OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 101, 25 May 1995
DUMA FAILS TO OVERRIDE YELTSIN VETO OF ELECTORAL LAW.
An attempt by a
group of deputies in the State Duma to override President Yeltsin's veto of the
Duma electoral law on 24 May, fell short of the necessary 300 votes, Reuters
reported. In two rounds of voting, the president's critics found only 243 votes
in the first round and 237 in the second. On 11 May, 302 deputies voted for the
bill, but now, fewer are willing to risk direct confrontation with the
president. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
AGRARIAN PARTY MAY INITIATE NO CONFIDENCE VOTE IN GOVERNMENT.
Agrarian Party is dissatisfied with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's
government because of its policies of redistributing land and its reduction in
state suppoN ALONE. The
on 24 May. Lapshin complained that terfax on 24 May. Lapshin complained that
the cabinet delayed payments on credits offered in 1993 and 1994, failed to
improve relations between the state and the agricultural sector, and did
nothing to eliminate the disparity between the prices farmers must pay for
their equipment and the prices they get for their produce. Lapshin's faction
has 54 members, short of the 90 necessary to initiate a no-confidence vote. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF RUSSIA TO CAMPAIGN ALONE.
The Democratic Party of
Russia will not join any parliamentary electoral blocs, the party's
parliamentary leader Stanislav Govorukhin announced on 24 May, according to
Interfax. However, party leader Sergei Glazyev did not rule out an alliance
with Dmitry Rogozin's Congress of Russian Communities or Yury Skokov's
Federation of Commodity Producers. Glazyev said stabilization is impossible in
Russia unless the ministers responsible for the country's current
social-economic policy are replaced. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
FEDERATION COUNCIL'S COURT APPEAL ON CHECHNYA STILL FLAWED.
Constitutional Court may again refuse to consider the Federation Council's
appeal concerning Yeltsin's secret decrees on the military campaign in
Chechnya, Interfax and Russian Public Television reported on 24 May. Earlier
this month, the court rejected the Council's first appeal on the
constitutionality of the Chechnya decrees for two reasons: the documents had
been marked "classified," and they did not contain the text of the decrees the
court was asked to consider. Council Chairman Vladimir Shumeiko, who is also a
member of the president's Security Council, promised to correct those flaws and
resubmit the case. However, sources close to the court told Interfax that
although the second appeal was declassified, the Council "ignored" the court's
request to attach the text of the presidential decrees to the documents. --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
ROSSIISKAYA GAZETA: MASS MEDIA "UNDER CHUBAIS' HEEL."
unusually sharp attack on a cabinet member, the official government newspaper
Rossiiskaya gazeta on 25 May accused First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly
Chubais of controlling the mass media. The author noted that Chubais' former
press secretary was appointed deputy director general in charge of news
programming at the new Russian Public Television company, which broadcasts on
Channel 1. The author also said Chubais had helped Vladimir Gusinsky's Most
group buy broadcasting privileges for NTV on what had been a state-owned
channel. As a result, Rossiiskaya gazeta charged, NTV "directly conducts
a policy to discredit the president and the government" but displays an "almost
servile deference" to Chubais. The author asserted that many Russian newspapers
were also "under the heel" of Chubais, who could potentially put them out of
business by privatizing state-run publishing houses. -- Laura Belin, OMRI,
DUMA REJECTS DRAFT LAW ON PRESERVING LENIN MEMORIALS.
The Duma rejected
on its first reading a proposal advanced by the Communist Party to protect
Vladimir Lenin memorials as historical and cultural monuments, Interfax
reported on 24 May. The draft law would have guaranteed the preservation of
Lenin's body and his mausoleum in Moscow, along with other Lenin museums
nationwide and Lenin statues "of outstanding architectural merit." -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.
COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY CREATED.
Appearing at the first
meeting of the Council on Science and Technology Policy, President Yeltsin said
science policy should be aimed toward "development," not only "survival,"
Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 25 May. Yeltsin charged the council with
solving the problem of the emigration of talented scientists, defending the
intellectual property of Russian scientists, and developing more international
scientific contacts. He also promised to increase state funding for science in
the 1996 budget. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA PARTICIPATION IN NATO'S PfP REMAINS UNCERTAIN.
remains over whether Russia will sign an individual work plan in NATO's
Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, Interfax and AFP reported on 24 May. After
the Russian Security Council held a meeting to discuss NATO and European
security on 24 May, council secretary Oleg Lobov said "conditions for enlarging
[NATO] must be linked to this partnership." He said signing the work plan on 31
May has not been "ruled out," if Russia and NATO can "agree on a formula for
this signature." After his 10 May summit with President Yeltsin, U.S. President
Bill Clinton said he had been given assurances that Russia would sign its NATO
PfP work plan by the end of the month. However, Lobov cast doubt on the 31 May
date when he said the document outlining the principles for dialogue between
Russia and NATO "will not come into being in the next few weeks." -- Michael
Mihalka, OMRI, Inc.
"NEW" NAVAL MISSILE IS YEARS OLD.
The Russian underwater anti-ship
missile named "Shkval [Squall]," recently reported on by Jane's Intelligence
Review, has been in service with the Russian navy for several years,
according to a senior Russian official quoted by ITAR-TASS on 24 May. The
magazine reported that the "new" weapon could travel at nearly 200 knots and
"could put Western naval forces at a considerable disadvantage." Anton Surikov,
an adviser with the Institute of Defense Research, told the agency that the
fuss about the Shkval was timed to coincide with parliamentary hearings on
defense budgets in Western countries. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA HOPES TO RESTRUCTURE LONG-TERM DEBT.
Russian Economics Minister
Yevgeny Yasin said he hopes Russia can restructure its long-term debt by the
end of the year, Reuters reported on 24 May. The comment came after Yasin met
with the head of the Paris Club of government creditors to which Russia owes
over 50% of its $130 billion debt. The Paris Club has continually restructured
Russia's massive short-term4Iïy[sterling]e last three years and is
expected to do so again for 1995 when it meets next week. Rescheduling the
long-term debt will probably depend on Russia's success in sticking to its
IMF-backed economic stabilization plan for 1995. -- Michael Mihalka., OMRI,
PANSKOV UPBEAT ON ECONOMY . . .
Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov told
the Duma on 24 May that Russia's economic performance in the first four months
of the year "reaffirmed the trend toward economic stabilization," Interfax
reported. He said GDP reached 275 trillion rubles ($55 billion) (compared with
planned levels of 200-260 trillion rubles ($40-$52 billion), output fell by 5%
instead of 6%-8%, and the budget deficit dropped to 3.5% of GDP instead of the
expected 8%. According to a government budget report, revenue rose to 32
trillion rubles ($6 billion) in the first quarter (103.3% of planned levels),
while expenditure totaled 38.7 trillion rubles ($8 billion) (82% of the target
figure). -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
. . . BUT OTHERS LESS CONFIDENT.
There is no reason to speak of
"economic stability," according to a Duma Economic Policy Committee report
cited by Interfax. It noted that the decline in manufacturing output is
disproportionately large and that inflation ran at an average rate of 13% from
January to March although the budget envisaged a rate of 5%. Meanwhile, Harvard
professor Jeffrey Sachs observed that Russia had made some headway on
macroeconomic stabilization recently but warned that low public confidence
could undermine further progress if the country's leaders were not more open.
He criticized the Finance Ministry and Central Bank for withholding key data or
sharing them only with insiders. Transparency, he contended, helps build public
confidence and dampens inflationary expectations. Sachs also said the Chechen
war is "one of many mysteries" in Russian economic policy, noting that on
paper, the five-month operation had cost nothing because it was spread across
numerous budgets. Reform economist Andrei Illarionov pointed to growing state
consumption as an indirect indicator of the cost of the war, Interfax reported.
-- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
OIL EXPORT FIGURES.
From January to April, Russia exported 37.6 million
tons of crude oil and 71.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas, Interfax
reported on 24 May, citing Goskomstat. Oil exports to the "far abroad" amounted
to 29.5 million tons--a 10% increase on the same period in 1994. The average
price of oil to Europe and the U.S. was $110 per ton and to the CIS, $78.80 per
ton. Exports to the CIS--8.1 million tons--were down 7% on the previous year.
Exports of natural gas to the CIS and other countries were up 16% and 10%
respectively over the first four months of 1994. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
INVESTIGATION INTO MEN CASE CONTINUES.
According to a press release from
the Prosecutor's Office, the investigation into the murder of priest Alexander
Men is continuing, Interfax reported on 24 May. Earlier reports said the
investigation had been discontinued. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 101, 25 May 1995
RECRIMINATIONS OVER KARABAKH TALKS.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Hasan
Hasanov responded on 24 May to the Armenian government's decision to boycott
the next round of OSCE-mediated Karabakh peace talks in protest against the
repeated sabotage of gas supplies to Armenia, Reuters reported on 24 May
quoting Interfax. Hasanov accused Armenia of trying to interrupt the Karabakh
peace process and rejected Armenian charges that Azerbaijan is responsible for
blowing up the gas pipeline, accusing the Armenians of having done so
themselves. Azerbaijani state foreign policy adviser Vafa Gulu-Zade told
journalists on 24 May that he thinks the Armenian decision is "a spontaneous,
rash one," and that the Armenian government will reconsider it. -- Liz Fuller,
KAZAKHSTAN CONFIRMS IT IS NUCLEAR FREE.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry
announced on 24 May that there are no more nuclear warheads on the republic's
territory, Kazakh radio reported. The commander-in-chief of Russia's Strategic
Missile Forces made a similar announcement on 25 April. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI,
RUSSIA RATIFIES TREATY WITH BELARUS.
The Russian State Duma ratified the
treaty on friendship and cooperation with Belarus by a vote of 333 to one,
Radio Rossiya reported on 24 May. The Belarusian parliament had ratified the
treaty on 12 April. Belarusian radio reported the same day that Russian and
Belarusian leaders are expected to decide on forming a joint customs union
during the 26 May CIS summit in Minsk. Russian Minister for Cooperation with
CIS Countries Valery Serov said the price his country charges Belarus for gas
might be lowered, Interfax reported. Belarus is paying $53 per 1,000 cubic
meters, which is more than the $50 Ukraine pays, but considerably less than the
world price of $80. Serov linked the price of gas to Russia's use of military
bases in Belarus by pointing out that Minsk is not charging Russia for leasing
the facilities that would cost about $340 million annually. -- Ustina Markus,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 101, 25 May 1995
UKRAINIAN DELEGATION APPEALS FOR WESTERN INVESTMENT.
delegation headed by Acting Prime Minister Yevhen Marchuk has appealed for
greater Western private investment as Ukraine enters the second phase of
economic reforms, Reuters and Radio Ukraine reported 24 May. The delegation was
taking part in a London conference for foreign investors organized by the Adam
Smith Institute. Marchuk told the gathering that the Ukrainian leadership was
ready to endure the pain of reforms but stressed that much of their success
depended upon a "serious inflow" of private capital. He said foreign investors
are viewed as equal to their domestic counterparts. Viktor Pynzenyk, deputy
prime minister in charge of reforms who was also part of the delegation, warned
that opponents of free-market changes are expected
to continue resisting
reforms. -- Chrystyna Lapychak , OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT CONFIRMS SECURITY CONCEPT.
Ukrainian Radio on 24
May reported that Ukraine's parliament has adopted the Concept on National
Security on its first reading. The document sets out Ukraine's priorities as
ensuring state sovereignty, preserving its territorial integrity, and upholding
the inviolability of borders. It also calls for overcoming the economic crisis,
developing democratic institutions, and integration into the world and European
community. Among the threats listed to Ukraine's security are interference in
the country's internal affairs, territorial claims, instability and conflicts
in neighboring states, separatism, and violations of the constitutional system.
The document also lists economic threats to the nation's security. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
CRIMEAN LAWMAKERS PROTEST DIVISION OF PROPERTY.
Crimean legislators have
called on the Ukrainian government to suspend a 5 May order dividing up
jurisdiction over long-disputed property on the peninsula between Kiev and
regional authorities, Interfax-Ukraine and Ukrainian Television reported. The
decision turned over 729 properties-- including state farms, Defense Ministry
installations, research and training institutes, and several sanitariums and
boarding houses--to Kiev. Some 230 factories, institutes, and organizations
remain under Crimean control. Some of that property is earmarked for
privatization. The deputies have asked the Ukrainian parliament to set up a
joint commission to settle the property dispute. The government ruling says
that all proceeds from privatization in Crimea will remain in the hands of
local authorities. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS IN MINSK.
Reuters reported on 24 May that some
300 students demonstrated in Minsk to protest the referendum decision to
restore Soviet-era state symbols. The students marched in front of President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka's residence and flung one of the newly approved
Soviet-type flags into a public toilet. Police broke up the demonstration,
beating several students and detaining 29. As the referendum must still be
confirmed by parliament, it is uncertain whether the Soviet-type flag or the
red-and-white Belarusian one is legal. The day after the referendum, an aide to
the president tore down the Belarusian flag from the president's building and
shredded it. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
MEETING OF BALTIC, NORDIC DEFENSE MINISTERS.
The annual meeting of the
defense ministers of the three Baltic States and four Nordic Council states was
held on 22-23 May on the Danish island of Bornholm, BNS reported the following
day. The Nordic ministers described the formation of the Baltic Peacekeeping
Battalion as a model for East-West military cooperation and praised the Baltic
States, especially Lithuania, for their active participation in NATO's
Partnership for Peace program. Lithuanian Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius
noted that although financial difficulties prevented Lithuania from
participating in all 11 planned PfP military exercises, it would participate in
six. The next annual meeting of the defense ministers will take place in
Vilnius in the spring of 1996. -- Saulius Girnius , OMRI, Inc.
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN ESTONIA.
Leonid Kuchma, on the first day of his
visit to Tallinn on 24-25 May, signed a declaration on developing cooperation
and partnership with his Estonian counterpart, Lennart Meri, BNS reported. The
14-point declaration is intended to give the "necessary dynamism" to the
Friendship and Cooperation Treaty, signed on 26 May 1992. Both sides expressed
the desire to increase cooperation vis-a-vis international organizations,
particularly in gaining membership in the European Union. Foreign Ministers
Henadii Udovenko (Ukraine) and Riivo Sinijarv (Estonia) signed agreements on
free trade and cooperation in the sphere of sea navigation. Kuchma will also
meet with Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and visit the Estonian parliament before
returning to Kiev. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
LATVIA'S BANKING CRISIS.
Prime Minister Maris Gailis on 24 May accepted
the resignation of Andris Piebags as finance minister, BNS reported. Gailis
also expressed his support for retaining Einars Repse and Ilmars Rimsevics as
Bank of Latvia president and vice president. A no confidence vote in the two
bank officials, proposed by 16 deputies from the Popular Concord Party, the
Political Union of Economists, and the Democratic Party, is to be held in the
Saeima on 25 May. Jukka Paljarvi, International Monetary Fund representative in
Estonia, praised the lats stability and Repse's role in setting up a stable
state financial system. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER ON POLICY PRIORITIES.
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski on
24 May presented to the Sejm the country's foreign policy priorities, which, he
said, have remained unchanged since 1989. These include membership in NATO and
the European Union as well as friendly relations with all neighbors. Poland
considers NATO membership a guarantee for security in the region. Bartoszewski
commented that Moscow's objections to the pact's enlargement have caused fear
that a policy of the "spheres of influence" is returning, Polish media
reported. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH ZLOTY TO BECOME CONVERTIBLE?
Polish Finance Minister Grzegorz
Kolodko and Polish National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz on 24 May
sent a letter to the International Monetary Fund committing Poland not to limit
currency exchanges and asking the IMF to approve the convertibility of the
zloty, Polish media reported. Of the 179 IMF members countries, 100 have
convertible currencies according to IMF standards. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI,
CZECH PARLIAMENT FAILS TO OVERRIDE HAVEL'S VETOES.
The Czech parliament
on 24 May failed to pass two draft laws that President Vaclav Havel recently
refused to sign. The two bills are on rewarding resistance fighters who fought
against the Nazis in World War II and on restricting smoking and reducing
alcoholism and other drug dependency. Havel objected to the first bill because
he considered it would exclude those resistance fighters who later collaborated
with the communist regime. He argued that it was not acceptable to make the
rewarding of heroism during the war conditional on subsequent acts and
behavior. In vetoing the anti-smoking bill, Havel said that while he was not
opposed in principle to restrictions on smoking, the bill contravened the Paris
Convention on the Protection of Industrial Products. He also commented that it
would cause economic losses. Some deputies said after the unsuccessful attempt
to override Havel's vetoes that they would modify both bills toreflect the
president's objections and resubmit them to the parliament. -- Jiri Pehe,
UPDATE ON DEMOCRATIC UNION ELECTION LISTS.
Police officials are
questioning the 14,929 citizens whose names appeared on the Democratic Union's
petition lists to ensure that their signatures are valid, Sme reported
on 24-25 May. The DU needed 10,000 signatures to run in last fall's
parliamentary elections, but the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia has
claimed that a number of the signatures it collected were forged.
Attorney-General Michal Valo said on Slovak Radio on 23 May that although some
people could be prosecuted for forging signatures, the composition of the
parliament should not be affected. He also stressed that citizens whose names
appear on the lists with false signatures will not be considered guilty. DU
Chairman Jozef Moravcik said in an interview with Smena on 24 May that
his party regards the investigation as a violation of the criminal code. He
commented that the police should be used for matters other than "political
persecution." -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK ECONOMIC OVERVIEW.
The Slovak cabinet on 23 May discussed the
budget deficit, which reached 4 billion koruny during the first quarter of
1995, Sme reported. But contrary to expectations, it did not debate
options for the Czech-Slovak clearing agreement. Although Slovakia recently
revalued its currency by 4 percentage points against the clearing ECU, the
Czech Republic prefers to cancel the agreement. In other news, Narodna
obroda on 24 May reported that in April, Slovak imports totaled 19.2
billion koruny and exports 21 billion koruny. In the first four months of the
year, Slovakia registered a trade surplus of 1.4 billion koruny. Slovakia's
biggest export markets in 1994 were the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary,
Austria, Italy, and Russia. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES AUSTERITY PACKAGE.
The Hungarian parliament
on 23 May passed the bulk of an austerity package designed to reduce the
country's $4 billion deficit, international and Hungarian media reported. The
package includes the introduction of new taxes and university tuition fees, and
the abolition of family allowances as a civic right. A final vote is scheduled
to take place in a few days after experts have made sure that none of the
amendments are mutually exclusive. The drive to cut the deficit began on 12
March when the government announced it would slash 170 billion forint ($1.35
billion) from the 450 billion forint budget deficit. While most of the measures
proposed by the government were approved, the parliament rejected a proposed
20% cut in financial support for municipal governments. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 101, 25 May 1995
UN THREATENS AIR STRIKES . . .
The United Nations on 24 May issued an
ultimatum to the warring sides around Sarajevo either to silence their heavy
weapons by noon local time the following day or face the threat of NATO air
power. It also demanded the return by the same time of four heavy guns pilfered
by Bosnian Serb forces just outside Sarajevo. All other heavy weapons are to be
surrendered to the UN or removed from the exclusion area around the city by
noon local time on 26 May. If they are not removed, the warring sides will
again face the possibility of air strikes, according to the ultimatum. Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has reacted forcefully, insisting that Bosnian
Serb forces will treat UN soldiers as "hostile" if NATO launches air strikes.
Reuters quotes Karadzic as saying that "if the UN orders air strikes, we are
going to treat the UN as the enemy." According to international media, Sarajevo
and its environs were relatively calm and quiet on the morning of 25 May. --
Stan Markotich , OMRI, Inc.
. . . AFTER VIOLENCE FLARES IN SARAJEVO.
UN calls for NATO air strikes
come in the wake of some of the most serious fighting to hit the Bosnian
capital over the past year at least. The Croatian news agency Hina on 24 May
reported that at least five people were killed and 30 injured when Bosnian Serb
artillery pounded the city and surrounding areas the same day. It also observed
that phosphorous bombs, forbidden by Geneva conventions, were among those used
in the latest attacks. -- Stan Markotich , OMRI, Inc.
PEACEKEEPING IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA.
Reuters on 24 May reports that UN
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali will formally outline by 26 May a
series of proposals for the future of peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, which
may include withdrawals, greater use of air strikes, or scaling back
operations. It is reported that unlike in the past, Boutros Ghali is likely to
refrain from preferring one option over the other. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba
and Vjesnik on 25 May report that if UN peacekeepers do withdraw from
Bosnia, up to 50,000 NATO forces may be dispatched to offer the peacekeepers
protection during the withdrawal process. The dailies also observe that U.S.
Secretary of Defense William Perry has suggested that half the NATO contingent
may come from the U.S. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
OTHER NEWS FROM FORMER YUGOSLAVIA.
Nasa Borba on 25 May quotes UN
human rights envoy Tadeusz Mazowiecki as suggesting at a press conference in
Pakrac the previous day that the Croatian army may have committed some human
rights violations against Serbs during its advance on rebel Serb-held parts of
western Slavonia earlier this month. But the daily also notes that Mazowiecki
offered few details to back this claim. Hina observed that Mazowiecki noted his
understanding of the situation was still somewhat "murky." The envoy's probe
into alleged human rights violations continues on 25 May in Zagreb. Meanwhile,
Nasa Borba also reports on Moscow envoy Alexander Zotov's second day in
Belgrade, noting that the Russian representative has already said he sees
little reason for the international community to insist on the continued
imposition of sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI,
ANOTHER ETHNIC ALBANIAN CONVICTED IN MACEDONIA.
Musli Alimi, a former
university professor from Kosovo, was sentenced to eight months in jail on 24
May, international agencies reported the same day. He was convicted on charges
of obstructing the police during riots in February when thousands of ethnic
Albanians tried to prevent policemen from closing down the self-declared
Albanian-language university in Tetovo. One Albanian died during the clashes.
Alimi is the fifth ethnic Albanian sentenced in connection with the riot. --
Stefan Krause , OMRI, Inc.
MACEDONIAN COALITION ABOUT TO SPLIT?
The ruling Macedonian coalition,
currently facing its most serious crisis since it was formed seven months ago,
may be on the verge of splitting, Reuters reported on 24 May. The Liberal
Party, second-largest of the three members of the ruling Alliance for
Macedonia, has announced it will press embezzlement charges against Finance
Minister Jane Miljovski, deputy leader of the Social Democratic Alliance, the
largest coalition partner. Miljovski is accused of depositing into his party's
account 8.1 million denars ($212,000) designated for the Liberals. The Liberal
Party has invited the two major opposition parties to attend its next congress,
which will discuss the future of the coalition. The Alliance for Macedonia won
93 of the 120 seats in the fall 1994 parliamentary elections. The Liberals hold
29 of these seats. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAW ON SPEEDING UP PRIVATIZATION.
chambers of the Romanian parliament on 24 May voted by 249 to 147 to approve a
report by a mediation commission on the draft bill on accelerating
privatization in Romania. Radio Bucharest said the report's approval amounted
to the de facto ratification of the law itself. The controversial legislation
had already been passed by both chambers but in slightly differing forms. The
same source described the 24 May debates as "heated and occasionally even
tense." Members of the opposition announced that they would ask the
Constitutional Court to block the law. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIA'S STRATEGY FOR JOINING EU TAKES SHAPE.
The government commission
charged with working out Romania's strategy for joining the European Union
convened on 23-24 May at Snagov, near Bucharest, Radio Bucharest reported. The
commission pledged to present in early June the drafts of a framework program
for joining the EU and a "white charter" on Romania's integration into that
organization at the beginning of the 21st century. The conference was attended
by senior officials, including Mircea Cosea, the head of the government's
Council for Economic Coordination, Strategy, and Reform, and National Bank
Governor Mugur Isarescu, as well as leading religious and cultural figures. --
Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.
DUMA PASSES LAW ON 14TH ARMY ON FIRST READING.
The Russian State Duma on
24 May approved by 227 to two with five abstentions a draft law on the 14th
Army on its first reading, Interfax reports. The bill provides for a moratorium
on plans to reorganize the army and withdraw it from the Dniester region as
well as continued financing for the army from the federal budget. The Duma also
adopted a resolution on ensuring the safety of all weaponsagreement signed
Istvan Gyarmati, who is paying a visit to Chisinau, that he was opposed to the
idea that the 14th Army be granted peacekeeping functions. -- Danepresentative
Istvan Gyarmati, who is paying a visit to Chisinau, that he was opposed to the
idea that the 14th Army be granted peacekeeping functions. -- Dan Ionescu,
BULGARIA'S LAST COMMUNIST PREMIER TO HEAD STATE-RUN COMPANY.
Lukanov is to head the Bulgarian-Russian gas company, which will be set up in
accordance with an agreement signed during Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin's visit to Sofia on 18-19 May, Standart reports on 25 May.
The newspaper says that his return to an official post after five years puts
him in a key position both in the field of economics and in relations with
Russia. Lukanov was first deputy prime minister in the 1980s and was elected to
the Politbureau in 1989. From 1989 to 1990, he was Bulgaria's last communist
premier. In order to head the new company, Lukanov will have to resign his seat
in the parliament. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave