WORLD : Baltic Autonomy Plan Approved

From Times Wire Services

Legislators today gave final approval to a plan putting the small Baltic republics on the road to economic autonomy from Moscow next year and possibly issuing their own currencies.

Deputies from the tiny republic of Estonia stood and cheered after the Soviet Parliament approved the measure on a vote of 296 to 67. Thirty-seven deputies abstained.

A final vote on the bill had been delayed Friday after a sharp debate on whether the move amounted to an effort to tear apart the Soviet system.

President Mikhail S. Gorbachev supported the bill as a step toward economic reform.

Tass press agency said the law goes into effect Jan. 1 and gives Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia "the right to engage in independent economic activity and envisages equal participation in union activity."

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