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THE WEEK AHEAD

BUDAPEST : Swan Song for a Pact

February 19, 1991

Eager to end allegiance to the Kremlin as a hard-line resurgence gathers strength in the Soviet Union, East European leaders convene in the Hungarian capital Monday to formally dissolve the Warsaw Pact alliance.

The 35-year-old bloc has been effectively dead since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989. No joint planning sessions have been held for more than a year.

Although there is believed to be little chance of Moscow reasserting control over its former allies, the five states still party to the defunct alliance--Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria--have been unnerved by the Soviet crackdown in the Baltics and are anxious to cut military ties with the power that once bound them.

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