INTRODUCTION: Threats of a four-hour national strike to take place next Friday (27 March) have been made by leaders of the Polish trade union Solidarity but they have left open the possibility of last-minute peace talks following disagreement between moderates and militants in the union.
EAST GERMANY: GV EXTERIOR Flags of Warsaw Pact countries.
SV Senior officers greet each other.
GV PAN Soldiers take sights for firing practice.
GV Rocket launcher.
SV General in trench, soldier at field telephone.
GV PAN FROM Officers in stand TO tank manoeuvres.
GV Helicopters fly over tanks.
POLAND: GV Helicopters fly over trees, SV troops leave helicopter. (MUTE)
SV Patrol runs through wood and crosses stream. (2 SHOTS) 64 19.5
SV Armoured car crosses river pontoon bridge.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Threats of a four-hour national strike to take place next Friday (27 March) have been made by leaders of the Polish trade union Solidarity but they have left open the possibility of last-minute peace talks following disagreement between moderates and militants in the union. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa warned his colleague that an immediate general strike would close off the last hope of reaching a settlement with the authorities. He declined to attend a meeting of the compromise proposal which hinged on the resumption of talks with the government on Wednesday (25 March).
SYNOPSIS: Polish Communist Party leaders also have warned that in the country's present situation, strikers could lead to catastrophe. Their warning came as Warsaw Pact troops continued manoeuvres in East Germany and Poland. One report said the military exercises were to have ended last Sunday but Western defence sources said there was no evidence to suggest that they had been prolonged because of Solidarity. Units of Polish, Soviet, Czechoslovak and East German armed forces have been taking part and the manoeuvres were expected to end late this week. All aspects of military training were involved.
The exercises so far have involved a beach landing by troops from the Soviet Union, East Germany and Poland on Poland's north-west coast, followed by an inland exercise as part of the alliance's "Soyuz 81" joint command operation. Mock battles involving tanks, missiles and motorised infantry have been waged by Soviet and Polish troops.
Stormy debates over the past two days within Solidarity's National Consultative Commission have led to union moderates suggesting that military intervention was a possibility during the manoeuvres. Solidarity leaders, however, discounted the suggestion but did not rule out the chance that Polish authorities themselves might order drastic action. The Commission voted to set up a 10-man crisis command and ordered the union's main branches to occupy big factories. They warned that a state of emergency would trigger an instant general strike. A series of demands have been drawn up to present to the Polish government at Wednesday's talks.