If there is anyone listening to whom I owe money, I'm prepared to forget it if you are. - Errol Flynn
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 237, 16 December 1994

                              RUSSIA

YELTSIN EXTENDS CHECHEN ULTIMATUM. In an address to the Chechen
people transmitted by ITAR-TASS late on 15 December, Russian
President Boris Yeltsin extended by 48 hours the deadline (due to
expire at midnight on 15 December) for all armed groups in
Chechnya to lay down their weapons, adding that he would consider
such a ceasefire " a demonstration of good will and a first step
towards the restoration of peace and legality" in Chechnya.
Yeltsin affirmed that "the best way out of this situation is to
cease fire and sit at the negotiating table without
preconditions," and that if Chechen President Dudaev personally
consents to lead the Chechen delegation to such talks he (Yeltsin)
would send "a high-level delegation from Russia." In the past,
however, Dudaev has consistently refused to negotiate with anyone
other than Yeltsin personally. Speaking at a news conference in
Grozny earlier on 15 December, Dudaev reiterated his readiness for
immediate high-level talks, but insisted that all Russian troops
must first withdraw from Chechnya. After a brief period of calm
during the morning, fighting resumed during the afternoon of 15
December as Russian tanks with air and artillery support continued
their advance on Grozny from the north; the advance was halted
when some 70 Russian tanks and armored vehicles ran into swampy
ground, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc.

SITUATION AROUND GROZNY. Late on 15 December the chief of Russia's
Federal Counterintelligence Service, Sergei Stepashin, announced
that "it is necessary to leave open a corridor for the possible
evacuation of the population from Grozny." The announcement, made
at invasion headquarters in Mozdok via ITAR-TASS, could only
strengthen Chechen resolve stemming from the memory of the 1944
deportations of the Chechen and Ingush--a memory also recently
reinforced by the 1992 ethnic cleansing of the Ingush from North
Ossetia with Russian military support. Also in Mozdok, Russian
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Nationality Affairs Nikolai
Egorov, who acts as Yeltsin's special representative for Chechnya,
told ITAR-TASS on 15 December that Yeltsin may impose a state of
emergency in Chechnya in connection with an impending operation of
"disarming the unlawful armed groups." Reflecting another
misconception underlying Moscow's decision to invade, the Russian
government's press center announced on 15 December that a special
corridor would be left open to the south of Grozny "to enable
fighting detachments from CIS and foreign countries to withdraw."
Such groups have yet to be spotted by any of the many independent
Russian and foreign observers in the area. In another communique
on the same day the government's press center belatedly
acknowledged that Russian fighter-bomber planes had been used
against Chechen positions since 13 December. The communique
complained that Chechen fighters were using hit-and-run tactics
and taking cover amid the civilian population. Official
communiques from Moscow and from invasion headquarters in Mozdok
on 14 and 15 December also accused Chechen fighters of attacking
Russian units said to perform humanitarian missions and of downing
Russian helicopters said to carry aid goods. In Moscow, Chechnya's
Higher Mufti and the chairman of the Chechen Elders' Higher
Council were received by democratic deputies in the Duma where
they told the press that guerrilla resistance would continue "in
our beautiful mountain gorges" if Grozny falls, and that "not a
single Chechen" will disarm until the signing of a peace treaty.
-- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

DIRECT RULE FROM MOSCOW PLANNED? Russian Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister for Nationality Affairs Nikolai Egorov told ITAR-TASS on
14 December that following the planned disarmament of "unlawful
forces," he would "remain in Grozny as representative of the
president of Russia for Chechnya." He added that "today Chechnya
is a criminal state-territorial formation." Egorov indicated that
he would oversee "the gradual formation of administrative bodies"
in Chechnya, prior to general elections in spring 1995. He neither
addressed the feasibility of elections in such conditions nor
mentioned a withdrawal of Russian forces. On the same day Segodnya
reported that at all levels of Russia's Ministry of Internal
Affairs, Procuracy, and Federal Counterintelligence Service,
"operative-investigative groups" were being formed for dispatch to
Chechnya. On the same day Russia's Deputy Minister of Internal
Affairs A. Kulikov told Ostankino TV that his ministry will, in
coordination "with other institutions, restore the law enforcement
system in Chechnya." Either elections "or the appointment of
territorial administrations will complete the restoration of legal
order in Chechnya," he said. On the same day the Director of the
Russian Foreign Ministry's Humanitarian Affairs Department,
Vyacheslav Bakhmin, admitted at a briefing reported by Russian
Radio that "as the federal authorities restore the constitutional
order in Chechnya, violations of human rights, including the right
to live, will occur. Such violations are absolutely unavoidable,"
he said. -- Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUMBLINGS IN THE CAUCASUS . . . Villagers in Ingushetia continued
erecting "serious obstacles" in the way of rear sections of the
Russian troop column headed for Grozny, Egorov complained to
ITAR-TASS on 15 December. Ingush president Ruslan Aushev told a
media briefing in Moscow the same day that Ingushetia is sending
humanitarian aid to Chechnya. Aushev denied that his republic is
also providing military aid but stressed that "no one can check
the participation of Ingush in the military conflict" on the side
of their close relatives, the Chechen. Aushev called for the
withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya as a prerequisite to
any political settlement, and condemned "negotiations at
gunpoint." He held both Yeltsin and "those who advised him"
personally responsible for the turn of events. In Dagestan,
villagers continued blocking the advance of the Russian troop
column into Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 December. A
pro-Russian parliamentary deputy from Dagestan told Radio Mayak on
14 December that "a growing number of young people in his republic
are acquiring weapons and preparing to come to the aid of
Chechnya." North Ossetia's Deputy Prime Minister Georgii
Kozaev--representing a republic traditionally aligned with
Moscow--complained in Pravda on 15 December that Russia's
"irresponsible and adventurist policy" was fanning anti-Russian
sentiment throughout the region, jeopardizing the Russian
Federation's integrity, and playing into the hands of Islam. Even
loyal North Ossetians objected to the use of their territory as a
staging area for the Russian military operation, he said. --
Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

. . . AND BEYOND. Crimean Tatar Majlis Vice chairman and leader of
the Kurultay Tatar group in Crimea's Supreme Soviet, Rifat
Chubarov, told Vseukrainskie vedomosti on 13 December that the
invasion of Chechnya "may lead to a protracted and bloody war in
Caucasus." Moreover, Russia would now be hard placed to protest if
Ukraine takes steps to enforce its constitution in Crimea,
Chubarov pointed out. The Majlis Vice chairman Mustafa Jamilev
told the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN on 12 December that 10
Crimean Tatar volunteers had departed for Chechnya. In a statement
on 14 December reported by Interfax, Tatarstan's president
Mintimer Shamiev condemned the use of force in Chechnya.
Tatarstan's Coordinating Council of National-Democratic
Organizations, comprising twelve Tatar organizations, demanded an
immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya and the
recognition of Chechnya as a "sovereign state." The invasion was
part of a general Russian policy against the Muslim world,
Interfax cited the statement as saying. A joint session of the
legislative and executive bodies of the Republic of Yakutia
"condemned the introduction of Russia's troops in Chechnya" and
took the position that "the crisis can not be resolved until the
troops are withdrawn," Russian Radio and Interfax reported on 14
December. Yakut President Mikhail Nikolaev, who chaired the
session, withheld judgment on the action taken by Russia's
executive authorities but suggested that presidents of the
Federation's constituent republics go to Grozny on a goodwill
mission. On the same day the head of administration of Irkutsk
oblast, Iurii Novikov, told a media briefing reported by Russian
Radio that he opposed the use of force in Chechnya. -- Vladimir
Socor, RFE/RL, Inc.

KOVALEV ARRIVES IN GROZNY. On its third attempt, the human rights
delegation led by Russia's ombudsman, Sergei Kovalev, arrived in
Grozny on 15 December. Kovalev said that he planned to try to
convince Dudaev to compromise with Russian authorities and scored
an early success when soon after arriving Dudaev agreed to talk to
the delegation without any preconditions. Kovalev was earlier
prevented from going to Chechnya aboard the personal aircraft of
Petr Deinekin, the commander of the Russian Air Force. Kovalev's
team, along with another group of State Duma deputies led by
General Nikolai Stolyarov, then made another attempt to reach
Grozny via Mozdok in North Ossetia, but the plane was sent back.
The human rights delegation finally made it on an Aeroflot flight
to Mineralnye Vody in the neighboring Stavropol region and then to
Grozny with the help of Ingush authorities. The delegation
includes three Duma deputies--Mikhail Molostvov of Russia's
Choice, Valerii Borshchov of Yabloko, and Leonid Petrovsky of the
Communist Party--as well as Oleg Orlov, the expert of the
anti-Stalinist "Memorial" society. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL,
Inc.

GORE NEGOTIATES WITH CHERNOMYRDIN AND SHUMEIKO. US Vice President
Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin opened in
Moscow the fourth session of the Russian-American Commission for
Economic and Technological Cooperation, agencies reported on 15
January. Gore and Chernomyrdin, who are co-chairmen of the
commission, have discussed joint projects in space, energy and
military conversion. The US delegation has proposed mobilizing up
to 50 billion dollars for investment into the plagued Russian
energy sector on the condition that Russia passes legislation
safeguarding the interests of foreign investors in Russia's oil
industry. Currently, the lack of such legislation is hampering any
progress. Another American proposal was to review Russia's
negative attitude to the participation of Chevron corporation in
exploitation of the Tengis oil fields, which are presently under
the management of a Russian-Kazakh-Omani consortium. Al Gore also
met with the speaker of the Federation Council Vladimir Shumeiko,
who briefed him on the situation in Chechnya, ITAR-TASS reported.
-- Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc.

DUMA OVERVIEW. Russian TV newscasts reported that the 14 December
session of the State Duma started with an argument between the
speaker and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who suggested sending a
delegation to President Boris Yeltsin's hospital to see whether
Yeltsin is still alive and if he is really in charge of the
country or has been put under house arrest by his entourage.
Zhirinovsky's suggestion was rejected, although 176 deputies voted
for the motion. An overwhelming majority of the house voted in
favor of a suggestion to amend the constitution in order to
reinstate parliamentary control over the executive branch of
government. The amendment was proposed by Sergei Yushenkov and
other Russia's Choice deputies, who had campaigned for abolishing
such control during Yeltsin's conflict with the former Russian
parliament in 1992-93. Another member of that radical faction,
Ella Panfilova, suggested introduction of a law aimed at
preventing the currently widespread practice of government
officials withholding information from the legislature or
otherwise misinforming its deputies. Panfilova's bill would make
this a criminal offense punishable by up to five years'
imprisonment. Finally, the Duma voted almost unanimously to
reinstate parliamentary broadcasting on both channels of Russian
television. A program titled "Parliamentary Hours" did exist on
Russian TV but it was banned by decree when Yeltsin dissolved the
old parliament on 21 September 1993. Once again, this suggestion
was put forward by the same people who served in Yeltsin's
administration and did everything to discredit and ultimately ban
parliamentary broadcasting. -- Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc.

                               CIS

RUSSIA TO LEASE NAVAL BASES IN CRIMEA. Vice Admiral Vladimir
Bezkorovainy told journalists in Kiev on 14 December that Ukraine
would provide Russia with a naval base in Crimea "due to
historical circumstances." The admiral's comments on the ongoing
Ukrainian-Russian experts-level talks on the Black Sea Fleet were
reported by Interfax. Bezkorovainy said that Russia was asking for
a 99-year lease for naval bases in the Sevastopol area while
Ukraine believed that a term of five to seven years was more
appropriate. He also rejected the deployment of Russian
shore-based forces in Ukraine: "Russia must base its troops on its
own territory." -- Doug Clarke, RFE/RL, Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

LITTLE ENTHUSIASM FOR KARADZIC'S "PEACE OFFER." International
media report on 15 and 16 December that diplomats say they wish
former US President Jimmy Carter well if he accepts Bosnian Serb
leader Radovan Karadzic's mediation request and will congratulate
him if he succeeds. But skepticism reportedly prevails. Carter met
on 15 December with US Secretary of State Warren Christopher, but
US sources reaffirmed that Carter would go to Bosnia only in a
private capacity. Critics of the mission charged that Karadzic had
simply offered to renew promises he had already broken and was
trying to legitimize his international political standing. Critics
especially stressed that the Bosnian Serb leader's main goal was
to sidestep the Contact Group's peace plan and get something
considerably better. This was the view of Bosnian Vice President
Ejup Ganic and Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic, who added that
"Karadzic should not be allowed to get away with this." Sarajevo
Radio quoted President Alija Izetbegovic as noting that the Carter
mission "could deprive the Contact Group plan of credibility." --
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

ISLAMIC NATIONS PLEDGE HELP FOR BOSNIA. Meeting in Casablanca, the
summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference called for
lifting the arms embargo against the Bosnian government and
offered to provide troops for UNPROFOR if other nations withdraw
theirs. The OIC's own "contact group" will meet with that of the
major powers in Geneva soon, The Wall Street Journal said on 15
September. Reuters adds that the OIC condemned "all direct or
indirect assistance to the Serb aggressors and [resolved] to
reconsider present economic relations between our countries and
those which support the Serb position." It is not clear what this
might mean in practice. Izetbegovic said he was "satisfied with
the resolutions of the summit but the problem that remains is
implementation." -- Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SUPPORTS BORBA. The independent Belgrade daily
Borba on 16 December reports that the European parliament has
passed a resolution supporting the efforts of rump Yugoslavia's
independent media--and particularly Borba itself. The resolution
recognizes that Borba remains a vital source of independent
journalism. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, in his periodic
efforts to silence opposition to his regime, has singled out Borba
for harassment campaigns. On 13 November, federal authorities
secured a court ruling stating that since Borba was allegedly
improperly incorporated, it did not exist legally. -- Stan
Markotich, RFE/RL, Inc.

WALESA TO VETO BILL ON PUBLIC SECTOR WAGES. Gazeta Wyborcza on 16
December reports that President Lech Walesa will veto a bill on
wages in the public sector. The bill, which is crucial for the
1995 budget, was proposed by the government and approved in the
Sejm. Walesa has already vetoed a tax bill. When his veto was
overturned in the Sejm, the president appealed to the
Constitutional Tribunal to determine whether the legislation is in
line with the constitution. The tribunal is make a ruling on 29
December. In an effort to circumvent the president's objections,
the government has incorporated its tax and wage measures in the
draft budget. The ongoing conflicts between the president and the
government coalition are regarded as political skirmishes prior to
the presidential elections in 1995. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL,
Inc.

CONFLICT OVER POLISH TELEVISION. Wieslaw Walendziak, head of
Polish Television, said at a press conference on 15 December that
the political establishment has consistently tried to impose
control over broadcasting. Walendziak complained that various
politicians want to turn television into an instrument of
"indoctrination." He noted that Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak has
tried to prevent television from reporting on his conversations
with Russian leaders. Polish Television is state-run but was
granted an autonomous status within the administration. Walendziak
said the government has imposed an exceedingly high profit tax on
the television station (about 70 percent) and rigorously controls
its finances, presumably to force it to comply with the
establishment's wishes. -- Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc.

RUSSIAN ARMY TO CELEBRATE 17TH CENTURY VICTORY OVER POLAND.
According to Russian press reports cited by Gazeta Wyborcza on 16
December, the Russian Army has chosen 7 November to celebrate the
Russian victory in 1621 over "Polish invaders." Commemorating this
day will help "revive patriotic feelings in Russia through the
remembrance of the glorious achievements of [Russian] army and
navy," the Polish newspaper reported. Until recently, the day was
marked as the anniversary of the October Revolution. -- Jan de
Weydenthal, RFE/RL, Inc.

MIGRATION IN CZECH REPUBLIC. The Czech parliament on 15 December
approved a government report on migration that says 213 million
people crossed the borders between the Czech Republic and its
neighbors in 1993. Some 70 percent were foreigners. A total of
780,000 foreigners a day were staying in the Czech Republic in
1993, while in the first six months of 1994, the number grew to
853,000. At the end of 1993, 77,668 foreigners had either
long-term or permanent residency in the country. Only 5,000 people
have asked for refugee status in the Czech Republic since 1990. In
the first six months of 1994, 14,350 illegal immigrants from more
than 70 countries were detained by Czech police. Almost 90 percent
of the illegal immigrants came from Eastern Europe, in particular
the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania. -- Jiri Pehe,
RFE/RL, Inc.

PERSONNEL CHANGES IN SLOVAKIA. Vladimir Meciar's government on 15
December replaced 23 high-ranking officials, including all state
secretaries (the Slovak equivalent of deputy ministers), the
Slovak official news agency TASR reports. The director-general of
TASR, Ivan Melichercik, was replaced by Dusan Kleiman, who had
headed the agency under Meciar's previous government. The Slovak
parliament voted the same day to dismiss the chairman and five
members of the Board for Radio and Television. The board
supervises Slovak television and radio broadcasting. As a result
of the dismissals, supporters of Meciar's ruling coalition now
have five seats in the board and the opposition two. Two seats
remain vacant. -- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

CARNOGURSKY ON RECONCILIATION. In response to Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar's plea on 14 December for reconciliation among
Slovakia's coalition and opposition parties, Jan Carnogursky,
chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement, told journalists in
Bratislava on 15 December that his party will "consider
reconciliation on a case-by-case basis." Carnogursky said his
party disapproves of the Meciar's government decision to postpone
the second wave of voucher privatization and is opposed to the
election of Stefan Balejnik, a secret police agent under the
communist regime, as chairman of the Supreme Auditing Office.
Carnogursky did not rule out supporting "reasonable" steps taken
by the new government, such as a well-designed provisional budget.
-- Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

MECIAR IS SLOVAKIA'S MOST TRUSTED POLITICIAN. An opinion poll
released by the polling firm Focus on 15 December indicates that
Vladimir Meciar is the most trusted Slovak politician, with 26
percent of the poll's 1,370 respondents saying they have
confidence in him. Former Prime Minister Jozef Moravcik placed
second (with 18 percent), followed by President Michal Kovac (17
percent). More than 16 percent of the respondents thought that
Meciar has the greatest expertise among Slovak politicians. Former
Deputy Prime Minister Brigita Schmoegnerova placed second,
followed by former Transportation Minister Mikulas Dzurinda. --
Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES PROTEST RAIL LINE CUTS. In a joint
statement issued on 15 December, Hungary's four opposition parties
protested the government's decision to reduce by half over the
next four years the country's 7,800-kilometer rail network in
order to save 6.4 billion forint, MTI reported. The opposition
parties said the cuts would have adverse effects on the
development of small localities and on the environment. They
called for the creation of a special committee to review all
problems facing the railroads. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

SEMINAR ON HUNGARIAN FOREIGN POLICY. While the first years of
Jozsef Antall's government were marked by a political consensus in
foreign policy, there have been repeated domestic political
debates over foreign policy-making since before the 1994
elections, former State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Janos
Martonyi told a 15 December seminar on foreign policy. According
to Martonyi, this development is fraught with potential dangers.
He called for the preservation of the consensus for the next four
to five years, which, he said, were very crucial for Hungary. --
Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN INFLATION RATE. Hungary's consumer price index rose by
1.9 percent in November compared with the previous month and by 21
percent compared with November 1993, the Central Statistical
Office told MTI on 16 December. In November, an urban family of
two adults and two children needed a minimum of 57,300 forint a
month to make ends meet--1,000 forint more than a month earlier.
-- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

HUNGARIAN AND ROMANIAN INTELLECTUALS MEET. The Presidium of the
Association of Hungarian and Romanian Intellectuals, set up in
June in Debrecen to develop good-neighborly relations between the
two countries, met on 14 and 15 December at the town's medical
university, MTI announced. Some 40 physicians from Hungary and
five large Transylvanian cities discussed ways to enhance
bilateral cooperation in the fields of science, education, and the
arts. -- Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc.

MORE STRIKES IN ROMANIA. Despite the agreement reached by the
government and protesting workers in Resita on 14 December,
several hundred people from the machine-tool factory there
continued their protest on 15 December. They demanded more
concessions from the administration, including an average net wage
of 300,000 lei. A management representative was quoted by Radio
Bucharest as saying the crisis-hit plant could not meet such
demands. In the meantime, labor unrest has spread to other sectors
and regions in Romania. Oil workers in Buzau, Braila, and Bacau
counties staged warning strikes on 15 December and threatened to
launch a general strike if their demands for improved work
contracts were not met. They were joined by research workers from
a Campina-based oil research institute. The same day, railroad
workers organized a protest meeting in Bucharest for better pay
and safety measures. In a related development, the opposition
Democratic Party announced that despite the Resita agreement, it
would continue to push for the no-confidence vote against Nicolae
Vacaroiu's government proposed earlier this week. The motion will
be discussed at a joint meeting of the parliament's two chambers
on 23 December. -- Dan Ionescu, RFE/RL, Inc.

BULGARIAN UPDATE. As Bulgaria readies for the 18 December
parliamentary elections, the ex-communists have reiterated their
theme that they have shed their past and are a forward-looking,
socially oriented party. Their main rivals, the Union of
Democratic Forces, emphasized they were more deserving of popular
trust and would fight inflation. Meanwhile, Reuters quoted interim
Prime Minister Reneta Indzhova on another key theme in Bulgarian
politics--namely, crime. She told a news conference that there is
widespread "mutual support between mafia and state structures" and
that her government had not succeeded in breaking this link. --
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc.

ALBANIAN FOREIGN TRADE DEFICIT. The lifting of the Greek veto on
European Union aid to Albania is expected to have a positive
effect on the country's balance of payments, Gazeta Shqiptare
reports. With the veto no longer in place, Albania will be poised
to receive $18.5 million as the first installment of a $43 million
aid package to help the country offset its large foreign trade
deficit, which stood at $480 million at the end of 1993. -- Louis
Zanga, RFE/RL, Inc.

US TO PAY FOR HOUSING FOR ROCKET TROOPS IN UKRAINE. In a news
release on 14 December, the Pentagon revealed that a
ground-breaking ceremony took place that day for an apartment
complex in Ukraine to house former Strategic Rocket Forces. A
joint venture involving two Ukrainian and two American companies
will build four apartment buildings with a total of 135 units at a
housing development on the outskirts of Khmelnitsky--some 275
kilometers southwest of Kiev. The $16 million project is being
funded by the US government under the Cooperative Threat Reduction
or Nunn-Lugar program. It is expected to be completed within one
year. Khmelnitsky is the site of the 19th Missile Division, which
once possessed 90 SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missiles as
well as a maintenance facility for these weapons. -- Doug Clarke,
RFE/RL, Inc.

FOOD RATIONING INTRODUCED IN PARTS OF BELARUS. Residents of
Mogilyov and Vitebsk, in eastern Belarus, have been issued with
ration cards for staple foods, Reuters reported on 15 December.
They will be entitled to purchase 400 grams (14 ounces) of cheese
and 200 grams (7 ounces) of butter a month. Severe shortages of
these and other products have been the order of the day in Belarus
since price increases were rolled back last month. Citizens of
neighboring countries have been pouring into Belarus to buy up
staples, while Belarusians have been taking large quantities of
food to sell in Russia and Lithuania, where bread and meat are
three times as expensive. Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Chigir
said in Minsk earlier this week that the rationing will end only
when prices have been freed. The IMF has told Belarus that freeing
prices is a key element in introducing a market economy. -- Jan
Cleave, RFE/RL, Inc.

EU OPENS PRE-ACCESSION TALKS WITH BALTIC STATES. In Brussels on 15
December, the European Union formally opened negotiations with
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on the so-called Europe Agreements
or associate membership, RFE/RL's Lithuanian Service reports.
Trade Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan said no one could have
imagined in 1991 that the three states would have the opportunity
to become EU members. He noted that the Baltic States will be
treated the same way as the other six associate members when the
negotiations are completed. Estonian Foreign Minister Juri Luik
told the meeting that his parliament ratified the free-trade
agreement with the EU earlier that day. Lithuanian ambassador to
the EU Adolfas Venckus said the next round of talks with the EU is
scheduled for 18 January. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

LITHUANIAN, ESTONIAN 1995 BUDGETS PASSED. By a vote of 56 to 41
with 10 abstentions, the Seimas on 15 December passed Lithuania's
1995 national budget, BNS reports. The budget foresees
expenditures totaling 3.818 billion litai ($954.5 million) and
revenues 3.399 billion litai. The 419 million litai deficit will
be about 1.9% of gross domestic product. It is expected that 36.8%
of the expenditures will come from value-added tax (VAT), 23.7%
from individual income tax, and 13.9% from excise taxes. The
Estonian parliament the previous day passed a balanced budget of
8.793 billion kroons ($700 million) by a vote of 67 to four with
two abstentions. It foresees 49% of its revenues coming from VAT,
20.7% from individual income tax, and 13.3% from corporate income
tax. -- Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL, Inc.

SWEDEN, ESTONIA DECIDE NOT TO RAISE FERRY. Swedish Prime Minister
Ingvar Carlsson on 15 December told the parliament that the
government has decided not to salvage the ferry "Estonia," which
sank off the Finnish coast on 28 September, Western agencies
report. No efforts will be made to raise the more than 800 bodies
not yet recovered and the ship will be sealed to prevent
plundering. Following consultations with Sweden, the Estonian
government decided the same day that no salvage would be attempted
and that the site of the wreck should be declared a restricted
zone and considered a graveyard. -- Saulius Girnius, 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
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Copyright 1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved.


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