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Newsline - June 19, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 118, 19 June 1995
RUSSIAN TROOPS FAIL TO SEIZE HOSPITAL IN BUDENNOVSK.
Early on the morning of 17 June, Russian commandos attacked the regional hospital in Budennovsk, international and Russian agencies reported. The assault troops stormed the building, freeing a number of hostages, but they failed to dislodge the Chechen gunmen and their leader Shamil Basaev from the upper floors. A second attack that afternoon also failed. At least five Russian soldiers were killed during the fighting, and Basaev later told journalists that 30 hostages and been killed and 70 wounded during the assault. It remains unclear who ordered the attack. Speaking from the G-7 summit in Halifax, President Boris Yeltsin told an Ostankino correspondent he had granted preliminary authorization for the attack. However, a spokesman for Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said the attack was not authorized and had been "impulsively" launched by the troops without orders. * Scott Parrish

CHERNOMYRDIN NEGOTIATES RELEASE OF HOSTAGES, CEASEFIRE FOR CHECHNYA.
At an early morning press conference in Halifax on 18 June, President Yeltsin denounced Chechnya as "a center of world terrorism," NTV reported. Only a few hours later, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin personally opened negotiations with Basaev, Western and Russian agencies reported on 18 June. In a series of nationally televised phone conversations, Basaev and Chernomyrdin agreed upon conditions for the release of the hostages still held in Budennovsk. Chernomyrdin accepted most of Basaev's demands, including cessation of federal military actions in Chechnya, the opening of negotiations between the federal government and representatives of Chechen separatist President Dzhokhar Dudaev, and safe passage back to Chechnya for Basaev and his fighters. Basaev released about 200 hostages on the afternoon of 18 June, after he and Chernomyrdin had agreed to the terms in principle. In accordance with the agreement, General Anatoly Kulikov, the commander of joint federal forces in Chechnya, ordered all combat activities to cease as of 8 p.m. local time, ITAR-TASS reported. Preparations for the release of the hostages and Basaev's departure continued early Monday morning. * Scott Parrish

RUSSIAN DELEGATION DEPARTS FOR GROZNY.
Meeting another condition of the agreement between Chernomyrdin and Basaev, a Russian government delegation departed Moscow for Grozny on the afternoon of 18 June, Western and Russian agencies reported. The delegation is headed by Deputy Minister of Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov, and also includes Arkady Volsky, head of the Russian Union of Industrial Producers, and General Kulikov, commander of federal forces in Chechnya. The Russian delegation will hold talks with Usman Imaev, former Procurator-General of the Chechen Republic, who will represent Chechen separatist President Dzhokhar Dudaev. The talks will aim at resolving the question "of Chechnya's status within the Russian Federation," Volsky told Russian Television before departure. He added that negotiations would begin "immediately on arrival." The cessation of military activities and the opening of negotiations, if consistently implemented, would represent a major shift in Russian policy toward the Chechen conflict. * Scott Parrish

YELTSIN, DUMA REACT TO BUDENNOVSK.
On his return from Canada, President Yeltsin called on the nation not to become "slaves to emotion," in a statement published on 18 June, Interfax reported. In the statement, he said the people who planned the attack hoped for a Russian breakdown and sought to spread ethnic violence across the country. He also denounced members of the Duma "who want to score political points from the common grief." An impeachment attempt launched by Duma Deputy Speaker Gennady Seleznev, a member of the Communist faction, gathered only 150 votes, short of the 226 needed to pass it. The Duma proposed that Yeltsin impose a state of emergency in Chechnya and sent Stanislav Govorukhin's Chechnya committee to Budennovsk to investigate the situation on the ground. The Democratic Party of Russia had already collected 102 signatures in favor of a no-confidence vote in the government by 15 June and the Duma will debate this measure on 21 June. * Robert Orttung

POLITICAL PARTY REACTION TO BUDENNOVSK.
Yegor Gaidar called for the dismissal of the power ministers, Security Council Secretary Oleg Lobov and Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Yegorov, and the disbandment of the Security Council itself on 17 June, Interfax reported. Addressing a congress of his Democratic Choice of Russia party, he said that if those demands are not met the formerly pro-Yeltsin party would support a vote of no confidence in the government on 21 June. In light of Chernomyrdin's negotiation efforts, however, Gaidar said he would reconsider his position, NTV reported on 18 June. Liberal Democratic Party, Communist Party, and Yabloko will support the no-confidence vote. Only the Party of Russian Unity and Concord, New Regional Policy, Russia, and Stability plan to support the government, NTV reported. * Robert Orttung

UNITED DEMOCRATIC ELECTORAL BLOC FORMED.
Leaders of several democratically oriented parties and movements formed the United Democratic Electoral Bloc (ODIB), Russian media reported on 16 June. Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Democratic Choice (DVR), Alexander Yakovlev's Russian Party of Social Democracy (RPSD), Yury Chernichenko's Peasants' Party (KP), the movements Soldiers for Democracy and Women for Solidarity, and the congress National Associations of Russia (NOR) will join the alliance, which will back one candidate in each single-member Duma constituency. Yury Skokov, a leading figure in the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO), said he would join the united democratic bloc, according to Russian Public Television. Gaidar said the bloc was holding talks with leaders of Democratic Russia. Grigory Yavlinsky's Yabloko group did not take part in the negotiations. * Laura Belin

UNION OF PEOPLES OF RUSSIA HOLDS FOUNDING CONGRESS.
Pledging to support the principles of democracy, federalism, and equal rights, the Union of Peoples of Russia (SNR) held its founding congress on 16 June, Radio Mayak reported. Yury Skokov of the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) addressed the delegates and wished them success in creating a "new federation of regions." In April, the KRO announced plans to help form and cooperate with a union for non-Russian nationalities in Russia. * Laura Belin

STATE DUMA ADOPTS BILL ON TAX SYSTEM.
The State Duma has passed a federal draft law which will pave the way for radically changing the tax system, Segodnya reported on 17 June. The draft contains a full register of taxes, the number of which will be reduced. Under the law, Russia would collect 43 federal taxes. In December 1993 Yeltsin issued a presidential decree allowing local authorities to introduce additional local and regional taxes at will. Over 60 such taxes have been introduced in the country. Over 100 taxes currently exist in Russia. The new law, which is to come into effect on 1 October, will reduce the number of taxes to 20. * Thomas Sigel

FINANCE MINISTRY ENLISTS BANKS TO SUPPORT QUAKE RESTORATION.
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets asked the Finance Ministry and the Sakhalin regional administration to involve commercial banks in funding restoration work and compensation for the Neftegorsk earthquake victims, Interfax reported on 16 June. According to Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, the earthquake claimed 1,989 lives and 2,364 people were rescued from the debris. Seven foreign states have provided 220 tons of humanitarian aid and about 60 billion rubles ($1.2 million) have been spent on emergency and rescue operations. Igor Farkhutdinov, governor of the Sakhalin oblast, said the victims will receive financial compensation and money will be allocated to build homes for the victims during the next month. * Thomas Sigel



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 118, 19 June 1995
RUSSIAN ENCLAVE IN KAZAKHSTAN.
An agreement to turn the city of Leninsk with a population of 100,000, near the Baikonour cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, into a Russian federal constituent member was initialed on 16 June, Interfax reported. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Bolshakov and Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Nigmatzhan Isingarin initialed the agreement in Moscow; it provides for Leninsk's budget to be financed by Russia for the duration of Baikonour's lease, which is 20 years. The agreement must be signed by the presidents of Kazakhstan and Russia. Bolshakov said the living standards of the city's residents should improve due to the agreement. * Lowell Bezanis

UN MISSION IN TAJIKISTAN STAYS ON.
The UN Security Council renewed the mandate of the 74-man observer mission in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for six months on 16 June, provided the parties to the conflict remain committed to a ceasefire, AFP reported the same day. The resolution extending UNMOT's mandate, which passed by a 15-0 vote, said the council will consider UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's recommendation to deploy UN personnel in northern Afghanistan to investigate border incidents; it also called for another round of the inter-Tajik talks to implement various confidence building measures. * Lowell Bezanis

TASKHENT ACCUSED OF BACKING SEPARATISM IN AFGHANISTAN.
Citing a high-ranking official in the Afghan embassy in Moscow, Interfax reported on Kabul's suspicion of Uzbek support for General Rashid Dostum on 16 June. The source noted that there is widespread belief in Kabul that Dostum--an ethnic Uzbek who was a key military supporter of former communist President Najibullah in the past and currently controls a stretch of northern Afghanistan populated by ethnic Uzbeks--is a separatist. The diplomat claimed that last week's discovery of 18 metric tons of counterfeit Afghanis showed that Tashkent was trying to destabilize the Afghan currency. * Lowell Bezanis

TURKEY: NO REQUEST FOR ASYLUM RECEIVED.
Turkish officials have denied that Dzhokhar Dudaev applied for, or received, asylum in Turkey, Western agencies reported on 18 June. Speaking in Halifax at the G-7 summit the day before, President Yeltsin said Turkey had agreed to grant Dudaev asylum provided he later moved to another country, noting that, "We don't care where he goes so long as he is far away from Russia." Turkey is interested in playing a role in resolving the crisis in Chechnya; Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Omer Akbel left the door open to accepting Dudaev by noting that a decision on accepting Dudaev could not be taken without an application for asylum. * Lowell Bezanis

CIS


KUCHMA: FLEET BASES STILL A PROBLEM.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told Interfax on 16 June that the question of Ukrainian naval bases had not been settled despite the agreement he signed with President Yeltsin at their summit in Sochi. Kuchma was quoted as saying there would have to be "very serious preparations before a decision can be made...We shall discuss that question with the military behind closed doors." * Doug Clarke

RUSSIA SIGNS MEMORANDUM WITH BELARUS.
A Russian delegation signed a memorandum in Minsk on cooperation between the presidential control service of Belarus and the control administration of the Russian Federation, Belarusian radio reported on 16 July. Interfax reported that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka proposed that the two countries control services verify bilateral agreements between Russia and Belarus in order to help speed their implementation. * Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN-ARMENIAN AGREEMENTS.
Armenian Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan signed three agreements with his Ukrainian counterpart, Yevhen Marchuk, in Kiev, Ukrainian radio reported on 17 June. The two countries agreed to consultations to increase cooperation and signed agreements on civil aviation and social protection for Ukrainian and Armenian workers in each other's countries. During the visit Ukraine offered to mediate in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. the two sides also discussed the issue of Ukrainian-Armenian cooperation in building a nuclear power plant in Armenia. * Ustina Markus



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 118, 19 June 1995
G-7 ON UKRAINE.
G-7 leaders, meeting in Halifax, Canada, praised Ukraine for its efforts to create a free market economy, saying Kiev could receive additional aid, AFP reported on 16 June. They said they would seek more international assistance to help Kiev shut down the Chornobyl nuclear power station. The G-7 so far has decided to grant Ukraine $3.9 billion to support economic reform in the country. At the end of the summit, it announced that if Ukraine continued to progress with economic reform, international financial institutions could make an additional $2 billion in credits available by the end of 1996. Ukraine was not represented at the summit, but Kiev made a number of statements that Chornobyl's closure hinged on additional aid. * Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT FOCUSES ON INDUSTRIAL RESTRUCTURING.
Leonid Kuchma recently visited Ukraine's industrial centers to examine ways to overhaul the country's ailing industrial sector, Interfax-Ukraine and Radio Ukraine reported on 16 June. During his trip, he said that some 40 so-called financial-industrial groups, which unite capital and industries in Ukraine and Russia, were to be set up within a month to make enterprises more viable. His administration has also set up a bankruptcy agency to identify and close down failing enterprises. Kuchma noted he intends to apply stricter discipline toward management in the state sector and plans to issue a decree to review the contracts of all directors of state-owned enterprises. In the meantime, he decreed the creation of a state commission on a stock market for privatized businesses. The decree is aimed at ensuring a single state policy on a securities exchange. * Chrystyna Lapychak

IMF REACHES PROVISIONAL AGREEMENT WITH BELARUS.
The IMF has provisionally agreed on an economic reform program with Belarus, Reuters reported on 16 June. The IMF representative in Minsk, Willen Middlekoop, said the program requires Belarus to approve a "revamped" budget, take steps toward slowing monthly inflation to 1% by the end of the year, and keep to a 3.2% budget deficit. Tariffs on rents and utilities are to be increased by July, while monopoly price controls are to be abolished. In addition, currency restrictions are to be eased. Keeping to the plan could pave the way for the release of a $250 million standby loan from the IMF. Earlier this year, part of the standby credit was denied to Belarus because Minsk failed to implement various requirements of an economic reform program that included freeing prices. * Ustina Markus

ESTONIA, FINLAND MOVE TOWARD VISA-FREE TRAVEL.
Estonian Foreign Ministry official Raul Malk and Finnish Foreign Ministry consular department head Marcus Laurent, meeting in Tallinn on 16 June, initialed an agreement on the readmission of illegal immigrants, BNS reported. The agreement will probably be signed by Interior Minister Edgar Savisaar during his visit to Finland later this month. It is one of Finland's preconditions for signing a treaty on visa-free travel with Estonia. The two countries have signed an accord on cooperation in crime prevention and are concluding a bilateral agreement on the extradition of criminals. * Saulius Girnius

LATVIA SEEKS LOAN FROM JAPAN.
Latvian Finance Ministry official Aivars Veiss told a press conference on 16 June that talks were being conducted with Japan on a 20-40 million lat ($39-78 million) loan, BNS reported. The loan, to be received in late July or early August, will be used to pay current government expenses. Veiss noted that the government has already spent 16 million of the 20 million lati loan it received from the Bank of Latvia on 25 May at an annual interest rate of 25%. The ministry will begin selling state treasury bills on 21 June in an effort to secure additional funds. * Saulius Girnius

SOVIET DAMAGE TO LITHUANIA'S ENVIRONMENT.
Representatives of the Danish company Kruger Consult A/S, the Baltic consulting group, and the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences released a report on 15 June saying it will cost $1.1 billion dollars to repair damage caused to Lithuania's environment by Soviet troops, Interfax reported the next day. The group inspected 426 former Soviet military installations covering a total area of 67,000 hectares, or more than 1% of the republic's territory. They found heavy pollution from oil and other chemical products. Assessment of the damage began in late 1993 and was financed by the European Union PHARE program. * Saulius Girnius

POLISH EPISCOPATE ON CONSTITUTION DRAFT.
The Polish episcopate on 18 June criticized the draft of the new constitution, which has been prepared in installments by a parliamentary commission. The bishops stressed the need to include a reference to God in the preamble. They had previously demanded constitutional guarantees for the protection of human life from conception and religious instruction in schools, Polish media reported on 19 June. Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy commented that the bishops have "passed judgement on a document that does not exist yet." President Lech Walesa said he would not support the constitution draft. "I demand a presidential system and even the president's rights to issue decrees if need be," he said. He once again stopped short of declaring his presidential candidacy. * Jakub Karpinski

TWO CZECH GOVERNING PARTIES AGREE ON MERGER.
The Christian Democratic Party (KDS) on 17 June approved a merger with the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, Czech media reported. KDS chairman and Minister of Education Ivan Pilip said the party leadership voted 23 to seven with one abstention for the merger. The ODS executive committee had approved the merger agreement one day earlier. The pact guarantees KDS candidates four seats in the next parliament or five if the ODS wins more than 76 seats in the June 1996 elections. The KDS currently has five deputies, with a breakaway faction opposed to the ODS merger holding another five. The merger has to be approved by both the ODS and KDS congresses, due to be held at the end of this year. * Steve Kettle

SLOVAK POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS.
The ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) on 17 June demanded again the resignation of President Michal Kovac, Slovak media reported. The party criticized a recent interview Kovac gave to the Austrian weekly Profil in which he allegedly questioned Slovakia's democratic system and thus "damaged Slovakia's interests abroad." The HZDS claimed that Kovac has made a habit of such actions. The party went on to back the recent changes in the government's privatization concept, stressing that the first wave of coupon privatization gave an unfair advantage to those who had information about firms being privatized. It also criticized investment funds for defending business interests rather than those of shareholders. Chairman of the HZDS parliamentary caucus Tibor Cabaj said the ratification of the Slovak-Hungarian treaty will not be discussed at the next parliament session, which begins on 21 June. * Sharon Fisher

WORLD BANK EXTENDS CREDIT TO HUNGARY.
The World Bank on 16 June approved a $1.3 billion three-year credit line for Hungary, Reuters reported. Millard Long, head of the bank's Budapest office, called the government's recent measures to cut the 1995 budget and current account deficits "much needed" and "very significant." But he stressed that economic reforms must continue before Hungary will be allowed to fully utilize the credit line. Hungary's net debt of $21.4 billion is the highest per capita debt in CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE. A portion of the credit line is conditional on Hungary signing a deal with the IMF. Hungary hopes that working out a new standby loan agreement with that organization will boost business confidence and raise foreign investment. * Sharon Fisher



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 118, 19 June 1995
BOSNIAN ARMY ADVANCES ON FOUR FRONTS.
International media reported over the weekend that Bosnian forces were advancing near Tuzla, to the north and south of Sarajevo, and to the south of that city. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said on 19 June that key Serbian supply routes to the north and south of the capital had been cut, leaving the Bosnian Serbs attacking Sarajevo from the west under siege. The International Herald Tribune noted on 17 June that it was the government army's best performance since the Serbs launched the war in the spring of 1992 and that for the first time Croatian artillery was backing the mainly Muslim army on the Sarajevo fronts. The Serbs responded by shelling the city, killing two in a hospital and seven at a water distribution center. * Patrick Moore

IZETBEGOVIC SAYS BOSNIANS WILL FREE SARAJEVO.
Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic said over the weekend that the capital will be free sooner or later and that the current offensive will not stop until the Serbs' strangle-hold has been eased. He noted appeals from the international community for a cease-fire but added that the world has done nothing for Sarajevo and that his government does not feel obliged to listen to such pleas. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the BBC, and the VOA carried the stories. * Patrick Moore

SERBS DECLARE SPECIAL MOBILIZATION, CONTINUE PRESS-GANGING.
The BBC on 18 June said that Bosnian Serb authorities proclaimed a special mobilization of civilians and declared a "state of war" in the Sarajevo area. Nasa Borba notes on 19 June the continuing roundup of draft-age Serbian males from Bosnia and Krajina in Belgrade's student center, in Valjevo, and elsewhere. Vreme adds that those in charge of the project have a list of 18,000 "deserters" they want to round up and send back to the front. * Patrick Moore

SERBS FREE LAST UN HOSTAGES.
The last group of 26 peacekeepers held by Bosnian Serbs was released via Novi Sad on 18 June, just hours before the Serbs' own deadline of midnight for resolving the crisis. Serbian intelligence chief Jovica Stanisic was again present among Bosnian Serb leaders, as he was when the three previous large groups of hostages were freed. International media also reported that UNPROFOR has effectively withdrawn its peacekeepers from all Serb-held territory, including four heavy weapons collection points near Sarajevo. * Patrick Moore

SERBIAN SANCTIONS UPDATE.
European Commission reports on sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia indicate that violations, especially stemming from Albania and Macedonia, continue to take place, Reuters reported on 18 June. The reports, which cover the first four months of 1995, also implicate Greek and Italian groups in the practice of funneling contraband fuel shipments to Albania, from where they are transported to the rump Yugoslavia. "Significant quantities of oil products, including thousands of tonnes of A1 aviation fuel declared `for heating purposes' have been arriving in Albania during the reported periods," according to one report. It is also suggested that the 3,050 officially reported cases of sanctions violations by Macedonia "represent only a fraction of the consignments that have crossed the border in violation of the sanctions." * Stan Markotich

SERBIAN RADICAL RALLY FAILS TO MEET EXPECTATIONS.
A 17 June rally sponsored by the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) attracted an estimated crowd of 5,000, Reuters reported the same day. SRS supporters had planned a massive ultranationalist, anti-Milosevic rally, but public interest did not meet expectations. Other major opposition parties--including the Democratic Party (DS), the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), and the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO)--refused to endorse the rally. Organizers also attributed the low attendance to the fact that SRS leader and accused war criminal Vojislav Seselj was unable to attend because he is serving a two month sentence for a 2 June incident in which he clashed with the police. * Stan Markotich

ARE RELATIONS BETWEEN ALBANIA AND MACEDONIAN ALBANIAN PARTIES IN CRISIS?
Koha Jone on 14 June claimed that relations between Albania and Macedonian ethnic Albanian parties have deteriorated since the opposition Albanian Socialist Party met with the Macedonian ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PPD) earlier this month. According to sources within the PPD, Shaban Murati, the Albanian ambassador to Skopje, was upset by "the warm reception and extensive publicity" the PPD gave to the Socialists. Meanwhile, AKS carried a report on 18 June stressing that the Albanian government has consistently supported the Albanian-language University in Tetovo and that Albanian President Sali Berisha repeatedly called for it to be established. It added, however, that Albania has recently changed its policy toward Macedonia to one of restraint. * Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN TRADE UNIONS SUSPEND PROTESTS.
Leaders of Romania's main labor organizations on 16 June announced they have canceled a two-week protest over wages and working conditions, Romanian media reported. A communiqué released by the National Confederation of Romania's Free Trade Unions-The Brotherhood, the National Labor Bloc, and the Alfa Cartel accused the government of staging a campaign to misinform and bully rank-and-file union members, with the help of some union leaders. The statement further charged the government with trying to divide the labor movement and discredit union leaders unwilling to accept a compromise through a communist-style campaign. According to Radio Bucharest, negotiations between unions and the parties backing the current government over a social pact will re-start on 19 June. * Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN ETHNIC HUNGARIAN PARTY CRITICIZES EDUCATION BILL.
The Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR), in a communiqué issued on 17 June, said that an education bill recently adopted by the Romanian Senate curtails the rights of ethnic minorities in Romania. The statement, signed by UDMR chairman Bela Marko, criticized the law for failing to conform with both the principles of the Romanian Constitution and European standards. The UDMR will make every effort, the communiqué added, to expose what it described as "the anti-constitutional and anti-democratic character" of the law. * Dan Ionescu

ROMANIAN SOCIALIST PARTY HOLDS FIRST CONGRESS.
The left-wing Socialist Party held its first nationwide congress in Bucharest on 17-18 June. The party, which split from the Socialist Labor Party earlier this year and claims to have some 13,000 members, vowed to continue the traditions of the Romanian socialist movement. More than 500 delegates attended the congress and approved the party's program and the statutes. Tudor Mohora was elected chairman. * Dan Ionescu

PROTEST OVER LEBED'S RESIGNATION IN TIRASPOL.
14th Army officers on 16 June protested the resignation of Lt. Gen. Alexander Lebed as their commander, Interfax reported. They described Lebed's replacement as "unlawful" and expressed regret that neither the Russian president nor the defense minister has found time to talk to Lebed. Also on 16 June, Lebed, on returning to Tiraspol, said he does not intend to leave office before being formally notified that his resignation has been accepted. In a related development, a group of women on 16 June blocked the runaway of a military airfield near Tiraspol for several hours to prevent the new commander of the army, Major General Valery Yevnevich, from landing. Hundreds of women later picketed the garrison's hotel where Yevnevich is staying. * Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION UPDATE.
The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Union of Macedonian Associations (VMRO-SMD) on 18 June decided to support the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) mayoral candidates in those areas where the SDS has signed no agreement with the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom (MRF), Demokratsiya reported the following day. In these constituencies, the VMRO-SMD will either nominate its own candidates or join forces with other "opposition patriotic formations." Alliances with the Bulgarian Socialist Party were categorically ruled out. VMRO-SMD local council candidates may run on joint tickets with the SDS anywhere in the country, since the agreement between the SDS, MRF, and the People's Union (see OMRI Daily Report, 16 June 1995) concerns only joint candidates for mayor. In other news, Demokratsiya reported that Ivan Kurtev was reelected chairman of the Social Democratic Party on 18 June. * Stefan Krause

COMMUNIST PARTIES MEET IN ATHENS.
Representatives of 25 communist and leftist parties met in Athens on 17-18 June to discuss perspectives of communism and the reasons for the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, AFP reported on 17 June. The conference was organized by the hard-line Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and attended by representatives from the Balkans, Russia, North Korea, Iraq, Canada, Australia, and several European and Middle East countries. The French, Portuguese, Cuban and Chinese parties failed to send delegates. Opening the session, KKE member Makis Mailis called the fall of communism in Eastern Europe a "step backwards for humanity" and urged delegates to fight "for the final victory of communism over capitalism." * Stefan Krause

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave

Copyright(c)1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.



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