YELTSIN TO REMAIN SECLUDED DURING VACATION.
President Yeltsin has
canceled his plans for a cross-country train journey and decided to remain in
his dacha near Kislovodsk, ITAR-TASS reported. The third change in plans since
the vacation began three days ago again stirred speculation that Yeltsin's
health was deteriorating. Additionally, Yeltsin's security staff may have urged
him to abandon the trip for fear it exposed the president to unacceptable
risks, as Mikhail Berger, a political commentator for Izvestiya, told
the Los Angeles Times. During Yeltsin's 19 February visit to Almaty, the
president's most recent trip out of Moscow before his vacation, television
footage showed him receiving assistance to climb stairs. -- Robert Orttung,
GAIDAR, COMMUNIST REJECT BANKER'S CALL TO POSTPONE ELECTIONS.
Gaidar, the leader of Russia's Democratic Choice Party, rejected the idea of
postponing the federal elections in an interview published in the 26 March-4
April edition of Moskovskie novosti. The most visible advocate of
delaying the balloting now is Oleg Boiko, a successful banker who recently
resigned from the leadership of Gaidar's party. Gaidar told the newspaper, "I
do not think the ruling authorities will take this extremely dangerous path.
However, this option cannot be fully ruled out." Vladimir Semago, a State Duma
member from the Communist Party, said in the same issue, "it is clear who wants
to retain the current `stability:' those who have established personal contacts
with the executive authority." He argued that if the elections bring new groups
to power, it will dramatically hurt the financial interests of the banks
associated with Boiko. Meanwhile, Federation Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko
warned that Russia may run into a political impasse by holding the
parliamentary elections in 1995 because an electoral law is unlikely to be
passed this year, Segodnya reported on 29 March. -- Robert Orttung,
"REANIMATION OF THE KGB" POSSIBLE IN RUSSIA?
reassurances, Russia's increasingly powerful and centralized security services
have made the "reanimation of the KGB" entirely possible, according to a 30
March article in Nezavisimaya gazeta. The article claimed that Yeltsin's
28 March decree, which created the Federal Security Service (FSB) out of the
Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK), vastly broadened the authority of
the special services. The author cited "independent experts" speculating that
Alexander Korzhakov, the head of Yeltsin's personal security service, might be
behind the reorganization. Nezavisimaya gazeta asserted that Korzhakov's
"future plans" might include becoming the head of the powerful FSB in the
run-up to the 1996 presidential elections. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN FORCES SURROUND SHALI.
Russian troops have encircled the town of
Shali, Interfax reported. Only the road leading directly to the south remains
open and it is constantly under fire. The town is one of the last bastions of
resistance for troops loyal to Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev. The Russians
began their final push to capture Shali on 27 March with day-long air raids,
artillery barrages, and tank advances, backed by helicopter gunships, AFP
reported. Some Chechen fighters managed to slip out through gaps in the Russian
lines. Uvaz Natiyev, a doctor who made his escape before Shali was completely
surrounded, said, "They pulled out. They decided it was useless." The press
center of the joint command of federal troops told Interfax that Gudermes, the
only other stronghold of resistance, was also encircled. AFP cited unconfirmed
reports that the town had been stormed. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.
SOLDIERS' MOTHERS PROTEST BAN ON PEACE MARCH.
The Committee of Soldiers'
Mothers picketed the Defense Ministry in Moscow to protest a ban on their peace
march to Grozny, Russian TV reported on 29 March. On 26 March, OMON troops
blocked the road from Nazran to Grozny and turned back the mothers, who had
pledged to bring their sons back from the front. Col.-Gen. Anatoly Kulikov said
he could not guarantee the mothers' safety from "provocation" by Chechen
fighters. However, representatives of the mothers' committee told Russian TV
that armed troops had "held the defenseless mothers hostage" on 26 March and
forced them to leave the next morning. Maria Kirbasova, the leader of the
nationwide Soldiers' Mothers Committee, told Interfax on 27 March that the
peace marchers were "more afraid of provocation from the federal troops than of
shelling by illegal armed formations," Interfax reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
GRACHEV PROMOTES ZHIRINOVSKY.
Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev
promoted Vladimir Zhirinovsky to the rank of reserve lieutenant colonel on 27
March, Interfax reported on 29 March. The press office of Zhirinovsky's Liberal
Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) told the agency that the promotion came on
the eve of their leader's fiftieth birthday and was in recognition of his
"outstanding contribution to strengthening Russia's defense capability . . . "
-- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIAN PUBLIC TELEVISION TO BEGIN BROADCASTING ON SCHEDULE.
Public Television will begin broadcasting as scheduled on 1 April, Russian and
Western agencies reported. Russian Public Television was created in November
1994 to take over broadcasting on Channel One from the state-run Ostankino
company, but the reorganization plan has been controversial and highly
unpopular among Ostankino employees. Prime Minister Viktor Cherno-myrdin
mediated talks on 29 March between representatives of both companies, and he
promised that the state would continue to order cultural and educational
programs produced by Ostankino radio and television, Interfax reported. In
addition, officials from Ostankino and Russian Public Television agreed to
create a fund to support Ostankino employees whose jobs are to be eliminated in
the restructuring, AFP reported. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
KOZYREV PROMOTING NPT ON MIDEAST TRIP.
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei
Kozyrev is using his current Mideast trip to promote the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Interfax reported on 29 March. At a 28 March
press conference in Cairo, Kozyrev said one of the major purposes of his trip
was "to estimate the contribution which the Russian party can make in the
nuclear non-proliferation regime both on the global and the regional level." He
applauded Egypt's stance on the NPT as "well-balanced and just" and criticized
Israel for failing to adhere to the treaty. Although Russia favors an
indefinite extension of the NPT, Egypt is refusing to support renewal until
Israel agrees to reciprocate. Alluding to Russian nuclear aid to Iran, he said,
"All member-countries of the NPT should have access to the peaceful utilization
of atomic energy. This is the essence of the treaty." Egypt does not favor an
indefinite extension of the NPT as promoted by Russia. Arriving in Damascus
March 29, Kozyrev expressed satisfaction with the talks, saying he and his
Egyptian counterparts were on the "same wavelength." ITAR-TASS reported that
Kozyrev is scheduled to meet with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and Foreign
Minister Faruq al-Shar' on 30 March. -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
INVESTMENT NEEDED FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY.
Russian economic recovery is
impossible without improving the investment climate, Economics Minister Yevgeny
Yasin said at a conference on investment incentives in Moscow on 29 March,
Interfax reported. Yasin spoke of a rapid decrease of capital investment in
the Russian economy in recent years and noted that investment fell by 26% in
1994 from the previous year. Almost 50% of investments were channeled to
housing construction. The minister said the government must now shift to a "new
investment regime" which includes financial stabilization, government support
for private investment, and lower investment risks caused by crime, corruption,
and bureaucracy. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
TEENAGE CRIME ESCALATES IN MOSCOW.
Teenagers committed 60 murders in
Moscow in 1994, compared to only three in 1991, Russian and Western agencies
reported on 29 March. "The modern juvenile criminal is much younger than his
predecessors; he is not studying or working and often commits a crime without
reason and with extreme cruelty," commented Tatyana Maximova, an Interior
Ministry spokeswoman. Maximova cited a gang of children led by a 10-year-old,
which robbed shops, kiosks, and state institutions and surprised the police
with their effectiveness. Under Russian law, criminals under the age of 14
cannot be held responsible for their crimes, but their parents can be fined.
Although a 1993 presidential decree called for the establishment of reform
schools for juvenile criminals, no such schools have been established in
Moscow, according to Maximova. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
MINERS STAGE HUNGER STRIKE.
About 30 miners in the city of Partizansk in
far eastern Russia began a hunger strike on 29 March against the Avangarde mine
in an effort to obtain three months of back pay, AFP and Interfax reported.
Vladimir Guetoun, the Avangarde mine director, said negotiations were underway
to remedy the situation. Miners at Vorkuta in the far north of Russia staged a
strike in mid-March for the same reason. Miners' unions in many regions of
Russia have threatened for two months to strike for back pay, but have delayed
the protest several times. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.
TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA
AZERBAIJANI MEDIA PROTEST CENSORSHIP.
Fourteen Azerbaijani newspapers
have indefinitely suspended publication to protest alleged government
censorship, international media reported on 29 March. Following the suppression
of a rebellion by a special police force earlier this month, Azerbaijani
President Heidar Aliyev has clamped down on opposition parties and newspapers.
Government officials have been censoring all articles that refer to the failed
mutiny. Newspapers in Azerbaijan currently have to pass three official censors:
military, political, and state of emergency. They also must have presidential
approval to publish. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
. . . AND AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION LEADERS ARRESTED.
Following the banning
of the third congress of the Azerbaijan Popular Front in Baku on 25 March, four
of its leaders have been arrested, AFP reported on 29 March. Three vice
presidents--Asim Mollazade, Ibragim Ibragimli, and Mirmakhmud Fattayev--and the
head of the front's women's section, Nouvella Dzhafarova, were detained at
front headquarters in Baku and taken to a police station, according to party
sources. Some 400 arrests have been made in the wake of a failed special police
revolt earlier this month. The four front leaders are charged with "having
organized mass demonstrations in violation of regulations under the state of
emergency" which has been in force since autumn in Baku and Gandzha. -- Lowell
Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
UZBEKISTAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL ON NEED FOR SHAKE UP.
Buritosh Musta-fayev struck out at the professionalism of Uzbekistan's
managerial corps in an interview with the pro-government newspaper,
Narodnoye Slovo, saying they do not meet the "scope and standards" of
economic reforms, Interfax reported on 29 March. He noted that 19,000 officials
faced varying degrees of punishment last year and suggested the figures would
be much lower if managers were more competent both "legally and
professionally." -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.
CIS JOINT EXERCISES BEGIN IN TAJIKISTAN.
A CIS peacekeeping exercise was
scheduled to begin on 29 March in Tajikistan, Interfax reported on 28 March.
Russian Ground Forces Commander Vladimir Semenov said in Dushanbe that the
exercise has an important political component, arguing that it will provide "a
display of force for those who may cherish plans to destabilize the situation
in the region." Russian and Uzbek units, totaling 1,500 troops, are to be
involved. Tajik government forces cannot participate because of a 26 April
cease-fire agreement with the opposition. It is the third such exercise to be
held since 1993. Meanwhile, Russian and Armenian forces are holding their first
joint exercises, from 28 March to 1 April at a Russian training center in the
Caucasus, as part of the CIS collective security agreement. -- Michael Mihalka,
ESTONIAN PRESIDENT WAITS FOR RUSSIAN APOLOGY.
Lennart Meri, in an
interview with Die Welt on 29 March, said he would not attend the
celebrations in Moscow marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II
before Russia "properly apologized" for its occupation and annexation of the
Baltic States, BNS reported. Die Welt noted that President Boris Yeltsin
has apologized to the people of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary for the
actions of the Red Army. But the newspaper commented that "Moscow has not
distanced itself by so much as a single word from the Soviet policy of violence
against the Baltic States." The presidents of the Baltic States received
invitations to the ceremonies in Moscow but decided, as a sign of Baltic
solidarity, that either all three or none would attend the Moscow celebrations.
-- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
FATE OF TWO RUSSIAN ARMY DESERTERS IN LITHUANIA UNCLEAR.
Russian soldiers stationed in Kaliningrad were detained by Lithuanian police
near Vilnius on 25 March, Interfax and BNS reported. Aleksandr Vaselkov and
Ruslan Kurdiukov wanted to avoid being sent to fight in Chechnya and had sent
letters on 27 March to the Lithuanian president and parliament asking for
political asylum. Russian officials have demanded the soldiers extradition.
Russian Ambassador in Vilnius Nikolai Obertyshev told Lithuanian Foreign
Ministry Secretary Albinas Januska that Russian embassy officials should at
least be allowed to talk to the deserters. Seimas Deputy Chairman Aloyzas
Sakalas was quoted by Interfax on 29 March as saying that the Seimas's
Committee on Human Rights and Nationalities had recommended that the soldiers
not be extradited. Since there is no legislative basis for extraditing
deserters to Russia, it is likely that the Seimas will make the final decision
on their future. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
IMF TO DELAY LOAN TO UKRAINE.
The International Monetary Fund on 29
March announced that it is postponing a final decision on granting Ukraine a
$1.8 billion credit package pending the passage in the parliament of the 1995
budget, international agencies reported. The loan was to be considered by the
IMF board on 31 March. Oleksander Sundatov, the IMF's representative in Kiev,
said that although Ukraine's parliament had approved the budget on its first
reading the previous week, the document did not list all revenues and
expenditures. A final vote on the budget is not expected for a month. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
The presidential press service has announced that Minsk
courts have been unable to confirm any of the corruption charges made by deputy
Syarhei Antonchyk in his December report against the head of presidential
affairs, Ivan Tsitsyankou, according to Belarusian Radio on 29 March.
Antonchyk's report has been dismissed as a ploy to gain attention in his bid
for a parliament seat in May. Belarusian Television reported the same day that
71 deputies have signed an appeal to the Constitutional Court to review
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's decree dismissing Iosif Syaryedzich, chief
editor of the parliament newspaper Narodna hazeta, and creating an
oversight committee for mass information. Finally, it was reported on 28 March
that an international meeting was held in Minsk to discuss the coordination of
legal affairs between Belarus's Ministry of Justice and the parliament.
Representatives from the Council of Europe said the two bodies must regulate
concluding and implementing international agreements. --
Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
POLAND'S CONCORDAT STILL ON HOLD.
The Sejm on 29 March voted 184 to 166
to remove from the agenda of its current session the report declaring that the
concordat does not violate the current constitution. The vote was carried by
Democratic Left Alliance and Union of Labor deputies; the Polish Peasant Party
(PSL) and most opposition deputies favored debate. The Sejm also voted down a
PSL motion that would have made possible a vote to ratify the concordat before
the new constitution is completed. The final deadline for the ratification vote
remains 31 December 1995. Gazeta Wyborcza on 30 March argued that the
two votes show that anti-clerical forces are better organized and more
motivated than parties sympathetic to the Church and that compromise on
Church-state relations in the new constitution is becoming less likely.
"Attacking the concordat is the result of political calculation," Bishop
Tadeusz Pieronek commented from Rome. Pieronek added that the Church would
accept a formulation on "worldview neutrality" in the new constitution if there
were an explicit guarantee that the state would not promote atheism. -- Louisa
Vinton, OMRI, Inc.
WALESA PONDERS DECREE POWERS.
President Lech Walesa, speaking to
reporters before departing for an official visit to Sweden on 29 March, argued
that presidential elections should be held only after work on the new
constitution is completed, Gazeta Wyborcza reported. Walesa also
proposed that citizens be asked in the constitutional referendum to grant the
president the right to rule by decree for five to ten years. Constitutional
Commission Chairman Alek-sander Kwasniewski said that work on the new
constitution could be completed within two months but that the timing depended
largely on Walesa, who has six months to propose changes to the draft approved
by the parliament. Kwasniewski argued that the presidential elections should
take place according to the current legal schedule--between 22 October and 22
December, on a date to be set by the Sejm speaker. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI,
COMMUNIST SECRET POLICE AGENTS TO BE NAMED IN RELEASED FILES.
government on 29 March announced that citizens will be able to learn the names
of former communist secret police agents when a new law enabling them to
inspect files comes into effect next year, Czech media report. Files of the StB
security service are classified according to code names given to agents and
collaborators, but the cabinet decided that real names will be disclosed. But
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus said the names of some informants will be blacked
out to distinguish between who was "a chattering neighbor and who was an agent
who worked purposely, knowingly, and to order for the StB." A list of thousands
of purported StB agents, with real and code names, was published several years
ago by a Czechoslovak newspaper. The official files will be open for inspection
for five years from 1 January 1996. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK PREMIER ON CABINET'S FIRST 100 DAYS.
Vladimir Meciar on 29 March
evaluated the first 100 days of his government as "successful," Slovak media
reported. He said his cabinet's accomplishments include the preparation of two
budgets (one of which was provisional), the passage of the "clean hands"
program to fight corruption, the creation of a construction ministry, and the
signing of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty. Meciar said coupon privat-ization will
start in June, and property worth 55 billion koruny will be sold. He criticized
opposition parties for not cooperating with his government, saying that only
his coalition partners are willing to work together in the interest of Slovak
citizens. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK-HUNGARIAN TREATY CONTINUES.
the Slovak National Party, a member of the ruling coalition, have said the
party will not
support the ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty. But
Meciar said on 29 March he believes the parliament will support it anyway,
Slovenska Republika reported. Jan Luptak, chairman of Meciar's other
coalition partner, the Association of Slovak Workers, told the newspaper that
he viewed the government's progress on the treaty positively but added that the
inclusion of the Council of Europe Recommendation 1201 is "unacceptable" to his
party. Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement Deputy Chairman Pal Farkas said
it is necessary to start implementing the agreement and stressed that the
government should finally start discussions with representatives of minorities.
Another ethnic Hungarian party in Slovakia, the Coexistence movement, has
called for constitutional changes to give minorities the right to
self-government. At a press conference on 28 March, the party said that
cultural and educational autonomy cannot exist without territorial autonomy. --
Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN, SLOVAK COMMENTS ON NATO.
Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy
Keleti has said that within the next three years, Hungary will complete the
reforms necessary to prepare its armed forces for full integration into NATO.
He told Reuters on 28 March that Hungary will meet all the military and
technical requirements for NATO membership. He also said that Hungary will make
its military and civilian air traffic control systems NATO-compatible within
the same time frame, allowing the country to take part in joint air defense
operations with NATO. Meanwhile, Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk, in an
interview with The Washington Times on 28 March, stressed his country's
position that the Visegrad countries should enter NATO as a bloc and not
individually, as advocated by the Czechs. He said "the partial, individual
approach can end in undesirable results." He also commented that NATO should
reach an understanding with Russia on eastward expansion "so that Russia
doesn't feel in danger." -- Michael Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARY, AUSTRIA DISCUSS SCHENGEN AGREEMENTS.
Hungarian Internal Affairs
Minister Gabor Kuncze and his Austrian counterpart, Franz Loeschnak, met at the
Austrian-Hungarian border on 29 March to discuss the impact of the so-called
Schengen agreements. Under those accords, seven member countries of the
European Union recently abolished border controls at their joint borders,
causing huge traffic jams at border crossings between EU and non-EU states in
particular. Austria is planning to sign the Schengen agreements next month and
implement them fully within two years. Hungarian media report an unnamed
Hungarian official as saying that Hungary would find Austria's implementation
of the agreements "discriminatory" toward Hungarians. He warned that Hungary's
tourist trade could be threatened if tourists had to wait for hours at border
crossings to enter or leave Hungary. Poland recently protested attempts to
separate EU and non-EU traffic at its border with Germany, saying it would not
allow Poles to be treated like "second class citizens." -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI,
RUSSIANS COVER SERBIAN TROOPS AND TANKS MOVING INTO CROATIA.
Newsday reports on 30 March that the Russian commander of UN forces in
Serbian-occupied eastern Croatia told Belgian troops recently not to block a
Serbian military convoy moving in from Serbia. The shipment involved at least
900 rump Yugoslav soldiers, up to 20 tanks, ground-to-ground rockets, and
various other weapons. The paper says that "this was the largest movement of
Yugoslav troops into the zone since they withdrew as part of a ceasefire
negotiated in 1991." It also notes that the arrival of new M-84 and T-72 tanks
tips the military balance in the area in the Serbs' favor. Croatia has
protested the development as proof of the UN's inefficiency and of Belgrade's
direct involvement in the conflict. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
IZETBEGOVIC WARNS THAT MILOSEVIC STILL WANTS A GREATER SERBIA.
Slobodna Dalmacija on 30 March quotes Bosnian President Alija
Izetbegovic as telling his mainly Muslim party's convention two days earlier
that Serbian President Slobadan Milosevic has cut ties to Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic but that Milosevic remains close to the Bosnian Serb military
establishment. He also noted that the Serbian president still aims at setting
up a greater Serbia at the expense of Croatia and Bosnia. Meanwhile on the
Bosnian battle fronts, the VOA says that heavy snowfalls have reduced fighting
to sporadic levels, while Vjesnik reports that Serbian forces still
control the key television transmitter in the Majevica hills northeast of
Tuzla. Nasa Borba covers Karadzic's latest statements, in which he
threatens to take Tuzla and Sarajevo if the government offensive continues. He
also said he will consider UN forces hostile if the world body calls in NATO
air strikes against his troops. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
MACEDONIAN ALBANIANS MEET WITH VAN DER STOEL.
secretary of the ethnic Albanian Democratic People's Party (PDP), and other
party representatives met with the OSCE High Commissioner on National
Minorities Max van der Stoel, Flaka reported on 30 March. The PDP
representatives claimed that the Macedonian government is making no serious
effort to eliminate discrimination against ethnic Albanians and to improve the
human rights situation in the country. The PDP recently boycotted parliament
sessions following a police crackdown on the self-declared Albanian-language
university in Tetovo in February. Van der Stoel called on the Albanians to
continue a dialogue with the Macedonian government in order to solve the
university conflict and other problems. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
MACEDONIA SEEKS FINANCIAL AID.
Nova Makedonija on 30 March
reported that Macedonia is seeking loans totaling $85 million from the EBRD and
the World Bank. The money is intended for Macedonia's private sector, primarily
for small industrial, agricultural, and tourist companies. Deputy Minister for
Development Spase Lazarevski was quoted as saying that talks with the EBRD are
about to start, while negotiations with the World Bank have reached the final
stage. It was also reported that a fund aimed at creating and securing new jobs
in the private sector will be set up. Macedonia and Germany will each pay 10
million German marks ($7 million) into the fund. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
ROMANIAN TV UNION LEADER CONTINUES HUNGER STRIKE.
leader Dumitru Iuga, who has been on a hunger strike for the past 28 days to
protest alleged political interference in state television, talked for four
hours to journalists on 29 March. He vowed to continue his protest and said the
parliament was dragging its feet over the confirmation of a new TV management
board, whose members were elected by the staff on 25 July 1994. According to
Iuga, the administration is seeking to put its appointees in top management
posts. Radio Bucharest reported that groups of demonstrators picketed the TV
building in a show of support for the union leader, whose condition was said to
be deteriorating rapidly. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
PROTESTS CONTINUE IN CHISINAU.
Students continued to strike in the
Moldovan capital on 29 March, despite reports the previous day that a
compromise had been reached with the Moldovan government, Reuters reported.
Some 5,000 students rallied in front of the government building, while hundreds
of others marched through the city calling on residents to join them. The
students are protesting plans to replace courses in the history of the
Romanians with courses in the history of Moldova. Moldovan President Mircea
Snegur met the same day with representatives of students and teaching staff in
an attempt to defuse the crisis. Romanian TV, citing Moldpres, said that Snegur
proposed a moratorium until a solution was found. He also suggested that the
controversial Article 13 of the country's constitution, which defines the
official language as Moldovan rather than Romanian, could be revised by the
parliament. In a related development, a spokesman for the Romanian Foreign
Ministry dismissed speculation in the Moldovan media that the Romanian embassy
in Chisinau had been involved in the protests. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN JUDICIAL COUNCIL WANTS INVESTIGATION SERVICES HEAD DISMISSED.
The Supreme Judicial Council on 29 March recommended that Ani Kruleva, director
of the National Investigation Service, be dismissed for incompetence, BTA
reported the same day. The 25-member council voted in a secret ballot to
relieve Kruleva of her duties. Under Bulgarian law, President Zhelyu Zhelev has
to approve the decision. Kruleva, who was appointed by Zhelev in 1992, came
under fire when eight members of the council introduced a motion for her
dismissal on 15 March on the grounds of serving political interests,
incompetence, and lack of professionalism. The Presi-dent's Office did not
comment on the council's vote, but Kruleva was cited by Reuters as saying that
"only a presidential decree can relieve me from my post . . . . I am still NIS
director until such a decree is issued." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
TWO MAIN ALBANIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES SAY THEY COOPERATE.
The leaders of
the Albanian Socialist Party and the Democratic Alliance passed a declaration
on 29 March saying that their parties "are not in conflict," Gazeta
Shqiptare reported the following day. The Democratic Alliance considers
itself a center-right party, while the SP is the successor of the Communists.
SP deputy leader Namik Dokle stressed that both parties cooperate on "many
important political questions, such as supporting the creation of a
constitutional state, the battle against corruption, the protection of human
rights, and especially efforts to base privatization on a law passed in the
parliament and not on decisions by the government." -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI,
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave