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Tatar-Bashkir Report: April 12, 1999

12 April 1999
President Shaimiev Calls For Russian Diplomacy In Yugoslav Crisis
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said in an interview with Interfax on 7 April that it was important that a political settlement of the conflict in Yugoslavia be arranged. He said he disagreed with the idea of supplying Russian arms to Yugoslavia because this would involve Russian in the war as well. Shaimiev said Russia "went too far" in supporting the policies of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, which were aimed on ethnically cleansing the country. "Nevertheless, Milosevic needs diplomatic assistance from Moscow and its (Moscow's) word is important, it must sound substantial," Shaimiev stressed. "Yugoslavia doesn't have and never will have forces to resist NATO, that's why the political negotiations are the only way of stopping the conflict." The president spoke of providing humanitarian aid to all Yugoslav refugees irrespective of their nationality or religion. Referring to the volunteer enlistment for duty in Yugosavia, initiated by some extreme movements both in Tatarstan and Russia, Shaimiev said he considered it "immoral" and "unacceptable" to send volunteers from "such a multinational state as Russia" to join the conflict.

Bashkir President Calls For Toughened Statehood
Bashkortostan's president, Murtaza Rakhimov, made his first address to the newly elected State Assembly on 10 April. At a joint seating of the House of Representatives (lower house) and the Legislative House (upper house), Rakhimov defined the main directions of Bashkortostan's policy, stating that Bashkortostan would "strengthen" its statehood, "not because of someone's ambitions" but in order to preserve the status of republics in the Russian Federation. He stressed that the "economic instability and financial crisis must not be a factor pushing Russia to the deadlocked along the path of unitarism and centralization." During the session, the new chairman of the State Assembly, Konstantin Tolkachev, was appointed Bashkortostan's representative to Russia's Federation Council. He will replace former State Assembly speaker Mikhail Zaytsev.

Tatarstan's Government Ready To Help Students
A cooperation agreement between Tatarstan's government, the Council of Rectors, and the Students League was signed on 9 April in Kazan, Tatarinform agency reported. The agreement will reportedly assist the implementation of social programs for students. The president of the Students League, Arif Mejvedilov, said during the signing ceremony that he hoped for "constructive dialogue" when solving the day-to-day problems of students. On behalf of Tatarstan's government, Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov expressed his readiness to support the students and cooperate "for the benefit of the republic"

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi