Accessibility links

Newsline - June 21, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 120, 21 June 1995
BUDENNOVSK GUNMEN ARRIVE IN CHECHNYA.
After a tortuous journey, including several long delays, the convoy of buses carrying Chechen fighters led by Shamil Basaev arrived at its destination, international and Russian agencies reported on 21 June. Upon arrival at Zandak, in the Vedeno region of Chechnya, Basaev released the "volunteers" who had accompanied his fighters as a guarantee of safe passage. Basaev and his men then retreated into the surrounding mountains, fulfilling his agreement with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. On 20 June, Stavropol Region Deputy Procurator General Alexei Selyukov told journalists that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Basaev on charges of "banditry." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

GROZNY TALKS REACH AGREEMENT ON CEASEFIRE.
Russian and Chechen negotiators in Grozny have agreed to terms for a ceasefire, Interfax reported on 20 June. Arkady Volsky, a member of the Russian delegation, told journalists that a three-day ceasefire would go into effect on 21 June. The talks also reportedly made progress on the terms of military disengagement between the two sides. A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry told journalists that while federal troops have "scrupulously" observed the cessation of hostilities negotiated between Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and Chechen leader Shamil Basaev, Chechen forces launched several attacks on the night of 19-20 June, causing casualties on both sides. Negotiations are scheduled to continue on 21 June. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

PUBLIC OPINION ON BUDENNOVSK EVENTS.
A poll published on 21 June in Komsomolskaya Pravda revealed significant differences in outlook between Muscovites and residents of the Stavropol Region. When asked who bore responsibility for the recent attack on Budennovsk, 81% of Muscovites responded, "the Russian Government," while only 50% of those from Stavropol responded similarly. Half of Stavropol residents agreed with the statement that the government should intensify military activity against Chechen forces, while in Moscow, only 20% supported such a solution. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

ANALYSIS OF GOVERNMENT, SOCIAL RESPONSE TO BUDENNOVSK.
Yegor Gaidar, leader of Russia's Democratic Choice, criticized Yeltsin's handling of the Budennovsk crisis, Interfax reported on 20 June. For two days the president and prime minister acted as if the other did not exist at all, according to Moskovsky komsomolets on 20 June. There is no evidence that the president even met with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on his return from Canada, according to the newspaper. In Izvestiya on 21 June, Marietta Chudokova, a member of the presidential council, noted that people were not protesting the war before the terrorist attack. "Now in Krasnodar Krai there are demonstrations almost around the clock, but why didn't people come out on the streets earlier, much earlier?" Izvestiya also noted that the government saved hundreds of lives through negotiations with people it had earlier considered "bandits" and that it is now clear that talks should have been held from the beginning. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

MIGRATION SERVICE REPORTS ON CHECHEN REFUGEES.
On 20 June, the Russian Federal Migration Service told Interfax that over 380,000 refugees have fled Chechnya since federal troops entered the republic in December 1994. Over 80,000 refugees had already left Chechnya before the conflict began. Mikhail Arutunov, the deputy chairman of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights, told Interfax there are currently 800,000 people in Russia who are officially registered as refugees or displaced persons. Independent human rights activists believe the actual number of refugees to be higher. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

TEREK COSSACKS CREATE MILITIA.
Terek Cossacks in the Pyatigorsk district of the Stavropol region formed a militia of approximately 5000 soldiers to defend against "armed bandits" in the wake of the Budennovsk hostage crisis, Terek Cossack Ataman Yury Churekov told Ekho Moskvy on 20 June. Deputy Ataman Evgeny Klyuchkin told Radio Rossii that the militia will blockade all roads from Chechnya and Ingushetiya so as not to allow "a single Chechen" into Russia. On 19 June, a presidential representative said the enlistment of armed volunteers by Terek Cossacks was illegal, Interfax reported. On the same day, Duma deputy Viktor Zorkaltsev of the committee for public and religious groups also denounced plans to create Cossack units outside the Russian armed forces. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS ON NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE.
Most members of Russia's Choice will abstain from the no-confidence vote, according to Duma member Viktor Pokhmelkin, Interfax reported. The Agrarian Party will support a vote of no confidence in the government, the parliamentary faction decided on 20 June. However, Vladimir Isakov, chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and an Agrarian Party member, proposed instead to amend the constitution to give parliament the power to approve the president's appointment of deputy prime ministers and power ministers. At present, the Duma only has the power to approve the appointment of the prime minister. The amendment would also give it the power to pass no-confidence votes in individual ministers as well as the whole cabinet. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

AIDE: REGIONS SHOULD ELECT LEADERS ONLY AFTER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
President Yeltsin's deputy chief of staff Vyacheslav Volkov said regional elections for executive authorities should not be held until after the June 1996 presidential elections, Interfax reported on 20 June. Volkov said early regional elections would threaten stability on the eve of presidential elections. He added that federal legislation is needed before regional administrative heads can be elected, except in exceptional cases. On 11 May, Yeltsin issued a decree allowing the Sverdlovsk region to hold gubernatorial elections this August. Administrative heads have been elected in 22 of Russia's 89 regions. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MOSKOVSKY KOMSOMOLETS CYNICAL ABOUT PENSION INCREASES.
Commenting on the Federation Council's recent approval of the draft law which will increase monthly pensions to 52,486 rubles (about $12), Moskovsky komsomolets claimed in a 17 June article that the elderly might never see the increase. Already the government has promised to allot an extra 7 trillion rubles, which the Pension Fund does not have. The commentary noted that while their is no money for pensioners, teachers, veterans, disabled persons, and single mothers, the government had no problem finding 11 trillion rubles to spend on "security" (military operations in Chechnya). -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

DIPHTHERIA RATE DOUBLES FROM 1994.
More than 13,000 cases of diphtheria were registered in the first four months of 1994 in Russia, 4,843 of them children under 14 years of age, Interfax reported on 20 June. Yevgeny Belyaev, the chairman of the State Committee for Sanitation, said the number of diphtheria cases has doubled in comparison with the same period last year and he attributed the outbreak to a lack of vaccinations. Large-scale vaccination programs have been weakly enforced since 1990, which led to the outburst of the disease in 1991, later developing into an epidemic. The government is now taking steps to encourage vaccinations. According to Belyaev, 14.5 million children and 43.2 million adults (66.7% of the adult population) were vaccinated in 1993 and 1994. Last year, 88.1% of infants under the age of one were vaccinated, he said. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL BANK LOWERS REFINANCING RATE TO 180%.
The Central Bank of Russia lowered the refinancing rate at which it extends credits to commercial banks from 195% to 180%, the bank's chairwoman, Tatyana Paramonova, told Russian agencies on 20 June. The bank lowered the rate from 200% to 195% on 16 May in an effort to encourage commercial banks to invest in industry. In international practice, refinancing rates are usually lowered in order to check any rapid strengthening of the national currency and thus assist exporters. In the Russian situation, however, the move is expected to have very little impact on the currency market, Financial Information Agency experts noted. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

PAKISTAN TO BUY RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS.
A Russian Defense Ministry delegation is in Islamabad to work out the details on the sale of 40 military helicopters to Pakistan, the Chinese Xinua news agency reported on 18 June. The agency also quoted Pakistani Defense Minister Aftab Shaban Mirani as saying that the Russian Su-27 jet fighter was among three foreign aircraft being considered for the Pakistani air force if the U.S. does not release the F-16 fighters Pakistan purchased several years ago. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES SLATED FOR SALE IN AUTUMN.
The Russian government plans to begin the early sale of large packages of enterprise shares which were supposed to remain state property until 1996-97, Sergei Belyaev, the chairman of the State Property Committee, told Interfax on 20 June. The chairman said the sale of government-owned stock in industrial facilities will increase state revenues. Revenue from privatization this year is expected to total 9.1 trillion rubles ($2.02 billion). -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

METAL PRODUCERS CONTEMPLATE SLASHING EXPORTS.
Russian metal producers will slash their exports if the ruble continues to strengthen against the U.S. dollar, Metal Industry Committee experts said on 20 June, Interfax reported. The rising ruble means that less money will come in from metal exports, a main source of funding for metal enterprise production. Metal prices within Russia are roughly equal to world market prices, but the low solvency of potential Russian customers forces metal producers to export about half of their output, mainly to countries outside the CIS. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 120, 21 June 1995
CONTROVERSIAL SHEVARDNADZE ASSOCIATE ASSASSINATED.
Soliko Khabeishvili, a close friend of Georgian parliament chairman Eduard Shevardnadze and chairman of the Revival and Democracy Fund founded by the latter, died in a Tbilisi hospital on 20 June after being shot by unidentified gunmen outside his home earlier that day, Interfax reported. Khabeishvili served as Georgian Communist Party Central Committee secretary for industry in the early 1980s when Shevardnadze was party first secretary. Following Shevardnadze's appointment as Soviet foreign minister in 1985, Khabeishvili was removed from his post and put on trial for large-scale bribery and corruption. He received a 15-year sentence. The circumstances of his premature release are not known. -- Liz Fuller, OMRI, Inc.

UZBEKISTAN PRESSED ON HUMAN RIGHTS.
In welcoming Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov to Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher acknowledged that Uzbekistan had made progress on human rights and political reform but said more is needed, Reuters reported on 20 June. A memorandum of understanding permitting U.S. citizens to travel throughout Uzbekistan was signed by both sides; Uzbekistan has also agreed to permit the establishment of an OSCE mission to monitor human rights in Tashkent. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 120, 21 June 1995

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON BALTIC STATES' ENTRY INTO NATO.
Volker Ruhe, at a meeting of ministers and parliamentarians from Germany, Sweden, Finland, and the Baltic States in Visby, said the Baltic States will not be among the first new NATO members in the year 2000, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported 20 June. He said it is "totally unrealistic" that the Baltic States will join NATO at the same time as Poland and the Czech Republic. Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt described Ruhe's suggestion that the Baltics seek closer security cooperation with their northern neighbors as "dangerous," noting that Sweden and Finland were not capable of exporting security and stability. Former Swedish Foreign Minister Margaretha af Ugglas urged the Germans to remember the so-called "Acheson effect" of 1950. The failure of Secretary of State Dean Acheson to mention South Korea as a US security interest helped prompt its invasion by North Korea. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN PREMIER SAYS BALTIC SECURITY IS ALSO GOOD FOR RUSSIA.
Tiit Vahi, at a NATO seminar on political and military cooperation in Dresden on 20 June, said the closer relations between the Baltic States and Western Europe do not necessarily mean worsened relations with Russia, BNS reported. On the contrary, he affirmed the Baltic States' security is also good for Russia. Defense Minister Andrus Oovel also attended the seminar, arriving from a three-day visit to France, where he held talks with his French counterpart, Charles Millon, on French assistance in building up Estonia's national defense, exchange of delegations, and cooperation in European organizations. Latvian Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs and Lithuanian Defense Minister Lina Linkevicius also spoke at the seminar on their countries participation in NATO' Partnership for Peace program. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN LEADERS BELIEVE IN SABOTAGE OF BANKS.
President Guntis Ulmanis and Prime Minister Maris Gailis, after an extraordinary meeting of the Latvian government on 19 June, told reporters that deliberate attempts have been made to wreck Latvia's banking system, BNS reported the next day. The bankruptcy of Banka Baltija could result in Russia exerting political pressure, since the bank remains primarily indebted to Russian financial groups. Ulmanis noted that Latvia's four intelligence services at the Interior Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the Home Guard, and the newly created Constitution Protection Bureau had all failed to perform adequately. The meeting commissioned the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Latvia, and the Prosecutor's Office to submit to the cabinet before 26 June a plan for normalizing the finance and banking system. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINIAN INFORMATION MINISTER ON STATE OF THE PRESS.
Mykhaylo Onufriichuk, in an interview with Demokratychna Ukraina on 20 June, said the number of publications in Ukraine has increased to more than 3,000, despite financial difficulties and declining circulations. He said plummeting living standards and rising subscription rates caused the total circulation of Ukrainian publications to fall from 63,700,000 copies in 1992 to 14,700,000 in 1994. He said Ukrainian publishers are heavily dependent on imports from other CIS countries. Some 80% of their supplies, mainly paper, are imported. Onufriichuk also said he was concerned about the small number of Ukrainian-language publications. Of the 400 nationwide newspapers, only 103, or 25%, are published in Ukrainian. Most are in Russian, he said. While several printing companies are scheduled for privatization this year, many publications will remain subsidized by the government. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.


CHINESE PREMIER IN BELARUS.
Li Peng arrives in Belarus on 21 June for an official visit, Belarusian Radio reported the previous day. He is slated to meet with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir. He will also visit the country's military-industrial enterprises. At the same time, the Belarusian Cabinet of Ministers will present to the parliament for ratification several agreements signed in Beijing by China and Belarus in January. Lukashenka, in an interview with the Chinese paper Guangming Ribao on 18 June, stressed the importance for Belarus of economic cooperation with China, which is its sixth largest trading partner outside the CIS. Lukashenka also praised the peaceful way in which China has implemented reforms. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

POLITICAL NEWS FROM BELARUS.
Yauhen Luhin, head of the Belarusian Peasant Party, has suggested that upcoming parliamentary by-elections be held on the basis of party lists, Belarusian Radio reported on 20 June. Viktar Chikin, a leader of the Party of Communists of Belarus (PCB), stated that the abolition of the presidency is not the party's current priority, although it is on the party's agenda. He said the PCB's main goal is to have as many members elected in the by-elections as possible. It was also reported that the Party of Popular Accord has a new leader. Henadz Karpenka was replaced by the newly elected deputy Lanid Sechka. The party has espoused the idea of uniting all centrist factions into one social-democratic party. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH PRESIDENT ON ANTI-SEMITISM.
Polish President Lech Walesa, in a telephone conversation with Knesset President Shevakh Weiss on 20 June, said that "as long as he is president, he will not allow any manifestation of anti-Semitism" in Poland. Walesa apologized to Jews if they felt offended by a comment by Walesa's priest in Gdansk earlier this month (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 June 1995). Walesa the same day issued a statement saying that "all manifestations of anti-Semitism, in Poland as elsewhere, should encounter general contempt and condemnation." In related news, Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski on 20 June told the Sejm Foreign Affairs Commission that he intends to appoint former Ambassador to Morocco Krzysztof Sliwinski as his plenipotentiary for contacts with the Jewish Diaspora, Polish media reported on 21 June. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

NEW POLISH ECONOMIC MINISTRIES.
The Polish government on 20 June approved the reorganization of the country's economic ministries as of 1 January 1996. The new ministries are Treasury, Economy and Foreign Trade, and European Integration. The ministries to be abolished are Industry, Economic Foreign Cooperation, Territorial Economy and Building, as well as the Central Planning Office, Rzeczpospolita reported on 21 June. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH RAILWORKERS CALL OFF STRIKE.
The Czech Republic's 105,000 railworkers on 20 June called off a strike at the last minute after the government met most of their pay and other demands. Union leaders, in a final meeting with Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and Transport Minister Jan Strasky, won a monthly pay rise of an average 840 koruny per employee as well as promises to replace the administrative board of Czech Railroads and halt the transformation of the rail system, which includes plans to privatize part of the network. An indefinite strike was planned to begin just after midnight after earlier talks ended in deadlock. "If the government had intervened earlier, this critical situation need not have occurred," Mlada fronta dnes quoted the leader of the largest rail union, Jaromir Dusek, as saying. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

CHINA PROTESTS TAIWAN PREMIER'S VISIT TO PRAGUE.
China on 20 June expressed "deep dissatisfaction" over a private visit by Taiwan's Prime Minister Lien Chan to Prague earlier this week, Czech media reported. Newspapers quoted a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus violated the principles of Czech-Chinese relations by meeting with Lien. To reinforce the protest, Chinese officials refused to sign a prepared agreement with the Czech government on student exchanges and left Prague earlier than planned. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK CABINET APPROVES DRAFT LANGUAGE LAW.
The Slovak government on 20 June approved a draft law on the state language that limits the use of other languages in schools, state institutions, and the media. The law provides for the establishment of so-called "language police," who would serve as inspectors under the Ministry of Culture. The cabinet also passed a draft law on large-scale privatization effectively canceling the second wave of coupon privatization. It approved Slovakia's application to the European Union, which will be presented at the upcoming EU summit in Cannes. At the Slovak parliament session beginning on 21 June, deputies will discuss, among other issues, the ratification of the framework agreement on the protection of national minorities, Slovak media reported. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAK PRESIDENT WILL NOT RUN AGAIN.
Michal Kovac, during a visit to the southern town of Komarno on 20 June, announced that he will not run for office again, Pravda reports. At the same time, he stressed he will not resign from his post before his five-year term ends in 1998. Kovac, a former member of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), has been involved in a long-term dispute with HZDS Chairman and Premier Vladimir Meciar. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

NATIONAL BANK OF SLOVAKIA AIMS FOR CONVERTIBLE KORUNA.
NBS vice governor Marian Jusko, in an interview with Narodna obroda on 21 June, said the Slovak koruna should be convertible by January 1996, at the latest. In the meantime, limits on the purchase of foreign currency will be liberalized. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.




OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 120, 21 June 1995
SARAJEVO'S "WORST FIGHTING SINCE FRIDAY."
The VOA quoted UN observers on 21 June as saying that the Bosnian government's offensive around Sarajevo and the Serbian counteroffensive have intensified. Fierce combat is reported on the hills surrounding the capital. The Bosnian army on 20 June denied permission for two large UN aid convoys to proceed beyond Kiseljak to Sarajevo and for two smaller ones to head for Serbian-held territory. The soldiers first said that the roads were not safe and then claimed they had no authorization for the convoys. UN officials are investigating. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

FRENCH DESTROY SERBIAN TANK.
French UNPROFOR troops, in an unusual display of fighting spirit, fired 90mm anti-tank rounds at a Bosnian Serb tank north of Sarajevo. The International Herald Tribune on 21 June quotes a spokesman as saying that "the turret was [then] separated from the main body of the tank." The pesky Serbian vehicle had generally kept itself well hidden but had been a source of problems for the peacekeepers. It destroyed an armored personnel carrier and fired 15 shells at a UN observation post before the French shot back. Elsewhere, international media quoted UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali as calling the UN operation in Bosnia a failure. He said it could not keep the peace because the "protagonists" do not want peace. Prominent U.S. Senator Sam Nunn also said recently that UNPROFOR has failed and become "nothing but hostage invitations." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

KARADZIC BANS ALCOHOL IN BARS AND RESTAURANTS.
Nasa Borba on 21 June reported that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has forbidden restaurants and other public establishments from serving alcohol for the coming month. It is not clear whether Karadzic, whose own fondness for strong drink is well known, will ban alcohol sales elsewhere. Meanwhile in Belgrade, UN officials again condemned the current roundup of draft-age men--including Serbian citizens--for the Krajina Serb army. Slobodna Dalmacija quoted a top Krajina general as urging the military to become more involved in economic, cultural, and general public life. He did not openly refer to the new arrivals from Serbia, who are officially known as "volunteers." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BOSNIAN DIPLOMATIC UPDATE.
Russian diplomat Vitaly Churkin continued his talks in Pale and Belgrade on 20 June, international media reported the next day. The VOA said there was a "new Russian peace initiative." Nasa Borba, however, quotes State Department officials as saying that no coordinated diplomatic action has been agreed upon, although Bosnia was discussed at the recent G-7 summit. It remains unclear exactly what Churkin is discussing and why he is representing Russia in its latest efforts, given that his dislike for the Bosnian Serb leadership is well known. Meanwhile in Mostar, EU negotiator Carl Bildt held talks with Bosnian government officials. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.


SERBIAN ECONOMIC UPDATE.
Nasa Borba on 21 June reported that the rump Yugoslav currency, the so-called "super dinar" is currently trading at 2.3-2.5 to the German mark. When introduced in January 1994, the new dinar was pegged to the value of the mark at an exchange of 1:1. Its value on the black market has dipped appreciably several times since its introduction, but the daily observes that the latest free fall, unlike previous ones, has not triggered public anxiety. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.


RUMP YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTER ON BULGARIAN MINORITY.
Standart on 21 June quoted Vladislav Jovanovic as saying that "the Bulgarians in Serbia are indeed encountering problems, but these should not be exaggerated." Jovanovic made the statement after meeting his Bulgarian counterpart, Georgi Pirinski, who is on an official visit to Belgrade. Pirinski on 19 June met with local Socialist politicians in the Serbian border town of Caribrod but not with representatives of the Democratic Union of Bulgarians in Yugoslavia (DSBYu), the only registered party of the Bulgarian minority. According to Demokratsiya on 20 June, DSBYu representatives had not been allowed to meet with him. Two days earlier, he had reportedly held talks in Sofia with DSBYu Secretary Todor Petrov but had insisted that the meeting remain secret in order not to anger the Serbian government. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

MEMBER OF KOSOVAR SHADOW PARLIAMENT TORTURED BY POLICE.
Isak Maxhuni, a member of the Democratic League of Kosovo and a legislator in the Kosovar shadow parliament, has been badly tortured by Serbian police while in custody, Kosova Daily Report said on 19 June. The politician is allegedly suspected of illegal arms possession. His brother is also reported to have been tortured and is now in the hospital. The torture reports have not been independently confirmed. The parliament was elected in May 1992, but Serbian police have prevented it from convening. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT AGAINST NEW FEDERATION.
Kiro Gligorov, addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union in Paris on 20 June, said "there can be no new experiments" to create a new state entity on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The independence of the successor states has to be guaranteed, and they have to be integrated into European structures, Vecher on 21 June quoted Gligorov as saying. Asked about relations with Greece, Gligorov said his country "was and still is prepared to negotiate," but only on an equal footing. Gligorov also met with French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette, who said France will make every effort to help resolve the Greek-Macedonian dispute. Meanwhile, Nova Makedonija reports that Foreign Minister Stevo Crvenkovski left for New York on 20 June to meet with UN mediator Cyrus Vance. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

MACEDONIAN OPPOSITION, ETHNIC ALBANIAN LEADERS MEET IN TETOVO.
Ljupco Georgievski, leader of the nationalist Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO-DPMNE), has met with Shaban Aliti, a member of the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity (PPD) and mayor of Tetovo, to discuss possible cooperation between their parties at the local level. The PPD is member of the ruling anti-nationalist coalition and the VMRO-DPMNE is in opposition, but their leaders nonetheless concluded that a coalition is possible. Meanwhile, six VMRO-DPMNE local councilors in Skopje rejected the idea of a coalition, threatening to leave the party. It is unclear whether the Liberal Party would support a VMRO-DPMNE mayor in a coalition with the PPD, Flaka reported on 20 and 21 June. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST WEEKLY PUBLISHES ATTACK ON PRESIDENT.
Romania Mare, the weekly of the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM), has published a memorandum accusing President Ion Iliescu of deliberately weakening the army. The memorandum, which bears the signatures of over 300 active and reserve officers, sharply criticizes steps taken in recent years to modernize the army and prepare Romania's integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. It charges Iliescu with high treason and suggests he deserves capital punishment. Romania's top-selling daily Evenimentul zilei on 21 June reported that the document, whose authenticity has still to be proven, amounts to instigation to military rebellion against Iliescu. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the controversial PRM leader, has launched similar attacks in the past aimed at influencing the policies of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

YOUTH EXODUS FROM ROMANIA'S NATIONAL PEASANT PARTY.
A group of 62 young people who recently left or were expelled from the National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic (PNTCD) said at a press conference that they intend to set up a new organization called "Popular Action." They accused the PNTCD leadership of betraying the party's original line by tacitly agreeing to play the role of an "operetta opposition" in Romania. They also criticized what they described as the infiltration of former communist activists into the party. Some independent journalists believe the generation conflict within the PNTCD will further weaken Romania's opposition. The PNTCD is the leading force in the Democratic Convention of Romania, an opposition umbrella organization. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

YEVNEVICH FORMALLY TAKES OVER 14TH ARMY COMMAND IN MOLDOVA.
Lt. Col. Alexander Lebed on 20 June officially handed over the command of the 14th Russian Army headquartered in Tiraspol to his successor, Maj. Gen. Valery Yevnevich, Interfax reported. Lebed, who resigned over Russian Defense Ministry plans to downgrade the 14th Army, is expected to return to Moscow soon. Meanwhile, Konstantin Kobets, the head of an inspection team sent by the Defense Ministry, urged the group of Dniester women protesting the replacement of Lebed to refrain from interfering in army affairs. Interfax further reported that Maj. Gen. Yury Popov was continuing a hunger strike to protest Lebed's replacement. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]


Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




XS
SM
MD
LG