Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 36

Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s "long-term policy guidelines with respect to the Baltic states," made public last week (see Monitor, February 13), have heightened security concerns in the three countries, but not intimidated them. Estonia’s Foreign Ministry replied in a statement yesterday that it will continue exercising its sovereign right to seek accession to NATO, "whose values it shares." It also rejected the linkage — sought by Moscow — between an Estonian-Russian border agreement and matters related to the status of Russians in Estonia, and ruled out talks with Russia on related changes in Estonian legislation that — as the statement pointed out — has been accepted by the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

In Riga, Latvia’s Foreign Ministry yesterday described as "unacceptable" Russia’s attempts to pressure the country on matters of domestic legislation, including the citizenship law, and described Moscow’s accusations of human rights violations as "unfounded and unreasonable." The statement also observed that Moscow’s oblique offer of security guarantees in return for Baltic "neutrality" or "nonalignment" represents a throwback to the late 1930s, when the Baltic states’ choice of neutrality "was soon followed by Soviet invasion and incorporation."

In his state-of-the-nation annual message to parliament, Lithuanian president Algirdas Brazauskas emphasized that the country’ s course toward membership in NATO has no alternative and is irreversible. And parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, commenting that "Russia shows no noticeable desire for friendly relations with the Baltic states," suggested that Western countries express their views on Moscow’s Baltic policy guidelines. (BNS, February 18-19)

Belarusan Communist Apparatchik Confirmed as Prime Minister.