A friend is a gift you give yourself. - Robert Louis Stevenson
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 223, 28 November 1994

                              RUSSIA

CHECHEN OPPOSITION ATTACK ON GROZNY FAILS. On 24 November Chechen
President Dzhokhar Dudaev proclaimed martial law throughout the
republic and announced the mobilization of all men aged 17 and
over, Radio Rossii reported. On 25 November some 40 helicopters
bearing Russian markings launched an attack on Grozny's airport,
killing three people, according to Western agencies. Forces loyal
to the opposition Provisional Council claimed to control all roads
into Grozny and issued an appeal for international support,
according to ITAR-TASS. Opposition forces backed by artillery and
tanks then launched a major assault on Grozny in the late evening
of 25 November and on 26 November issued a statement, carried by
ITAR-TASS, claiming to have taken control of the presidential
palace. Chechen Information Minister Movladi Udugov told Western
journalists, however, that the government had not fallen; he said
that opposition forces were retreating after sustaining heavy
casualties. Dudaev again accused Russia of instigating the attack.
Western journalists reported on 27 November that Grozny was quiet,
opposition forces having been forced by government troops to
retreat; a renewed attack by opposition forces announced by former
Russian parliament chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov failed to
materialize. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

ETHNIC CLEANSING OF INGUSH PROTESTED. On 26 November, Ingush
President Ruslan Aushev's spokesman continued the recent series of
protests against the obstruction by the North Ossetian leadership
and the Russian Provisional Administration of the return of Ingush
refugees to North Ossetia's Prigorodnyi Raion. The refugees
remained stranded in appalling conditions in Ingushetia facing the
onset of winter, the statement said. President Boris Yeltsin's
former ethnic affairs adviser Galina Starovoitova, currently a
leader of Democratic Russia, told Interfax on 26 November that
Russia's policy on ethnic issues in the North Caucasus "has lost
both its moral and legal foundations." Besides the
"intensification of military operations against Chechnya," the
Russian military has been "hampering the return of [Ingush]
refugees to North Ossetia and [Georgian refugees] to Abkhazia. The
military are virtually forced to secure the outcome of ethnic
cleansing in those regions," Starovoitova noted. Russia's Ministry
of Internal Affairs said in a statement on 27 November that the
situation in the North Ossetian-Ingush state of emergency area was
"tense" but that Russian army and internal troops basically "have
it under control." -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

YELTSIN WARNS BALTIC STATES ABOUT TERRITORIAL CLAIMS AGAINST
RUSSIA.While visiting the Estonian-Russian border in Pskov Oblast
on 23 November, Yeltsin categorically ruled out any border changes
with Estonia, Latvia, or any other country. He noted that the
Russian border with the Baltic States, especially with Estonia,
was poorly equipped in comparison with the former USSR's Baltic
border and recommended that the frontier be made more secure. He
added, however, that Russia would "not build an impassable border
here." Despite Yeltsin's stern warning, Russian Foreign Minister
Andrei Kozyrev asked journalists not to view the visit as
"confrontational, " adding that it should be viewed "as an
outstretched hand" toward Russia's neighbors, Interfax reported.
The Estonian Foreign Ministry said that Yeltsin's visit was a
manifestation of "Russia's policy of unilateral steps with regard
to the border issue" and that it highlighted the need for the
issue to be resolved on the basis of international law, BNS
reported on 23 November. According to the commander of Russia's
Baltic Sea Fleet, Admiral Vladimir Egorov, Russia is planning to
finish unilateral demarcation of its border with Estonia on Lake
Peipsi by 15 December, BNS reported on 24 November. -- Dzintra
Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT ADOPTED BY DUMA. The State Duma
approved at the third reading a bill on information and data
protection, Rossiiskie vesti reported on 23 November. The bill,
the Russian equivalent of the US Freedom of Information Act, gives
all citizens, not only the mass media, the right to access state
information resources. The bill also defines the status of
information proprietors and the rights and obligations of
customers. Although some provisions concerning the rights of
individuals are controversial, the bill provides the legal basis
for reform of the press, television, and computer legislation.
Rossiiskie vesti and some other newspapers have criticized the
bill on the grounds that it restricts the access of the mass media
to social data. In doing so, however, the newspaper is ignoring
the fact that the legislation is intended not only to provide free
access to information but also to protect citizens' right to
privacy. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

SEGODNYA SAYS PRO-WESTERN STAGE OF REFORM OVER. Mikhail Leontev,
an economist and chief editor of Segodnya, believes that reforms
aimed at westernizing Russia have ended in defeat. Writing in the
liberal newspaper on 24 November, he contended that "forces
through which the West has acquired a stake in Russia have become
political outsiders" and Russia is beginning a new, "patriotic"
stage of reform. That meant, he continued, that Russia could no
longer rely on Western aid, but only on loans and investments from
international organizations. The "patriotic" stage of reform, he
said, implied a strong authoritarian element and state regulation
of the economy but it would allow Russia to follow its own path.
Russia needs partners, not mentors, Leontev concluded. The
Segodnya article is the second anti-Western publication to appear
recently in prodemocratic mass media. Last week Moskovsky
komsomolets accused the architect of privatization, Anatolii
Chubais, of helping Western corporations to take over Russian
industry. The State Duma has appointed a special commission to
investigate the latter charges, agencies reported on 25 November.
-- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

MILITARY TO BE SHORT-CHANGED IN BUDGET. On 24 November Interfax,
quoting First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, disclosed that
the Defense Ministry would only get about 70% of the 40.6 trillion
rubles allotted to it in the 1994 budget. The next day Finance
Minister Vladimir Panskov told Interfax that there was not enough
money to pay the 3 billion rubles owed the country's defense
industries--a debt the Defense Ministry puts at 5 trillion. The
best Panskov could offer was 1 trillion, to be paid in 1995. He
also thought that state employees' back wages would be paid by the
end of the year. As for the 1995 budget, the chairman of the
Duma's defense committee, Sergei Yushenkov, said that the military
would probably get 55 trillion rubles rather than the 111 trillion
it wanted. He himself thought 44 trillion would be enough and
called for the number of units in the army to be cut and for the
transition from a division-army structure to a brigade-corps
organization to be speeded up. The Duma will hold a closed session
on the military budget on 8 December, according to Interfax of 25
November. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

CIVILIAN APPOINTED TO HEAD ARMS AGENCY. Interfax on reported 25
November that it had been informed by "reliable sources" that
Yeltsin had appointed Aleksandr Kotelkin to head the
Rosvooruzhenye state-owned weapons import-export company.
Previously, Kotelkin managed the Board on Foreign Cooperation in
Military Technology at the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations
and supervised arms sales to Hungary, Angola, and Kuwait totaling
nearly $2 billion. Kotelkin would replace General Viktor Samoilov.
-- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

MILITARY WANTS TO BUY RUSSIAN COMPUTERS. Major General Viktor
Bazhenov, head of the Defense Ministry's department of
informatics, said in Moscow on 24 November that Russian computer
producers could and should meet the military's needs. According to
Interfax, he said the Defense Ministry needed 10,000-15,000
state-of-the-art desktop computers each year. The general owned
that domestic manufacturers would have to spend considerable sums
to develop this technology, and he regretted that government
agencies were buying foreign computers rather than investing in
Russian computer research and development. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL,
Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

ABKHAZIA ADOPTS NEW CONSTITUTION. On 26 November the Abkhaz
parliament adopted a new constitution proclaiming the Republic of
Abkhazia a sovereign law-based state historically established on
the basis of the right to self-determination; it then elected as
the republic's first president parliament chairman Vladislav
Ardzinba, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. Although the Abkhaz
information minister told ITAR-TASS that the adoption of a new
constitution would not affect the ongoing negotiations with
Georgia on Abkhazia's future status, on 27 November Georgian
parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze rejected the move as an
act of defiance that sabotaged hopes for a peaceful solution to
the conflict. Whether the meeting between Shevardnadze and
Ardzinba organized by UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali
and scheduled for 2 December in Geneva will now take place is
unclear. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

SHEVARDNADZE ENDORSES FREE ECONOMIC ZONE IN ADZHARIA. The Georgian
parliament chairman has agreed to the creation of a free economic
zone in Adzharia, Adzhar parliament chairman Aslan Abashidze told
Interfax on 25 November, predicting that this would pave the way
for more than $1 billion foreign investments in Adzharia in 1995.
The annual volume of trade within the Trabzon free economic zone,
just across the frontier between Adzharia and Turkey, was over $13
million in 1993, according to the Turkish Daily News of 2
September. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

TURKMEN DISSIDENTS DETAINED IN MOSCOW. A spokesman for Russia's
Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK) told Interfax on 26
November that the service had detained two Turkmen citizens at the
request of Turkmenistan's state prosecutor. The two, Halmurad
Soyunov and Murat Esenov, are associated with the Turkmenistan
Fund, which promotes human rights in Turkmenistan. The previous
day the fund's director, former Foreign Minister Abdy Kuliev, had
appealed to the FSK for help in finding the pair, who had
disappeared from Moscow streets. Turkmen officials had earlier
announced their intent to ask Russian authorities for help in
apprehending Turkmen dissidents in Moscow, who are accused by the
Turkmen government of trying to destabilize their homeland.
Esenov, a correspondent for Radio Liberty's Turkmen Service, was
beaten on a Moscow street in September by persons he and his
associates believed to be acting on instructions of the Turkmen
government. -- Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

RUSSIAN CITIZENSHIP FOR RUSSIANS IN NEAR ABROAD. Abdullakh
Mikitaev, head of the Directorate for Citizenship Affairs of
Russia's presidential administration and chairman of the special
Commission on Citizenship Issues set up by Yeltsin, commented in
Trud of 23 November on the recent presidential decree on
implementing Russia's citizenship law enacted in 1992 and amended
in 1993. The decree enables Russians in the "near abroad," their
descendants, and, more generally, "people who consider themselves
Russian," to acquire Russian citizenship even if they already have
the citizenship of their country of residence, Mikitaev said. He
confirmed that under Yeltsin's decree, meant to "explain to
officials how to interpret the law," Russia was "unilaterally
recognizing dual citizenship" for those people even though most of
the newly independent states do not. The deadline for applying,
originally 6 February 1995, will be extended by two to three
years. Citizenship legislation will "become the basis for the
gradual unification of countries and peoples" of the former USSR,
Mikitaev said. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BIHAC ABOUT TO FALL. International media on 28 November report
that Bosnian and Croatian Serb forces, together with troops loyal
to local kingpin Fikret Abdic, are pressing their attack on Bihac.
The mayor of the mainly Muslim town said it could fall at any
time. Serbian troops are well within the suburbs and hold about
one-third of the entire UN-declared "safe area." CNN on 25
November quoted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as saying
that the 60,000 Muslim civilians would not be truly "safe" until
the Serbs had taken the town. He vowed to press the attack after
the 400 remaining soldiers of the Bosnian government's Fifth Corps
let a Serb-declared surrender deadline pass on 26 November.
Government officials the next day accepted a UN call for a
cease-fire and demilitarization of the area, while the Serbs are
expected to reply on 28 November. Bihac is completely surrounded
by Serbian-held territory and has strategic value because it is
situated on the rail line connecting the Serbian strongholds of
Knin and Banja Luka. It is not clear where the Serbs acquired the
fuel for their latest offensive. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

CONTROVERSY OVER UN ROLE IN BOSNIA. The UN Security Council on 26
November passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire
in the Bihac area and a Serbian withdrawal but did not include any
threat of force for failure to comply. Bosnia's ambassador to the
UN said the measure "lacks the commitment of the Security
Council," international news agencies reported. Reuters the next
day quoted an unnamed diplomat in Sarajevo as saying that "the UN,
by its own admission, has failed to fulfill its mandate to deter
attacks on the safe area. The Serbs have called the international
community's bluff." According to the Los Angeles Times, a senior
UN official in Sarajevo added "it's quite clear that we have
failed to deter an attack on the safe area. We were supposed to
deter attacks on civilians and to protect the civilian
population." The BBC, however, quoted UN commander General Sir
Michael Rose as saying it is not the UN's job to defend one side
against the attacks of another. The New York Times reported that
Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic "blasted the British army
general to his face in [a] meeting and threw him out." Silajdzic
added that if a lot of people die in Bihac, it will be because of
Rose and UN chief civilian official Yasushi Akashi. International
media quoted US Senator Robert Dole as calling the UN's role "a
classic failure." The next day, he urged that UNPROFOR forces be
withdrawn and the arms embargo against the government lifted. --
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

DIPLOMATIC FALLOUT OVER BOSNIAN CRISIS. International media on 26
November reported that more than 3,000 US troops are on their way
to the Adriatic in what the BBC called a move with more diplomatic
than military importance. The forces signal America's readiness to
back its NATO allies and will be present to assist any UNPROFOR
withdrawal, but they reportedly have no immediate orders to
deploy. The Serbs on 28 November continued to hold hostage some
400 UNPROFOR troops, including British, Dutch, Ukrainian, and
Russian soldiers. US Secretary of Defense William Perry said there
is nothing the UN or NATO can now do to prevent the fall of Bihac.
Meanwhile, media commentators speculated over the future of NATO
in view of the strains between Washington, on the one hand, and
London and Paris, on the other. Some suggested that the
international "contact group" may already be dead, given those
tensions as well as Russian objections to NATO policies. But
former British Defense Secretary Sir John Nott on 26 November
warned against any departure from the Anglo-American alliance,
Reuters said. Meanwhile, at a major ceremony in the Vatican to
inaugurate 30 new cardinals, Pope John Paul II on 27 November
again condemned the "absurd fratricidal fighting [in Bosnia] that
stains Europe and the world with blood." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL,
Inc.

MILOSEVIC MEETS KOZYREV. Rump Yugoslav State Television on 26
November reported that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic met
the same day in Belgrade with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev to discuss the Bosnian war. Reuters reports that prior to
arriving in Belgrade, Kozyrev held meetings in Bonn on 26 November
with German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, with whom he also
discussed, among other things, the situation in Bosnia. At a press
conference, Kozyrev said he believed the Serbian president's
influence over the Bosnian Serbs was the most effective means of
persuading the Bosnian Serbs to accept an international peace plan
for Bosnia. -- Stan Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

CEFTA PREMIERS MEET IN POLAND. The prime ministers of the four
Central European Free Trade Agreement countries (the Czech
Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland) on 25 November agreed to
speed up trade liberalization in the region and to admit new
members. They also approved a declaration calling for
"consultations" on joining the European Union. Pleas for close
coordination of those efforts, made repeatedly by Hungarian
Premier Gyula Horn, went unheeded by Czech Prime Minister Vaclav
Klaus, who is in favor of each country entering the union
separately. The prime ministers also agreed to abolish all
barriers between their countries by 1 January 2000. The meeting
was attended by Slovenian Premier Janez Drnovsek, who said his
country expected to join CEFTA in 1995. -- Jan de Weydenthal,
RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA VETOES TAX BILL. President Lech Walesa on 25 November
vetoed a bill on income tax, arguing that the rates of 21, 33, and
45 percent (depending on income levels) were excessive. In a
statement published by Gazeta Wyborcza on 28 November, the
president said the government should come up with another tax law
rather than impose such high rates on the public. The Sejm can
overturn the presidential veto through a two-thirds majority,
which is unlikely unless major amendments are made to the bill. --
Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc.

CZECH PRIME MINISTER ON KOHL'S REMARKS. In an interview with Denni
Telegraf on 25 November, Vaclav Klaus said he did not know what
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had meant when he said Poland should
be "first in expanding the European Union." Kohl had told the
German parliament on 23 November that it was in Europe's and
Germany's interest that Poland be in first place during the
expansion of the EU because Poland's western border must not
become the union's permanent western border. Klaus said the news
of Kohl's remarks was unpleasant and noted that Poland's position
within the European security framework is little different from
that of the Czech Republic. The Czech premier has repeatedly
argued that his country is in the vanguard of economic and
political change in Eastern Europe and should be admitted into
Western organizations as soon as possible, ahead of other East
European countries. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

SLOVAK COALITION TALKS AGAIN FALTER. Negotiations between the
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia and the Christian Democratic
Movement were cut short on 23 November after party leaders failed
to reach agreement. CDM requirements for supporting an MDS
government include reversing certain steps taken during the first
two parliament sessions, ceasing attacks on President Michal
Kovac, and continuing with privatization. MDS Chairman Vladimir
Meciar was unable to confirm whether his party would accept such
demands. Following the talks, Meciar continued to insist that his
party will not form a minority cabinet. The next day he told CTK
on 24 November that he had ruled out a coalition with the CDM and
the Hungarians, while cooperation with the Democratic Union was
not feasible because he expects the party to split. But on 26
November, MDS member Katerina Tothova said the MDS is willing to
work with any party expect the Hungarian coalition. -- Sharon
Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

EU ISSUES DEMARCHE TO SLOVAKIA. During meetings with top Slovak
officials on 23 and 24 November, the German and French ambassadors
to Slovakia delivered a diplomatic note on behalf of the EU's
political committee expressing concern about political
developments since the fall elections and noting that the
strengthening of relations between Slovakia and the EU depends on
the new cabinet's policies. Parliament Chairman Ivan Gasparovic
told TASR that during his meeting with the two ambassadors, he
justified recent steps taken in the parliament to replace a number
of state officials, emphasizing that "all decisions made by the
parliamentary majority were aimed at stability and . . . were
meant to secure democracy." -- Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN NEGOTIATIONS ON 1995 BUDGET. Following three days of
talks, the Interest Coordinating Council (a group composed of
government, employer, and worker representatives) on 27 November
came closer to reaching an agreement on the draft 1995 budget's
provisions on wages, social benefits, and taxes, MTI reports. The
spokesman for the workers' delegation said an agreement might
avert strikes by trade unions. Several teachers' unions on 24
November announced they would stage a strike on 17 December to
protest cuts in subsidies to the education sector. -- Edith Oltay,
RFE/RL, Inc.

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
held talks in Bucharest on 23 and 24 November with his Romanian
counterpart, Ion Iliescu, and other senior Romanian officials,
Radio Bucharest reported. Mubarak's visit aimed at boosting
bilateral political and economic relations. The Egyptian
delegation praised Romania's role in the Mideast peace process.
(In April, Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser
Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had met in
Bucharest during an international gathering of political and
business leaders.) Romania and Egypt on 24 November signed a
general economic agreement and two separate accords on economic
projects, technological cooperation, and the protection of
investments. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIAN UPDATE. International news agencies reported on 25
November that in an amnesty marking the 28 November national
holiday, 250 of Albania's 1,210 prisoners will be released and
another 450 will have their sentences shortened. Among the 450 are
the five ethnic Greeks recently sentenced for espionage, but AFP
quoted Greek officials as saying Athens still insists that the
five be released. Reuters said the amnesty would not affect former
leading Communists such as Ramiz Alia and Nexhmije Hoxha or jailed
Socialist leader Fatos Nano, but AFP disagrees. Reuters also
reported that Albanian police arrested 10 people at one site along
the Montenegrin border and nine at another in conjunction with the
rampant fuel smuggling taking place there. -- Patrick Moore,
RFE/RL, Inc.

REPUBLICAN PARTY OF CRIMEA CALLS FOR INDEPENDENCE. The Crimean
Republican Party held its fifth convention in Simferopol on 27
November, Interfax reports. Party leaders called on Crimeans to
withstand pressure from Ukraine and uphold the Crimean
Constitution as well as other Crimean laws, saying these should
form the basis of Ukrainian-Crimean relations. The 1992
constitution, adopted by the Crimean parliament in May 1994,
stipulated that the peninsula's relations with Ukraine are
contingent on bilateral agreements. The Ukrainian parliament says
this stipulation is tantamount to giving the peninsula the status
of an independent state. The convention also criticized Crimean
President Yurii Meshkov for failing to "consolidate the executive
and legislative branches of power." -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc.

JUST ONE BLACK SEA FLEET? Ukrainian parliament speaker Oleksandr
Moroz was quoted by Interfax on 24 November as saying it would be
expedient to transfer all Black Sea Fleet ships to Russia with
Ukraine retaining the shore-based infrastructure. He did not rule
out bases in Ukraine for the Russian fleet. "The Black Sea is an
area of specific interest for both Russia and Ukraine," he said,"
and we need to coordinate our activities." The following day,
Interfax quoted an open letter to Presidents Leonid Kuchma and
Boris Yeltsin from officers of the Black Sea Fleet and the
Ukrainian Navy calling for "putting an end to the destructive
division of the earlier powerful potential of our armed forces,
the navy, and the Black Sea Fleet in particular." The letter
reportedly urged the two countries to act in accordance with the
principle of unification and joint utilization of the armed
forces. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUS ACCUSES TURKEY OF SPYING. The Belarusian authorities have
asked two Turkish diplomats to leave the country, Interfax
reported on 25 November. The previous day, a Belarusian citizen
from Hrodna was detained for passing economic information to
Turkish diplomats. Another report alleges that the Turkish special
services have enlisted the help of Belarusians in procuring
confidential materials. Turkey has denied the charges of spying as
"absolutely groundless," according to Interfax. -- Ustina Markus,
RFE/RL, Inc.

BELARUS TO SELL SOVIET ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEM TO WEST. According to a
statement by the President's Office on 25 November, the state arms
export firm Beltekhexport signed a $6 million contract in July to
sell a modern Soviet-designed anti-missile system to a US-Canadian
company. ITAR-TASS quotes the office as denying there was anything
illegal or unethical in selling the S-300PMU missile system, which
Russian authorities claim to be superior to the American Patriot
system. The 25 November statement pointed out that Belarus did not
buy the system from Russia but rather inherited it following the
breakup of the Soviet Union. The system was built in the former
USSR with the participation of Belarusian institutes and
enterprises. Russia has offered the same system to foreign
customers and has revealed tactical and technical details of the
weapon, the statement noted. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS IN RIGA. Meeting in the Latvian capital
on 23 November, the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and
Lithuania signed a cooperation accord on guarding state borders
and a statement on the Baltic States' relations with the Council
of Europe. They also agreed to form a working group that would
draw up a trilateral agreement on joint and coordinated control
over air space, BNS reported. After the meeting, the foreign
ministers told the press that the recent Baltic Assembly's
resolution on Kaliningrad Oblast reflected the views of the
assembly but not of the Baltic governments. -- Dzintra Bungs,
RFE/RL, Inc.

LATVIAN PARLIAMENT ENDORSES ACCORDS WITH RUSSIA. The Saeima on 24
November approved the Latvian-Russian accords on the withdrawal of
Russian troops from Latvia, signed on 30 April 1994. Its approval
means that the ratification formalities can now begin, Baltic
media reported. -- Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc.

POLISH PREMIER IN LITHUANIA. Waldemar Pawlak was greeted at the
Kalvarija border checkpoint on 26 November by his Lithuanian
counterpart, Adolfas Slezevicius, Radio Lithuania reports. The
premiers inspected the ongoing construction at the customs post,
which should speed up trade when finished next year. They then
traveled to Marijampole for talks on bilateral relations, problems
of security in the Baltic region, and a possible free trade
agreement between the Baltic States and the four Visegrad nations.
The premiers also exchanged the formal ratification documents on
the bilateral friendship and cooperation agreement, ratified by
the Polish and Lithuanian parliaments on 14 October. -- Saulius
Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN AIRPLANE HIJACKING ENDS IN ESTONIA. Vladimir Bozhko, a
36-year-old miner from Vorkuta, hijacked a Russian Aeroflot plane
en route from Syktyvkar to St. Petersburg on 24 November and
forced it to land in Tallinn, BNS reports. Bozhko released the
passengers and crew and surrendered peacefully to Estonian
authorities after several hours. Estonia has not yet agreed to the
Russian request on 25 November to extradite Bozhko, who has
requested political asylum, according to Rahva Haal on 26
November. ITAR-TASS on 27 November, however, said that Estonian
police and the Interior Ministry deny that Bozhko has made such a
request. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET] (Compiled by Jan Cleave and Penny Morvant)
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
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Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.


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