OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 107. 2 June 1995
GRACHEV ACCEPTS LEBED'S RESIGNATION.
Defense Minster Pavel Grachev
signed 14th Army Commander Lt. Gen. Alexander Lebed's resignation request,
Russian agencies reported on 1 June. Grachev called Lebed an "ordinary general"
with political ambitions, whose resignation was not a "tragedy." President
Yeltsin has not yet accepted Lebed's resignation. * Laura Belin
ADVERTISING TO BE RESUMED ON CHANNEL 1 . . .
The Russian Public
Television company (ORT), which stopped running advertisements when it took
over Channel 1 broadcasting from Ostankino TV on 1 April, will soon resume
advertising on the network, Segodnya reported on 1 June. ORT Director
General Sergei Blagovolin said a new advertising code for the network was near
completion. Shortly before he was murdered on 1 March, Vladislav Listev, then
ORT director general, announced a temporary ban on Channel 1 advertising and
permanent changes in advertising rules. The new rules will diminish the role of
middlemen, who earned tens of millions of dollars annually re-selling
advertising time purchased at cost from Ostankino. * Laura Belin
. . . AMID ACCUSATIONS OF CORRUPTION AT OSTANKINO.
Mayak on 1 June reported allegations of corrupt advertising practices at
Ostankino TV. The report charged that Alexander Dmitriev, vice-president and
chief economist at Ostankino, helped found a joint venture between Ostankino
and an Israeli television company in 1993 and was subsequently paid a monthly
salary of $40,000, even though Ostankino received very little of the joint
venture's revenues. Radio Mayak also asserted that beginning in 1993, Ostankino
had illegally broadcast advertisements for Israeli companies. * Laura Belin
IGNATENKO APPOINTED DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER FOR MEDIA.
has appointed Vitaly Ignatenko to the post of deputy prime minister in charge
of media affairs, Interfax reported. Ignatenko will retain his current position
as director general of the official ITAR-TASS news agency, according to Russian
TV. However, Interfax reported that he will leave this position immediately.
According to First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, Ignatenko will have
to define his responsibilities in coordination with Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Shakhrai who is in charge of the media. Shakhrai may now take some
responsibility for foreign policy issues. Commentators from Chubais to Mikhail
Poltoranin, chairman of the State Duma Committee for Information Policy,
praised Ignatenko as a "top-notch professional." Oleg Golembiovsky, editor of
Izvestiya , told NTV he believes the appointment is a government attempt
to increase its influence over the media. * Robert Orttung
ROW OVER QUAKE AID FROM JAPAN.
Japan will send a fourth batch of aid to
the victims of the earthquake on Sakhalin despite the bitterness sparked by
President Boris Yeltsin's remarks about its possible political price tag, Kyodo
News Agency reported on 2 June. Yeltsin said on 31 May that Japan might use the
aid issue to pressure Moscow to return the disputed Kuril Islands. Foreign
Ministry spokesman Grigory Karasin then added insult to injury by saying
Yeltsin's remarks relected Russian astonishment that certain Japanese officials
linked the territorial question with all other issues, Reuters reported.
Karasin also stressed, however, that Russia greatly appreciated Japan's offer
and said First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets had telephoned the Japanese
foreign minister to coordinate relief efforts. Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky
also sent a letter thanking Japan for its assistance and regretting "individual
irresponsible statements by Russia's top leadership," according to Interfax. *
CRIMINAL CASE INSTITUTED OVER SHODDY BUILDING WORK.
Prosecutor's Office has opened a criminal case to look into claims that poor
construction work contributed to the deaths in Neftegorsk during Sunday's
earthquake, Interfax reported on 1 June. At least 17 apartment blocks collapsed
in the disaster, burying an estimated 2,000 people. The case is based on
Article 251 of the Criminal Code on infringements of building regulations.
According to Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, the apartment blocks were put
up in the 1960s before Sakhalin was considered an earthquake zone. Meanwhile,
Fuel and Energy Minister Yury Shafranik has rebuffed suggestions that the quake
could place the future of the oil industry on Sakahlin in doubt, noting that
oil pipelines had suffered only 16 minor leaks as a result of the quake. *
FSB PROHIBITS PUBLISHING OF WINTER HARVEST PROJECTIONS.
For the first
time in several years, the Federal Security Service (FSB) has forbidden the
publication of official winter-crop harvest projections, Ekho Moskvy and
Interfax reported on 1 June. An FSB spokesman told Ekho Moskvy that harvest
information should be considered a "commercial secret." However, another FSB
spokesman denied the reports the same day, according to Reuters. Duma Security
Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin and Duma Budget Committee Deputy Chairman
Gennady Kulik supported the idea of keeping harvest projections secret.
Ilyukhin argued that releasing such information would give Western nations
leverage to use against Russian security interests. Agriculture Minister
Alexander Nazarchuk has previously forecast a winter harvest of 82 million
tons, but the real figures are expected to be much lower. * Laura Belin
MOSCOW TO DISCUSS FINANCING OF RECONSTRUCTION IN CHECHNYA.
Commission for Postwar Reconstruction of Chechnya, headed by Soskovets, met on
1 June to consider ministry proposals on financing reconstruction work in
Chechnya, Interfax reported. The government plans to spend 5.7 trillion rubles
($1.14 billion) by the end of 1995. In May alone, it allocated 35.1 billion
rubles ($7.02 million) to be paid as wages and social benefits to Chechen
residents, senior commission spokesman Yury Mikhailov told the news agency.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin said spending on
defense has dropped far behind that on other sectors of the Russian economy
this year, as less than half of the funds planned for defense projects have
been allocated from January to May, AFP reported. A shortage of cash has led to
delayed wage payments and slower production of military hardware. No figures
were released. * Thomas Sigel
RYBKIN CONTINUES BUILDING LEFT-CENTER BLOC.
State Duma Speaker Ivan
Rybkin is conducting talks with more than 20 parties and movements to build a
left-center bloc to counter Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's right-center
bloc, the speaker told an interviewer from Rossiiskaya gazeta. He claims
that at least 120 to 140 Duma deputies, mainly representing single-member
districts, are interested in the bloc. Rybkin said the bloc will be concerned
in particular with the fast pace of reform, pointing out that a car driver
should not speed up when he sees a sign saying, "Road Construction Ahead." *
TURKISH SPY SPILLS BEANS?
Turkey has officially denied that it is
conducting espionage in Chechnya following the arrest of Turkish national Isak
Kasap in Dagestan, AFP reported on 31 May. The Russian Foreign Ministry lodged
an official protest accusing Turkey of sending secret agents to assist Chechen
rebels, AFP reported on 1 June. Ministry spokesman Karasin told journalists
Kasap had talked about his mission, revealed the names of individuals working
at the headquarters of the Turkish national intelligence service (MIT), and
divulged the name of another spy who had met with Dzhokhar Dudaev in March.
Members of the Turkey-based "Committee of Caucasus-Chechen Solidarity" also say
members of their group in Chechnya have been arrested. Following low-key talks
in February, Turkey promised Russia it would not support the Chechen rebels. *
RATIFICATION NECESSARY FOR PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE?
Any agreement on
Russian participation in the Partnership for Peace program must be ratified by
the Russian parliament, State Duma Security Committee Chairman Viktor Ilyukhin
told Interfax on June 1. Ilyukhin added that such an agreement would stand
little chance of ratification. A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official
disputed Ilyukhin's claim, stating that there is no constitutional or legal
need for parliamentary ratification, as the agreements are only "working
plans," outlining areas of cooperation between Russia and NATO. The official
added that the agreements should not have come as a surprise to the parliament,
because deputies had participated in the drafting process. * Scott Parrish
AGREEMENT COULD INCREASE RUSSIAN INFLUENCE ON NATO EXPANSION.
the Partnership for Peace (PfP), Russia has increased its chances of "defending
its interests" on the issue of NATO expansion, according to Krasnaya
zvezda on 1 June. The newspaper did, however, criticize the timing of the
agreements. Recent NATO decisions in Bosnia, he argued, show the alliance
remains unwilling to treat Russia as a full and equal partner on matters of
European security. Nevertheless, the paper argued, the institutionalization of
NATO-Russian consultation and cooperative measures through PfP may offer a
better chance for Russian views to be heard and considered by NATO leaders. *
GOVERNMENT TO EASE STOCK MARKET RULES FOR FOREIGNERS.
government plans to ease the rules on the purchase of Russian securities by
foreigners, the Financial Information Agency reported on 1 June. The Federal
Commission for Securities and the Stock Market (FCSSM) said the commission,
together with the Central Bank of Russia will finalize new rules for
non-resident purchases. Currently, foreign investors must receive permission
from the bank each time they wish to purchase Russian enterprise shares. New
legislation will only require that non-residents notify the bank of the
purchase. More than 60% of the off-exchange market is controlled by domestic
investors. Western share purchases have amounted to no more than $200 million
in recent months. In August 1994, foreign investments reached a record high of
$500 million. * Thomas Sigel
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 107. 2 June 1995
GEORGIA OPENS RADAR STATIONS.
As part of a deal with Russia on joint air
defenses, Georgia opened two Soviet-era radar stations and a command post
controlling the airspace around Tbilisi on 1 June, Reuters reported, citing
Georgian television. Georgian air defense commander Georgi Kvinikadze said
Russia would supply equipment and train personnel so that all Soviet-era air
defense systems in the republic could be reactivated. Without elaborating, he
also said Georgian air space has been repeatedly violated. Russia and Georgia
agreed last year on the original military cooperation package. * Lowell
CIS ACCORD ON FIGHTING ORGANIZED CRIME.
CIS security chiefs signed an
agreement on fighting organized crime at a meeting in Gudauri, Georgia on 31
May, Interfax and NTV reported. Protocols were signed on various issues
including terrorism, nuclear smuggling, illegal armed formations, and drug
trafficking. The heads of the security services also agreed to exchange
personnel and set up a single database in Moscow. Azerbaijan's representative
said he had reached agreement with his Armenian counterpart "on possible
cooperation within certain limits and on certain questions." * Penny Morvant
RUSSIA FINANCING BLACK SEA FLEET ALONE.
For the second year in a row,
Russia has been providing all the money to run the so-called "joint" Black Sea
Fleet, a senior fleet official told Interfax on 1 June. Alexander Zhukov, the
fleet's chief of finance, said sailors from Ukraine are serving in the fleet
and Ukraine has been asked to pay the fleet's debts to Ukrainian shipyards to
compensate for their wages. He also said about 40% of the Russian money spent
on the fleet went to Ukraine in the form of taxes or payments. Zhukov reported
that only help from Russian regions and towns--above all Moscow--ensured the
social welfare of the fleet's crews. The laid-up aircraft-carrying cruiser
Moskva belongs to the fleet, and the Moscow authorities have financed the
construction of several blocks of apartments for its sailors. * Doug Clarke
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 107. 2 June 1995
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT VETOES KUCHMA'S PLEBISCITE.
legislature on 1 June voted 252 to nine to veto President Leonid Kuchma's 31
May decree calling a legally non-binding plebiscite on confidence in himself
and the parliament, international and Ukrainian news agencies reported 1 June.
Lawmakers called the poll unconstitutional. They also said his decree did not
specify how the cash-strapped government would pay for the nationwide
plebiscite. The legislators prohibited the government and local authorities
from allocating funds for any national referendum until the end of the year.
They ordered Kuchma to submit the draft of a "constitutional accord" allowing
the implementation of his law on separation of powers. They also proposed that
he submit by 8 June a list of candidates for prime minister and the eight
portfolios that, under current law, the parliament must approve. The current
acting cabinet was dismissed in April, but Kuchma has waited for the enactment
of the new political reform law to gain the exclusive right to appoint the
ministers. * Chrystyna Lapychak
PRICE HIKES IN UKRAINE.
Ukrainian authorities increased utility prices
for individual consumers as of 1 June, Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day.
The price of heating has doubled, while those for water and sewage disposal
have risen by 40%. The government announced recently that it intends to
incrementally bring utility rates, which were previously heavily subsidized, to
60 % of their real costs; on 1 June, they stood at 30% . Bread retailers have
threatened to raise bread prices by 10-20% next week. Such austerity measures
are blamed for Kuchma's declining popularity in many parts of the country. A
March poll by the International Sociology Institute in Kiev revealed only a 38%
national confidence rating for the president, down from 76% in December. *
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN BRUSSELS.
Ukrainian Radio on 1 June reported that
Leonid Kuchma European Union Foreign Commissioner Hans van der Broek signed in
Brussels a temporary agreement on trade and trade relations. European
Commission President Jacques Santer hailed the agreement as establishing a
special relationship between the EU and Ukraine. The agreement--the first of
its kind to be signed by the EU and a former Soviet republic--was contingent on
Ukraine's promise to close down the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. The same day
Kuchma visited NATO headquarters and met with NATO chief Willy Claes. Claes
said that Ukraine will be invited to a special "16 plus 1" meeting with NATO.
Ukraine's recent policy toward NATO is to seek a special relationship with the
alliance. * Ustina Markus
CRIMEAN LEGISLATURE GIVES INITIAL APPROVAL TO NEW CONSTITUTION.
deputies have given their initial approval to the draft of a new constitution,
UNIAR reported on 1 June. The draft is based largely on the 1992 Crimean
Constitution, annulled by Kiev in March as too separatist, but several
amendments have been made, including the incorporation of the full text of a
1992 Ukrainian law on power-sharing between Ukrainian and Crimean authorities.
Lawmakers also kept the article, opposed by Kiev, establishing a presidency in
the autonomous region. * Chrystyna Lapychak
NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE ON IMF CREDIT TO MINSK.
Interfax on 1 June
reported that the IMF is continuing talks with the Belarusian government on
releasing $250 million of a stand-by credit to Minsk. An IMF mission collecting
data on the Belarusian economy began work last week. The IMF made $102 million
available to the country in February but did not release the larger stand-by
credit because donor countries, reportedly concerned about Belarus's failure to
adhere to its economic reform program, would not confirm their co-financing. *
ESTONIA'S RUSSIAN PARLIAMENTARIANS WANT ALIENS LAW AMENDED.
Andreev, a member of the Russian caucus in the Estonian parliament, on 31 May
proposed that the aliens law be amended to guarantee permanent residence
permits to everyone who settled or was born in Estonia before 1 July 1990, BNS
reported. He also proposed that the 12 July deadline for aliens to file for
residence and work permits be extended. Although about half a million
non-citizens live in Estonia, only 210,000 applied for permits by 30 May.
Officials may thus find it difficult to process other applications in the six
remaining weeks. * Saulius Girnius
LATVIAN PROSECUTORS BEGIN CRIMINAL CASE ON BALTIJA BANK.
Biruda Bilbe, a
spokesperson for the Latvian prosecutor's office, said on 1 June that a
criminal investigation has begun against Talis Freimanis and Aleksandrs
Lavents, former heads of the Baltija Bank, Reuters reported. The two have not
been arrested but are forbidden to leave Latvia. They are charged with
exchanging 60% of the bank's credit resources, worth about 80 million lati
($156 million), for Russian state treasury bonds redeemable in 2008 with 3%
annual interest. * Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIAN GANG MEMBER TO BE QUESTIONED IN GERMANY.
prosecutor will travel to Dusseldorf next week to interrogate Igor Tiomkin
about the murder on 12 October 1993 of Respublika deputy editor Vitas
Lingys, BNS reported on 1 June. Tiomkin, a member of the criminal gang known as
the "Vilnius brigade," was arrested on 4 May. Lithuania has asked for his
extradition and even agreed not to sentence him to death, but it may take
several more weeks before a German court authorizes the transfer. * Saulius
POLAND TO BECOME MEMBER OF WTO.
The Ministry of Foreign Economic
Cooperation has announced that Poland will become a member of the World Trade
Organization on 1 July. Polish President Lech Walesa on 30 May signed an
agreement committing Poland to abolish all trade barriers, except customs, with
the other 121 WTO members, Polish and international media reported on 2 June. *
POLISH REACTION TO RUSSIAN-NATO RELATIONS.
Polish Foreign Minister
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, commenting on Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's
proposal for common NATO-Russian security guarantees for former Soviet
satellites, said that "to belong to a security system or to receive a security
guarantee is exclusively a matter of competence of an interested country. We
don't want to accept security guarantees from somebody else. We want to be in a
common security system and not inside a crossword puzzle," Polish media
reported on 1 June. * Jakub Karpinski
CZECHS SEE KOHL'S SPEECH AS CONCILIATORY.
Czech leaders welcomed German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl's conciliatory tone toward Czech-German relations in a
speech to the Bundestag on 1 June marking the 50th anniversary of the expulsion
of ethnic Germans from various Central and East European countries, Czech media
reported. But they again insisted there can be no revision of the Benes decrees
under which Sudeten Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War
II. Kohl thanked President Vaclav Havel and Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus for
recognizing that the expulsions from Czechoslovakia were unjust. He added that
he hoped "a reasonable solution with the Czech Republic" will soon be possible.
Havel told Czech and German television that Kohl was accepting the hand of
friendship extended by recent Czech diplomatic initiatives, while Klaus
welcomed the tone of the speech. Both, however, rejected Bavarian Premier
Edmund Stoiber's repeated demand that they repeal the Benes decrees. * Steve
NEW PETITION LIST SCANDAL IN SLOVAKIA.
The Association of Workers of
Slovakia (ZRS), a member of the government coalition, may have competed
illegally in last fall's parliamentary elections, Slovak media reported on 2
June. The election law requires that each new party collect 10,000 signatures
to participate in the vote. Two former ZRS members have informed journalists
that approximately 2,000 names on the ZRS lists were copied by current ZRS
parliamentary deputy Jan Garaj from a list of unemployed people at the district
labor office in Nove Zamky. Chairman of the extraparliamentary Republican Party
Ivan Duris said his party has submitted a request to the attorney-general that
the ZRS lists be investigated. This development follows an ongoing dispute over
the petition lists of the opposition Democratic Union. * Sharon Fisher
HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES AUSTERITY PACKAGE.
parliament on 31 May adopted a package of measures aimed at drastically cutting
the country's public sector deficit, which is expected to reach $2.28 billion
this year, international media reported. Two socialist ministers have resigned
since the austerity package, proposed by Gyula Horn's socialist-liberal
government, was first unveiled on 12 March. It provides for sharp reductions in
social benefits, layoffs of civil servants and teachers, and the introduction
of fees for higher education institutions. Finance Minister Lajos Bokros
estimates that the implementation of the package will save the government some
170 billion forints ($1.37 billion). * Jiri Pehe
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 107. 2 June 1995
KARADZIC WARNS OF "SLAUGHTER."
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, in
his first public remarks in several days, said that the hostage crisis in
Bosnia-Herzegovina "has to be solved by political means." He added that "any
attempt to liberate [the UN peacekeepers being held hostage by Bosnian Serbs]
by force would end in catastrophe. It would be a slaughter." International
media noted on 2 June that the number of hostages now stands at 372 and that a
Swedish civil affairs officer was released soon after his capture the previous
day. Britain has admitted that it is maintaining "contacts" with Pale but
insists that these "are not negotiations," Nasa Borba reported on 2
June. AFP said the previous day that UNPROFOR troops are "living in fear of
their own stolen vehicles" and that "every UNPROFOR vehicle could contain
Bosnian Serbs in disguise, and so it has to be treated as a potential enemy." *
SERBIAN FORCES CLOSE IN ON GORAZDE.
Nasa Borba on 2 June reported
that Bosnian Serb troops are now only 2 kilometers from the center of the
besieged Muslim enclave, whose population is swollen with refugees. The Serbs
continue to shell the town, but there is no confirmation of Bosnian government
charges that the Serbs are bringing up reinforcements. The BBC reported that it
was otherwise "a quiet night in Bosnia." * Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN FOREIGN MINISTER AGAINST CHANGING UN MANDATE.
government and the Bosnian Serbs are both wary of any projected changes in
UNPROFOR's mandate. The new Bosnian foreign minister, former UN ambassador
Muhamed Sacerbey, told the BBC on 1 June that the UN suffered from having
appeased the Serbs for too long and that any weakening of the mandate would
turn the peacekeepers into "truck drivers for humanitarian aid." The Bosnian
government wants instead to have the means to defend itself and some air cover
but not foreign ground troops. The BBC and VOA on 2 June noted that the UN
debate over the mandate is likely to drag on for at least two weeks and that
neither the proposal to weaken the present arrangement nor the one to replace
it with a multi-national military force is likely to be accepted. * Patrick
CROATIA SLAMS "MORAL CAPITULATION."
Foreign Minister Mate Granic warned
that further concessions to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic would amount
to "moral capitulation...at a time when the entire international community is
faced with unprecedented acts of barbarity and the peace forces are suffering
humiliation." Granic charged that Milosevic still "pulls the strings of war" in
both Bosnia and Croatia, AFP reported on 2 June. * Patrick Moore
CHRISTOPHER URGES BELGRADE TO MAKE CLEAN BREAK WITH BOSNIAN SERBS.
Reuters on 1 June reported that U.S. Secretary of Sate Warren Christopher has
appealed to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to "take sides with the rest
of the civilized world" and break ties with the Bosnian Serb leadership.
Christopher also remarked that U.S. diplomatic efforts so far have failed to
convince Milosevic to isolate the Bosnian Serbs. He noted that recent meetings
between Milosevic and U.S. envoy Robert Frasure produced no agreement on
lifting sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia in exchange for Belgrade's
recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In other news, Nasa Borba on 2 June
reported that 1,000 ultranationalists, meeting in Belgrade the previous day,
called for the unity of all Serbian lands and support for unification between
Bosnian Serb-held lands and rebel Serb-held territory in Croatia's Krajina
area. * Stan Markotich
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ATTACKS HUNGARIAN MINORITY PARTY.
spokesman Traian Chebeleu on 1 June told a press conference that the position
of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) at its congress last
week was "unacceptable and incomprehensible," Radio Bucharest reported.
Chebeleu said the UDMR was attempting to "undermine the basic pillars of the
Romanian state" and attempting to set up "a state within a state." He also
attacked the congress's appeal to the U.S. to use most favored nation status as
an instrument for ensuring Romanian's democratization and respect for minority
rights. * Michael Shafir
HUNGARIAN MINORITY LEADER RECEIVES HOAX BOMB BY POST.
Television on 31 May reported that Bela Marko, chairman of the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), on 31 May received a parcel by post
containing what appeared to be a bomb. The parcel, sent from Graz in Austria on
27 May, contained a book that was wired. Police and members Romanian
Intelligence Service established that the bomb was a hoax. Senator Karoly Szabo
of the UDMR said the parcel seemed to be "some sort of warning." * Michael
ROMANIA OBJECTS TO REPORT PRESENTED AT NAA.
Traian Chebeleu on 1 June said Romania was "disappointed" that at the North
Atlantic Assembly session in Budapest in late May, the idea of enlarging NATO
"in several stages" was again proposed and that Romania was not among the
states perceived as likely to join NATO first, Radio Bucharest reported.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mircea Geona, in a statement carried by Radio
Bucharest the previous day, said Romania was "surprised by...[and had] serious
reservations about" a report presented by NNA President Karl Voigt and the
deputy chairman of the Hungarian parliament's Defense Commission. Geoana said
the report contradicted the "spirit" of the Partnership for Peace program. *
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON LEBED'S RESIGNATION.
Mircea Snegur, in an
interview with the Bulgarian news agency BTA, said that if Lt. Gen. Alexander
Lebed's resignation is accepted, Moldova will propose "the appointment of a man
who will not permit destructive forces to take over the enormous amounts of
14th Army armaments," BASA-press and Infotag reported on 31 May. He pointed out
that a settlement to the conflict in the breakaway Transdniestrian region does
not depend on who commands the 14th Army but on whether the Tiraspol leadership
shows goodwill. * Michael Shafir
GREEK-MACEDONIAN TALKS TO START SOON?
Negotiations between Athens and
Skopje will start at UN headquarters in New York in 10 days, MIC reported on 1
June, citing Greek Mega TV. Unnamed diplomatic sources in New York and
Washington are quoted as saying that a transitional agreement will be signed
providing for a new Macedonian flag and the simultaneous lifting of the Greek
embargo. The text of the agreement is reported to be ready. Meanwhile,
Macedonian government spokesman Guner Ismail said Macedonia still insists on
Greece's lifting the embargo before the talks start. Matthew Nimetz, one of the
mediators in the Greek-Macedonian dispute, told Macedonian Radio that "at least
for the moment, a meeting is not foreseen." * Stefan Krause
UPDATE ON GREEK-TURKISH DISCORD.
The Greek parliament's decision to
ratify the Law of the Sea Convention was received coolly by Turkey,
international media reported on 1 June. Turkish Foreign Minister Erdal Inonu
made a clear distinction between ratification and any attempt to extend
Greece's territorial waters, which, he said, Ankara would view as cause for
war. Within hours of the Greek move to ratify the convention, Turkey went ahead
with planned military maneuvers in the Aegean. Athens on 1 June criticized the
Turkish maneuvers in the Aegean as provocative and announced it will closely
monitor them, Reuters reported the same day. Government spokesman Evangelos
Venizelos said Ankara "is repeating its usual practice of artificial tension
and provocations against Greece." Greece will hold a five-day exercise in the
Aegean starting 5 June, but officials said it will not coincide with Turkish
maneuvers. * Lowell Bezanis and Stefan Krause
G-24 OFFERS AID TO ALBANIA.
Albanian Minister for Construction and
Tourism Dashamir Shehi said after a G-24 meeting in Brussels that Albania
has secured $1 billion for infrastructure investment. One-third of that amount
is to come from the World Bank, one-third from EU countries, and one-third from
the Albanian government, Reuters reported. Shehi also said the European
Investment Bank, the World Bank, and the PHARE program have confirmed they will
help finance the $28 million highway linking Tirana to Durres. Another road
linking Durres to the Greek border is already under construction with funds
from the EU's cross-border program totaling 45 million ECU, Rilindja
Demokratike reported on 30 May. Other sectors to be supported are energy,
telecommunications, and water supply. * Fabian Schmidt
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave