|I'm going to turn on the light, and we'll be two people in a room looking at each other and wondering why on earth we were afraid of the dark. - Gale Wilhelm|
No. 227, 2 December 1994
RUSSIA RUSSIA BALKS AT PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev stunned NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on 1 December and made good on his warning (see Daily Report, 1 December) when he announced that Moscow is deferring its participation in the Partnership for Peace program (PfP) because of the decisions on NATO's enlargement announced in the allied Foreign Ministers' communique on the same day, Western agencies reported. Russia was scheduled to officially join NATO's PfP program on 1 December. Saying that he had just consulted with President Boris Yeltsin, who shares his position, Kozyrev charged that NATO was unduly hastening the admission of new members and was putting enlargement ahead of PfP instead of "first exhausting the potentialities of partnership." He said he reserved the right to ask for clarifications on many aspects of NATO's decison. Although couched largely in procedural terms, Kozyrev's objections reflect Moscow's fundamental objections to inclusion of its former Warsaw Pact allies in NATO and preference for PfP as a benign substitute for their membership in NATO unless Russia is also admitted. In their communique, the NATO foreign ministers had gone out of their way to placate Russia, noting that any cooperative European security architecture required the active participation of Russia, a country which had "a unique or particularly important contribution to make." U.S. officials hinted they thought the Russians were playing to a domestic audience as the Russians had been briefed on the NATO plans by American leaders from President Bill Clinton on down. In an address on the same day to a Paris session of the West European Union's Parliamentary Assembly, Kozyrev claimed that the prospect of NATO's enlargement in Russia's direction alarmed Russian public opinion. -- Vladimir Socor and Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. MORE SIGNS OF DISPLEASURE. "Russia has been resisting NATO's enlargement with East European states and former Warsaw Pact allies . . . and will take additional security measures if NATO admits new members," Defense Minister Pavel Grachev warned in a statement to the media on 30 November. Echoing Kozyrev's objection (see preceding item) and Grachev's warning, Belarusian First Deputy Foreign Minister Valerii Tsepkalo told Interfax on 1 December that Belarusian public opinion would strongly object to the emergence of NATO on Belarus' western border, that Belarus may in that case refuse cooperation with NATO, and that "integration within the CIS would then assume a confrontational character toward the West." In fact, the dynamics of Russian-led integration in the CIS have taken a life of their own unrelated to developments in Western security organizations. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN-WEU COOPERATION? ITAR-TASS reported that Kozyrev proposed a broad program of cooperation between Russia and the Western European Union--the military arm of the European Union--at the WEU Parliamentary Assembly in Paris on 1 December. Joint naval maneuvers and direct contacts between the Russian governments arms import/export company Rosvooruzheniye and appropriate WEU bodies were proposed. Kozyrev also suggested that Russia could provide the WEU with data from Russian satellites and provide Russian aircraft for the WEU pool of planes to be used as part of the Open Sky treaty. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. CHECHNYA "GRADUALLY GETTING OUT OF CONTROL." Following the expiry on 1 December of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's ultimatum to the various factions in Chechnya to lay down their arms, leading Russian officials modifed their stance. The Presidential Press service reissued Yeltsin's appeal of 29 November without the original mention of imposition of a state of emergency, but affirming that Russia will take "the necessary steps to restore order," Interfax reported. While Ekho Moskvy quoted Yeltsin aide Leonid Smirnyagin as stating that Yeltsin "is ready to negotiate . . . to avoid a bloodbath," AFP quoted Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev as rejecting talks with Russia as "impossible." Opposition Provisional Council chairman Umar Avturkhanov similarly rejected the idea of talks between Moscow and Dudaev and argued in favor of the immediate dispatch of Russian troops to Chechnya, according to ITAR-TASS. Grozny's airport and several buildings including the presidential palace were damaged in an air raid during the afternoon of 1 December. A delegation of the Russian State Duma headed by defense committee chairman Sergei Yushenkov travelled to Grozny in the hope of negotiating the release of some 70 Russians captured during the unsuccessful attempt by opposition forces on 26-27 November to seize power in Grozny. Speaking with journalists on 1 December, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev announced that an investigation would be held to establish who recruited the soldiers and sent them to Chechnya. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CONCEPT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AIMED AT UNITING THE COUNTRY. The Russian Security Council has finished a draft concept of national security outlining the strategic interests of Russia and defining its attitude towards NATO and regional security problems, agencies reported 1 December. The goal of the concept is to fill the vacuum left by communist ideology and to provide confronting political parties a basis for consensus based on common national interests, said Valerii Manilov, who was in charge of the Inter-branch committee that drafted the concept. As far as NATO is concerned, the concept is to advance the idea of an all-European collective security, and, in a broader sense, a "Euro-Atlantic bloc-free security" principle. In regional trouble spots like Caucausia and in particular Chechnya, the concept formulates the primacy of Russian national interests over the region and desires to solve the crises through a "legitimate means within the framework of the Constitution." Some provisions of the concept, like the incorporation of Russia into "Euro-Atlantic collective security," looks no less utopian than former communist ideology. -- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. ANOTHER DEFENSE PLANT FURLOUGHS WORKERS. The Komsomolsk Aircraft Factory, which builds the Su-27 jet fighter, ceased all military production in late November ITAR-TASS reported on 1 December. The agency said that the factory had put most of its workers on leave until January. Viktor Merkulov, the factory's general director, said that military production had dropped to 5.5 percent of the 1991 level. The plant had suspended military production briefly in September also. It is continuing to produce consumer goods and civilian aircraft. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. GORBACHEV TO BECOME RUSSIA'S FIRST POST-COMMUNIST POLITICAL PRISONER? Citing "unofficial sources," the liberal Novaya ezhednevnaya gazeta carried on its 25 November cover page an article claiming that the Russian prosecutors are "cooking up" a political case against former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. According to the daily, the inquiry underway in Moscow has been based on Gorbachev's address to the founding congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Union on November 1, in which Gorbachev had criticized the Yeltsin leadership and called for the early elections of all branches of the Russian government. Gorbachev's address allegedly has prompted the "Gorbophobic" Russian authorities to start an inquiry, aimed at charging Gorbachev under the infamous Article 70 of the Russian Criminal Code. This law gained the world-wide notoriety under its former title "Anti-Soviet Agitation and Propaganda" in the 1960s to early 1980s, until the Gorbachev leadership stopped arrests of political dissidents in that country. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA GEORGIA CALLS FOR UN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON ABKHAZIA. Georgian Head of state Eduard Shevardnadze has called for the convening of an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss the adoption on 26 November by the Abkhaz parliament of a new constitution characterizing Abkhazia as an independent republic, a move which "could have unpredictable consequences and lead to an escalation of the conflict," ITAR-TASS reported on 1 December. Also on 1 December, the Georgian parliament began debating a draft document denying the legitimacy of either the Abkhaz parliament or the new constitution and affirming Georgia's "moral, political and juridicial right" to use all means to restore its state sovereignty, according to Interfax, which further quoted Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev as affirming Russian support for Georgia's territorial integrity and expressing the hope that the two sides would continue negotiations. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS UKRAINIAN-RUSSIAN TALKS. On 30 November the Ukrainian presidential administration held a briefing focusing mainly on the progress of the Russian-Ukrainian friendship treaty, Ukrainian radio reported. Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Evhen Marchuk told reporters that headway had been made on three of the most problematic issues: the Black Sea Fleet, the former Soviet Union's debt, and the framework of future economic relations between Russia and Ukraine. The issue of the fleet had been the most complicated and the terms of the lease for its bases has still not been worked out. Marchuk said a short-term lease was impractical, yet because Ukraine was a neutral state it could not allow foreign forces to be based on its territory. Russia is demanding that Sevastopol be the main base of the Russian portion of the Black Sea Fleet; that the military commander of the city of Sevastopol be a Russian citizen; and that Russia also has a claim to fleet assets in the ports of Kerch and Feodosia. Ukraine refuses to entertain such demands. As for Ukraine's portion of the Soviet debt, it is agreed that Ukraine is responsible for 16.7 percent, or $3 billion. Ukraine is willing to pay it off, but the interest on it is $900 million per year, a sum Ukraine would have great difficulty covering. The most progress was made on on the two sides economic relations. The most pressing issue in these relations is Ukraine's over $1 billion debt to Gazprom. Since Gazprom is no longer a state enterprise, but a joint-stock company, Russia urged Ukraine to push forward with its economic reforms so that it can come out of its crisis and pay its bills. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. MILITARY CONFERENCE, DEFENSE MINISTERS' MEETING. On 30 November in Moscow, a conference of senior military officials and experts from CIS member states discussed the creation of multilateral mechanisms of military cooperation under the CIS collective security treaty, repair and maintenance of military hardware at plants in CIS states, joint military planning, creation of a common air defense system, wartime mobilization, and the structure and utilization of coalition forces. Some of those topics were again discussed at a meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of CIS member states chaired by Russia's Pavel Grachev on 1 December. Russian Col.-Gen. Viktor Samsonov, head of the CIS Headquarters for Military Cooperation and Coordination, told Russian Radio and TV that this was the most meaningful step thus far toward putting the 1992 treaty of collective security into practice. Nine member states were represented by the ministers, Ukraine and Turkmenistan by observers, and Moldova (which abstains from all military undertakings) was the sole absentee. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS DEFEND GRACHEV. In a statement approved at their 1 December council meeting in Moscow, the CIS defense ministers condemned "the campaign in Russian and other mass media to discredit the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Russian defense minister (Pavel Grachev), who is chairman of the Council of Defense Ministers of the CIS Member States." Interfax reported that the statement was signed by the defense ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Observers from Ukraine and Turkmenistan were said to have expressed support for the statement but did not sign it. For his part Grachev fired the head of the press center of the Headquarters for Coordination of Military Cooperation between CIS countries. Colonel Serafim Yushkov told Interfax that he thought he had been dismissed because of an open letter he wrote "assessing the personality of the defense minister" in which he disagreed with Yeltsin's assessment that Grachev was a strong defense minister respected by the army and the government. -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc. KOZYREV: RUSSIA NEEDS MONEY, NOT MANDATES, FOR CIS "PEACEKEEPING." Addressing a session of the West European Union Parliamentary Assembly on 1 December in Paris, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev claimed that Russian troops only carry out their "peacekeeping operations on CIS territory" at the countries' request. "That is why we don't need [international] permission. However, we do not only need but we urge that the West should financially support Russian peacekeeping," Interfax quoted him on 1 December. He attacked as "immoral" the (unattributed) view that "instability in the former USSR is preferable to Russian peacekeeping." Meanwhile the CIS Defense Ministers' Council (see above) authorized Col.-General Valerii Patrikeev, commander of CIS "peacekeeping" forces in Tajikistan, to take certain major decisions without reference to the host country's government and to take over the command of Russian border troops in Tajikistan in the event of large-scale hostilities. The latter move represents a partial gain for Grachev over his potential rival, Col.-General Andrei Nikolaev, Russian Border Troops' commander in chief. The Defense Ministers scheduled spring maneuvers by Russian infantry, armor, and aviation in Tajikistan with some Uzbek, Kyrgyz, and Kazakh units. Patrikeev predicted that modernization of Tajik forces would take "a dozen years" and that Russian forces will act as peacekeepers there for a long time to come. Grachev solicited financial and troop contributions by CIS member states to the "peacekeeping" operation in Abkhazia. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBIA APPEARS TO BE INVOLVED IN BIHAC ATTACK. News agencies on 1 December reported from Sarajevo that Bosnian, Serbian, and UN reports seem to confirm suspicions that Serbia-Montenegro is supplying men, ammunition, and especially fuel to the Bosnian and Croatian Serb forces in northwestern Bosnia. Classified UN reports noted that armed men were crossing the border between Croatian and Bosnian Serb territory in vehicles with Belgrade license plates. The US "Contact Group" representative told the press in Sarajevo that the border between Serbia and Bosnian Serb territory was "somewhat porous." The Novi Sad weekly Svet also reported on an influx of armed men from Serbia into Bosnia. If true, the accounts would support the view that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic may have soured on the current Bosnian Serb leadership in Pale but has not given up his goal of a greater Serbia. Meanwhile, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service quoted the Bosnian Serb parliamentary speaker as saying he was not impressed by the latest US proposal for a confederation between Pale and Belgrade, arguing that his side's main interest is securing considerably more than the 49 percent of Bosnian territory allotted it by the Contact Group plan. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. CROATS AND SERBS CLASH ALONG BIG FRONT. The Los Angeles Times on 2 December reports that Croatian and Serbian forces exchanged fire along the lengthy divide separating them behind the Dalmatian coast. The Washington Post noted a particularly intense exchange near Limar, calling it the worst fighting on the Krajina front since a cease-fire was signed in March. Meanwhile, Croatia's two most important military officials warned that Zagreb may soon intervene in the fighting around Bihac, since that town's fall would enable the Bosnian and Croatian Serbs to control the rail link between Banja Luka and Knin. Defense Minister Gojko Susak said that Croatia would not wait for Bihac to fall before intervening and regretted that Zagreb had not done so sooner. He and Chief of Staff General Janko Bobetko added that Croatia had hoped NATO would use air attacks to halt the Serbs, but this had not happened. Croatia had now drawn the conclusion that it must tend to its security itself, they added. -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. UNHCR REFUSES TO SUPPORT SERBIAN SETTLEMENT IN KOSOVO. Serbian plans to use international organizations to settle Serbian refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Kosovo have failed, Rilindja reported on 26 November. Rump Yugoslav newspapers recently announced that a settlement project involving at least 100,000 Serbian refugees would be financed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. However, the UNHCR turned down these plans, arguing that the planned settlement would support Serbian plans to change the ethnic structure of the region. -- Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH GOVERNMENT GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO PRIVATIZATION. Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak on 1 December approved the composition of supervisory boards for 15 National Investment Funds, charged with overseeing the privatization of large state-owned enterprises. This decision makes it possible to register the NIFs as separate public companies, each of which will serve as a leading investor in 30-37 privatized enterprises. The public will be able to buy shares in the enterprises of their choice through investing in individual NIFs. According to Rzeczpospolita on 1 December, about 15 percent of shares will be set aside for pensioners and civil servants to compensate them for benefits they were due to receive but did not as a result of changes in economic policies. The NIFs are to be managed by 19 Polish, foreign, and joint- venture companies selected in recent years from among 33 candidates. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc. KOUKAL REELECTED MAYOR OF PRAGUE. Prague City Parliament has reelected Jan Koukal of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party as mayor of Prague. Of the 55 deputies in the city parliament, 33 voted for Koukal. Former Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier was Koukal's most formidable competitor for the post. The CDP has 23 seats in the city parliament. Koukal, who has a doctorate in theoretical physics, was first elected mayor on 13 May 1993. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. FINNISH PREMIER IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC. Esco Tapani Eho arrived in Prague on 1 December for an official visit. On 2 December, the Finnish prime minister is scheduled to meet with his Czech counterpart, Vaclav Klaus, to discuss bilateral relations and sign an agreement on preventing double taxation. The same day, Eho is to meet with President Vaclav Havel. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. CRIME IN PRAGUE. Some 76,000 criminal acts were committed in Prague during the first 11 months of 1994--3,036 fewer than during the same period of 1993, Prague police spokesmen told journalists on 1 December. A total of 47 murders or attempted murders took place during the same period, four fewer than last year. In addition, there were 966 robberies, 97 rapes, 7,438 cases of car theft, and 5,488 instances of pickpocketing. The levels of all these categories of crime declined in comparison with the first 11 months of 1993. The only category of crime to register a significant increase was breaking into cars--a total of 21,654 cases were reported, 4,177 more than during the first 11 months of 1993. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. KELTOSOVA ON SLOVAK BUDGET. Olga Keltosova, the former Slovak minister for labor and a high-ranking official in Premier-designate Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, told CTK on 1 December that her party was prepared to submit its own budget, should the parliament reject the budget proposal submitted by the outgoing government of Jozef Moravcik. Keltosova was critical of what she described as the government's efforts to discuss the budget with MDS officials after it had been approved by the government. The budget proposal has almost no chance of being approved without the support of at least some MDS deputies. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc. HUNGARIAN RAIL WORKERS TO STRIKE. The Rail Workers and Locomotive Drivers Trade Unions on 30 November announced they would stage a warning strike on 8 December and a 36-hour general strike beginning 12 December, MTI reports. The trade unions are demanding a minimum 10 percent wage increase for 1995, but the government is not willing to grant more than 6 percent. Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Karoly Lotz on 1 December warned that a strike would not solve the railway's problems but would cause serious damage to the country. Hungarian State Railways have been operating at a loss for years. -- Edith Oltay, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIA CELEBRATES NATIONAL DAY. Romania on 1 December celebrated its national day, marking the unification of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. The main ceremonies were held in Alba Iulia, southern Transylvania, and Bucharest. Speaking in Alba Iulia, Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu said Romania was recovering from its postcommunist decline and now facing the prospect of growth. In the capital, President Ion Iliescu praised the political and economic reforms of the last five years and urged his co-nationals to complete the transition to a democratic society and a market economy. Iliescu reiterated his country's "vital interest" in a speedy integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, including NATO, the Western European Union, and the European Union. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. ROMANIAN POLICE REJECT BABY SMUGGLERS' ACCUSATIONS. The Romanian General Police Inspectorate, in a communique broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 1 December, dismissed the charges of ill-treatment leveled by a British couple arrested in Romania in early July, while trying to smuggle a five-month-old baby out of the country. The statement accused Adrian and Bernadette Mooney, who were pardoned and freed from jail in November, of waging a smear campaign against Romanian police by alleging they had been psychologically harassed and subject to unhygienic jail conditions. Britain has lodged a formal request for the Romanian authorities to provide information on the case. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc. MOSCOW THROWS DOUBT ON TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM MOLDOVA. At the end of an official visit to Moscow, Moldovan Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi on 30 November told journalists that Russia will delay the entry into force of the agreement to withdraw its 14th Army from Moldova within three years. Moscow had initially assured Chisinau that the agreement, signed on 21 October by the two prime ministers, would not need the hard-line State Duma's ratification. But the Russian side has now indicated that the agreement will be submitted to the Duma after all. Lucinschi reported that Duma leaders and Russian Foreign Ministry officials objected to Moldova's recent appeals for Western monitoring of an eventual withdrawal. They proposed dual Moldovan-Russian citizenship for Moldova's "Russian speakers," dissolution of Moldova's small army, demilitarization of the country, and a federal status for Transdniester. Chisinau is concerned that the Duma may attach such conditions to the withdrawal agreement or simply delay its entry into force. Duma leaders again declined to consider ratification of the 1990 Russian-Moldovan political treaty enshrining Moldova's territorial integrity, Nezavisimaya gazeta, Interfax, and Basapress reported. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. ALBANIAN MINISTER FOR CULTURE RESIGNS. In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi, Dhimiter Anagnosti submitted his resignation, citing President Sali Berisha's refusal to admit responsibility for the defeat last month of the referendum on the new constitution, Rilindja reported on 26 November. According to the newspaper, the resignation also may be motivated by difficulties confronting the culture minister. In the past three years, more than 500 works of art have been stolen from important archaeological sites and museums in Albania. -- Fabian Schmidt, RFE/RL, Inc. CHORNOYBL VICTIMS PRESS FOR INCREASED STATE AID. AFP on 1 December reported that several hundred Chornobyl survivors demonstrated in Kiev to demand increased state aid for victims of the 1986 nuclear accident. Carrying large placards with photocopies of victims' death certificates, the demonstrators demanded that Ukrainian law-makers monitor more closely the distribution of Chornobyl funds. Yuri Andreyev, president of the Chornobyl Union Association, which organized the demonstration, said 20 percent of the 1991 state budget was earmarked for the Chornobyl Rehabilitation Program; in 1994, this figure had sunk to 4 percent. "We cannot allow Chornobyl victims to pay the price of fiscal austerity measures," he said. -- Jan Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc. BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT STOPS SALE OF MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM. Alyaksandr Lukashenka has stopped work on a contract to sell the S-300-PMU missile defense system to a US-Canadian firm, Belarusian Radio reported on 1 December. According to Lukashenka, he did not have the right to sell the system, which was developed by Russia and Belarus. He said any such sale would have to be transacted together with Russia. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. IMF DENIES IT WILL WITHHOLD CREDIT TO BELARUS. IMF representative to Belarus Willem Middlekoop has dismissed reports that the IMF has decided to withhold credits to Belarus because of backtracking on economic reform, Belarusian Radio reported on 30 November (see Daily Report, 22 November). Middlekoop said the Belarusian government had made progress in economic reform. As soon as the Belarusian government is ready, the IMF will consider releasing credits to the country and a meeting will be held with the donor countries, he added. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. REDUCTIONS IN BELARUSIAN MILITARY. A report on the state of the armed forces was presented to the Belarusian parliament on 30 November, according to Belinform-TASS. The report said there was not enough money to go ahead with the troop reductions planned for 1994. Funds were lacking for, among other things, the dismantling of military equipment and the construction of homes for discharged officers; none were available for research and development or the maintenance of equipment. The Defense Ministry requested that its budget be doubled, but the state apparently does not have sufficient resources. Defense Minister Anatol Kastenka said the armed forces must continue to be restructured in line with the country's financial constraints and that a military strategy must be developed. -- Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. ESTONIAN-BELARUSIAN RELATIONS. Estonian Foreign Ministry Deputy Chancellor Raul Malk told reporters on 1 December that his recent visit to Minsk should boost Estonian-Belarusian relations, BNS reports. Together with Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Syanko, he signed a document regulating relations between the two countries' Foreign Ministries and drew up plans for concluding interstate agreements on ethnic minorities, visa-free travel for diplomats, and most-favored-nation trade status. Malk noted that while there were practically no duties on Belarusian exports to Estonia, Estonian exports to Belarus faced a very high customs barrier, since under a Russian-Belarusian agreement concluded in April, Belarus applies to third countries the same tariffs as Russia. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH POPE. In the first official visit to the Vatican by a Lithuanian head of state, Algirdas Brazauskas on 2 December held talks with Pope John Paul II, Radio Lithuania reports. Brazauskas will also meet with Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano. The previous day, Brazauskas attended the signing of an Italian-Lithuanian agreement on investment protection and promotion as well as a protocol on cultural cooperation by Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys and Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Franco Roccherta. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN SAEIMA REJECTS EMERGENCY SESSION ON CHECHNYA. The Latvian parliament on 1 December turned down a proposal by deputies of the "For the Fatherland Freedom" faction to hold an emergency hearing on Chechnya. It also rejected the faction's call for protests against what it called "the Russian show of disrespect for the Chechen right of self-determination," Interfax reported. The Saeima, however, did ask its Foreign Affairs Commission to consider the faction's initiative and investigate the matter further. It also agreed to reconsider the issue next week. Calls for a show of sympathy for the Chechens have also been voiced by right-wing Estonian and Lithuanian politicians. -- 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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