KULIKOV ON WAR IN CHECHNYA.
Fierce fighting continued on 2 February in
southeastern districts of Grozny and in the town of Argun, eight miles to the
east, Western agencies reported. Speaking at a press conference in Moscow,
Col.-Gen. Anatolii Kulikov, commander of the Interior Ministry troops who have
assumed responsibility for the Chechen campaign, stated that although Russian
control has been reasserted over much of Chechnya, "the turning point has not
yet been reached." He predicted a protracted guerrilla war. In a statement
issued in Znamenskoye, 80 miles northwest of Grozny, and quoted by AFP, the
Chechen "government of national revival" stated it would take power in Grozny
before the end of February. * Liz Fuller
COUNCIL OF EUROPE VOTES TO DELAY CONSIDERATION OF RUSSIA'S CANDIDACY.
The Council of Europe voted on 2 February to delay consideration of
Russia's candidacy for membership, according to a CE press spokesman. The
conduct of the Chechen campaign has raised concerns about whether Russia is
adhering to CE principles, which include respect for democracy and human
rights. * Michael Mihalka
OIC NOT TO CONDEMN RUSSIA OVER CHECHNYA?
The Organization of the Islamic
Conference chairman has instructed member states to refrain from any comment on
Russia's policy in Chechnya and argues that Russia should be given one or two
months to resolve the conflict by force, according to a Russian government
press service statement, summarized by Interfax on 2 February. The statement
also claimed Morocco had accused Dudaev of using Islamic slogans to further his
personal goals. * Liz Fuller
KOZYREV DENIES RELIGIOUS FACTOR IN WARS.
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev denied that religion plays a role in the Bosnian and Chechen conflicts,
Interfax reported on 2 February. He categorically dismissed attempts by
"individual politicians" to characterize political conflicts in these and other
regions as religious. Kozyrev made his statement at a meeting with the head of
the Central European Division of the Muslim Spiritual Department, Ravil
Gainutdin, and the Moroccan ambassador in Moscow. "Extremists, bandits, and
militarists do not have a nationality or religion," he said. "The Chechen
tragedy must not turn into a confessional war." * Robert Orttung
AGENCY DISCRIMINATES AGAINST CHECHEN REFUGEES.
The Federal Immigration
Service sent out a telegram to all local services in Russia with instructions
not to register any citizen of Chechen nationality as a refugee. Moscow
News published the text of a telegram which was sent out on 27 December
1994. The chair of the Committee for Aid to Refugees Svetlana Gannushkina said
"this discriminatory measure deprives Chechen refugees of the right to official
attention and aid," Russian TV reported on 2 February. She said the policy is
still in effect, and only ethnic Russians from Chechnya are being registered. *
RUSSIA TO SEND FARM MACHINERY TO CHECHNYA BY SPRING.
Russia is to supply
1,077 tractors, 1,575 plows, cultivators, and other farm implements to Chechnya
this spring, Deputy Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Efremov told Interfax on 2
February. In addition, the ministry plans to send 16.5 billion rubles ($4
million) worth of spare farm machinery parts and 23.9 billion rubles ($5.9
million) worth of fuel and lubricants to the republic. Efremov said in order to
"guarantee the farming season's success," his ministry had worked out a
time-table for the delivery of 10,900 tons of seeds and 15,200 tons of
fertilizer to the agricultural sector. Despite Efremov's announcement, it is
unclear whether Chechnya's 1995 agricultural undertaking will be successful
given the war-torn environment. * Thomas Sigel
CHOLERA OUTBREAK IN CHECHNYA HIGHLY LIKELY.
The likelihood of an
outbreak of infectious diseases, in particular cholera, in Chechnya this spring
is high, a government coordinating committee chaired by First Deputy Prime
Minister Oleg Soskovets said in Moscow on 2 February. According to Interfax,
there is a danger of diseases spreading to neighboring regions, and the health
authorities in those areas have been placed on a higher state of alert. The
State Sanitation Monitoring Committee and the Health Ministry are to prepare a
report on the epidemiological situation in Chechnya by mid-February. *
DUMA DEPUTY MURDERED.
The body of State Duma Deputy and businessman
Sergei Skorochkin was found in Moscow Oblast on 2 February, ITAR-TASS reported.
Skorochkin, who was abducted on 1 February, had been shot. He was a member of
the ultranationalist Libera Democratic Party (LDP) faction in the Duma.
Skorochkin made headlines last year when he killed a man who had allegedly shot
at him, as well as a woman who got in the line of fire. Charges were dropped on
the grounds that he had acted in self-defense.
The LDP claimed
Skorochkin was murdered in revenge for remarks made the same day by LDP leader
Vladimir Zhirinovsky at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. In fact,
Zhirinovsky's controversial speech attacking Human Rights Commissioner Sergei
Kovalev was made on 30 January, not 1 February, when Skorochkin was reportedly
abducted. Two Duma deputies were murdered last year: former banker Andrei
Aidzerdis and Communist Valentin Martemyanov. * Penny Morvant
PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS TO PARLIAMENT SAID TO BE STRONGLY DEMOCRATIC, MAY
INCLUDE PERSONNEL CHANGES.
Yeltsin's address to parliament next week will
send a strong signal that he will continue a policy of political and economic
reform, Izvestiya reported on 2 February. Among the president's main
themes will be a reform of the army, his intention to hold elections as
scheduled, and the continuation of privatization. To reinforce this message,
the president has canceled plans his aides had discussed earlier to meet with
Zhirinovsky. However, the newspaper speculates Yeltsin will need to take
concrete action to convince domestic and foreign audiences of his seriousness.
Kremlin sources say Security Council Chairman Oleg Lobov is looking at possible
personnel changes. Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Egorov was the first casualty,
although he is officially listed as sick. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev,
Federal Counterintelligence Service Head Sergei Stepashin, and "two deputy
prime ministers" may be next. The sources were especially critical of Grachev
for convincing the president that a quick victory was possible in Grozny and
disorienting the army by not preparing it properly. Had the operation been
postponed for two or three months, the military would have had a better feel
for the situation in Chechnya and a "professionally prepared plan" to impose
order, the sources suggested. * Robert Orttung
YELTSIN NAMES NEW CANDIDATES FOR CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
nominated two new candidates for the remaining vacancy in the Constitutional
Court, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 February. The new candidates are Marat Baglai,
first deputy director of the Academy of Labor and Social Relations, and
Anatolii Vengerov, chairman of the Judicial Chamber on Informational Disputes
under the aegis of the president. The Federation Council is scheduled to decide
when to vote on the candidates at a 3 February emergency session. The council
has already rejected a number of nominees, such as Robert Tsivilev, an aide to
Yeltsin's chief of staff, Sergei Filatov. The judges have decided the court
cannot resume its work until all 19 members are appointed, although neither the
constitution nor the law on the court provides for that. Yeltsin suspended the
court's activities in the aftermath of his bloody showdown with the former
parliament in October 1993. * Julia Wishnevsky
RADIOACTIVE WASTE IN FAR EAST TO BE PROCESSED.
A contract will soon be
drawn up to purify more than 5,000 cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste
stored in Russia's Primorsky Kraj, an official from the region told Interfax on
2 February. Yevgenii Stomatyuk said the Pacific Fleet had accumulated it over
the years. In addition, radioactive waste has yet to be removed from 35
decommissioned nuclear submarines. Japan is financing the purification project,
and Stomatyuk said bids by eight competing companies would be reviewed later
this month, with the winning bidder to begin work immediately. * Doug Clarke
AMENDED AIDS BILL EXPECTED SOON.
A new version of the controversial bill
on AIDS will soon be submitted to the Duma, Bela Denisenko, chairwoman of the
Duma's health committee, told Interfax on 2 February. The draft approved by
parliament on 11 November 1994, which required all travelers to Russia to take
HIV tests, caused an outcry among businessmen, AIDS activists, and tour
operators and was widely regarded as being unenforceable. The new draft, which
takes into account the proposals of the president, makes HIV tests compulsory
only for foreigners who come to Russia for a stay of more than three months. *
RUSSIA READY TO PAY OVERDUE INTEREST TO LONDON CLUB.
representative of Russia's Vneshekonombank has announced that the government is
ready to pay the London Club of Creditors $100 million, the first part of its
$500 million debt for overdue interest from 1992-93, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 2 February. The representative said the $100 million is in
a Russian commercial bank account which has been blocked since the beginning of
December 1994 for "technical reasons," and could not be transferred to the Bank
of England. Russia is ready to sign an agreement with the Bank of England on
servicing financial dealings with the London Club, but some procedural problems
connected with British banking laws have slowed the process, the banker said.
Meanwhile, a group of Russian lawyers are working in London to hammer out the
text of the repayment agreement. The Bank of England, acting as a mediating
bank, should be able to credit the London Club in mid-February, if all goes
according to schedule. * Thomas Sigel
FIRE AT KAZAKH NUCLEAR POWER PLANT. Leaking oil from a coolant pump caused a
fire at Kazakhstan's Mangistau nuclear power station in late December, but the
blaze was quickly extinguished, Western agencies reported on 2 February, citing
an article in the Kazakh press. A spokesman for the Nuclear Safety Department
of Kazakhstan's Atomic Energy Agency denied the accident had caused a leak of
radioactivity into the atmosphere, Interfax reported. * Liz Fuller
TAJIKISTAN ASKS FOR PEACEKEEING EXTENSION.
Senior presidential aide
Saidmurod Fattoyev said Tajikstan will seek to extend the CIS peacekeeping
mandate in its country later this month at a summit meeting of member states in
Almaty, Interfax reported on 2 February. He will also attempt to strengthen the
mandate to control the flow of drugs and weapons in the country. Akbar
Turanjonzoda, a leader of the Tajik Islamic opposition party, noted, "The
lesson for us--and probably the Chechens, too--is the IRA. They fought for 30
years and then forced the British government to compromise. We hope it will
take us a lot less time," the Financial Times reported on 3 February. *
TAJIK PRIME MINISTER IN KIEV.
Prime Minister Zhamshet Karimov, met with
his Ukrainian counterpart, Vitalii Masol, in Kiev on 2 February, Ukrainian
radio reported. The two signed an agreement on bilateral trade and economic
cooperation for 1995. Under the terms of the agreement, Tajikistan will provide
Ukraine with non-ferrous metals and products from its chemical and oil
industries. In turn, Ukraine will supply Tajikistan with ferrous metal
products, machinery, electric products, and food stuffs. * Ustina Markus
WALESA MOVES AGAINST PARLIAMENT . . .
Polish President Lech Walesa on 2
February sought the opinion of the Sejm and Senate speakers on the dissolution
of the parliament, fulfilling the single constitutional prerequisite to a
formal dissolution order. (The opinion of the two leaders is not binding on the
president.) He cited the three-month deadline for adopting the budget as
grounds for the potential dissolution. Walesa also sent the 1995 budget to the
Constitutional Tribunal for review. He argued that it is unlawful because
revenues are based on unconstitutional tax legislation imposed after the start
of the tax year. In an interview with Radio Warsaw, Walesa warned he will
dissolve parliament unless the ruling coalition removes "crooks and
incompetents" from the government and reaches agreement with him on vacant
ministerial, ambassadorial, and police posts. The president vowed not to use
force but did not rule out a situation of dual power in which the president and
parliament each attempted to impose their will while insisting that the other
was illegal. * Louisa Vinton
. . . WHILE POLISH PARTIES SAY DISSOLUTION UNLAWFUL.
and extraparliament parties unanimously condemned the potential dissolution of
the parliament as "illegal and unconstitutional." The Senate passed a
resolution on 2 February urging the parliament leadership to convene a session
of the National Assembly (which would be required to impeach Walesa). But Sejm
speaker Jozef Oleksy opted for a less confrontational course, arguing that
impeachment proceedings could not begin on the basis of a presidential
"intention." Walesa refused Oleksy's request for a meeting on 2 February.
Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek said the Church hierarchy was prepared to mediate. *
POLISH PRIME MINISTER AT RISK?
Waldemar Pawlak commented from Washington
that he will begin consultations with the president, parliament, and ruling
coalition as soon as he returns to Warsaw on 3 February, Radio Warsaw reports.
The prime minister attributed Walesa's moves to the upcoming presidential
elections, arguing that the courts should decide on the guilt or innocence of
officials suspected of crimes. Pawlak's ouster is one conceivable outcome of
the conflict. Gazeta Wyborcza reports that Pawlak's coalition partners
in the Democratic Left Alliance have concluded that "the Pawlak era is over"
and begun urging their colleagues in the Polish Peasant Party to remove their
leader. Most parliament parties seemed to think that rebuilding the government
would placate Walesa and forestall the debilitating conflict following a
presidential attempt to dissolve the parliament. * Louisa Vinton
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REVIEWS 1995 DRAFT BUDGET . . .
parliament commissions have begun reviewing the 1995 draft budget submitted by
the government, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 2 February. Deputy Finance
Minister Stanislav Bukovinsky told Interfax that the draft foresees such
"unpopular but necessary" measures as a 465% increase in wholesale prices and
an average wage increase of only 340% in an effort to cut the budget deficit to
5% of GDP. Projected revenues would reach 4.32 quadrillion Ukrainian
karbovantsi. The government plans to introduce a levy on oil and gas, lift many
tax breaks and privileges, increase property taxes by 2,000%, introduce a
liquor tax, and issue state bonds on the domestic market, Bukovinsky said. The
Ukrainian government is also prepared to cut social programs, including tax
breaks and financial support of victims of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster and
free breakfasts at schools. * Chrystyna Lapychak
. . . AND PROPOSES DEBATE ON NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IN GOVERNMENT.
reviewing the draft budget, the Presidium of the Ukrainian Parliament decided
on 2 February to debate a possible vote of no confidence in the government,
Interfax-Ukraine reported. Parliament speaker Oleksander Moroz said Presidium
members were critical of the government's proposed cuts in social programs and
its plans to introduce larger hikes for prices than wages. He also said some
leaders accused the government of failing to implement parliament directives
and of being slow to introduce bills on implementing economic reforms proposed
by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. * Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINIAN SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING.
Ukrainian Radio reported on 2
February that the Ukrainian National Security Council met under the
chairmanship of President Leonid Kuchma to discuss problems within Ukraine's
armed forces and participation in international military structures. Volodymyr
Horbulyn, the president's adviser on national security, said the council
discussed a document on safeguarding the country's security. It also debated
the development and deployment of the Ukrainian armed forces, including border
guards and Interior Ministry forces. * Ustina Markus
UKRAINIANS SAY RUSSIANS "SQUANDERING" BLACK SEA FLEET.
a member of the Ukrainian parliament's temporary commission on the situation in
Crimea, told a Simferopol press conference on 2 February that a "mass
squandering" of Black Sea Fleet property has taken place. Interfax quotes him
as saying that the fleet's leadership has rented out 29 sites belonging to the
fleet and intends to sell another 14. He said several fleet sites in Ismail
have been sold to a commercial firm and claimed that the money from the deal
has been transferred into the accounts of "several people from the Black Sea
Fleet leadership." Stepanyuk charged that these actions take no account of the
upcoming division of the fleet between Russia and Ukraine, and he recommended
that "the reaction of the Ukrainian leadership should be rather tough." * Doug
IMF RELEASES CREDIT TO BELARUS.
Belarusian Radio reported on 2 February
that the IMF released a $100 million credit to Belarus on 30 January. The first
part of the IMF credit package, worth approximately the same amount, was
released in June 1993. Most of that credit was used to pay for Russian energy
supplies. The new credit will go toward building up the Belarusian National
Banks' hard-currency reserves and implementing the country's economic reforms
in accordance with IMF conditions. * Ustina Markus
SHUSHKEVICH TO STAND IN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS.
former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, will run in the Belarusian
parliament elections in May, Belarusian Radio reported on 2 February.
Shushkevich's supporters will be the same democratic groups that upheld his
candidacy in the June 1994 presidential elections. Shushkevich has no party
affiliation. * Ustina Markus
75TH ANNIVERSARY OF TARTU TREATY.
About a dozen members of the
Petserimaa League picketed the Russian Embassy in Tallinn on 2 February, the
75th anniversary of the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty, BNS reports. Under
that treaty, Russia recognized Estonia's independence and pledged to make no
claims on Estonian territory. The league wants the return to Estonia of the
some 2,000 sq. km Petseri/Pechory region, which Russia seized after World War
II. Even though the Estonian Constitution defines the country's borders in
accordance with the Tartu treaty, Prime Minister Andres Tarand expressed
willingness to give up territorial claims if Moscow recognized the document as
valid. Russia insists that the treaty lost its validity when Estonia joined the
USSR in 1940. * Saulius Girnius
LATVIA PASSES LAW ON TAXES AND DUTIES.
The Saeima on 2 February passed a
law on taxes and duties to go into effect on 1 April, BNS reports. Taxpayers
will be required to declare their income themselves and pay taxes owed. Any
cash transaction exceeding 1,000 lati ($1,830) must be reflected in income
declarations. Businesses, moreover, are allowed to make cash transactions of up
to 3,000 lati only. Anything over this sum must be transferred by wire. *
LITHUANIA TO END PRIVATIZATION FOR INVESTMENT VOUCHERS.
parliament on 31 January adopted a resolution invalidating as of 1 July the law
on initial privatization of state property passed in 1991, BNS reported on 2
February. The law gave residents investment vouchers to purchase apartments and
shares in state enterprises. As of early January, 70% of state enterprises and
78% of state capital offered for privatization had been sold. The value of the
unsold property is approximately that of the unused investment vouchers, but it
is expected that some vouchers will not be redeemed.
* Saulius Girnius
CZECH PRIVATIZATION CHIEF RELEASED FROM JAIL.
Jaroslav Lizner, former
chief administrator of the Czech voucher privatization scheme, was released
from jail on 2 February. Lizner was arrested on 31 October 1994 in possession
of 8 million koruny and charged with taking the money as a bribe to mediate in
a share deal. The case is the biggest corruption scandal to date in the Czech
Republic. Mlada fronta dnes quoted Lizner's defense lawyer as saying his
client intended to return to work soon. Although he has been replaced as head
of the Center for Coupon Privatization, Lizner's work contract is still valid.
Previous requests for Lizner to be released from prison were denied on the
grounds that he could attempt to influence witnesses in his case. His eventual
release means the investigation against him is effectively complete. A decision
on putting Lizner on trial will be made shortly, Czech media report. If
convicted of corruption, he could face up to three years in jail. * Steve
SLOVAK-HUNGARIAN TREATY MAY BE SIGNED BEFORE MARCH.
Minister Laszlo Kovacs, after recently meeting with his Slovak counterpart,
Juraj Schenk, said the chances are good that the two countries will sign a
bilateral treaty before March, an RFE/RL correspondent in Strasbourg reports.
The two met on 1 February to sign the Council of Europe's Framework Convention
for the Protection of National Minorities and to discuss the treatment of the
large Hungarian minority in Slovakia. Hungary stipulated that Slovakia sign the
convention as a condition for the bilateral treaty, which will enshrine the
inviolability of the current Slovak-Hungarian border. * Sharon Fisher
SLOVAK FIRMS MAKE SIZABLE PROFITS.
TASR reported on 1 February that ship
maker Slovenske Lodenice Komarno netted 40 million koruny in 1994
(approximately $1.3 million) and hired 230 new employees. The firm exported 14
cargo ships to Russia, Germany, and Turkmenistan. Meanwhile, Slovak steel giant
VSZ Kosice registered after-tax profits of 650 million koruny in 1994--an
increase of 230% over the previous year. The firm, which exports to Germany,
the U.S., Poland, Hungary, and Italy, produced almost 10% of Slovakia's 1994
GDP. * Sharon Fisher
WHAT'S GOING ON AMONG THE BOSNIAN SERBS?
Several publications from rump
Yugoslavia on 3 February take up the question of divisions among the Bosnian
Serb leadership. According to the independent Nasa Borba and
Montenegro's Monitor, tensions between the civilian and military
leaderships came to a head last weekend with the resignation of the second man
in the army's command structure, General Manojlo Milovanovic. The general
reportedly suffered a heart attack soon after resigning. There are also
accounts of long-standing frictions between Milovanovic's boss--General Ratko
Mladic--and civilian chief Radovan Karadzic. The military blames the civilians
for the poor physical state of the army and its equipment and for setting too
ambitious goals for such an army. One example is the current offensive around
Bihac, which has failed to capture the town and left the Bosnian government
forces still holding key strategic positions. Nasa Borba and NIN also
discuss tensions between Karadzic and the Banja Luka Serb leadership, which
recently sent a delegation to Belgrade to ask Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic to end his formal blockade of the Bosnian Serbs. * Patrick Moore
SERB-CROAT RELATIONS DEADLOCKED OR JUST BEFORE A "PLEASANT SURPRISE"?
Nasa Borba on 3 February writes that at the beginning of 1995, there was
much speculation that Belgrade and Zagreb may set up full diplomatic relations
soon. But Croatia's subsequent refusal to extend UNPROFOR's mandate and the
resulting growth of tensions between Zagreb, on the one hand, and Belgrade and
Knin, on the other, have left matters up in the air. Rump Yugoslav Foreign
Minister Vladislav Jovanovic says his Croatian counterpart, Mate Granic, may
still visit Belgrade this month, although Granic notes that any such trip will
have to be connected with Serbia's full recognition of Croatia in its official
frontiers. Both Serbia and Croatia continue to avoid taking a clear stand on
the latest international plan to solve the Krajina question, but NIN
says the Croatian opposition mistrusts President Franjo Tudjman's handling
of the issue and is apprehensive about any "pleasant surprise" that the
government may unveil to improve relations with Belgrade. * Patrick Moore
LORD OWEN SAYS MILOSEVIC WILL NOT ALLOW WAR TO BE EXPORTED TO SERBIA.
Serbian and Croatian dailies on 3 February report on the visit the previous day
by EU mediator David Owen and his UN counterpart, Thorvald Stoltenberg, to
Belgrade and Zagreb. Nasa Borba says Owen sees nothing wrong with a new
international conference on Bosnia, as the French have proposed, but he argues
that it must be well prepared. He also says that the time is not right for such
a gathering until "some details" are solved through lower-level talks,
including the question of Bosnia's future constitutional order and the borders
on the map partitioning that embattled republic. He stresses the importance of
UNPROFOR's presence for peace in Croatia and adds that Milosevic will not allow
its departure to lead to an expansion of the war to Serbia and Montenegro. The
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung adds, however, that Owen feels Tudjman
will reconsider his decision and renew UNPROFOR's mandate. * Patrick Moore
SERBIAN INFORMATION MINISTER ON JOURNALIST ETHICS.
Ratomir Vico, in an
interview with the state-controlled daily Borba on 3 February, said the
Serbian government is "not looking for anything but objective reporting" from
foreign and domestic journalists. His remark comes amid the authorities'
ongoing crackdown on the independent media, notably the once-independent
Borba, now known as Nasa Borba. * Stan Markotich
ROMANIAN-U.S. DEFENSE GROUP MEETS.
Radio Bucharest reports that at a
meeting on 2 February of the Romanian-U.S. working group on defense, discussion
focused on European security, the evolution of Euro-Atlantic security
structures, military cooperation between Romania and the U.S., and NATO's
Partnership for Peace program. The two delegations are led by Secretary of
State Ioan Mircea Pascu and assistant to the U.S. Defense Secretary John Nye
Jr. Nye was quoted by Radio Bucharest as saying that U.S. military will
participate in joint exercises within the framework of the PFP program. The
U.S. delegation was received the same day by Romania's President Ion Iliescu
and by Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca. It also held talks with Alexandru
Timofte and Petre Roman, chairmen of the Defense Commissions of the Senate and
the Chamber of Deputies, respectively. * Dan Ionescu
RUSSIA, MOLDOVA SIGN MORE PROTOCOLS ON 14TH ARMY.
protocols on the planned withdrawal of the 14th Russian Army from eastern
Moldova were signed in Chisinau on 2 February, Interfax and Radio Bucharest
report. The documents, which complete the framework bilateral agreement
concluded on 21 October 1994, deal with the transportation of troops and
equipment, inspections of the 14th army in accordance with international
conventions, and a social safety net for departing troops and their families.
The negotiations were conducted by a Russian delegation led by Vladimir
Kitayev, special envoy of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and a Moldovan team
headed by First Deputy Foreign Minister Nicolae Osmochescu. A group of military
experts from the Russian delegation met on 1 February in Tiraspol with Gen.
Aleksandr Lebed, commander of the 14th army; Igor Smirnov, president of the
self-styled Dniestr Republic; and other local leaders. The withdrawal is
expected to take place within the next three years, but no schedule has been
worked out so far. Further documents are expected to be signed this year.
Interfax quoted a source at the headquarters of the 14th army as saying that
the total ammunition stored in Transdniestria amounts to 410,000 tons, of which
some 50,000 cannot be moved for technical reasons and will have to be destroyed
on the spot. * Dan Ionescu
ALBANIAN MINERS STAGE HUNGER STRIKE IN WAKE OF CORRUPTION SCANDAL.
Miners at Albania's largest chrome mine at Bulqize staged a hunger strike
to demand the dismissal of mine director Gezim Dauti and a 10% wage increase
promised in October 1994. Reports of the number of miners who went on strike
vary, with the Tirana daily ASD saying 15 to 20 took part and Zeri i
Popullit claiming 200 were involved. Reuters reported on 2 February that
about 20 miners ended the strike but without winning any concessions.
ASD on 3 February quoted Albanian trade union leader Mustafa Shengjergji
as saying the strike came in the wake of a corruption scandal. He noted that
the state control commission investigating the mines in November discovered
evidence of "large-scale corruption." The commission demanded the dismissal of
Dauti and the head of the local branch of the Finance Ministry, but no action
has yet been taken. * Fabian Schmidt
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave