INTRODUCTION: Poland's last major strike, - that by private farmers - ended on Friday (20 February) after agreement between the Government and private farmers in the southern city of Ustrzyki Dolne.
SV PAN (MONO) Farmers agreement being signed
SV (MONO) Agreement meeting
SV (MUTE) Russian official, PULL BACK TO GV Russian and Polish officials signing agreement
SV (MUTE) Polish official signing
SV (MUTE) Russian official signing
GV (MUTE) Officials signing TO CU Polish official
SV (MUTE) Officials looking on
GV (MUTE) Agreements being exchanged
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Poland's last major strike, - that by private farmers - ended on Friday (20 February) after agreement between the Government and private farmers in the southern city of Ustrzyki Dolne. The agreement followed a similar one on Thursday (19 February) at the nearby city of Rzeszow. Meanwhile Poland has signed an agreement with the Soviet Union deferring payment on the country's 1.7 billion-US dollar debt to Moscow.
SYNOPSIS: The new government of Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski finally has brought a spell of industrial peace to Poland. A second agreement in two days ended the farmer's campaign, giving the country a chance to concentrate on the pressing economic problems it faces, including a massive foreign debt of more than 25 billion dollars.
The peace agreement was signed in the Southern town of Ustrzyki Dolne after talks between farmers and government. Heading the negotiations on one side was the leader of Solidarity, Lech Walesa. Across the table was the Deputy Agriculture minister Andrzej Kacala. The agreement, like the one on Thursday in Rzeszow, enshrined the principle of private farming in the Polish economy. It pledged equal treatment for independent peasant farmers and state farmers. Another clause provided for more church building, and was said to pave the way for the re-introduction of religious education in schools. This has long been a popular demand among Poland's rural population.
In Moscow, Poland's new Government was securing its future in a different way. The problem is the country's foreign debt -- which no. stands at more than 25 billion dollars. Ten billion dollars is needed for repayments this year alone.
Nearly 1.7 billion is owed to Moscow, and at an agreement on Friday (20 February), these were deferred until 1985. Poland now clearly hopes this will set an example to her Western creditors, who are meeting next week to discuss Poland's predicament.