Ageing

Bernard & Toby Rosen RosenBT at ix.netcom.com
Wed Dec 14 19:34:40 EST 1994


In <01HK0K4Q42QC8ZZWDQ at AdminA.RFERL.Org> 
rferl-daily-report-request at admina.rferl.org writes: 

>
>The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT--a digest of the latest developments in
>Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia, and Central and
>Eastern Europe--is published Monday through Friday (except
>German holidays) by the RFE/RL Research Institute, a division of
>Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.
>                  Copyright 1994 RFE/RL, Inc.
>
>
>---------------------------------------------------------------
>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.)
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