kirsteins, the final approval on the ratification is likely to come during the third reading of the legislation, scheduled for 24 November. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT WANTS NORMAL RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA. A normalization of relations with Russia is a priority of the new Estonian government, according to both Premier Andres Tarand and Foreign Minister Juri Luik, Interfax reported on 8-10 November. At the same time, however, Luik, who held the same position in the previous government, stressed the importance of integrating Estonia "in Western political, economic, and cultural structures" and promoting Baltic cooperation. Noting that the Russian troop withdrawal has calmed relations, thus leaving economic issues as the dominant unsettled bilateral concerns, Luik urged Russia to lift the customs tariffs and grant Estonia most-favored nation trade status. Luik reckoned with possible snags in the ratification of Estonian-Russian accords on the troop withdrawals and border issues. He called on Russia to return to Tallinn those KGB files pertaining to Estonia. Reflecting the upbeat mood, an Estonian-Russian accord on legal aid and cooperation on civil, family and criminal suits by signed by Estonian President Lennart Meri. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. [As of 1200 CET] (Compiled by Sharon Fisher 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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