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Newsline - June 1, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 106. 1 June 1995
YELTSIN RELUCTANT TO ACCEPT JAPANESE AID FOR QUAKE VICTIMS.
President Yeltsin rebuffed an offer from Japan to help victims of the earthquake on Sakhalin, remarking on 31 May that "we are able to deal with this ourselves" and that "for years afterward, they wouldn't let us forget it and would then tell us to hand back the Kuril Islands," AFP reported. Japan was quick to offer supplies and personnel, but Moscow accepted only medicines, food, and water. Aid has also arrived from South Korea, while the Russian Finance Ministry has allocated 70 billion rubles ($14 million) to the relief operation. Both officials and survivors have blamed shoddy Soviet-era construction for the number of casualties from the quake, which flattened the oil town of Neftegorsk, leaving 659 dead and 295 injured as of 31 May. Scientists have also criticized the government for underfunding seismological stations, noting that 30 have been closed in the Far East, ITAR-TASS reported. * Penny Morvant

RUSSIA LAUNCHES NEW SECURITY DIALOGUE WITH NATO.
Russia launched its new consultative dialogue with NATO on 31 May, international agencies reported on 1 June. In addition to agreeing to pursue its own program in NATO's Partnership for Peace, Russia also agreed to start a new security dialogue with the alliance. NATO sources believe such a dialogue will allow NATO expansion to take place by the end of century. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said NATO must be "transformed from a military alliance to a political organization" if it is to become part of a pan-European security system. If NATO remains a "purely military bloc," Russia must question "whom NATO is going to defend itself against." Kozyrev stressed the importance of Russia's new relationship with NATO and said he looked forward to working out the details of the arrangement. * Michael Mihalka

OBSERVER: MILITARY BESTS FOREIGN MINISTRY IN NATO POLICY.
The Russian Defense Ministry's "principled" stance against NATO expansion has prevailed over the "time-serving" views of the Foreign Ministry, according to a high-ranking defense official quoted by Segodnya. "A set of measures have been approved that should prevent NATO expansion," the official said. Russia's decision to join the Partnership for Peace (PfP), was conditional on the NATO Council session's decision not to expand the alliance, Segodnya reported. Kozyrev expressed Russia's negative views regarding NATO expansion and suggested that "hasty resolution" of the issue "would threaten" the usefulness of Russia's involvement in the PfP. The article predicted Russia would immediately suspend its PfP participation if new members were accepted. In their communique, NATO foreign ministers repeated their past formulations on the "evolutionary" process of admitting new members, and expressed satisfaction on the progress of the study to determine "how NATO will enlarge." * Doug Clarke

ILYUKHIN ANNOUNCES TWO APPEALS TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
Duma Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin is preparing two appeals to the Constitutional Court, Radio Rossii reported on 31 May. In his first appeal, Ilyukhin will charge that the Federation Council violates the separation of powers, since half its members represent executive branches of Russia's 89 regions. In his second appeal, Ilyukhin will ask the court to nullify the results of the 12 December 1993 constitutional referendum, arguing that the voter turnout was less than the 50% required by law. Ilyukhin said he would submit the appeals despite his doubts about the court's objectivity and independence, NTV reported. * Laura Belin

POLTORANIN DEFENDS LAW ON MASS MEDIA.
Duma Press and Information Committee Chairman Mikhail Poltoranin defended the law on the mass media that the Federation Council rejected on 23 May, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 1 June. The law would replace most media subsidies with tax breaks and lower customs duties. Poltoranin said the media's political and financial independence was at stake and criticized journalists who "won't lift a finger to protect themselves." He added that his committee received very few suggestions on the draft law, despite sending copies to the Union of Journalists and editors of more than 200 local newspapers. Poltoranin said the law would fight "shameless monopolism" and create real competition in vital areas such as the production of newsprint and publishing equipment. * Laura Belin

REUTERS ACCUSED OF CONTROLLING NEWS MARKET.
The Reuters news agency is using its financial might to take control of the Russian news market, according to an article in the 25-31 May edition of Obshchaya gazeta. The author said Reuters is not a "fair fighter" and accused the agency of offering higher salaries to the best Russian engineers, photographers, and reporters. He also charged that the Reuters Moscow bureau, which is oriented primarily towards financial and economic news, has established "exclusive" relations with Russia's 50 most powerful banks. The author noted that AFP is also expanding its presence in Russia. He warned that if laws are not written to protect the media, all the news in Russia might soon be controlled by "foreign information empires." * Laura Belin

POLEVANOV CONCENTRATES ON NEW POLITICAL MOVEMENT.
Vladimir Polevanov, fired on 29 May from his post as deputy head of the president's oversight department, said his New Russia bloc, which claims 5,000 members in 50 regions, will work in opposition to the government. According to Moskovsky komsomolets on 31 May, he had turned his office into a headquarters for the bloc and assigned his assistant to work for it. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Filatov did not want to have an opposition bloc operating from within the president's administration and fired him. Polevanov was deputy prime minister from November 1994 to January 1995, but lost that position because of disagreements with Anatoly Chubais over privatization. Moskovsky komsomolets reported that he had close ties with presidential guard head Alexander Korzhakov and First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, but Russian TV claimed he did not know them. * Robert Orttung

DUMA AMENDS YELTSIN'S PLANS FOR AUTOMATED VOTING SYSTEM.
During late evening hearings on 30 May, State Duma members questioned whether the president's proposed electronic vote counting system had a proper legal basis and whether it would keep information about voters confidential, Interfax reported. The Duma also questioned the recommendation to buy foreign equipment when domestic products are available. The plan envisions the use of 5,000 computers and a 160 billion ruble ($32 million) budget to streamline the vote counting process as a way of reducing the amount of money spent on each election campaign. Pravda Rossii reported on 1 June that most of its readers believe the system will be used to manipulate the election results. * Robert Orttung

YELTSIN "ALARMED" BY STATUS OF RUSSIAN SPEAKERS.
President Boris Yeltsin is "very alarmed" by the status of Russian speakers in the "near abroad," his aide for international affairs, Dmitry Ryurikov told Interfax on 31 May. Ryurikov said Yeltsin continues to make appeals protesting discrimination against the Russian-speaking population of other CIS countries to bolster their confidence and ensure better treatment for them. In this regard, Ryurikov called the OSCE a "very useful channel for influencing states," although it does not "always produce the result we expect." On 30 May, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigory Karasin told Interfax that his ministry has "so far failed to considerably improve the situation with regard to the rights of ethnic Russians in the CIS and the Baltic states." He said the ministry intends to increase the size and number of consular offices in the "near abroad." * Michael Mihalka

IRAN, RUSSIA AND OIL.
Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Iran wants to coordinate oil and gas policies with Russia, Reuters reported on 31 May, citing IRNA. Rafsanjani also reiterated that Russian President Boris Yeltsin has been invited to Tehran for wide-ranging talks on political, military, and economic issues. The same day, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati told the daily Iran that Moscow is willing to broaden its "close" ties with Tehran and the recent talks between Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton "proved" it. Relations between Tehran and Moscow have been increasingly warm of late; Russia agreed, despite concerted U.S. opposition, to build a nuclear power plant in Iran and to honor a multi-billion-dollar deal to exchange oil for arms. Iran also supports Russia's position on the need to negotiate the status of the Caspian Sea and its resources. * Lowell Bezanis

MONEY CRUNCH HURTING MILITARY.
Due to "inappropriate and untimely financing" in the first quarter of this year, the Russian armed forces have not received 720,000 metric tons of fuel and as a result "combat training of land and naval forces has practically stopped," Interfax reported on 31 May. The report warned that fuel supplies to federal forces in Chechnya could be disrupted. In the Far East, several hundred military shipyard workers picketed the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet demanding their unpaid wages. They were told by Admiral Igor Khmelnov, the fleet commander, that he did not have the money to pay the fleet's bills to their enterprises. The fleet press service told Interfax that the fleet did not even have the money to send several units of discharged sailors back to their homes. * Doug Clarke

PARAMONOVA INSISTS ON TIGHTER MONETARY POLICY.
As inflation falls, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) will gradually cut its refinancing rate currently running at 195%, acting CBR Chairwoman Tatyana Paramonova said in a speech to the international forum on the Russian economy on 31 May, Interfax reported. Due to the bank's tighter monetary policy, money supply ran at only 3% in the first quarter of 1995, compared to 10% in 1995, an indication that the inflation rate will continue to fall, Paramonova said. Consumer prices are now rising at a monthly level of 12%, compared with 14% a year ago. The banker said a further drop in the inflation rate is a condition for future economic growth and a flow of foreign investment into the economy. * Thomas Sigel



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 106. 1 June 1995
LATEST TAJIK TALKS END ON POSITIVE NOTE.
As the latest round of negotiations wrapped up, the Tajik government and opposition agreed on an exchange of prisoners of war and the repatriation of Tajik refugees in Afghanistan, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported. The Red Cross is expected to oversee the repatriation. Nothing was resolved on the issue of power sharing in the Central Asian republic, but the two sides agreed to hold another round of talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, according to Interfax. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev was credited with prodding the two sides toward some agreement. He called for a stop to the bloodshed on the border. Recently, the Kyrgyz and Uzbek presidents have also applied pressure on the two sides to come to an agreement. Kazakh peacekeeping troops representing the CIS have suffered more casualties than any other country this year, excluding Tajik soldiers. At least 17 Kazakh peacekeepers were killed in April. * Bruce Pannier

KAZAKHSTAN NUCLEAR-FREE.
The last nuclear device in Kazakhstan has been eliminated. On 31 May, an unstable plutonium charge was destroyed using conventional explosives at the Semipalatinsk test site, Reuters reported. Boris Lebedev, in charge of the operation, said there were no changes in radiation levels above ground. The charge had the equivalent of 300 tons of TNT and the detonation took place 425 ft. below ground. President Nursultan Nazarbaev has said it would be the last explosion of its kind in Kazakhstan. * Bruce Pannier



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 106. 1 June 1995
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CALLS NON-BINDING PLEBISCITE TO BREAK POLITICAL DEADLOCK.
Leonid Kuchma on 31 May ordered a legally non-binding nationwide plebiscite on confidence in himself and the parliament, international and Ukrainian news agencies reported the same day. The plebiscite is to be held on 28 June. Kuchma, in an address to the nation on state television, said he called the poll to break the deadlock between himself and the divided legislature over his recently approved law on separation of powers, which gives him increased executive authority to preside over economic reforms. Communists deputies recently blocked the enactment of the law by voting against changes to the constitution necessary for it to take effect. Under Ukrainian law, the president cannot alone decree a legally-binding referendum, so the results of the poll will carry no legal weight. Kuchma has said he will resign if he fails to muster the population's support for his political and economic reform efforts. * Chrystyna Lapychak

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT CANCELS CONSTITUTIONAL REFERENDUM.
The Crimean legislature on 31 May voted to cancel a regionwide referendum, scheduled for 25 June, on its banned constitution, thereby avoiding a public showdown with Ukrainian authorities, international and Ukrainian news agencies reported the same day. The deputies also charged a parliamentary committee with drafting a new constitution for the autonomous region in line with a 1992 Ukrainian law on power-sharing between Kiev and Simferopol. The Ukrainian parliament recently ordered Crimean deputies to cancel by 1 June the controversial referendum on the 1992 Crimean Constitution, which Ukraine annulled as too separatist. Crimean lawmakers have requested that a joint committee be established with Ukrainian legislators to hammer out differences over their autonomous status. * Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN ELECTIONS CRITICIZED BY DOMESTIC PRESS.
Several leading Belarusian newspapers, including Zvyazda, Sovetskaya Belorussiya, Narodnaya hazeta, and Vyacherni Minsk, have criticized the recent parliamentary elections in Belarus, which failed to produce a new parliament, Belarusian Television reported on 30 May. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, meeting the following day to discuss the situation, said one of the main problems was that under the current electoral law, elections can be repeated indefinitely. It was decided to call an emergency parliamentary session on 14 June to amend the electoral law. * Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN PRIME MINISTER CRITICIZED FOR STATE OF NATION ADDRESS.
Tiit Vahi, in his 31 May state of the nation address, said the 3.2% decline in GDP in 1994, reported by the Statistics Department, was due to declining demand for Estonian-made products, BNS reported. He commented that consumers seemed inclined to purchase imported goods rather than those locally produced, sharply increasing the trade deficit. Opposition deputies accused Vahi of painting an unfavorable picture in order to claim greater achievements later. He was accused of purposefully ignoring a Bank of Estonia report showing GDP in 1994 increasing by 4.7% and an IMF estimate of an even greater increase. * Saulius Girnius

LATVIA'S BALTIJA BANK PARTIALLY RESUMES OPERATIONS.
Latvia's largest commercial bank, Baltija Bank, resumed partial banking operations on 31 May, Interfax reported. Bank of Latvia President Einars Repse suspended the bank's operations on 23 May, and its shares were transferred to the government two days later to prevent its bankruptcy. Baltija Bank President Uldis Klauss said the bank resumed accepting deposits from the population, the exchange of cash and non-cash currency, and the repayment of money transferred to client accounts after 23 May. * Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA SEEKS MORE GERMAN INVESTMENT.
Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius, accompanied by several government officials, attended a conference in Duisburg on 30 May on business and investment possibilities in Lithuania, BNS reported the next day. The Lithuanian government and Lithuanian Investment Agency had previously arranged similar conferences in London and Copenhagen to encourage foreign investments. The conference discussed a project, estimated to cost about $350 million, to build a European-standard railway line from the Polish border to Kaunas. The project would be carried out by a German consortium including Siemens and Krups. Germany is Lithuania's second largest trading partner. * Saulius Girnius

POLISH ANTIMONOPOLY COURT UPHOLDS VERDICT AGAINST FIAT.
The Antimonopoly Court in Warsaw on 31 May upheld the verdict against Fiat Auto Poland issued by the Polish Antimonopoly Office in December 1994. The court ruled that the Antimonopoly Office acted entirely appropriately in finding that Fiat abused its dominant position on the Polish auto market by requiring Polish buyers of small Fiat cars to pay the total amount first and then wait three-six months for delivery. The court agreed that this meant the involuntary granting of interest-free loans to Fiat by Polish car buyers worth 30 million zloty ($1.4 million). The Antimonopoly Office fined Fiat the same amount. A Fiat spokesman told Gazeta Wyborcza on 1 June that his company is "surprised and disturbed" by the court's ruling which, he said, "restricts both the development of the free market in Poland and Poland's process of integration into the EU." * Ben Slay

CZECHS STILL WAITING FOR SLOVAK REPLY ON CLEARING SYSTEM.
Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus on 31 May said he has received no reply from his Slovak counterpart, Vladimir Meciar, about ending the payments clearing system used for bilateral trade since the split of Czechoslovakia, Hospodarske noviny reported. Klaus, in a letter to Meciar on 10 May, proposed ending the system by 1 September and asked the Slovak premier to respond by the end of May. Under the system, the Czech Republic has run up a deficit every month for a year, which has to be made up in hard currency. Slovak Finance Minister Sergej Kozlik has said the clearing system could be modified, not scrapped. Slovakia revalued its currency within the clearing system on 19 May, slowing down the rise of the Czech deficit, which stood at 330 million ECU at the end of May, Hospodarske noviny quoted Slovak officials as saying. * Steve Kettle

AGREEMENT REACHED BETWEEN SLOVAK CONSERVATIVES.
Democratic Party (DS) chairman Peter Osusky and Permanent Conference of the Civic Institute (SKOI) leader Jan Langos on 31 May signed an agreement to join forces before the DS's congress in November, Sme reports. The agreement was referred to as a first step toward uniting the Right and encouraging cooperation among Slovakia's "non-socialist and democratic politicians." The SKOI will cease to function as a political subject but will remain a civic association. A number of SKOI members ran on the election list of the Christian Democratic Movement in last fall's elections, and Langos is now a parliamentary deputy. The DS, which ran as an independent subject, failed to pass the 5% threshold needed to gain parliamentary representation. * Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK ECONOMIC UPDATE.
Narodna obroda on 1 June reported that industrial production grew at an annual rate of 7.6% in March, a 1.2% increase over the figure for 1994. Construction rose at an annual rate of 3% in the same month, down from 8% in February and 5.3% in 1994. Slovakia's unemployment rate fell to 14.6%, down from 15.2% in January. Hard currency reserves at the National Bank of Slovakia reached $1.969 billion, up from $1.745 billion at the end of 1994. The Slovak currency strengthened to 29.4 koruny to $1 in March, an improvement over the rate of 32 koruny in 1994. Annual inflation fell from 11.7% in 1994 to 11.3%. Meanwhile, Slovakia's GDP grew at an annual rate of 4.8% in 1994, having dropped 4.1% the previous year. * Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PREMIER CRITICIZES WEST.
Gyula Horn on 31 May told an economic conference in Budapest that international financial institutions "do not pay proper attention to the predicament of the Central and East European region," international media reported. Horn argued that Western countries are not showing enough understanding for the difficulties of the transition from a centrally planned to a free market economy. Horn did not specify which financial institutions he had in mind, but the IMF and the World Bank have both said they will not extend further credits or development assistance until Hungary sharply reduces government spending and its huge current account deficit. * Jiri Pehe

EAST EUROPEANS APPLAUD RUSSIA-NATO PARTNERSHIP.
East European foreign ministers, at a meeting of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council in the Netherlands on 31 May, welcomed Russia's decision to forge a new partnership with NATO, international agencies reported the same day. Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu expressed the hope that the participation of Russia will demonstrate that the enlargement of NATO is a "beneficial process." His Polish counterpart, Wladyslaw Bartoszewki, said that whatever "binds Russia into the international security system is a very positive development for us." * Michael Mihalka



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 106. 1 June 1995
BOSNIAN SERBS STEP UP ATTACKS ON SARAJEVO AND GORAZDE.
Bosnian Serb forces shelled Debelo Brdo on the Sarajevo front on 31 May and increased their attacks on the mainly Muslim enclave of Gorazde, in eastern Bosnia. Nasa Borba the following day noted that similar Serb shelling in Sarajevo on 24 May prompted NATO air strikes. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says that the Serbs have captured a total of 36 UN vehicles, including six light tanks. They have begun cruising around government-held portions of Sarajevo using the vehicles with their original markings and intimidating UN staff. The Serbs called for direct talks with the Contact Group to discuss freeing the approximately 370 hostages, but the UN says that the Serbs must unconditionally release their prisoners now. * Patrick Moore

AKASHI REASSURES IZETBEGOVIC ABOUT BRITISH TROOPS.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 1 June reports that UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi told the Bosnian president that the approximately 6,000 British soldiers currently arriving will be under UN command. The Bosnians refused to let the contingent proceed beyond Gornji Vakuf to the British base at Vitez, in central Bosnia, until it was made clear that they were not part of any British effort to withdraw peacekeepers. Meanwhile, the EU mediator in the Yugoslav crisis for the past three years, Lord Owen, has announced he will step down at the end of June. He said the move was unrelated to the latest developments but added that he feared Britain was increasingly being sucked into a Balkan war, the BBC reported on 31 May. * Patrick Moore

BOUTROS GHALI PRESENTS NEW PLANS FOR BOSNIA.
UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali has issued a paper stating that the present concept for UNPROFOR is untenable and suggested some alternatives. One proposal would involve reduced operations and concentrates on humanitarian aid and simply "monitoring" the UN-declared "safe areas" rather than trying to defend them. The other proposal would scrap UNPROFOR as an international peace-keeping mission and replace it with a more active multinational force under individual national commands, apparently on the model of the Gulf War. The world body is to debate the suggestions, international media reported on 31 May. * Patrick Moore

CLINTON OFFERS U.S. GROUND TROOPS FOR BOSNIA.
U.S. President Bill Clinton, addressing the Air Force Academy on 31 May, for the first time raised the possibility that U.S. ground troops would be sent to Bosnia. The measure would be "temporary" and only if the allies requested the soldiers to help UNPROFOR. He attached several additional conditions, including the need to consult an increasingly isolationist Congress. The VOA quoted Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole as saying that the U.S. should drop the UNPROFOR concept entirely and concentrate on arming the Bosnian government instead. * Patrick Moore

NEW TRIALS IN KOSOVO.
The trial of 72 ethnic Albanian former policemen charged with separatist activities began in Pristina on 29 May, AFP reported the same day. The policemen are charged with setting up a shadow-state Interior Ministry, stockpiling large amounts of weapons and equipment, and spying on Serbian police and the Yugoslav army. They face up to 10 years in prison. The trial raises the number of former ethnic Albanian policemen tried on the same charges to 160. Meanwhile, at a trial in Gnjilan of ethnic Albanian policemen accused of "hostile activities," the prosecutor submitted a "decree of the government of Kosovo" allegedly signed by Prime Minister in exile Bujar Bukoshi in 1991. Defense lawyers, however, argued that the document was forged, pointing out that it was in Serbian and that Bukoshi was not prime minister in 1991, according to Kosova Daily Report on 31 May. * Fabian Schmidt

INVESTIGATION INTO JOURNALIST ACCUSING ROMANIAN PRESIDENT OF KGB LINKS.
International media reported on 31 May that Romanian police are investigating Sorin Rosca Stanescu, the editor-in-chief of the independent daily Ziua. Stanescu is suspected of having committed an "offense against authority" by writing that President Ion Iliescu was recruited by the KGB in the 1950s while studying in Moscow. The daily Curierul national on 1 June reported that Virgil Magureanu, director of the Romanian Intelligence Service, told the Senate commission supervising the activities of his organization, that the accusations were "pure invention." * Michael Shafir

REPORT ON DISMISSED ROMANIAN MAYORS.
The European Council's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Europe on 31 May debated the case of recently dismissed Romanian mayors, Radio Bucharest reported the same day. The debate followed a visit to Romania by a council delegation earlier this month. The council recommended that the Romanian parliament and government amend the law on local administration to curtail the prerogatives of the prefects and increase the powers of the judiciary to review the cases of mayors who are dismissed or suspended. It also proposed speeding up the passage of laws ensuring the financial independence of local government and the better use of PHARE funds allocated to improve the training of local government officials. * Michael Shafir

LUCINSCHI ON U.S. SUPPORT FOR MOLDOVA.
The U.S. fully supports the independence and statehood of Moldova, parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi said in Chisinau on 30 May following his week-long trip to the U.S. Infotag reported the same day that Lucinschi met with senators and State Department and World Bank officials. Lucinschi said the U.S. shows understanding for Moldovan attempts to cooperate with Iran, despite the US-imposed embargo, because it realizes Chisinau must seek alternatives to Russian-imported energy. * Michael Shafir

SUSPECT CHARGED IN BULGARIAN INVESTMENT SCANDAL.
An investment fund clerk was charged with embezzlement on 31 May, international agencies reported the same day. Desislava Chaneva was arrested on 30 May as she tried to flee to Greece with 20 million leva ($310,000) belonging to shareholders of the Alba Bul investment fund, based in Varna. Alba Bul was the fourth fund in Varna within one week to stop paying dividends and close. At least 15 other such schemes are still operating in Varna. Investments in Alba Bul are estimated at $4.5 million. If convicted, Chaneva faces up to 10 years in prison. * Stefan Krause

GREECE RATIFIES UN SEA CONVENTION LAW DESPITE TURKISH OBJECTIONS.
The Greek parliament on 1 June unanimously ratified the UN Law of the Sea Convention, Reuters reported the same day. The treaty allows Greece to extend its territorial waters from the present six to 12 miles at a moment's notice. Turkey opposes the treaty, saying an extension of Greece's water would seal off its Aegean coastline and turn the Aegean into a Greek lake. Ankara has said any extension will be "cause for war," and Turkish diplomatic sources have been cited as saying Ankara will send warships down the Aegean if Greece implements the 12-mile zone. Athens has not said it will enforce the treaty, but Deputy Foreign Minister Georgios-Alexandros Mangakis commented that "Greece will exercise its rights whenever its interests dictate." * Stefan Krause

BULGARIA'S LARGEST TRADE UNIONS TO BOYCOTT ILO SESSION.
Podkrepa and the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria will boycott the 82nd session of the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Standart reported on 31 May. The decision was made after Labor Minister Mincho Koralski named the Association of Free Trade Union Organization as Bulgaria's official delegate. According to the two unions, Koralski's move contravenes the ILO statutes, which state that trade unions are to hold consultations over which representatives to send to ILO sessions. * Stefan Krause

ALBANIA'S NEW PENAL CODE TAKES EFFECT.
Populli PO reported on 31 May that the new penal code, which takes effect on 1 June, will open "one of the doors to the Council of Europe." The council demanded that Albania abolish the death penalty and ratify the European convention on safeguarding minority rights before it decides on Albanian membership on 29 June. The new penal code enables communist party leader Fatos Nano to bring his case to an appeals court. Nano is serving a prison term for embezzlement and forging documents. His case has been treated as a human rights issue by various opposition parties. * Fabian Schmidt

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave



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