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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 8, 1999


8 July 1999
DAILY REVIEW FROM TATARSTAN
TATARSTAN PRESIDENT ON RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS IN KOSOVA.
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev said Russia's peacekeepers in Kosova will be fulfilling a "decorative function" since they will be "politically represented but will not have the right to vote." He added that "such decorations" could end up costing the country too much. Shaimiev's comments came after Tatarstan's parliament on 5 July expressed its disagreement with the decision to send Russian peacekeeping forces to the region. The Tatarstan president said he was worried about the lives of Russian soldiers and officers in Kosova. He stressed that "even the NATO soldiers, who came as liberators of Kosova's Albanians, had to overcome violent opposition during the disarmament process."

RUSSIAN OFFICIAL COMMENTS ON TATARSTAN'S PARLIAMENTARY PROTEST.
Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Putin on 6 July described the Tatarstan parliament's protest against the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Kosova as a "needless bother," Interfax reported. Tatarstan's State Council on 5 July adopted a statement rejecting any participation by recruits from Tatarstan in the Russian peacekeeping force in Kosova. Putin said the decision to send Russian peacekeepers to Yugoslavia "was well balanced". He emphasized that Russia will be providing humanitarian support to both sides in the conflict. The same day, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov noted that the decision to send Russian peacekeepers to Kosova was passed by the Federation Council, which represents all of Russia's regions.

DIRECT TIES ESTABLISHED WITH ARKHANGELSK REGION.
The head of the Arkhangelsk regional administration, Anatolii Efremov, met with Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev on 6 July to discuss bilateral cooperation. They discussed the delivery of fish products and wood from Arkhangelsk to Tatarstan and the maintenance of oil deliveries from Tatarstan to Arkhangelsk. They also reportedly agreed that Tatarstan will construct a gas pipeline in Arkhangelsk in exchange for machinery and raw material from the region. The same day, Efremov and Tatarstan Prime Minister Minnikhanov signed an agreement on economic, scientific, and cultural cooperation between the Tatarstan Republic and the Arkhangelsk region. Efremov also provided Shaimiev with information on the 6,500 Tatars living in his region.

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