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Agreements Signed on U.S. Financial Support for Dismantling Skrunda Radar Station

Riga DIENA 13 Aug 94 p 1
by Juris Tihonovs

[Excerpt] Riga, 12 Aug -- [passage omitted] Commenting on the agreements concluded to dismantle part of the Skrunda radar station, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Birkavs said that they represent one phase of the work connected with the Russian troop withdrawal. In his opinion, this marks the very beginning of the process of removing the consequences of the Russian Army's presence in Latvia. He also expressed his satisfaction with the recent visit by U.S. President Bill Clinton, which promoted the conclusion of the agreements and helped to increase the sum allotted toward this goal. Birkavs expressed the hope that in the next 18 months of intensive Latvian-U.S. cooperation, the Skrunda radar station would be dismantled. The Prime Minister also announced that on 30 August Latvia will also receive part of the financial support for dismantling the radar station that was promised by Sweden.

U.S. Ambassador in Latvia I. Silins stated that his country is eager to dismantle the Skrunda radar station as soon as possible. The ambassador said that the United States is already planning to next week begin publishing announcements inviting entrepreneurs to present proposals for carrying out the project. To this, Birkavs added that Latvian companies will be also permitted to participate in the project. According to him, Latvian workers can be hired for the actual dismantling jobs. He also promised to invite Latvian musicians, after the dismantling is complete, to organize a rock concert on the spot where the former radar station stood. The prime minister expressed his concern that the $7 million [pledged by the United States] would may prove insufficient. The ambassador replied that to him it seemed to be a large enough sum and ought to serve the purpose.