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Newsline - June 12, 1995


DUMA PASSES DUMA ELECTORAL LAW.
The State Duma passed an electoral law that will fill half of the lower house's seats by party list in 264-45 vote, with three abstentions on 9 June, Interfax reported. President Boris Yeltsin had vetoed an earlier draft of the bill on 23 May in part because he wanted to lower the number of party-seats to one-third. However, the Duma deputies and the president were able to put together a compromise at the end of last week. Vladimir Isakov, chairman of the Conciliatory Commission, said the Duma refused to cave in on the party-list voting and forced the president to accept many of their demands, Segodnya reported on 10 June. The agreement rejected Yeltsin's proposal to hold the elections in two rounds. The Federation Council, which did not approve earlier Duma versions, will begin considering the law 13 June. * Robert Orttung

YELTSIN SAYS IT IS TOO EARLY TO ANNOUNCE HIS PLANS.
President Yeltsin said he will only announce his plans for seeking a second term at the last minute in order not to disrupt the country, according to an interview with Izvestiya excerpted by Western agencies. He said that if he declared right away, all of his actions would be seen as part of the campaign, and if he announced he would not run, it would upset the work of the presidential staff, the government, and other parts of the executive branch. * Robert Orttung

DUMA SEEKS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CLARIFICATION ON SEPARATION OF POWERS.
Viktor Ilyukhin, chairman of the Duma Security Committee, has won the Duma's approval to ask the Constitutional Court to examine the role of the Russian president, Segodnya reported on 10 June. The request pointed out that the constitution mandates a division between executive, legislative, and judicial branches but does not describe the president as part of any branch. Moreover, the Duma identified a contradiction in the separation of powers because the constitution states that half of the seats in the Federation Council must be filled by regional representatives of the executive branch. With apparent agreement over the Duma electoral law, the president and parliament must now define how future members of the Federation Council will be chosen. Yeltsin wants them to be executive and legislative leaders from each of Russia's 89 republics and regions, while his critics want them to be directly elected by the population. * Robert Orttung

GRACHEV SKIPS NATO MEETING: SNUB OR DOMESTIC POLITICS?
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev did not attend a 9 June meeting in Brussels of defense ministers from countries in NATO and the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. Western agencies reported that NATO and American officials expressed understanding for Grachev's absence since he had accompanied President Yeltsin to his summit with Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, but quoted one unnamed source as saying "it would not hurt for Grachev to send a deputy." According to Kommersant-Daily on 9 June, Grachev had intended to send one of his deputies, but Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev "saw to it that the Defense Ministry mission's trip to Belgium was canceled." Russia was represented at the meeting by its ambassador to Belgium, Vitaly Churkin, who is a former Kozyrev deputy. The paper explained that while both ministries were opposed to NATO expansion, the Foreign Ministry preferred "different, softer, and smoother tactics in relation with the West" than those of the blunt generals. * Doug Clarke

FEDERAL FORCES LAUNCH NEW ATTACK IN CHECHNYA.
Federal troops launched an offensive against Chechen separatist forces over the weekend, Interfax and Western agencies reported on June 10. Fighting was particularly intense around the villages of Shatoy and Nozhay-Yurt, which Russian officers described as two of the last strongholds of Chechen resistance. In an interview with Radio Rossii on 11 June, Lt. Gen. Gennady Troshev, commander of the joint group of federal forces in Chechnya, described the offensive as "the final one," adding that the Chechen separatist forces "should be destroyed within two weeks." On 9 June, the Duma passed a resolution calling on President Yeltsin to end military action in Chechnya. According to the resolution, there have been some 5,000 Russian army casualties in the fighting. In an interview with Izvestiya on the same day, Yeltsin showed no sign of changing his approach to the conflict. * Scott Parrish

HUNT FOR QUAKE VICTIMS ENDS.
On 9 June, rescue workers called off the search for survivors in the rubble of Neftegorsk, which was flattened by an earthquake last month, Russian and Western agencies reported. The Emergencies Ministry said the death toll had risen to 1,841 by the time the search was halted; more than 400 people from the town survived the quake and about 200 are missing. A new series of tremors registering up to 4 points on the Richter scale shook northern Sakhalin on 10 June. * Penny Morvant

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT NOT TO RULE ON LEGALITY OF NUCLEAR FUEL DECREE.
The Constitutional Court resolved on 9 June to end its examination of a presidential decree on the storage in Russia of spent nuclear fuel from foreign nuclear power plants, Interfax reported. Yeltsin's decree provided for continuing construction of a plant near Krasnoyarsk to process spent nuclear fuel; Duma deputies appealed to the court on the grounds that the decree contradicts the Law on the Environment, which bans the import of nuclear fuel. According to Izvestiya on 9 June, Russia is obliged under international agreements to accept spent fuel from power plants constructed according to Russian design, but the new plant is intended to process radioactive waste that has no connection with Russia as well. The court decided to drop the case on the grounds that the decree is not a legal act because it is meant to cover a limited period and contains specific instructions for one plant. * Penny Morvant

ROSUGOL TO BECOME JOINT-STOCK COMPANY?
At a meeting on 9 June, the Fuel and Energy Ministry board backed a proposal by the directors of Rosugol to convert the state-owned coal association into a joint-stock company, Kommersant-Daily reported on 10 June. Under a six-year restructuring program, approved by the Duma's Industry, Construction, Transport, and Energy Committee on 8 June, about 100 loss-making mines are to be closed, including about 70 by 1998. According to Rosugol chairman Yury Malyshev, the coal industry will need subsidies of 14 trillion rubles in 1996. The 1995 budget allotted 7.5 trillion rubles to the industry, and another 2.5 trillion rubles will be paid later in the year from India's debt to the USSR. * Penny Morvant

DUMA PROPOSES PEACE PLAN FOR BOSNIA.
The Duma passed a resolution outlining a proposed peace plan for Bosnia on 9 June, Interfax reported. The plan calls for Bosnian Serb forces to release their hostages in exchange for a moratorium on NATO air strikes against their positions, followed by an "indefinite truce" and negotiations between Bosnian Serbs and Muslims on a political settlement. In a declaration accompanying the proposed plan, the Duma expressed its opinion that the recent creation of a NATO "rapid reaction force" to support UN peacekeeping in Bosnia "presents a special danger" and is aimed "at the gradual replacement of UN peacekeeping forces . . . with NATO forces." The declaration also criticized Foreign Minister Kozyrev's suggestion that Russian troops might be added to the rapid reaction force, calling it a "mistake." * Scott Parrish

RUSSIAN AND AMERICAN SPACE GIANTS PLAN JOINT MARKETING.
The American firm Lockheed Martin and Russia's Khrunichev State Space Research and Scientific-Production Center announced on 10 June in Paris that they had set up a joint company to market their space boosters, AFP reported. The new company, International Launch Services (ILS), will compete directly with the European space company Arianespace which currently holds half the world market for commercial space launches. ILS will offer both the American Atlas and the Russian Proton rockets, and company officials said they could provide clients greater flexibility in placing satellites in orbit. * Doug Clarke

MISSILE MAIL.
The converted submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile that carried a German experiment into space on 9 June also delivered mail to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East ITAR-TASS reported. The agency said 1,270 letters were aboard the missile, which was fired from a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. The mail was parachuted to the ground on the peninsula and was delivered the same day along with special certificates certifying it had been delivered by ballistic missile. * Doug Clarke

RUBLE STRENGTHENS AGAINST DOLLAR.
The Russian ruble strengthened against the dollar on 9 June, closing at 4,881 to $1
compared with 4,991 to $1 on 8 June, the Financial Information Agency reported. Trading was substantial at $202.9 million. Since April, the ruble has gained almost 5% against the U.S. dollar, even though monthly inflation hovers around 8%. On 8 June, Economics Minister Yevgeny Yasin expressed concern that the ruble's rise was not necessarily beneficial for the economy. * Thomas Sigel

STATE DUMA REJECTS PRODUCTION SHARING LAW.
The State Duma rejected a production sharing agreement that could have paved the way for large foreign oil and gas investments on its second reading, Russian and Western agencies reported on 9 June. The bill would have removed some of the vagueness concerning jurisdiction over resources, licensing, and taxation, thus encouraging foreign oil companies to move forward with projects. * Thomas Sigel

CHUBAIS ENCOURAGES INVESTMENT.
Russia's monetary stabilization policy is attracting financial investment and foreigners are participating more actively on the stock market, Russian First Deputy Premier Anatoly Chubais told Russian and Western agencies on 9 June. He said foreign portfolio investments totaled $40 million in March, $100 million in April, and $200 million in May and noted that 40-45% of the investments in shares were in the oil sector. * Thomas Sigel



AZERBAIJAN SIGNS NEW CASPIAN OIL DEAL.
The Azerbaijan State Oil Company (SOCAR) has signed an agreement with Russia's Lukoil, the Italian company Agip, and the U.S. company Pennzoil to develop the Karabakh offshore oil field with estimated extractable resources of 85-120 million metric tons, Interfax reported on 9 June. Lukoil has a 32% stake in the consortium, Agip and Pennzoil hold 30% each, and SOCAR, which is experiencing serious problems financing its share in a larger consortium to develope three other offshore fields, holds 7.5%. * Liz Fuller

CIS

UKRAINE AND RUSSIA REACH AGREEMENT OVER BLACK SEA FLEET.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin reached an agreement over the Black Sea Fleet during their meeting in Sochi, international agencies reported on 10 June. Although the accord was hailed by Kuchma as having "generally solved" the dispute over the fleet and its basing, it left many of the controversial points open to interpretation. The agreement reiterated that the fleet itself would be divided equally but Russia would buy out the majority of Ukraine's share, leaving Kiev with less than 20% of the fleet's vessels. It was also agreed that Russia would be able to base its share of the fleet in Sevastopol, a concession earlier opposed by Ukraine. The text of the accord did not, however, preclude the basing of Ukraine's navy in Sevastopol as well. The accord was assailed by the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists and Ukrainian communists as betraying the country's interests by allowing Russia to use Sevastopol as its main base, and one deputy, Stepan Khmara, called for Kuchma's impeachment. * Ustina Markus



UKRAINIAN NUCLEAR REACTOR SHUT DOWN AFTER MINOR LEAK.
A minor leak in the gasket of the generator in the No. 3 reactor at Pivdennyi nuclear power plant, in southern Ukraine, prompted the shutdown of the reactor only 24 hours before it was due to be taken off line for routine repairs, Interfax-Ukraine and Reuters reported on 10 June. There was no release of radiation reported in connection with the leak, which occurred in the non-nuclear power generator within the bloc. Meanwhile, Interfax-Ukraine on 11 June reported that former Crimean president Yurii Meshkov has been hospitalized with diphtheria. The hospital's chief physician said she was perplexed as to how Meshkov could have contracted the disease, since he has barricaded himself in the presidential office in Simferopol following Kiev's decision to abolish his post in March. * Chrystyna Lapychak

IMF RELEASES MORE CREDITS TO UKRAINE.
International agencies on 10 June reported that the IMF has released the second half of a $700 million credit to Ukraine. The decision to release the funds was taken by the IMF Executive Board the previous day because Ukraine has been abiding by its economic reform program. Kiev is now waiting for the IMF to release the first part of the larger $1.5 billion credit it has been promised. * Ustina Markus

LOCAL ELECTIONS FLOP IN BELARUS.
AFP and ITAR-TASS on 11 June reported that turnout at local elections in Belarus was below the 50% minimum required for the elections to be valid. If the elections are declared invalid, the local representatives appointed by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka will be the sole authorities in the regions. Belarusians failed to elect a new parliament in May, and even less interest has been shown in the local elections. Voter apathy has helped strengthen the president's authority. * Ustina Markus

BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET.
Riivo Sinijarv (Estonia), Valdis Birkavs (Latvia), and Povilas Gylys (Lithuania) signed a trilateral agreement on visa-free travel in Riga on 9 June, BNS reported. Additional protocols list the 32 countries whose citizens need have a visa to only one Baltic State in order to enter the other Baltic States without a visa and stay there up to 30 days at a time but no more than 90 days a year. Lithuania and Latvia agreed to have six railroad and six road border control points for international traffic and 17 other crossings for Latvian and Lithuanian residents only. The agreements will go into effect on 1 July. The ministers also coordinated their positions on seeking membership in the European Union. * Saulius Girnius

CONSTRUCTION OF LITHUANIAN OIL TERMINAL STARTS.
Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius opened the ceremonies marking the official beginning of the construction of a floating oil terminal at Butinge on 9 June, Interfax reported. Work has already begun on constructing roads, communication and power lines, as well as water and sewage systems on the mainland. The project is expected to be completed within 24 months under the supervision of the Flour Daniel Williams Company at an estimated cost of $220 million. The U.S. Eximbank has offered a $80 million credit, but the Lithuanian parliament has not yet authorized its signature. It is unclear where the remaining funds will come from. * Saulius Girnius

WALESA UNDER ATTACK AT SOLIDARITY CONGRESS.
Solidarity's Seventh Congress ended in Gdansk on 11 June with delegates accusing Polish President and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa of giving too much support to the postcommunist ruling coalition. Walesa refrained from openly declaring his candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections, Polish media reported. In other news, the Sejm on 9 June voted 143 to 122 to amend the penal code to introduce a five-year moratorium on capital punishment. The amendment must still be approved by the Senate. * Jakub Karpinski

POLISH-U.S. MILITARY AGREEMENT.
Poland and the U.S. on 9 June reached a military agreement on the exchange of research and development information. The document was signed in Warsaw by visiting U.S. Defense Undersecretary Paul Kamin-ski and Polish Deputy Defense Minister Jan Kuriata, Polish and international media reported. Poland is the second country in East Central Europe, after Hungary, to sign such an agreement. Meanwhile, documents from the Special Operations Executive released in London on 9 June confirm that British authorities knew the truth about the 1940 Soviet massacre of Polish officers in Katyn but decided to conceal it so as not to turn public opinion against their wartime ally the Soviet Union, Polish and international media reported. * Jakub Karpinski

CZECH TEACHERS CALL STRIKE, DOCTORS THREATEN ACTION.
The Czech teachers' trade union on 10 June called a strike for the first day of the fall term to press demands for a 20% wage rise, Czech media reported. The teachers want the rise from July and a further 30% from next January. They have threatened an all-out strike if their demands are not met. Government ministers dealing with economic policy say that public sector employees will receive only a 10% rise this year. The main doctors' union, meeting over the weekend, also threatened strike action if doctors do not receive a 100% wage increase. It called on Health Minister Ludek Rubas to resign, saying that under his direction the health service is now in a critical condition. Rubas rejected the resignation call. * Steve Kettle

SLOVAK PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM UNDER FIRE.
Changes in the coupon privatization program (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 and 8 June 1995) have drawn criticism from the opposition. Peter Zajac from the Permanent Conference of the Civic Institute said on 9 June that the new model will exclude citizens from privatization and create the possibility of "privatization without public control." He also told Sme that since the conditions for the program have changed, the government should return the 1,000 koruny that citizens have paid for coupon booklets to those who do not want to participate in the new program. Former National property fund chairman Viliam Vaskovic, in a round-table discussion on Slovak TV on 11 June, said the changes are a "negative step" that conflict with the government's program declaration. In an interview with Sme on 12 June, he described the government's draft law on privatization as "unconstitutional." * Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY TO RESTITUTE CHRISTIAN, JEWISH PROPERTY.
Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn, meeting with World Jewish Congress leaders in New York on 9 June, pledged to reach an agreement by 30 September to restitute all Christian and Jewish property seized by the Nazis and later nationalized by the Communists, Reuters reported. Horn said he would order government working committees to start separate talks in July with Jewish, Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinist Church leaders on the future of some 5,000 pieces of property worth millions of dollars. According to Horn, all religious property will be restored to its rightful owners within a decade and any property that cannot be returned will be paid for over a period of 20 years. The WJC said Horn's pledge was a major breakthrough in its fight to have East European countries return nationalized property worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Some U.S. leaders recently warned East European nations that relations with Washington would suffer unless they dealt with the issue of confiscated Jewish property. * Jiri Pehe

NATO MEETS PFP PARTNERS IN BRUSSELS.
NATO defense ministers on 9 June met with their counterparts from the 26 countries that have signed up for NATO's Partnership for Peace program, international agencies reported the same day. NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes said that while "PfP is already producing tangible security benefits," many of the PfP countries have yet to strike the right balance between civilian authority and the military. He stressed that civilian control of the military was an important element in consolidating their democracies but admitted it could take "years and years." Meanwhile, the Polish Defense Minister Zbigniew Okonski announced at the meeting that Poland was willing to contribute up to half a Polish brigade to the 10,000-man rapid reaction force being considered by France, Britain, and the Netherlands for deployment to Bosnia. * Michael Mihalka



IS SERBIA CONTINUING TO SUPPORT BOSNIAN SERBS?
The New York Times on 11 June reported that Belgrade seems to be still covertly helping the Bosnian Serbs, despite Serbian President Slobodan Milo-sevic's apparent break with the Bosnian Serb leadership in August 1994. The U.S. daily states that according to European and U.S. officials, the Yugoslav army has continued to pay the salaries of some Bosnian Serb officers and to supply Bosnian Serb troops with vital commodities such as fuel. But it is unclear how systematic and significant Serbia's support for the Bosnian Serbs is. * Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN SERBS SEIZE AID.
Bosnian Serbs on 11 June seized several tons of food aid earmarked for Muslims in the besieged enclave of Zepa. The aid, organized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was to have arrived at its destination on 10 June but was detained at a Bosnian Serb checkpoint. According to AFP, Bosnian Serb troops delayed the convoy after they discovered bullets in a sack of flour, which UNHCR officials suspect was planted by the Serbs. "We were given two options . . . Either the Bosnian Serb army would confiscate the convoy or it would go back fully laden to our warehouse in Belgrade," AFP quoted an UNHCR official as saying. In other news, international media on 11 June reported heavy fighting in eastern Bosnia, including near Gorazde, where government forces fought with Bosnian Serbs over control of strategic territory. * Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN VICE PRESIDENT REJECTS BOUTROS GHALI'S PEACE PLAN.
Hina on 11 June reported that Ejup Ganic has rejected UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali's proposal for a new peace plan for Bosnia-Herzegovina. The proposal was published by the German magazine Der Spiegel. It advocates bringing the Bosnian Serb side back to the negotiating table in order to restart the peace process. Ganic argues that the Contact Group's plan, which allocates 49% control of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Bosnian Serbs and the remainder to the Bosnian Muslim and Croatian federation, remains the best solution. He also observed that to invite Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to the table would again signal that he "can keep the occupied territories," which account for 70% of Bosnia. * Stan Markotich

CROATIAN PRESIDENT GIVES SERBS ULTIMATUM.
Krajina Serb aircraft on 9 June bombed Croatian positions in the Dinara range in response to a steady offensive by Zagreb's forces. The following day, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman visited Okucani in western Slavonia, which his forces took in Operation Blitz on 1 and 2 May, in his first visit to the area since the reconquest. International media said he told the Krajina Serbs that they will face further "lightning offensives" if they do not seek reintegration into Croatia by the time UNCRO's mandate runs out at the end of October. He added that he hoped that Croatian refugees from Serbia and the Banja Luka area of Bosnia would help repopulate western Slavonia. * Patrick Moore

TURKISH-LANGUAGE SCHOOLS TORN DOWN IN MACEDONIA.
Two buildings in which ethnic Turkish students have received schooling in their native language for the past two years have been torn down, MIC reported on 9 June. The buildings were in the districts of Zhupa and Papradnik and were reportedly destroyed by the Debar local authorities' "demolition service." Both schools were constructed without a building license in the grounds of mosques. The demolition is reportedly unrelated to the Education Ministry's ban on classes outside the state educational system. * Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT ATTACKS UNION LEADERS.
The Romanian government, in a statement issued on 9 June, criticized the leaders of Romania's three main labor unions for allegedly rejecting a dialogue with both the government and employers, Radio Bucharest reported. The communiqué said the leaders of the National Confederation of Romania's Free Trade Unions-The Brotherhood, the National Labor Bloc, and the Alfa Cartel were trying to "hijack" the labor movement and "subordinate it to their own economic and political interests." It further accused them of indulging in "populist demagoguery" and of "artificially provoking social tension." The government appealed to rank-and-file union members not to respond to "inciting calls" for demonstrations aimed at "destabilizing the country and creating anarchy." * Dan Ionescu

RUSSIAN OFFICIAL SAYS 14TH ARMY TO STAY.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Krylov on 10 June suggested that the 14th Russian army might remain in Tiraspol for a long period of time, Interfax reported. He noted that the army has played a stabilizing role in the region over the past years. Krylov also said that although there has been some progress in talks between Chisinau and Tiraspol over the status of the Dniester region, negotiations have slowed down of late. Krylov's statement came shortly after a U.S. Defense Department delegation urged that the army be pulled out. The head of the delegation, Brigadier General Dale Nelson, told journalists on 8 June that the only solution was the withdrawal of the 14th army from Moldova. He added that many countries, including Russia and the U.S., have recognized Moldovan independence. * Dan Ionescu

NEW PARTY FOUNDED IN MOL-DOVA.
The Party of Social Progress in Moldova held its founding congress in Chisinau on 8 June, Infotag and BASA-press reported. The congress was attended by 120 delegates, including some from the breakaway Dniester region. The party's program describes the formation as democratic, pragmatic, and multi-national, with a social-democratic orientation. Some Moldovan media suggested that prominent members of the ruling Democratic Agrarian Party of Moldova who are dissatisfied with the political line of President Mircea Snegur were behind the new formation. Petru Lucinschi, chairman of the Moldovan parliament, is regarded as the party's possible leader. * Dan Ionescu

BULGARIA, ROMANIA SEEK LOCATION FOR DANUBE BRIDGE.
Bulgarian officials on 11 June said the question of the location for a second Danube bridge linking Bulgaria and Romania will be solved by July, Reuters reported the same day. Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu discussed the issue with his Bulgarian counterpart, Georgi Pirinski, in Evksinograd. The new bridge is estimated to cost about $400 million and will ease bottlenecks from central and western Europe to the Middle East. At present, there is only one bridge, linking Ruse and Giurgiu, which has become heavily congested, especially since the UN embargo against rump Yugoslavia. * Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN PREMIER ON EU, NATO.
Zhan Videnov, addressing the North Atlantic Assembly conference in Sofia on 11 June, said Bulgaria wants to join both the EU and NATO, AFP reported the same day. He noted that EU membership has top priority for Bulgaria but that it is still early to discuss either possible Bulgarian participation in NATO's military framework or the deployment of nuclear weapons and foreign troops on Bulgarian territory. Videnov also repeated his government's position that sanctions against rump Yugoslavia must be partially lifted. He advised against lifting the arms embargo against Bosnia and proposed a summit of the Balkan countries to discuss infrastructure problems in the region. * Stefan Krause

ETHNIC TURKISH DORMITORY IN BULGARIA ATTACKED.
A dormitory for ethnic Turkish students in Ruse was attacked on 10 June, international agencies reported the following day. The assailants threw stones and smashed the windows of the building, but no injuries were reported. Bulgarian media linked the event to the 12 June trial of Anton Rachev, a local skinhead leader accused of disseminating fascist propaganda. Rachev's prosecutor and local newspapers have received letters threatening new attacks if he is convicted. * Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN FORMER COMMUNIST LEADER TO REMAIN IN PRISON.
A Tirana court on 10 June rejected Ramiz Alia's claim that he has served out his prison term and should be released under the new penal code and an amnesty law, international agencies reported on 10 June. The new penal code, which went into effect on 10 June, states that every day someone spends in prison between arrest and trial counts as one and a half days in prison. Alia was sentenced to nine years in prison in 1992 for "violation of the rights and freedoms of Albanian citizens." But his sentence was reduced by various courts of appeal and an amnesty last year. Alia is due to be released on 29 March 1996. * Fabian Schmidt

GREEK PROSECUTOR ASKS FOR NEW PROBE INTO MAVI.
Greek prosecutors have asked for a new investigation into the Greek extremist Northern Epirus Liberation Front (MAVI), which is charged with attacking military barracks in Albania last year, AFP reported on 10 June. They have asked the Supreme Court to investigate "anyone responsible . . . for troubling peaceful relations" between Greece and Albania. Five Greek citizens and four ethnic Greeks from Albania were arrested in March and indicted for illegal possession and trafficking of weapons. Seven were in possession of Kalashnikov rifles taken from the Albanian barracks in last year's terrorist attack. They may now face charges of murder and attempted murder. * Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




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