OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 121, 22 June 1995
DUMA VOTES NO CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT.
By a vote of 241-70, with 20
members abstaining, the State Duma passed a vote of no confidence in Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's government, Russian agencies reported. Although
the vote was scheduled earlier over the government's economic policies, the
events in southern Russia influenced the outcome. Only 226 votes were necessary
for the motion to succeed. Additional measures recommending the dismissal of
Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Yegorov, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Interior
Minister Viktor Yerin, and Federal Security Service director Sergei Stepashin
failed, primarily because Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party did
not support them. The vote does not require the president to take action. He
will ignore the Duma vote since "he has no grounds for not having confidence in
the government," presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev told Russian Public
Television on 21 June. Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin, who abstained, called the vote
"a very dangerous move." A second successful vote would require the president
to sack his government or disband the Duma. However, few believe the Duma will
take another confidence vote in the government. * Robert Orttung
PARTY BREAKDOWN OF NO CONFIDENCE VOTE.
Sergei Glazev's Democratic Party
of Russia (DPR) called for the no-confidence vote, saying it was "the only
constitutional measure available to the State Duma to overcome the paralysis
and lack of will in the executive branch," Russian TV reported. The Communist
Party, the Agrarian Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Yabloko group, and
New Regional Policy formed an alliance with the DPR to denounce the government,
Interfax reported. Russia's Choice, Women of Russia, the Party of Russian Unity
and Concord, and Stability supported the government or abstained. Russia's
Choice's leader Yegor Gaidar said the government "had done its best" to
safeguard the lives of the hostages in Budennovsk, NTV reported. However, he
called for the ministers responsible for the use of military force in Chechnya
to be punished. * Robert Orttung
RUSSIAN ULTIMATUM AT CHECHEN TALKS.
At the Russian-Chechen negotiations
in Grozny, Col. Gen. Anatoly Kulikov, commander of federal forces in Chechnya,
demanded that the Chechen delegates denounce terrorism and hand over Shamil
Basaev to federal authorities, Russian and international agencies reported.
Otherwise, Kulikov said, Russian forces would reopen hostilities. A spokesman
for Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin contradicted Kulikov later on 21
June, stating that although the Russian government did demand the extradition
of Basaev, it would not use the issue as "a pretext for resuming armed
activities." Nevertheless, the Chechen delegation later issued a statement
which "denounced all acts of terrorism" and promised to assist federal
authorities in the "search and arrest" of wanted terrorists. The statement
stopped short of promising to hand over Basaev, who is reportedly in hiding in
the Vedeno region of Chechnya. * Scott Parrish
RUSSIAN-CHECHEN TALKS YIELD PRELIMINARY ACCORD.
Following the Chechen
concessions, the third day of negotiations in Grozny ended with the signing of
a protocol on military issues, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 June. Under the
agreement, both sides will simultaneously issue decrees for a ceasefire, which
will be monitored by a commission consisting of Russians, Chechens, local
clergy, and members of the OSCE mission in Chechnya. The accord also calls for
an exchange of all prisoners held by both sides. The protocol calls for the
disengagement of Russian and Chechen forces, and outlines procedures for
disarming Chechen military formations and withdrawing most federal troops from
the republic. If successfully implemented, the accord could serve as the basis
of an overall peace settlement. * Scott Parrish
MOSCOW MILITIA BOLSTERED BY 16,600 TROOPS.
On 21 June, Interfax reported
that 16,600 army and interior troops had been assigned to help the Moscow
militia protect the capital. Some 4,000 elite paratroopers from the 98th Guards
Airborne Division from Ivanovo Oblast and the 106th Guards Airborne Division
from Tula were included, as well as students and cadets from military training
establishments. Col. Gen. Yevgeny Podkolzin was quoted by Komsomolskaya
pravda as saying the troops will be patrolling the streets along with the
militia and guarding establishments of state importance. * Doug Clarke
YELTSIN SUBMITS START-II FOR RATIFICATION.
President Yeltsin has
submitted the START-II Treaty to the Duma for ratification, ITAR-TASS reported
on 21 June. The agreement, signed by Yeltsin and President George Bush in
January 1993, calls for deep reductions in the nuclear arsenals of both the
U.S. and Russia. The treaty faces uncertain prospects in the Duma, where many
deputies have criticized it. * Scott Parrish
DUMA ATTEMPTS TO AMEND CONSTITUTION . . .
The Duma passed three proposed
constitutional amendments that would expand its power over cabinet
appointments, Interfax reported on 21 June. Under the draft laws, crucial
appointments, including deputy prime ministers, foreign, defense, and interior
ministers, and heads of the Foreign Intelligence Service and the Federal
Security Service, would be subject to approval by the Duma. Currently the
president only needs the Duma's consent to appoint the prime minister. The Duma
would also gain the power to pass binding votes of no confidence in individual
cabinet ministers. Duma deputy Oleg Rumyantsev, who helped draft the bills,
said the amendments would bring Russia from "absolutist rule" to a "normal"
form of government. The Duma proposals are unlikely to complete the arduous
amendment process. Constitutional amendments must also be approved by
three-fourths of the Federation Council and passed by two-thirds of the
legislatures of Russia's 89 regions. * Laura Belin
. . . AND ADOPT REFERENDUM RULES.
A draft constitutional law passed by
the Duma in its second reading would limit the president's authority to call a
referendum, Interfax reported on 21 June. Under the draft law, a presidential
decree calling a referendum would have to be approved by the Constitutional
Court and a referendum could not be held simultaneously with parliamentary,
presidential, or local elections, during a nationwide state of emergency, or
within three months after a state of emergency is lifted. Russia's constitution
was passed by a controversial referendum on 12 December 1993, the same day as
parliamentary elections and less than three months after Yeltsin dissolved the
parliament. The law must be approved by a three-fourths majority in the
Federation Council to become effective. * Laura Belin
COMMUNISTS CALL FOR YELTSIN'S IMPEACHMENT.
The presidium of the
Communist Party's Central Committee has called on its Duma faction to start
collecting the 150 signatures necessary to begin the impeachment process
against President Yeltsin, Interfax reported on 21 June. Impeachment ultimately
requires a two-thirds vote in each house and is extremely unlikely. * Robert
YELTSIN SIGNS DUMA ELECTION LAW.
President Yeltsin signed the law on
elections to the Duma on 21 June, Radio Rossii reported. Yeltsin had vetoed an
earlier version of the law on 23 May. The current version contains many of the
provisions Yeltsin opposed, particularly a provision requiring that half of the
Duma members be elected on party lists. * Robert Orttung
NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA SEEKS INVESTORS.
In a special edition of
Nezavisimaya gazeta published on 21 June, the newspaper's board appealed
to private investors to save the newspaper, which suspended publication on 24
May. Nezavisimaya gazeta editor-in-chief Vitaly Tretyakov will lead the
joint stock company, which needs investments of at least $4 million in order to
be registered. Other members of the organizing committee include former Central
Bank chief Viktor Gerashchenko, NTV Director General Igor Malashenko, and head
of the "Vox populi" opinion polling service Boris Grushin. * Laura Belin
DAVYDOV ON FOREIGN DEBTS, INVESTMENTS.
Deputy Prime Minister Oleg
Davydov detailed the structure of Russian foreign debt in an interview with
Rossiiskaya gazeta published on 21 June. He said Russia has a $130
billion debt, of which it owes $36 billion to the Western countries of the
Paris Club and $26 billion to the London Club group of private banks.
Additional debts are owed to other countries and private suppliers. He said
Third World countries owe Russia 90 billion rubles which at the old USSR bank
rate of 0.67 rubles to $1 would have amounted to $148 billion, but the debtors
reject that figure. Davydov added that Russia has received $2.5 billion in
foreign direct investment, 40% of which is from the U.S. He expects more
investment when Russia's debt is restructured, which he hopes will happen by
the end of 1995. * Michael Mihalka
GRACHEV WANTS CONTROL OVER ALL MILITARY FORCES.
Criticizing the clumsy
efforts to free the hostages in Budennovsk, Defense Minister Pavel Grachev on
21 June indicated that he would renew his call for centralizing all military
forces under his ministry. Interfax reported that he would propose at the next
Security Council meeting that all departments with armed forces--such as the
border troops and troops from the Interior and Emergencies ministries, as well
as special sub-units of the security service--be placed under his ministry. He
proposed that the people leading those other ministries be made deputy defense
ministers. Grachev made similar appeals in July and September 1994. * Doug
YELTSIN MEETS WITH FINANCIAL-INDUSTRIAL GROUPS.
President Yeltsin met
with the heads of domestic financial-industrial groups to discuss the legal
basis for this new form of holding company, on 21 June, Russian TV reported.
Meanwhile, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets said the government
should more actively promote the creation of financial-industrial groups in the
country, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported. He said those groups deserve a
place in the Russian economy and noted that 15 such groups exist in Russia
today and another 20 will probably be established by the end of 1995. * Thomas
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 121, 22 June 1995
TAJIK PRESIDENT TAKES MEASURES TO SUPPORT NATIONAL CURRENCY.
the progress of the newly introduced Tajik ruble as unsatisfactory, President
Imomali Rakhmonov, instructed his government to do whatever it takes to
guarantee supply of food stuffs, light industries, and other branches of the
economy within a week, Interfax reported. Industrial enterprises are expected
to fill the commodity market with foodstuffs and essentials according to tight
deadlines. He said the country can begin exporting only after the domestic
market has been satisfied. The Tajik ruble became the national currency on 15
May, but the Russian ruble is still circulating in the country. * Bruce
CFE LIMITATIONS AND CRIMEA.
Ukraine and Russia are to complete the
division of the Black Sea Fleet ground forces by 17 November, Interfax reported
on 21 June. As the flank restrictions in the CFE treaty apply to Crimea,
Russian Foreign Ministry officials expect Russia will be forced to remove its
share of the ground units and their equipment from the peninsula. Since the
marines must be deployed by water, the Russians side can only re-deploy its
Black Sea Fleet troops in Kaliningrad if Moscow does not wish to re-juggle
equipment and personnel in the Leningrad and North Caucasus military districts
which are also covered by flank restrictions. The possibility that the Russian
share of ground units may be totally disbanded has not been ruled out. To date,
the armament of the ground forces of the fleet have not been divided between
Russia and Ukraine. * Ustina Markus
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 121, 22 June 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT DISMISSES PROSECUTOR-GENERAL.
voted in a closed session on 21 June to sack Prosecutor-General Vladislav
Datsyuk after accusing him of failing to deal with serious crime, Reuters and
Interfax-Ukraine reported the same day. Leonid Borodych, chairman of the
legislature's Law and Order Commission, said nearly half of the more than
250,000 serious crimes reported last year remain unsolved. Datsuk denied the
allegations, saying the move was part of a campaign by parliamentary leaders to
halt ongoing investigations into high-level corruption. He warned deputies
against stopping inquiries into corruption among officials. In other news,
President Leonid Kuchma issued a decree on setting up a presidential committee
for legislative initiatives, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 21 June. Presidential
legal adviser Fedir Burchak was appointed to head the committee, which will
advise Kuchma about decrees on economic reforms if legislation is lacking. *
BELARUS MOVES TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH TURKEY . . .
Minister Uladzimir Syanko has told the Turkish envoy in Minsk that improving
relations with Turkey is of great importance to Belarus, Reuters reported on 21
June. Belarus in December 1994 expelled two Turkish diplomats for alleged
spying. Ankara, denying that the two were spies, retaliated by freezing a $100
million loan and pulling out of talks on transport, security, and aviation
projects. Syanko said Minsk regretted the incident. Akbel welcomed the
statement and agreed that relations should develop between the two countries. *
. . . AND WILL SIGN MILITARY AGREEMENT WITH CHINA.
Minister Li Peng arrived in Belarus on 21 June to sign a pact on technical
cooperation in the military sphere and visit a defense factory and an air force
base, Reuters reported that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told Li that the
two countries have similar ideologies so it is easy to conduct talks with
China. * Doug Clarke
U.S., ESTONIA DEVELOP DEFENSE COOPERATION.
U.S. Defense Department
Undersecretary Walter Slacombe, on a visit to Estonia from 20-21 June, held
talks with President Lennart Meri, Defense Minister Andrus Oovel, and armed
forces commander Maj. Gen. Aleksander Einseln, BNS reported. Slacombe and Oovel
signed a memorandum on defense and military cooperation. The memorandum
provides for meetings of a bilateral defense cooperation working group and of
middle-level defense officials. The U.S. reaffirmed its pledge to help Estonia
as a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Slacombe flew to Riga on
21 June and will visit Vilnius on 23 June. * Saulius Girnius
LATVIA'S BANKA BALTIJA DECLARED INSOLVENT.
The Bank of Latvia on 21 June
began an insolvency action against Banka Baltija, BNS reported. Uldis Osis, an
adviser to Prime Minister Maris Gailis, who was appointed head of a working
group assessing the banking crisis, said the bank's shareholders failed to
propose a suitable program to rehabilitate the bank. Osis noted that court
could review its decision and declare the bank solvent again if it managed to
resume operations. The Latvian Finance Ministry sent a letter to the European
Union on 19 June asking if it could apply 45 million ECU ($60 million) of
unused G-24 credit money to pay out deposits in Banka Baltija. * Saulius
DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN LITHUANIA'S PRESIDENT AND MAYORS.
Brazauskas, in his weekly radio interview on 19 June, accused the
right-of-center opposition that won the local elections on 25 March, of
illegitimately replacing most of the lower echelon of local governments, RFE/RL
reported on 21 June. The leaders of the local councils several days earlier
asked Brazauskas not to sign amendments to the law on land that was passed by
the Seimas and would transfer the right of land ownership from the city and
raion councils to regional administrators. Local authorities from Lithuania are
meeting on 22 June to establish an Association of Municipalities that will help
represent their interests. * Saulius Girnius
POLISH PRESIDENT MEETS WITH OPPOSITION PARTIES.
Lech Walesa on 21 June
met with the caucuses of the Confederation for an Independent Poland,
Solidarity, and the Non-Party Bloc for Supporting Reforms. He said he will
declare his candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections only if a broad
post-Solidarity coalition is created. Walesa, who recently vetoed the bill on
Polish Radio and TV, encouraged the opposition parties to uphold his veto in
the parliament. He announced the parliament's dissolution if the ruling
left-wing coalition breaks the law, Polish media reported on 22 June. * Jakub
JARUZELSKI ATTACKER RECEIVES SUSPENDED PRISON SENTENCE.
Helski, a farmer who in October 1994 injured General Wojciech Jaruzelski with a
stone, has received a two-year suspended prison sentence and been ordered to
pay about $80 to a children's hospital. Helski attacked General Jaruzelski in a
book shop where he was signing copies of a book explaining why he introduced
martial law in 1981, Polish and international media reported. * Jakub
CZECH PARLIAMENT ABOLISHES CLEARING SYSTEM WITH SLOVAKIA.
parliament on 21 June voted to abolish the clearing system that has regulated
trade payments with Slovakia since February 1993. The government hopes that the
abolition will go into effect on 1 October. The Czechs have run up a large
deficit under the system, which provides for bilateral trade to be conducted in
local currencies. In the future, all payments will be made in hard currency.
Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik told the parliament that abolishing the system
should not adversely affect Czech-Slovak trade in the future, Hospodarske
noviny reported. But Slovak Premier Vladimir Meciar told journalists that
the Czech's unilateral step was a mistake. He said that although the Slovak
cabinet invited the Czechs to discuss the issue, there was no will on their
part to hold serious talks. The Slovak cabinet is expected to prepare a
response to the Czech move in the coming week, and Meciar said Slovakia might
decide to abolish the customs union. * Steve Kettle and Sharon Fisher
HAVEL RECEIVES TAIWAN'S PREMIER.
Czech President Vaclav Havel on 21 June
met with Taiwanese Prime Minister Lien Chan, despite an official Chinese
protest against Lien's private visit to Prague (see OMRI Daily Digest,
21 June 1995). Havel's spokesmen said the talks in Prague Castle centered on
economic relations between the Czech Republic and Taiwan, Czech media reported.
The two countries do not have diplomatic relations. * Steve Kettle
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT.
The Slovak parliament on
21 June overwhelmingly approved the Council of Europe's Framework Agreement on
the protection of ethnic minorities. Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk noted that
27 countries have already signed the accord and that Slovakia is the third to
ratify it. Deputies representing the Hungarian minority abstained from the
vote. Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Bela Bugar told
Pravda that the abstentions were "not directed against the Framework
agreement but against government policies." According to Bugar, some members of
the government coalition have tried to interpret certain points differently
from how they appear in the agreement. * Sharon Fisher
HUNGARIANS SUPPORT EU AND NATO INTEGRATION.
support integration into the EU and NATO, Reuters reported on 20 June. An
opinion poll conducted by Telemedia revealed that 77% "support" or "very much
support" EU membership, while 57% favor Hungary's entry into NATO. Opposition
to integration was 16% for both organizations, while the remaining respondents
declined to express an opinion. * Sharon Fisher
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 121, 22 June 1995
AKASHI REASSURES KARADZIC OF UN'S GOOD INTENTIONS.
The UN's special
envoy to the former Yugoslavia, Yasushi Akashi, has written Bosnian Serb leader
Radovan Karadzic, the International Herald Tribune reported on 22 June.
Akashi reassured Karadzic that he feels that "all sides" have caused problems
for UNPROFOR. He did not mention the recent hostage crisis. Above all, the
envoy said that the projected Rapid Reaction Force will not take sides, will
not act differently from UNPROFOR, and will not engage in peacemaking such as
blasting open corridors to enable relief convoys to get through. A UN spokesman
said that "the Serbs were worried and Mr. Akashi felt it appropriate to calm
their fears." * Patrick Moore
UN REFUSES TO AUTHORIZE AIR STRIKES AGAINST SERBS.
Janvier, commander of UN forces in the Balkans, refused a request by U.S.
Admiral Leighton Smith to authorize NATO air strikes on the Banja Luka airport.
AFP said on 21 June that the plea was in response to the violation of the UN's
own "no fly zone" over Bosnia by two Serbian aircraft the previous day. A BBC
report on 22 June said, however, that UNPROFOR is under growing pressure to
respond in a "more robust" fashion to Serbian provocations. The
International Herald Tribune suggested that Janvier may not have wanted
to use sufficient force to deal with the anti-aircraft missile batteries
surrounding the airport, like those that downed a US F-16 on 3 June. * Patrick
SERBS ALLOWED TO ESCORT SARAJEVO CONVOY.
In another example of UN
deference to Bosnian Serb sensitivities, UNPROFOR troops were replaced by
Serbian police as a UN convoy passed through Serb-held territory on the way to
Sarajevo. The trucks with 600 tons of food arrived in the capital on 21 June,
the first such shipment the Serbs have let through in some time. Serbs,
meanwhile, killed six with a shell on a Sarajevo suburb. The 22 June
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted Bosnian Croat military sources as
saying that the Bosnian government's current offensive has been briefly halted
after taking heavy casualties. The Muslim-Croatian alliance seeks to reopen
roads to Visoko, Mostar, and Kiseljak. * Patrick Moore
CROATIA HOLDS FIRM WITH SERBS.
The Zagreb government has rejected
Krajina Serb preconditions for resuming talks. Reuters said on 21 June that the
Serbs insisted that Croatian forces withdraw from western Slavonia, which they
retook at the start of May, or at least from the Dinara heights overlooking
Knin and its road communications with Banja Luka. In Australia, Croatian
President Franjo Tudjman said that the army will return Krajina to Zagreb's
control if talks fail to do so within a year. * Patrick Moore
BELGRADE CONTINUES ROUNDUP FOR MILITARY SERVICE.
Nasa Borba on 22
June reported that Serbia's police force is continuing its roundup of ethnic
Serbs for military service in Serb-conquered territories outside the rump
Yugoslavia. The roundup began on 11 June among ethnic Serbian refugees from
Krajina residing in the northern Vojvodina region and is now reportedly
widening, with police officials press-ganging ethnic Serbs born in Belgrade and
Sumadija who have "at one time worked in Bosnia or Croatia." The daily also
reported that Bosnian Serb authorities have issued a statement calling on all
Bosnian Serb refugees in the rump Yugoslavia to return and report to their
units by 5 July. Meanwhile, General Vlado Trifunovic, who, together with
four colleagues, faces charges of undermining the Yugoslav military and
compromising national defense, has appeared for a fourth time before a military
tribunal. * Stan Markotich
RED CROSS VISITS IMPRISONED POLICEMEN IN KOSOVO.
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has visited former Kosovo policemen jailed on
charges of separatism, AFP reported on 21 June. A total of 32 former policemen
have already been sentenced to prison terms of between one and six years, and
116 have been on trial since the beginning of June. The policemen were
dismissed after the abolition of the province's autonomy by Belgrade in 1989.
Authorities in Belgrade allowed the ICRC to visit the policemen in the presence
of prison officials to examine under what conditions they are being detained.
Elsewhere, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher on 21 June assured
Kosovar shadow-state president Ibrahim Rugova, who was in Washington, that
"Kosovo is not being ignored or forgotten." * Fabian Schmidt
MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR SETTLEMENT WITH GREECE.
during an official visit to Paris, called for a quick settlement of the
Greek-Macedonian dispute, Reuters reported on 21 June. After meeting with
French President Jacques Chirac that day, Gligorov said it is in both Greece's
and Macedonia's interest to settle their differences "so that we can act
together on the European scene." He said it is paradoxical that while Macedonia
prevented the war in the former Yugoslavia from spreading southward, it is the
only European country that is not a member of the OSCE and has yet to sign an
accord with the European Union. * Stefan Krause
ROMANIA COMPLETES STRATEGY FOR JOINING EU.
A special commission in
charge of drafting Romania's long-term strategy for joining the European Union
completed its work on 21 June, Radio Bucharest reported. The final meeting of
the commission was attended by President Ion Iliescu, Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu,
the chairmen of the parliament's two chambers, and the leaders of all parties
represented in the parliament. Iliescu read out a declaration saying Romania's
efforts to join the EU were a top priority and a "crucial point of solidarity"
for all political and social forces in the country. Romania is an associate
member of the EU and plans to apply soon for full membership. * Dan Ionescu
ROMANIA, U.S. SIGN CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT.
Romanian Defense Minister
Gheorghe Tinca and U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry on 21 June signed a
confidentiality agreement facilitating the transfer of sensitive military
technology from the U.S. to the former communist country. Radio Bucharest
reported that the two ministers also discussed the situation in the former
Yugoslavia and Hungarian-Romanian relations. Tinca handed over a letter signed
by him and his Hungarian counterpart, Gyorgy Keleti, outlining
Romanian-Hungarian military cooperation and asking the U.S. to help establish a
hot-line between Budapest and Bucharest. Tinca is on a four-day visit to the
U.S. * Dan Ionescu
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT RECEIVES KOBETS.
Mircea Snegur on 21 June received
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Konstantin Kobets, who is heading a team
sent to inspect the 14th Army headquartered in Tiraspol, ITAR-TASS reported.
Kobets introduced Snegur to the new commander of the 14th Army, Maj. Gen.
Valery Yevnevich. He also discussed with Yevnevich the situation in the
Dniester region, which figures high on the agenda of the Russian-Moldovan
summit scheduled to take place in Moscow on 28 June. Meanwhile, former 14th
Army Commander Lt. Gen. Alexander Lebed has appealed to the Russian State Duma
to protect Russian citizens in the Dniester enclave. In Tiraspol, a Lebed
supporter, Maj. Gen. Yury Popov, called off a hunger strike to protest the
commander's sacking. * Dan Ionescu
ILO CRITICIZES BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT.
The International Labor
Organization has strongly criticized the Bulgarian government for its decision
on who to send to the ILO's 82nd session, Standart reported on 22 June. Social
Minister Mincho Koralski included representatives of the Association of Free
Trade Union Organizations (OSSOB) in the official delegation but failed to
invite the two biggest unions, Podkrepa and the Confederation of Free
Trade Unions in Bulgaria (KNSB). The ILO's Accreditation Committee issued a
declaration stating that the OSSOB is not representative of Bulgarian trade
unions and is unable to give reliable figures on its membership. The official
Bulgarian delegation will attend the meeting, but the ILO statement said there
are "serious reasons" to exclude Bulgaria, since it has violated the
organization's statutes. Meanwhile, Podkrepa and the KNSB will attend
the session as delegates of the international trade union organizations. *
BULGARIAN PREMIER ENDS VISIT TO ATHENS.
Zhan Videnov ended his first
official visit to Greece on 20 June, international agencies reported the same
day. Videnov and his Greek counterpart, Andreas Papandreou, signed a joint
statement stressing that relations between the two countries are good. The
statement said Athens and Sofia "will work together to consolidate peace,
stability, and security in the Balkans [and] to secure the social and economic
development of the region." It also calls for international sanctions against
rump Yugoslavia to be lifted. Greece and Bulgaria agreed to increase defense
cooperation, improve trade routes through their countries, and improve business
and other contacts. Greece has been one of the largest investors in Bulgaria
since the demise of communism. * Stefan Krause
POLICE ARREST ALBANIAN VILLAGERS WHO TOOK HOSTAGES.
Albanian police have
arrested 13 villagers who took the mayor of their village and an Agriculture
Ministry official hostage over a land feud, international agencies reported on
20 June. About 30 peasants began a hunger strike in Laknas, 13 kilometers
northwest of Tirana, three weeks ago to protest the privatization of a former
state farm where they have worked for years. The hostages were set free after
police surrounded the house on 19 June, but police returned later to detain the
group's leaders and to disperse the other hunger strikers. The Interior
Ministry described them as "terrorists." The peasants claim that they have been
cheated out of their property. * Fabian Schmidt
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave