SELEZNEV SAYS YUGOSLAVIA WANTS TO JOIN SLAVIC UNION. President Boris Yeltsin told reporters on 9 April that Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev brought back a message from his trip to Belgrade that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic asked that Yugoslavia be admitted into the Russian-Belarusian Union. President Yeltsin, according to ITAR-TASS, said that the proposal seems impractical from both a legal and political point of view, since a nationwide referendum on the issue would have to be held in Yugoslavia. Earlier, First Deputy Prime Minister Vadim Gustov also said that such an admission was unlikely since the process of unification was facing difficulties even within the CIS, Interfax reported on 31 March. Seleznev has been a persistent advocate of both the Russian-Belarusian Union and its expansion to include not only Yugoslavia but also Ukraine and Bulgaria. On 4 April, he predicted that a national referendum on the merger of Russia and Belarus would be held as early as this autumn. JAC

CRIMEAN TATARS PROTEST ALLEGED DISCRIMINATION. Some 3,000 Tatars held a rally in front of the Crimean Supreme Council building in Simferopol on 8 April to protest "discrimination" against them. The protesters demanded a representative quota in Crimea's parliament, official status for their language, and changes in the Ukrainian and Crimean Constitutions, which they view as discriminatory. They burned documents symbolizing Crimea's Constitution and a 1783 manifesto in which Catherine the Great declared Crimea to be part of Russia. Protest actions will continue until 18 May, the date of the deportation of Tatars from Crimea by the Stalin regime. Out of the 260,000 Tatars who returned to Crimea in the past decade, some 100,000 are still unable to acquire Ukrainian citizenship. JM

PACE CHAIRMAN GETS MIXED RECEPTION IN UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT. "It is simply fantastic what you have done," Ukrainian Television quoted Lord Russell-Johnston, chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), as saying at a Supreme Council session on 8 April, where he praised Ukraine's efforts to meet its obligations to the Council of Europe. But when Johnston criticized the parliament for denouncing NATO strikes in Yugoslavia without mentioning Serb repression against Kosova Albanians, left-wing deputies reacted with indignant shouts, ITAR-TASS reported. When he called the rule of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic a fascist regime, leftist deputies left the session hall in protest. JM

POLISH PARLIAMENT BACKS GOVERNMENT'S FOREIGN POLICY. Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek presented the key goals of Poland's foreign policy to the parliament on 8 April. "Poland is safe as never before in this century," Geremek said. The main goals of Poland's foreign policy include integration with the EU and full EU membership in 2002, more active participation in NATO decisionmaking, developing relations with Poland's strategic partners (U.S., Germany, France), developing a strategic partnership with Ukraine, and good-neighborly relations with Russia. All of the parliamentary caucuses approved Geremek's report. All major parliamentary caucuses, except for the Peasant Party and a small group of rightwing Catholic deputies, spoke in support of NATO's air campaign in Yugoslavia. JM