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Newsline - February 6, 1995


CHECHENS DOWN RUSSIAN FIGHTER PLANE.
On 3 February, Russian troops succeeded in breaking through Chechen lines at Goiti, southeast of Grozny, and secured control of one of the last remaining roads out of the city, Reuters reported. Air attacks on Grozny and on Argun, to the east, continued on 3 and 4 February. On 4 February Chechen militants shot down a Russian SU-25 fighter plane, killing the pilot. Heavy artillery bombardment of Grozny resumed in the afternoon of 5 February, after a lull, and Russian forces moved to strengthen control over districts south of Grozny. Russian forces were also reported to be advancing on Grozny from the west. On 4 February, the Chechen opposition Provisional Council issued a statement condemning "barbaric, senseless, and cruel" bombardments of civilian areas, Reuters reported. The next day, the Russian government press service alleged that Dudaev's supporters were preparing for a massacre of Russians in Grozny on 20-23 February to mark the anniversary of the Chechen population's mass deportation in 1944. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

G7 SAYS CHECHNYA THREATENS RUSSIAN ECONOMIC REFORMS.
The Group of Seven major industrialized countries believes the Chechen operation's cost threatens Russian economic stabilization, Reuters reported on 4 February. Although deploring the excessive use of force, G7 foreign ministers said they would still invite President Boris Yeltsin to the group's Halifax summit in June. German Finance Minister Theo Waigel said, "The financial impact of the war in Chechnya threatens to burst the Russian budget [and] because of that, the outlook for a stabilization of Russia's economy will be further endangered." Russian officials are expected to attend the next meeting of G7 finance ministers in Washington this April to discuss the economic situation. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA ACCEPTS OSCE CALL FOR IMMEDIATE CEASE-FIRE IN CHECHNYA.
The Russian delegation agreed on 3 February to an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Chechnya and condemning the "disproportionate use of force by the Russian Armed Forces." An OSCE official told OMRI the Russian action is "quite remarkable," and stressed it showed Russia is taking the organization seriously. The Russian delegation initially did not accept the document on 2 February, as it waited for instructions from Moscow, AFP reported. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

SON OF DUMA COMMISSIONER ON CHECHNYA WOUNDED.
Independent TV station director Sergei Govorukhin was hospitalized after being wounded in Grozny on 3 February. The next day, Nezavisimaya gazeta noted that Govorukhin was shot while filming a documentary on the Chechen war in the Western part of the city, which is under Russian control. Russian TV's "Vesti" claimed the Russian military had deliberately fired at the journalist. Sergei's father, prominent film director Stanislav Govorukhin, is the chairman of a commission set up last month by the State Duma to find out which officials are responsible for the Chechen conflict and why the Russian army performed so poorly. During his visit to Lipetsk earlier last week, Yeltsin called Govorukhin's commission "unconstitutional." -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

FEDERATION COUNCIL FAILS TO RATIFY STATE OF EMERGENCY.
The Federation Council could not ratify a state of emergency decree for part of Northern Ossetia and Ingushetia on 3 February because it lacked a quorum, Interfax reported. Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko said a state of emergency decree which is not approved in three days "loses its force and the population of the territory under question is informed of that through the mass media." Yeltsin had issued the decree on 31 January. Following the council vote, Yeltsin reissued the decree 5 February and said it would be resubmitted to the upper chamber, AFP reported. A "well-informed source" in the Defense Ministry told Interfax the same day that the situation in Ingushetia is deteriorating and the region could become a source of tension in the near future. Ingush President Ruslan Aushev, quoted by Interfax, dismissed the failure as meaningless given that none of the previous decrees had been enforced. The state of emergency was first issued in 1992, when inter-ethnic fighting forced 35,000 Ingush to flee their homes, and has been consistently renewed, usually for two-month periods. -- Robert Orttung and Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

SEGODNYA: FINANCIAL SCANDAL PUTS GRACHEV IN HOSPITAL.
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev checked into a hospital for medical tests shortly after he was shown a document revealing the existence of a questionable ministry account in a German bank, Segodnya reported on 3 February. The document allegedly showed that the military opened an account in a German bank near Berlin in late 1992 with a deposit of $20.6 million. The money was said to have come from the sale of Soviet war reserve supplies in Eastern European countries. The document was allegedly shown to Grachev at the end of a 25 January Security Council meeting. The reporter, quoting unnamed sources on Yeltsin's staff, said Grachev claimed to know nothing about the affair and instead, implicated Col.-Gen. Vasilii Vorobev, head of the General Staff's budget and financing directorate. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

SHUMEIKO SUPPORTS SECOND TERM FOR YELTSIN.
Rumors that the Federation Council chairman will run for president in 1996 are untrue, the council's press service chief Yurii Algunov told Interfax 3 February. The rumors, which appeared in the Russian media on 2 February, allegedly quoted a statement Vladimir
Shumeiko had made on a trip to Kaliningrad that day. Shumeiko instead has stressed that a second term for Yeltsin would be the best solution for the country and its reforms. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

BURBULIS ADVISES DEMOCRATS TO MAINTAIN TIES WITH YELTSIN.
It is too early for Russia's democratic politicians to announce their opposition to Yeltsin because such a step would "incapacitate them in influencing the new generation of Russian politicians," former State Secretary Gennadii Burbulis told Interfax 3 February. Burbulis was attending a conference in Moscow to mark the fifth anniversary of the formation of the Democratic Platform within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Burbulis said that after Chechnya, Yeltsin will seek alliances with "a new wave of pragmatically minded professionals." He noted that Yeltsin is capable of working with those who supported the decision to intervene in the secessionist republic, as well as those who opposed the decision, and advised the democrats "to accept these maneuvers rather than repulse the president." -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.


SUPREME COURT REJECTS PROTEST AGAINST COUP PLOTTER'S ACQUITTAL.
The Russian Supreme Court has rejected an attempt by acting Prosecutor-General Aleksei Ilyushenko to reverse the acquittal of former deputy Valentin Varennikov--a defendant in the case of the failed coup plot against former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Interfax reported on 3 February. Varennikov is the only suspect to have stood trial in the case, and in February 1994, the State Duma declared an amnesty for all those involved in the plot. By rejecting Ilyushenko's protest, the Supreme Court endorsed the verdict of its Military Colegium which had found Varennikov not guilty of high treason. -- Julia Wishnevsky, OMRI, Inc.

JANUARY INFLATION AT RECORD HIGH.
The growth of consumer prices in Russia stood at 17.8% against 16.4% in December, the highest index over the past 12 months, the State Statistics Committee reported to Interfax on 3 February. The report said January food prices rose by 21.1%, consumer goods by 12%, and paid services to the population by 22.8%. Consumer goods and services became most expensive during the last week in January in the Volgo-Vyatka area and Kaliningrad Oblast, with an increase of almost 4% over December. The North Caucasus had the lowest price increases, at 2.1%. Overall, meat, milk, and egg prices grew by 27% to 36%, the report indicated. Prices for gasoline rose 26.3% and coal rose 21.6%. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

LAW AGAINST CRIMINAL EARNINGS.
The final draft of a bill on criminal earnings will soon be sent to President Yeltsin, one of its authors, MVD official Vladimir Ovchinsky, told Interfax on 4 February. He said "dirty" money is corrupting official bodies and giving criminal organizations a greater hold on the country's economy. The Russian Banks Association estimates that at least 16 billion "dirty" dollars are circulating in Russia and that 40% of the money in the economy was obtained through criminal operations both in and outside the country. The draft law calls for controls on capital investment and requires people to declare the source of income used in real-estate deals, business ventures, and the import and export of currency. Critics argue that the proposed legislation violates banking laws and the basic rights of Russian citizens, since it authorizes law enforcement agencies to obtain information about bank deposits and financial transactions if a person is suspected of money-laundering or helping to launder illegally obtained money. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

MINERS' STRIKE TO GO AHEAD.
The Russian Trade Union of Coal Workers intends to press ahead with a national one-day strike on 8 February, union chairman Vitalii Budko told Interfax on 4 February. After a meeting on coal-industry problems, chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais, Budko said the government had proposed halving the 2.5 trillion rubles the state owes miners. Budko said this was totally unacceptable and he wants full payment and a government injection of 10 trillion rubles into the ailing industry. Miners at Vorkuta, meanwhile, intended to hold a one-day strike on 6 February. They too are demanding payment of wage arears as are miners at Rostov, who downed tools on 1 February. Some mines belonging to the Chelyabinsk coal association have introduced coupons of various ruble denominations that workers can use in enterprise shops and canteens. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.



ELECTIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN.
Some 72.3% of the electorate participated in elections on 5 February to a new bicameral parliament in Kyrgyzstan, Russian and Western agencies reported. A total of over 1,000 candidates from 12 political parties were competing for seats in the 35 member legislative assembly, which will sit full-time, and the 70-member people's assembly, which will convene twice a year. Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev told journalists in Bishkek on 5 February that the new parliament will be transitional as the country is only taking its first steps toward democracy. He expressed the hope that the legislature would nonetheless reflect the whole social spectrum, Interfax reported. The IMF delegation in Bishkek was waiting for the election results, before going ahead with loans to the Central Bank. -- Liz Fuller and Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

UKRAINE AND BELARUS SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT.
Ukraine and Belarus have signed an agreement on military cooperation for 1995, Vo slavu rodiny reported on 21 January. The accord covers high level exchanges between military staffs, cooperation in exchanging medicine and medical technology, consultation on military transport, and meetings of military delegations on maintaining weaponry and technology at Ukrainian repair plants. The agreement also calls for exchanging information on national security and joint research between the two countries' air forces. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE ACCUSES BLACK SEA FLEET.
A temporary parliamentary commission on the political-legal situation in Crimea has accused the Black Sea Fleet of selling its assets without taking the upcoming division of the fleet into account, Interfax reported on 2 February. According to Dmytro Stepanyuk, a member of the commission, 14 sites belonging to the fleet are being considered for sale, and 29 sites in Sevastopol and other cities have been rented out. The money from these deals has allegedly gone into the accounts of several individuals in the Black Sea Fleet command. However, the command has rejected the allegations. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.



POLISH PARLIAMENT WARNS WALESA.
The Sejm on 4 February adopted a resolution saying there are no legal grounds for dissolving the parliament and warning President Lech Walesa that any dissolution attempt would entail "constitutional responsibility" (a threat of impeachment). The vote was 376 to 16 with 16 abstentions, Gazeta Wyborcza reports. Opposition parties supported the resolution but also criticized the government for contributing to the political crisis through inaction and corruption. Presidential legal adviser Lech Falandysz called the resolution a demonstration of "arrogance," while Walesa commented that he "didn't know whether to laugh or cry." The parliament also completed work on a constitutional amendment that would enable it to remain in session until new elections in the event of a dissolution order. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PREMIER UNDER FIRE.
Meanwhile, Waldemar Pawlak's return from the U.S. on 3 February failed to defuse the crisis. Pawlak was unable to meet with the president, since Walesa's plane to Gdansk took off two minutes before the prime minister landed in Warsaw. Pawlak told journalists the same day that he saw no reason to yield to "actions promoting unrest." Under attack from his coalition partners in the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), he insisted he had not proposed Romuald Szeremietiew for the vacant post of defense minister. But Walesa claimed to have tapes of the conversation proving the opposite. The premier further alienated the SLD by submitting to the president the names of two candidates each for the Defense and Foreign Ministries rather than the single candidates agreed upon with the coalition. Walesa accepted the nomination of Janusz Ziolkowski (chief of the President's Office) for the foreign affairs portfolio but rejected both candidates for defense. Pawlak retaliated by refusing to countersign Ziolkowski's appointment (effectively blocking it). Many SLD members called for Pawlak's resignation. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH COALITION TO REBUILD GOVERNMENT?
Walesa's brinkmanship appears aimed at securing Pawlak's removal. The president told reporters on 5 February that he would not oppose the formation of a new government headed by SLD leader Aleksander Kwasniewski, but he refused to rule out dissolving the parliament. Kwasniewski said earlier that he was prepared to take over "if such a need arose." Pawlak reportedly offered Kwasniewski the posts of deputy prime minister and foreign minister on 4 February, but the SLD dismissed that offer as insufficient. The Polish Peasant Party (PSL) initially rallied round Pawlak, but by 5 February there were signs that party support was weakening. Deputy Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych (PSL) conceded that ministers charged with corruption would have to leave the cabinet, but he insisted that the PSL still had the right to name the premier. Gazeta Wyborcza quoted "well-informed sources" on 6 February as reporting that Walesa was planning to appoint General Staff chief Gen. Tadeusz Wilecki to head a transitional government until new elections could be held. Most politicians dismissed this report as "absurd" and a deliberate leak meant to keep the Sejm intimidated. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS PARLIAMENT DEBATE OVER NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IS "ILL-TIMED."
Leonid Kuchma called the parliament's recent decision to debate a vote of no confidence in the government as ill-timed "from a political and economic point of view," Interfax-Ukraine reported on 4 February. At a news conference in Donetske the previous day, Kuchma said he did not understand the decision, given that "it is necessary [for parliament] to review the upcoming bill on the separation of powers, which stipulates that the president appoint the country's Cabinet of Ministers." Kuchma said if the legislature refuses to approve his proposed constitutional draft law on the division of powers--which would significantly expand his executive powers to enable him to implement badly needed economic reforms--then he would turn to the people by organizing a poll on constitutional provisions. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN ENTERPRISES INFLATED 1994 PRICES.
Ukraine's Economics Ministry says more than half the country's businesses and organizations audited by the state deliberately inflated prices last year, Interfax-Ukraine reports. The mostly state-owned enterprises exaggerated costs, used the market exchange rate for the karbovanets instead of the official one, and employed "creative" accounting and book-keeping methods. Airline companies and enterprises involved in the sale of oil products, iron and steel production, and chemical manufacturing earned an additional 536 billion karbovantsi after padding their prices. The ministry has ordered the firms to pay a total of 1.15 trillion karbovantsi (about $1 million at the official exchange rate) in penalties. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.


BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT DEMANDS PARLIAMENT RESCIND LAW ON PRESIDENCY . . .
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said he will take legal action if parliament refuses to reassess the law, passed on 1 February, laying down the conditions whereby parliament may remove the president, Reuters reported on 2 February. Conservative deputy Henadz Kazlau said Lukashenka will probably appeal to the Constitutional Court to have the law declared illegal. When deputies ignored his proposals to change the law, Lukashenka walked out of the session. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

.
. . AND THREATENS TO BLOCK DRAFT LAW ON PARLIAMENT.
Interfax quoted Lukashenka on 3 February as saying he would not sign the bill on parliament, which, he said, would "tip the balance of power in the republic" in parliament's favor. He will take the issue to the Constitutional Court. The bill provides for special health care benefits for deputies and gives them pensions for life worth 50% of their current salary. Lukashenka said the bill provided "life-time welfare for people's deputies," and he accused them of being more concerned about their own well-being than implementing the country's economic reform program. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN DEFENSE OFFICIALS TO CONTINUE IN OFFICE.
Prime Minister Andres Tarand on 3 February requested that Defense Minister Enn Tupp and ministry chancellor Tarmo Molder continue in office until the 5 March parliament elections, BNS reported the next day. Tupp offered his resignation on 31 January after the security police began an investigation, requested by Molder, into his role in purchases of armored vehicles from Russia in 1991. Tarand said that if the two officials were unable to settle their conflict peacefully, he would fire both of them on 28 February. He said his decision was necessary to avoid major disruptions in the ministry's work. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.


DEPORTATION OF REFUGEES FROM LATVIA.
Latvian Interior Minister Janis Adamsons admitted on 2 February that some of the 149 Kurdish and Afghan refugees held at an army barracks in Riga have been deported, BNS reported the next day. The refugees were detained in December in Estonia following an attempt to reach Sweden on a Latvian boat. Adamsons declined to say how many refugees were deported but noted he would invite the media to witness the next deportation. Latvia has discussed moving the remaining refugees to an army training center outside Riga. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.


ISRAELI DELEGATION IN LITHUANIA.
Efraim Zuroff, research coordinator at Israel's Simon Wiesenthal Center, retired judge Aryeh Segalson, and lawyer Joseph Melamed have completed a week-long examination of Lithuanian archives, BNS reported on 4 February. They were searching for the names of people who collaborated with the Nazis in the extermination of Jews during World War II but who, along with thousands of other persons convicted by Soviet courts, have been unjustly rehabilitated since 1990. President Algirdas Brazauskas, who plans an official visit to Israel from 28 February-2 March, told the delegation that information on unjust rehabilitations must be verified and "everything thoroughly cleared up in order not to leave any white or black spots in our history." -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH KORUNA TO BECOME CONVERTIBLE SOON?
Czech economics ministers and the Czech National Bank proposed on 3 February to ease restrictions on the koruna in a bid to make the currency fully convertible in line with IMF regulations. Czech firms will be able to buy goods, take out foreign loans, or issue bonds abroad without limits on changing koruny into hard currency or needing the CNB's approval, Czech media report. Czech residents will also be able to invest abroad, but the current limit on buying hard currency will remain in place for the time being. Until the end of 1994, Czechs could purchase hard currency worth up to 12,000 koruny a year. This figure was raised to 100,000 koruny in January, but Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said the limit will eventually be abolished. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.


CZECH MINISTER ON 1994 ARMS TRADE.
Industry and Trade Minister Vladimir Dlouhy said on 3 February that the Czech Republic sold arms worth $194.2 million to foreign customers in 1994. Reuters quoted him as saying this was a 16% increase over the previous year. Aircraft accounted for nearly 80% of the sales, with 23 L-59 jets sold to Egypt and 28 L-39ZA planes to Thailand. Both are variants of "Albatros" trainer/ground attack jet. Dlouhy said the Czech Republic imported $43.6 million worth of arms in 1994, virtually the same amount as the previous year. Aviation-related items accounted for the bulk of the imports. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

COUPON PRIVATIZATION IN SLOVAKIA TO CONTINUE IN JULY?
Slovak economic ministers and representatives of the National Property Fund and the Supreme Supervisory Office met in Trencianske Teplice on 4 February to discuss how to speed up the privatization process. The delegates decided that Slovakia's second wave of coupon privatization will probably start on 1 July, Pravda reports on 6 February. The second wave, planned by the previous government, was scheduled to begin on 15 December. Despite the tremendous popularity of the program (more than 90% of those eligible registered), it was delayed by the current government, which claimed the program was ill-prepared. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.



SERBIAN HELICOPTERS FLY OVER BOSNIA.
The BBC on 5 February and Nasa Borba the following day report yet another story suggesting that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's break with the Bosnian Serbs is not as complete as he would have people believe. The accounts quote Dutch UNPROFOR sources as saying that as many as 20 helicopters flew from Serbia to Bosnian Serb lines around the besieged Muslim enclave and "safe area" of Srebrenica on 3 February. Elsewhere, the BBC reported on 6 February that the Bosnian Serbs agreed to a limited reopening of the Sarajevo airport route. The new rules for use of the road benefit the Serbs and exclude the commercial traffic that the Bosnian government had wanted. Relief agencies will benefit most from the new system. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATS AND MUSLIMS AGREE TO BINDING ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Nasa Borba on 6 February report that U.S. mediators have succeeded in convincing top-level Croatian, Bosnian Croat, and Muslim delegations to accept binding arbitration of disputes. The two sides will have two months to list the problems that have hamstrung setting up the Croat-Muslim federation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The nine-point plan for arbitration was adopted in conjunction with a major international gathering of security experts in Munich and a meeting of the Contact Group. The Croats and Muslims agreed to a federation in Washington almost a year ago, but it has proven difficult to put this arrangement into practice. EU-appointed chief administrator of Mostar Hans Koschnik sounded the alarm last month by making it clear that the Herzegovinian Croats, in particular, will have to become more cooperative or he will be forced to give up his mandate. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIA AND RUSSIA AGREE TO CLOSER TIES.
Nasa Borba reports on 6 February that Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev held a joint press conference the previous day in Moscow. The two countries agreed to exchange diplomatic representatives and to take further steps toward establishing full relations. Kozyrev said that Russia, which is a member of the Contact Group, supports the territorial integrity of all former Yugoslav republics and urges the Bosnian Serbs to accept the Contact Group's peace plan. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CONTINUED LOGJAM IN CROATIAN-SERBIAN RELATIONS?
Croatian and Serbian dailies on 4 February discussed extensively relations between the two peoples. Attention centered on the international Z-4 group's plan for the Serb-occupied territories of Croatia. The project would make the Knin and Glina areas part of Croatia in name but largely self-governing in practice. Western Slavonia would revert to Croatian government control, but occupied Srem would be placed under temporary international administration. The plan sounds too much like the partition or federalization of Croatia to be acceptable to Zagreb, while for most Serbs it does not go far enough toward ensuring their independence. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

EMBARGO ON RUMP YUGOSLAVIA VIOLATED BY BULGARIAN "PHANTOM" COMPANIES.
The UN embargo on rump Yugoslavia is being violated by Bulgarian companies with falsified registration documents, Demokratsiya reported on 4 February. The "phantom" companies are engaged mainly in large-scale fuel smuggling. The Bulgarian authorities began investigating the matter last year, but so far no company has been taken to court, owing to a lack of evidence. Deputy Director of the National Investigation Service Vladimir Stoykov said in an interview with Demokratsiya on 6 February that 37 cases involving 12 companies are being examined. Meanwhile, 168 chasa reported on 6 February that two Bulgarians who were arrested for trying to smuggle 5,000 tons of gasoline into Serbia are now living in Belgrade. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

SERBIAN GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO HARASS NASA BORBA.
The independent daily Nasa Borba on 6 February reports that its employees are in effect being "thrown out of their offices." The staff has been deprived of such vital materials as fax services, telephone connections, and direct links to AFP and Reuters. Nasa Borba reincorporated itself in January after the government appropriated the name and masthead of Borba. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTERS DISCUSS JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES.
Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti and his Romanian counterpart, Gheorghe Tinca, met on 4-5 February in Debrecen to discuss, among other things, plans for joint military exercises drawn up in 1994. The meeting was described as "unofficial." The two ministers decided to continue talks in Bucharest within two weeks at "expert level" to clarify "technical aspects" of their armed forces' presence on each other's territory. It was also agreed to host an international seminar on the implementation of the "Open Skies" agreement within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program. Tinca told Radio Bucharest he was pleased to see that the Hungarians were as willing to collaborate and establish "good relations between the two armies and countries" as were the Romanians. Keleti said the signing of a basic bilateral treaty was closer now than ever and that the two countries' exemplary military relations helped prepare the ground for it, MTI reports. -- Michael Shafir and Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

DNIESTER REPUBLIC REJECTS MOLDOVAN-RUSSIAN AGREEMENT.
Radio Bucharest, quoting Radio Moldova, reported on 4 February that the authorities of the self-styled Dniester Republic have prohibited the withdrawal of the Russian 14th Army's assets, claiming they are the Dniester Republic's property. Both Radio Moldova and ITAR-TASS reported that Tiraspol is trying to prevent the implementation of the protocols signed in Chisinau on 2 February detailing the withdrawal of the 14th Army (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 February 1995). Those protocols complete the framework of the bilateral agreement concluded on 21 October 1994. ITAR-TASS quoted Vladimir Kitayev, head of the Russian delegation to the talks, as saying in Chisinau on 3 February that the 14th Army would take some assets when it withdraws, while the remaining weapons and ammunition would be sold or destroyed on the spot. Dniester leader Igor Smirnov issued an order the same day "categorically prohibiting the removal from the republic's territory of any assets belonging to the 14th Army." Those assets were declared "property of the Dniester Republic." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER CHARGED WITH ARMS SMUGGLING.
Deputies from the opposition party Aleanca Demokratike have charged Zafet Zhulali with involvement in arms smuggling to the former Yugoslavia, Koha Jone reported on 4 February. Deputy Perikli Teta and Aleanca Demokratike secretary-general Arben Imami have claimed that in at least one case, weapons were sent to Montenegro, suggesting they were destined for Bosnian Serbs. In another case, weapons allegedly were brought to Croatia on board the Vela Luka, which was loaded in Durres but arrived empty in Slovenia. Documents submitted to the press by Teta and Imami show that from April 1992 to February 1993, eight cargoes were sent to Slovenia but do not appear in Slovenian customs records. Another document, reportedly signed by Zhulali, authorized the Albanian company Mjekes to export mortars to Croatia. Zhulali, in an interview with Rilindja Demokratike on 4 February, described the charges as irresponsible. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan
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