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Newsline - March 10, 1995


CONTROVERSY CONTINUES OVER SACKING OF PONOMAREV, PANKRATOV.
Acting Moscow Prosecutor Sergei Gerasimov has resigned to protest the dismissal of his former boss, Gennady Ponomarev, Interfax reported. The Moscow Federation of Trade Unions also denounced the "illegal removal" of Ponomarev and city police chief Vladimir Pankratov. Mayor Yury Luzhkov has said the federal government lacks the authority to fire Moscow city officials, and he plans to appeal the dismissals of Ponomarev and Pankratov to the Constitutional Court as soon as the documents can be prepared. The court told Interfax on 9 March that it probably would consider Luzhkov's appeal soon after it reopens on 16 March, because "the case is rather simple." * Laura Belin

RUSSIA'S CHOICE TO DEMAND RESIGNATION OF YERIN AND STEPASHIN.
At a Duma session on 10 March, Russia's Choice will demand the resignation of Interior Minister Viktor Yerin, Prosecutor-General Alexei Ilyushenko, and Counterintelligence Service Director Sergei Stepashin because of their failure to combat soaring crime in Russia, the faction's leader, Yegor Gaidar, told Interfax on 9 March. Gaidar added that his faction supports President Boris Yeltsin's controversial decision to sack Ponomarev and Pankratov in the wake of the murder of TV journalist Vladislav Listev on 1 March. Gaidar noted the authorities had failed to solve a series of killings, including the murders of Moskovsky Komsomolets journalist Dmitry Kholodov, Duma deputies Valentin Martemyanov and Sergei Skorochkin, and reformist priest Alexander Men. * Penny Morvant

IMF CHIEF ARRIVES TO SIGN LOAN DEAL WITH RUSSIA.
IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus arrived in Moscow on 9 March to sign a policy statement with President Yeltsin on the $6.4 billion standby loan deal with Russia, international agencies reported. The IMF board is expected to approve the loan deal when it meets in April despite concerns about the situation in Chechnya and what it sees as an unrealistic 1995 budget. The last important hurdle in the negotiations was crossed when the Russians agreed to monthly disbursements. The Russians had been insisting that monthly tranches would be "humiliating," saying they preferred quarterly tranches. The policy statement will include a commitment by Russia to cut inflation to 1% per month in the second half of 1995. Inflation was 17.8% in January and 11% in February, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Aleksashenko told Reuters. * Michael Mihalka

TATAR OPPOSITION ADMITS DEFEAT.
A conference of Tatarstan's democratic, nationalist, and communist movements announced that the "party of power" had won the 5 March elections to the republican legislature, Interfax reported on 9 March. None of the opposition candidates are leading going into the 19 March runoffs. Five of 18 candidates from the Tatar Party of National Independence Ittifak made it to the second round, as did 34 of 39 candidates from the coalition of democratic and federalist organizations, Equal Rights and Legality, and approximately one dozen of 46 Communists. Bernard Kasimov, an Ittifak spokesman and a member of the republic's election commission, told a news conference that 49 out of the 61 administrative constituencies had elected their administration heads, while the 69 territorial constituencies elected 20 representatives of the "party of power." The deputies from the administrative districts will meet two or three times a year, while the territorial representatives will work in permanent session. * Robert Orttung

DUMA PREPARING TO DEBATE ELECTORAL LAW NEXT WEEK.
Vladimir Isakov, chairman of the State Duma legislation, judicial, and legal reform committee, announced that he will submit the Duma electoral law to the chamber next week, and that the second reading will take place before the end of the month, Interfax reported on 9 March. The bill rejects the president's proposal to reduce the number of deputies elected on party tickets. The proposed legislation currently calls for parties that want to compete in the elections to collect 200,000 signatures, but the Communist and Agrarian parties are likely to push for increasing that figure to 500,000. At least 20% of the registered voters will have to cast ballots in the elections for them to be valid. The bill for the Federation Council elections is currently being considered by that body. Isakov predicted it will call for the members of the upper body to be elected by popular vote rather than by the executive and legislative branches of each of the country's 89 regions and republics. * Robert Orttung

U.S. DUPED IN PURCHASE OF MISSILE SYSTEM.
Russian intelligence agents duped the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) into thinking it was buying the latest model of Russia's S-300 air defense system when, in fact, it received a training model that had been tinkered with for years by cadets at a Minsk military school, Kommersant-Daily reported on 9 March. Last December, a Russian civilian cargo plane made a secret delivery to the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. It was soon revealed in both the American and Russian press that this was a S-300 system that had been purchased from Belarus for $6 million by a company acting as a cover for the DIA. The paper said the key to the S-300 system is a container it called "F-9"--described as the command and control cabin that integrated the radars and the missiles into a system. It said the F-9 cabin delivered to the Americans and the one used in the real S-300 PMU system--the most modern version--were "worlds apart." It also suggested Russian military intelligence agents had equipped the system with "peculiar software, to put it mildly." * Doug Clarke

AGRARIAN COMMITTEE SENDS LAND CODE TO DUMA COUNCIL.
The State Duma agrarian council decided on 9 March to submit the draft Land Code to the full Duma on 15 March, Interfax reported. The code is designed to provide the legal framework for regulating the ownership and efficient use of land. Alexei Chernyshov, the committee chairman, said most land in Russia has been privatized. Most collective and state farms have been reorganized and the land is now owned by legal entities or collectives whose members are entitled to shares of collective property. More than 44 million urban and rural households (almost 144 million people) have taken over more than 20 million hectares of farm land, Chernyshov said. The basic goal of the draft legislation is to insure that land is effectively used and protected, that parties to land relations have their rights protected, and that different kinds of ownership have equal opportunities to develop. The draft imposes significant constraints on land sales and purchases and the use of farm lands. Notably, land cannot be sold until five years after the code comes into effect and then only for agricultural use. * Thomas Sigel

DRAFT BUDGET TO BE SUBMITTED FOR FOURTH READING.
Russia's draft budget for 1995 will be submitted to the State Duma for a fourth reading on 15 March following a preliminary discussion in the parliamentary committee for budget, taxes, banks, and finances, Interfax reported on 9 March. The Duma passed the draft on the third reading on 24 February with 273 votes for, 93 against, and three abstentions. * Thomas Sigel

ALCOHOL BLAMED FOR FALLING MALE LIFE EXPECTANCY.
Alcoholism of "pandemic proportions" is responsible for the sharp fall in life expectancy among Russian men, according to a study by the University of Wales, Western agencies reported on 10 March. Consumption of pure alcohol rose from 10.7 liters per inhabitant in 1987 to 14 liters in 1992 and the number of deaths officially attributed to alcohol poisoning increased from 117,000 to 262,000. Men are said to be four times more likely to become alcoholics than women, which is reflected in data on life expectancy: 59 years for men (down six years from 1987 to 1993) and 72 years for women (down two years over the same period). The study noted that after price liberalization the cost of alcohol rose far less than that of other consumer goods and foods, leading to increased consumption, particularly of vodka. Consumption of lethal home-brewed spirits also increased. * Penny Morvant

BULGARIAN-RUSSIAN MILITARY ACCORDS SIGNED.
Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, and his Bulgarian counterpart Dimitar Pavlov, signed two military accords in Moscow on 9 March, ITAR-TASS reported. One dealt with genral matters and the other with a plan for developing new military technologies in 1995. Grachev regretted that the last three years had seen a slow-down in Bulgarian-Russian military links which he blamed on "perestroika attitudes" in both Russia and Bulgaria. Grachev added that "the Bulgarian leadership has adopted a firm course of close bilateral cooperation with Russia." He said the procedure for payments was the chief difficulty in relations. * Michael Mihalka



NAZARBAEV REJECTS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev vetoed the Constitutional Court decision that found the March 1994 parliamentary elections unconstitutional and thereby declared the parliament illegitimate, Interfax reported. Nazarbaev claims the ruling is unfounded and in any case does not come under the court's jurisdiction. The court said there were problems in the establishment of electoral districts, in the training of election officials, in allowing citizens living abroad to vote, and in vote counting. Foreign officials have charged that incidents of fraud occurred during last year's poll. Nazarbaev emphasized that he has been and still is a supporter of the stability of state authority and "lays great hopes" on the parliament with which he has established a constructive dialogue. Western diplomats in the country do not expect this action will lead to a constitutional crisis, Reuters reported. * Bruce Pannier

TRANSPORT CORRIDOR AGREED TO BY BAKU AND YEREVAN.
Baku and Yerevan have agreed to open a transport corridor via Nagorno-Karabakh, Interfax reported on 9 March. The agreement followed an 8 March meeting in Tbilisi between Georgian, Azerbaijani, and Armenian officials and the EU envoy to Georgia, Marti Peters, in which EU humanitarian aid to the three Transcaucasian states was discussed. Georgian presidential aide Igor Kotov said on 9 March that agreement had been reached to reopen railway links via Karabakh after demining operations were undertaken, and that 200 freight cars and two locomotives would be utilized to transport humanitarian aid. The EU will pay for the use of the Georgian ports of Poti and Batumi to transport 700,000 tons of food supplies and for railway shipments through the territory. Since the program was put in place last October, more than 500,000 tons of humanitarian cargo has been sent to the region, Kotov noted. Meanwhile, Reuters reported on 9 March that Turkey, acting on a request from Azerbaijan, may soon reopen an air corridor to Armenia it closed in 1992 to protest against an Armenian military drive which seized about 20% of Azeri lands. * Lowell A. Bezanis

ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI BORDER CLASHES CONTINUE.
Clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops on the border of the two countries have continued since 3 March, Interfax and Reuters reported on 9 March. Each side has blamed the other for the resumption of hostilities, which violates a fragile cease-fire in place since May 1994. Several days of intense fighting have seen the Armenians move within striking distance of Tauz, a key rail and road junction in northern Azerbaijan, Reuters reported. Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossyan and Azerbaijani President Haidar Aliyev discussed the fighting by telephone on 7 March and agreed to seek a settlement through direct negotiations between their respective defense ministries. A day later, Azerbaijani commanders said they had negotiated by radio with their Armenian counterparts to reinstate the truce and both sides had agreed, but on 9 March, hostilities involving tanks and artillery continued. * Lowell A. Bezanis



CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER REINSTATED.
Serhiy Tsekov was reinstated as chairman of the Crimean parliament in the second round of voting since deputies forced him to resign from that post last week, Reuters and UNIAN reported on 9 March. In a dramatic turnaround in the power struggle between the Crimean parliament and President Yurii Meshkov, 57 of the 97 deputies present voted to re-elect Tsekov. "I shall do everything to achieve unity, work productively and avoid mistakes," Tsekov told deputies after Meshkov warmly congratulated him on his reinstatement. Tsekov was a key figure in helping the Crimean parliament win a political tug-of-war with Meskhov last fall, when legislators stripped the president of most of his powers. But he was pressured to resign by the industrial lobby, which feared it would lose out on the benefits of privatization. * Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT BEGINS REVIEW OF 1995 DRAFT BUDGET.
Ukrainian parliament commissions have begun reviewing the 1995 draft budget submitted by the government before it is debated by the full legislature, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 9 March. Deputy chairman of the budget commission, Pavlo Kuznetsov, said his commission has a number of reservations about the draft, especially regarding the projected budget deficit. The draft aims to reduce the deficit to 7.3% of GDP (or around 3.3% according to IMF statistics) in an effort to clinch a $1.8 billion credit from the IMF for balance-of-payments support and a stabilization fund. The Ukrainian government has also agreed to cut inflation and liberalize foreign trade, but the draft budget must first be approved by the parliament. IMF chief Michel Camdessus is scheduled to meet with members of the leftist opposition on 10 March in an effort to persuade them to accept the draft budget. * Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN PRIME MINISTER CRITICIZES TAX BILL.
Mikhail Chyhir has criticized a bill passed by the parliament on 3 March, Belarusian Radio reported. The bill lifts the 25% value-added tax on goods sold outside the country, cuts the real estate tax to 1%, and removes a 5% turnover tax from commodities, excluding luxury goods such as furs and cars. Chyhir said if the bill became law, state revenues would be slashed by 1.4 trillion Belarusian rubles and the national currency threatened with collapse. He also noted that the law would allow Russian registered firms to use Belarusian resources, which cost 15-20% less than in Russia, and to produce and then resell their goods outside Belarus for bigger profit. Belarus would be the only party to suffer from this arrangement, Chyhir commented. * Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN FOREIGN NEWS.
A military delegation from the People's Republic of China arrived in Minsk on 7 March for a week-long visit, Belarusian Television reported. The delegation was scheduled to discuss agreements reached between China and Belarus last December and to inspect the country's military industrial complex. In other news, Belarusian Radio reported that a Belarusian inspection group is in Montana--along with Russian, Ukrainian, and Kazakh groups--to ascertain that the U.S. is reducing its nuclear arsenal in line with the START-1 agreement. * Ustina Markus

FINAL ESTONIAN ELECTION RESULTS.
The National Election Commission announced on 9 March the official results of the 5 March parliament elections, Reuters reported. Voter turnout was 545,770, or 68.9% of the electorate. The Coalition Party and Rural Union alliance won 41 mandates in the 101-strong parliament; the Reform Party 19; the Center Party 16; Pro Patria and the Estonian National Independence Party union eight; the Moderates and Our Home Is Estonia six each; and the Rightists five. Coalition Party Chairman Tiit Vahi held talks--which he described as "political consultations" and not coalition negotiations--with Reform Party and Center Party Chairmen Siim Kallas and Edgar Savissar. Vahi asked the two leaders to give him in writing the principles they aim to adhere to in the government. * Saulius Girnius

LATVIA PASSES VALUE-ADDED TAX BILL.
The Saeima on 9 March passed a bill replacing the current turnover tax by a value-added tax, BNS reported. The bill, which will go into effect on 1 May, retains the same level of taxation (18%). The difference between the two taxes is that both physical and juridical entities previously exempt from taxation owing to losses incurred must pay VAT. Farmers and fishermen who send their own goods to processing enterprises can qualify for compensation for goods whose raw materials purchase included VAT payment. * Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA, ICELAND INITIAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENT.
Audrius Navikas, the director of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry's Economics Department, and Bjorgin Gudmundsson, director of the Icelandic Foreign Ministry's Foreign Trade Department, initialed a free trade agreement on 9 March in Vilnius, BNS reported. The agreement, which will become the basis for a trade and economic cooperation accord, liberalizes fish trade and expands ties in fishing between the two countries. * Saulius Girnius

POLAND ISSUES CAUTIOUS PROTEST AT MOSCOW CHURCH INCIDENT.
The Polish government and Foreign Ministry on 9 March issued a carefully worded statement of concern at the forceful eviction of Catholic clergy and parishioners from the Polish church in Moscow the previous day. Moscow police and OMON troops attacked and beat a group of 100 parishioners who had attempted to repossess a church on Mala Gruzinska street now occupied by several private firms, Rzeczpospolita reported. Built by Poles at the beginning of the century, the church was confiscated by the state during the Stalinist period. Russian authorities failed to honor repeated public pledges since 1990 to return the building to the Moscow Catholic community. Four parishioners were arrested on 9 March, and one nun was hospitalized with injures sustained from beating. In their 9 March statement, Polish officials expressed alarm at the "brutality" of the police action, saying Poland expected both the return of the church and a through investigation by Moscow authorities . But they were careful to avoid demands or ultimatums. * Louisa Vinton

CHURCH RESTITUTION CONTINUES TO DIVIDE CZECH CABINET.
The Christian Democratic Union-People's Party (KDU-CSL), a junior partner in the Czech governing coalition, on 9 March sharply criticized Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and his Civic Democratic Party (ODS) for its alleged intransigence over returning confiscated property to the Church. KDU-CSL spokesman Jaroslav Orel called the ODS stance "inadmissible," Lidove noviny reports. The ODS, the dominant partner in the coalition, recently rejected again KDU-CSL demands that land as well as buildings confiscated from the Church and nationalized before the communist takeover of power in 1948 should be restituted. The issue is one of the major long-running disputes within the coalition. Klaus told Lidove noviny that the KDU-CSL rather than the ODS has taken an uncompromising attitude and that his own party's view that the status quo on Church restitution should not be changed is "fair and popular." * Steve Kettle

OPPOSITION PARTY SAYS SLOVAKIA'S BAD IMAGE IS SPREADING.
Christian Democratic Movement deputy Frantisek Miklosko warned at a press conference on 9 March that the government's actions are damaging the reputation of Slovakia abroad. He cited the slashing of the budget for the president's office, attacks on the head of state, doubt surrounding the parliament mandates of Democratic Union deputies, and other moves that are "not always in harmony with the understanding of democracy in the world." Miklosko further noted that television news is "sterile" and "censured." Mikulas Dzurinda, also from the CDM, criticized the recently approved state budget, stressing that it provides no funds to construct apartments, highways, or hospitals but has put aside money to create a new ministry and buy apartments for National Property Fund employees. The party also criticized the decision to withdraw personal protection for Constitutional Court Chairman Milan Cic, which it considers an act of political pressure. * Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK DEMONSTRATORS DEMAND RETURN OF TV SATIRES.
Thousands of Slovaks gathered in Bratislava's SNP square on 9 March to protest government attacks on freedom of speech, Narodna obrodareported. In particular, the demonstrators demanded the reinstatement of three political satires taken off the air in December by Slovak Television's new director, Jozef Darmo.
The organizer of the demonstration, Ladislav Suty, has collected over 115,000 signatures demanding the return of the satirical programs. In related news, Narodna obroda reports on 10 March that the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists has also protested the government's actions. One IFJ representative warned that "the Meciar government is determined to silence the critical voices in the Slovak press through the use of economic intervention and the refusal to respect the importance of plurality of the Slovak society." * Sharon Fisher



CIA SAYS SERBS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALMOST ALL BOSNIAN ATROCITIES . . .
The New York Times on 9 March reported on a leaked CIA study of war crimes in Bosnia that was "so sensitive . . . it was classified at `an obscene level.'" The survey says that the Serbs committed 90% of the atrocities in that embattled republic and that the Serbs alone were "involved in a systematic attempt to eliminate all traces of other ethnic groups from their territory." The study points out that the top civilian leadership in "Pale and perhaps Belgrade" played a key role in this deliberate "ethnic cleansing." It concluded that the conflict is not a "civil war" but a clear case of Serbian aggression. The article added that "to those who think the parties are equally guilty, this report is pretty devastating." * Patrick Moore

. . . AND STATE DEPARTMENT ADMITS IT'S AUTHENTIC.
U.S. spokesmen at first avoided comment on the study, but the BBC on 10 March quotes Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke as saying the report is authentic. Holbrooke was the architect of January's policy of courting Pale and was heavily involved in February's approach of wooing Belgrade. The broadcast said Washington apparently tried to suppress the report for fear of offending President Slobodan Milosevic and other Serbian leaders. The New York Times article notes that the "very objective and straightforward" study suggests that these men "could be indicted as war criminals." * Patrick Moore

SERBIAN-CROATIAN TENSIONS CONTINUE IN CROATIA.
Nedjeljna Dalmacija argues on 10 March that the international Z-4 plan for a lasting political settlement to the Krajina conflict is the work of Croatia's top Serbian politician, Milorad Pupovac. It compares excerpts from the Z-4 document with one by Pupovac dated 1992. Zagreb has not rejected the plan outright but has made it clear that it is unacceptable because it gives the Serbs too much autonomy. Both Knin and Belgrade have refused to talk to the Z-4 diplomats as long as Croatian President Franjo Tudjman remains opposed to renewing UNPROFOR's mandate. Elsewhere, Vjesnik reports on maneuvers in eastern Krajina with tanks and other heavy weapons. * Patrick Moore

ALBANIAN PRESIDENT ADVISES CROATIA TO PROLONG UN MANDATE.
Albanian President Sali Berisha said that Croatia's decision to end the UNPROFOR mandate in its territories occupied by rebel Serbs could lead to "a fresh war on the territory of the former Yugoslavia with unpredictable consequences for the Balkans." Berisha expressed concern that Albania could be drawn into a wider Balkan war but also noted some positive developments with Greece. He said he is "convinced" that both countries will "achieve concrete results" during the visit of Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias to Tirana on 13 and 14 March, international agencies reported. * Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER AGREES TO HAVE HIS IMMUNITY LIFTED.
Albanian Defense Minister Safet Zhulali has agreed to the lifting of his parliament immunity. The opposition party Aleanca Demokratike accused Zhulali of involvement in arms trade with various warring factions in Bosnia and of large-scale cigarette smuggling. Zhulali has denied those charges. Meanwhile, the Albanian parliament passed a law on 8 March forcing politicians and public servants to publicly declare their incomes. President Sali Berisha had decreed that measure two years previously, but it was not enforced, international agencies reported on 9 March. * Fabian Schmidt

RIVER RELIEF FOR BELGRADE?
Reuters reported on 9 March that the UN Security Council may soon grant Belgrade permission to use a Romanian lock on the Danube while the rump Yugoslavia's is subject to "badly-needed repairs." Since the introduction of Security Council Resolution 820 in April 1993, Romanian authorities have not been able to grant Belgrade permission to transit their country. The report also observes that over the past quarter century, Romania and Yugoslavia have maintained a system of locks and power stations on the river and that "when one country's lock was closed for periodic repairs, shipping normally passes through the other country's system." * Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON "PATAPIEVICI CASE."
Presidential spokesman Traian Chebeleu told a press conference that President Ion Iliescu regards allegations that a "political police force" is being revived in Romania as "groundless," Romanian Television reported on 9 March. Nine intellectuals have protested the Romanian Intelligence Service's attempt to question a neighbor of the philosopher Horia R. Patapievici, who has published articles criticizing Iliescu. Chebeleu said a "professional institution" like the RIS would not act in such a way as alleged in various press reports. The president, he added, takes no interest in "trailing {his] numerous critics." Chebeleu also said that as a matter of principle, Iliescu was "profoundly hostile to any idea of resuscitating any form of political police in our country." * Michael Shafir

ROMANIA RECEIVES WORLD BANK LOAN FOR SOCIAL SAFETY NET.
The World Bank has approved a $55.4 million loan to Romania to help the government improve its social safety net, Radio Bucharest reported on 8 March. The credit is part of a $95 million package to help the Romanians process the increasing number of unemployment benefit claims, develop a flexible adult training system, and implement reforms in social insurance and assistance programs. The World Bank said the reforms will include restructuring the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection to improve the management of pension funds and to develop a more efficient system of cash benefits. In other news, Secretary-General of the Western European Union Jose Cutilheiro on 9 March arrived in Romania to monitor the enforcement of UN sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia, Radio Bucharest reported. He visited the port of Calafat, on the River Danube, where UN observers are located. * Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT BLOCKS LAW ON EX-COMMUNIST ACADEMICS.
Zhelyu Zhelev on 9 March rejected a parliament decision lifting a ban on former leading communists holding top academic posts, Reuters reported the same day. The parliament's 23 February decision overturned a law passed in 1992 under which former senior communist officials could not hold posts in governing bodies of universities, research institutes, and the CentralExamination Board. Bulgarian newspapers on 10 March cite Zhelev as saying that the new law violates the autonomy of academic institutions. This is the second time Zhelev has returned a law to the parliament for further discussion since the Socialist government took office in January. * Stefan Krause

GREEK, BOSNIAN, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN ATHENS.
Karolos Papoulias, Ali Akbar Velayati, and Irfan Ljubijancic met in the Greek capital on 8 March to discuss the political situation in the Balkans, Reuters reported the same day. The top item on their agenda was how to broker peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina before the truce there expires on 1 May. Ljubijancic said the ministers "exchanged ideas which we are going to explore in the next few days." Papoulias announced they would meet again in Teheran before the end of the truce. He added that he would travel to Belgrade in the next several days to inform Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic of their initiative but gave no details. * Stefan Krause

"MR. BALKANS" LEAVES POLITICAL SCENE.
Konstantinos Karamanlis, one of the trailblazers of Balkan cooperation and of Greece's integration into Europe, retired from political life on 9 March, Reuters reported the same day. Karamanlis stepped down from the post of president one day after the election of Kostis Stephanopoulos as his successor. Karamanlis, born in 1907, was prime minister from 1955-1963 and from 1974-1980, after the collapse of the military dictatorship. He is regarded as a symbol of Greece's transition to democracy. He was state president from 1980-1985 and again from 1990-1995. During his first term as prime minister, important progress was made in the field of cooperation between Greece and its neighbors. During his second term, Karamanlis was active in Balkan diplomacy and negotiated Greece's membership in the European Community, which took effect in 1981. * Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave






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