The Week Ahead: Leaders play follow-my-people in the Baltic

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The Independent Online
THE Baltic countries have become increasingly popular with Western visitors since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Where their people lead, it seems, Western leaders follow. President Bill Clinton visited the region in July, and John Major makes an official trip to Lithuania tomorrow.

The Prime Minister flies to Vilnius after attending ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. During his visit Mr Major will hold talks with his counterparts from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. He will also meet the Lithuanian President, Algirdas Brazauskas.

The treason trial in Nigeria of Chief Mashood Abiola, the presumed winner of the elections on 12 June 1993, resumes tomorrow. Chief Abiola was arrested after declaring himself president to mark the first anniversary of the election, which the ruling military junta annulled.

As the collapse of the MMM pyramid scheme in Russia grabs the headlines, discontent against such get-rich-quick schemes bubbles over in Romania today and tomorrow, when victims of these rackets are to hold nationwide protests. An estimated one-quarter of Romania's 23 million people have participated in such money-spinning 'investments'.

In Geneva tomorrow the United Nations holds a pledging conference of countries donating to humanitarian operations in and around Rwanda. UN agencies will be asking for a total of dollars 434m (pounds 285m) to deal with the Rwandan crisis. The agencies had originally asked for some dollars 274m to meet their needs until the end of the year but were forced to revise the figure upwards after more than 1 million refugees flooded the Zairean town of Goma last week.

Also tomorrow, the UN Security Council in New York is to review sanctions against Libya. Last week Mr Major renewed his call for Tripoli to hand over the two Libyans suspected of blowing up a Pan American airliner over Lockerbie, killing 170 people, for trial in Scotland or the US.

In Ankara, the State Security Court begins the trial on Wednesday of six Kurdish MPs from Turkey's parliament. Five are members of the banned Kurdish-based Democracy Party (DEP), and one is an independent who has been in prison since March.

North Korea and the US resume high-level talks in Geneva on Friday on Pyongyang's suspected nuclear-weapons programme.

The Colombian President, Cesar Gaviria, ends his term of office on Sunday, and hands over to Ernesto Samper. With some armed rebel groups still active and drug trafficking unabated, the new president will have his work cut out for him.