OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 123, 26 June 1995
IMPEACHMENT MOTION FAILS IN DUMA.
A motion to start impeachment
proceedings against President Boris Yeltsin received only 172 of the 226 votes
needed to put it on the Duma's agenda for 23 June, Russian Public Television
reported. Communist deputies, who had collected 150 signatures in favor of the
motion, vowed to raise the question again in the near future. Beginning the
impeachment process could protect the Duma from dissolution if its standoff
with the government continues. * Laura Belin
DUMA CALLS FOR SACKING MINISTERS RESPONSIBLE FOR CHECHNYA.
Duma recommended that President Yeltsin fire Defense Minister Pavel Grachev,
Interior Minister Viktor Yerin, and Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Yegorov for
their handling of the Chechen crisis, Western and Russian agencies reported. A
motion to dismiss Sergei Stepashin, the director of the Federal Security
Service, failed after garnering only 202 of the necessary 226 votes. Calls for
the ousting of Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, first deputy prime ministers
Anatoly Chubais and Oleg Soskovets, and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai
also failed. The Duma scheduled its decisive vote of confidence in Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's government for 1 July. If 226 members of the
Duma do not give the government a positive vote of confidence, the president
must sack the government or dissolve the Duma. This requirement puts the Duma
deputies in a difficult position since in order to avoid being disbanded, they
will have to reverse their earlier no-confidence vote, a politically difficult
move in the run-up to the elections. Only 70 members supported the government
in the 21 June vote. * Robert Orttung
CHERNOMYRDIN, DUMA SEEK COMPROMISE.
Chernomyrdin does not want to see
the Duma dissolved and plans to meet with the deputies before the 1 July vote,
NTV reported on 25 June. He said the Security Council and the president will
decide the fate of the power ministers at the Council's 29 June meeting, two
days before the Duma vote. NTV suggested that Yeltsin would dismiss Yerin and
Yegorov if he were sure the Duma would vote its confidence in the government,
but that he would not fire Grachev, with whom he has a close relationship.
Nikolai Kharitonov, of the Agrarian faction, said his colleagues could reverse
themselves and support the government if the president were willing to
demonstrate that he was taking their views into account. * Robert Orttung
RUSSIAN NEGOTIATORS CONSULT WITH CHERNOMYRDIN . . .
delegation to the Chechen peace talks returned to Moscow to meet with
Chernomyrdin, Western and Russian agencies reported on 25 June.
the meeting, Chernomyrdin told Russian TV that "we will seek a political
solution to this problem, only a political solution." On 23 June, Russian and
Chechen negotiators agreed to an indefinite extension of the three-day
ceasefire put into effect on 20 June, and also signed a protocol on holding
elections in the republic later this year. However, they remained deadlocked on
Chechnya's political status and the future role of President Dzhokhar Dudaev.
Chechen negotiator Usman Isaev told journalists on 23 June that "the documents
we have signed mean that a return to the use of force is not possible," and
that outstanding differences will be resolved "peacefully." * Scott
. . . WHILE CHECHEN CEASEFIRE REMAINS TENUOUS.
The ceasefire between
federal and Chechen separatist forces has been violated several times in the
last few days, Russian and international agencies reported on 25 June. Federal
forces shelled and bombed the area around the village of Dargo, in the Vedeno
region of Chechnya. Russian officers told ITAR-TASS that the attacks were not a
violation of the ceasefire, because they were launched in order to "detain
terrorists" led by Shamil Basaev who had carried out the attack on Budennovsk.
Russian military sources also claimed on 24 June that Chechen separatists had
"repeatedly violated the moratorium on military actions," killing one federal
soldier and wounding another. Also on 24 June, a bomb explosion derailed a
passenger train crossing Chechnya near the village of Gertzel, injuring two
people, ITAR-TASS reported. Russian officials blamed Chechen separatists for
the attack. * Scott Parrish
CHINESE PREMIER ARRIVES IN MOSCOW.
Chinese Premier Li Peng arrived in
Moscow for a three-day official visit, Russian and international agencies
reported on 25 June. In talks with Russian officials, including Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin and President Yeltsin, the Chinese premier will discuss economic
cooperation, environmental protection, and measures against organized crime.
Among the expected results of Li's visit is an agreement to construct a bridge
across the Amur River, linking the Russian and Chinese towns of Heihe and
Blagoveshchensk. Rossiiskaya Gazeta commented on 23 June that the visit
signals a warming in Russian-Chinese relations, even as U.S.-Chinese relations
worsen. * Scott Parrish
ZHIRINOVSKY PARTY WALKS OUT ON KNESSET CHAIRMAN.
Liberal Democratic Party walked out of the Duma as Shevah Weiss, chairman of
the Israeli Knesset began to give a speech, Segodnya reported on 24
June. Zhirinovsky objected to the hoisting of the Israeli flag by the Duma on
the day of the visit. Zhirinovsky and his supporters left the hall as Weiss,
who was born in Western Ukraine, was thanking the Russian army for liberating
his family from the Nazis. * Robert Orttung
SOLDIER CHARGED IN JOURNALIST'S DEATH.
The Interior Ministry soldier who
shot and killed journalist Natalya Alyakina in Budennovsk on 17 June is in
custody after being charged with mishandling a firearm, Russian TV reported on
23 June. If convicted of carelessness in what military prosecutors are calling
an accidental shooting, the soldier faces one to 10 years in prison. * Laura
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT AFFIRMS EX-CRIMINALS' RIGHT TO HOUSING.
Constitutional Court struck down article 60 of the Housing Code, which had been
used to seal the apartments of convicted criminals even if they served only a
short prison sentence, Russian Television reported on 23 June. Judge Nikolai
Vedernikov blamed the enforcement of article 60 for making many ex-criminals
homeless and therefore increasing the number of repeat offenders. The court
ruled that a citizen retains his constitutional right to housing if he is
absent from his residence for up to six months, regardless of whether he is
serving a prison sentence. * Laura Belin
DUMA TO FOUND ITS OWN TV STATION?
Dissatisfied by allegedly biased news
coverage on the Russian Public Television network (ORT), Duma deputies may
create their own "mini-tv- and radio-company," Radio Mayak reported on 23 June.
Sergei Kalashnikov, chairman of the Duma Committee on Labor and Social
Protection, complained that ORT refused to cover parliamentary discussions
surrounding the 21 June no-confidence vote but broadcast extensive coverage of
the government's meeting the next day. Duma Deputy Chairman Gennady Seleznev
told reporters he hoped a Duma-run television company funded by the federal
budget would be operational in 1996. * Laura Belin
YUSHENKOV WARNS AGAINST NATO EXPANSION.
NATO's eastward expansion would
affect Russia's vital interests and cause nationalistic tendencies in the
country to grow stronger, Sergei Yushenkov, chairman of the State Duma Defense
Committee, told a conference in St. Petersburg on 25 June. He said talk of such
expansion enables "the reactionary part of the Russian military brass to demand
greater military spending," ITAR-TASS reported. He also warned that NATO's
enlargement could threaten previous arms control agreements, such as the CFE
treaty and the Open Skies agreement. * Doug Clarke
RUSSIANS TO PUT SHIELD AROUND SUNKEN SUB.
A Russian research ship
equipped with underwater robots left St. Petersburg on 24 June to install a
protective shield around the hull of a sunken Russian nuclear submarine in the
Norwegian Sea, ITAR-TASS reported. The Komsomolets sank off northern Norway in
April 1989 and 42 members of the crew drowned. Besides its nuclear power plant,
the boat was carrying two nuclear-armed torpedoes. The report said the work
would continue until the end of July. * Doug Clarke
MORE WOMEN DYING DURING CHILDBIRTH.
The number of Russian women who die
during childbirth has risen sharply in the past three years, the Labor Ministry
reported to Interfax on 24 June. The rate is 10 times higher than in
industrialized European countries, the report said, adding that since 1992, the
childbirth mortality rate has increased from 47 per 100,000 to 52. * Thomas
DUMA PASSES BILL ON REFUNDS IN WAGE ARREARS.
The Duma passed the second
reading of a draft law on delays in the payment of wages, pensions, and
stipends on 23 June, Segodnya reported on 24 June. The law requires
those guilty of delays to pay fines as well as wage arrears. Duma Labor and
Social Protection Committee Chairman Sergei Kalashnikov said he doubts that
President Yeltsin will sign the law since state agencies are among the worst
culprits for non-payment of wages. * Thomas Sigel
MEAT AND MILK PRODUCTION DECLINE.
The production of meat and milk fell
almost 25% during the first five months of 1995 Segodnya reported on 23
June. Goskomstat figures revealed that the output of prepared meat products,
cheese, preserved milk, and low-fat milk products fell by 17-35% on average. In
the food industry, output of staples has decreased by an average of 12%.
Production of potatoes and margarine products fell by 34% and 20% respectively.
* Thomas Sigel
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 123, 26 June 1995
ETHNIC GERMANS HOLD CONGRESS IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Ethnic Germans living in
Kazakhstan and other republics opened a congress on 24 June in Almaty with the
aim of strengthening their influence in the CIS, AFP reported. Some of the
goals are to create a German business class, increase the number of young
Germans attending universities, and secure rehabilitation for the charges
leveled at them under the Stalin regime. Representatives from Russia,
Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Germany attended the meeting, according to
Ostankino's "Novosti." During World War II, hundreds of thousands of Germans
were deported from the European parts of the Soviet Union to areas in Siberia
and Central Asia. Migration back to Germany has cut the population in
Kazakhstan from 1 million in 1989 to 640,000 today. * Bruce Pannier
KYRGYZSTAN TO GET MONEY FROM JAPAN.
The Japanese Foreign Economic
Cooperation Fund will give Kyrgyzstan up to $40 million for plants that produce
exports, Interfax reported on 23 June. In 1993 and 1994, the Japanese
government gave $100 million in credits which allowed Kyrgyzstan to improve
their cloth mills in order to produce, among other things, export quality wool
yarn. Japan is also helping to improve the international airport in the Kyrgyz
capital, Bishkek, by providing air-control technology. * Bruce Pannier
GEORGIA PASSES BANK LAW.
The Georgian parliament passed a law that
establishes the legal framework for an independent central bank, AFP reported
on 23 June. The bank law permits the disbursement of $140 million worth of IMF
loans starting on 28 June; its passage was a precondition set by the IMF for
the loans. * Lowell Bezanis
DRO TRIAL TO PROCEED.
Rejecting an appeal made by defense attorneys, the
collegium of the Armenian Supreme Court decided on 22 June that hearings on the
Dro organization will begin on 7 July, Interfax reported on 23 June. Last
December, 20 members of Dro, which Armenian authorities say is the military
wing of the opposition party Dashnaktsyutyun, were detained on charges of
politically-motivated murder, drug trafficking, and gangsterism. * Lowell
The head of Azerbaijan's delegation to the Helsinki
talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Tofik Zulfugarov, said the latest round of
discussions held under OSCE auspices were "fruitful," Turan reported on 21
June, citing the BBC. During a BBC interview, Zulfugarov said results from the
negotiations could be expected "in the near future." He also said that the
major political agreement under discussion would not resolve the status of
Nagorno-Karabakh. * Lowell Bezanis
EBRD FUNDS TO TURKMENISTAN.
According to an EBRD official visiting
Ashgabat, a $150 million credit will be made available to Turkmenistan for the
renovation of the Turkmenbashi seaport, the Ashgabat-Mary highway, and various
other projects, Interfax reported on 23 June. * Lowell Bezanis
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 123, 26 June 1995
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
KUCHMA APPEALS TO PARLIAMENT TO REINSTATE GENERAL PROSECUTOR.
Leonid Kuchma appealed to Ukrainian lawmakers to overturn their 21 June
resolution dismissing General Prosecutor Vladislav Datsiuk, Ukrainian TV
reported on 23 June. Kuchma's appeal says the decision contravenes article 44
of the new law on separation of powers where the parliament is authorized to
appoint and dismiss the general prosecutor only upon the president's
recommendation. Legislators sacked Datsiuk for failing to deal with growing
crime, but Datsiuk claimed the move was politically motivated in an effort to
halt investigations into high-level corruption. * Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINE TIGHTENS BORDER CONTROLS.
The head of Ukraine's border guard,
Viktor Bannikh, has said that Ukraine is tightening its border controls along
the Russian frontier because of the situation in the northern Caucasus,
Ukrainian radio reported on 22 June. The move aims to prevent armed bands from
penetrating Ukraine's border. The decision follows the recent deployment of
Russian marines from the Black Sea Fleet in Georgia where they are advancing on
Abkhazia with Georgian troops. * Ustina Markus
LI PENG IN UKRAINE.
Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng arrived in Kiev on 23
June for an official visit, Ukrainian radio reported. Li met with his Ukrainian
counterpart Yevhen Marchuk and President Leonid Kuchma. Talks focused on
economic cooperation. Last year Ukraine's trade with China amounted to more
than $800 million and there are now over 40 joint ventures between the two
countries. The two sides signed further agreements on cooperation and Li passed
on a letter in which China promised financial assistance to Ukraine. Marchuk
said that China was Kiev's third largest trading partner after Russia and
Turkmenistan, but the latest talks showed that trade potential between the two
could increase two to three times over the next year. * Ustina Markus
CRIMEANS VOTE IN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
Just over 50% of eligible voters in
Crimea cast ballots in local elections on 25 June, filling some 75% of seats on
local councils, Russian radio and television reported on 26 June. Over half the
candidates represented the Communist Party. Crimean Tatar leaders said their
community didn't participate in the poll because less than half of the 200,000
Tatars repatriated from other regions of the former Soviet Union have taken
Ukrainian citizenship. The elections were rescheduled from 29 April after
Ukraine clamped down on Crimean separatists by canceling the region's
constitution and abolishing its presidency in March. * Chrystyna
ESTONIAN LAW ON FOREIGNERS.
The Estonian Citizenship and Migration
Department told Interfax on 23 June that the government had decided the
previous day to submit draft amendments to the law on foreigners. The
government proposed removing a provision calling for the expulsion within a
year of non-citizens who did not apply for residency and job permits by 12
July. It, however, suggested raising the cost of processing applications from
30 kroons ($2.67) to 300 kroons after 12 July. Non-citizens who do not apply by
the deadline will lose the right to participate in the fall local elections.
The department noted that about 140,000 of the 400,000 non-citizens had not yet
submitted applications. * Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIA PROTESTS RUSSIAN AIRSPACE INCURSION.
Two Russian Antonov AN-2
planes on 22 June flew from Belarus to Kaliningrad across Lithuania without
asking for permission. One of the pilots told air traffic controllers that they
were carrying coffins and did not have enough fuel to fly around Lithuania.
Deputy Foreign Minister Albinas Januska said: "We cannot tolerate such acts, If
Russia continues to violate Lithuania's airspace, this can touch upon
Lithuania's goodwill attitude towards Russian military transit," Reuters
reported on 24 June. The incursion occurred while US Undersecretary of Defense
Walter Slocombe and the warship "USS Phillipine Sea" were visiting Lithuania. *
POLISH PARLIAMENT ON RESTITUTION.
The Sejm left-wing majority voted on
23 June against restitution draft laws prepared by President Lech Walesa and
the opposition party Freedom Union. The drafts provided for confiscated
property to be returned to former owners, or offered comparable property in
exchange or compensation in treasury bills. The Sejm sent two other draft laws
on restitution to committees for further elaboration. A government draft
provides for an inheritance tax up to 90%, while a Polish Socialist Party
project proposes very limited compensation in treasury bills. According to an
OBOP public opinion poll conducted in June, 65% of Poles favor returning
property to former owners, Polish media reported on 24 June. * Jakub
POLISH GOVERNMENT ON 1996 BUDGET.
The Polish government accepted on 24
June general assumptions for next year's budget. They provide for a 20% capital
gains tax and a budget deficit of around 10%. Pensions are to rise by 2.5%,
Polish media report. * Jakub Karpinski
EIGHTEEN DIE IN CZECH RAIL CRASH.
The Czech Republic's worst rail crash
in 25 years took place on 24 June when four runaway goods wagons smashed
head-on into a single-car passenger train. Czech media reported that most of
the 21 passengers were youngsters on their way to a dance. The driver and guard
were among 18 people who were killed; four others were seriously injured and
only one escaped with minor injuries. The goods wagons, loaded with iron and
wood, were apparently not properly secured and rolled away from a station at
Cechnov in East Bohemia. After running free for about 5 kilometers, they hit
the oncoming passenger train on the same track at about 100 kph. * Steve
MECIAR PUBLICLY ACCUSES HIS PREDECESSOR OF ELECTORAL FRAUD.
Minister Vladimir Meciar on 25 June publicly accused Democratic Union (DU)
chairman Jozef Moravcik of electoral fraud. In a debate on Slovak Television,
Meciar said a parliamentary investigation commission has confirmed claims that
the DU did not gather the required 10,000 signatures to take part in last
fall's elections. Moravcik, Meciar's predecessor as prime minister before the
elections, termed the statement "political irresponsibility and stupidity" and
said the commission has not yet published its findings. * Steve Kettle
SLOVAK, HUNGARIAN PRESIDENTS MEET AT ETHNIC FESTIVAL.
Michal Kovac and
Arpad Goncz both attended a festival of Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian minority in
the southern Slovak town of Gombasek on 25 June and held informal talks
afterwards, international media reported. In a speech at the festival, Kovac
said Slovakia is and will be a good homeland for all its citizens regardless of
their nationality, religion or political convictions. Hungary's parliament on
13 June ratified a bilateral treaty with Slovakia, but Slovakia's parliament
has yet to do so. Kovac reportedly told Goncz he expected ratification before
the end of this year. * Steve Kettle
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 123, 26 June 1995
ZAGREB PROTESTS RUMP YUGOSLAV ARMY PRESENCE.
Vecernji list on 26
June reports that the Croatian president's chief-of-staff and head of Croatia's
commission for UNCRO Hrvoje Sarinic has contacted UN special envoy Yasushi
Akashi by letter to protest the increasing presence of rump Yugoslav forces on
Serb-occupied territories of Croatia. According to Sarinic's letter, the rump
Yugoslav army presence in terms of men and materiel has been increasing
appreciably since the recent transfer of Lt. Gen. Mile Mrksic, formerly of the
rump Yugoslav army, to the post of commander of the Krajina Serb forces.
Sarinic also observed that since Belgrade began press-ganging ethnic Serb
refugees on 11 June throughout the rump Yugoslavia for forced military service,
an estimated 4, 000 men have arrived in Krajina. * Stan Markotich
BILDT ON BOSNIAN CRISIS.
International media reported on 25 June that
new European Union mediator Carl Bildt spent time that day briefing French
President Jacques Chirac on developments in the former Yugoslavia. Almost no
details of the closed-door meetings, described as "informal," are expected to
emerge before the EU summit in Cannes on 26 June, where discussion on Bosnia is
slated for the first day. Bildt has also spoken to representatives of the
international five-member Contact Group about details of his first mission to
the war-torn country, which involved a rapid and dramatic exit from Sarajevo as
the EU negotiator's convoy came under fire, Nasa Borba reports on 26
June. In other news, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl's cabinet on 26 June
resolved to send military back-up for UN peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. The
historic decision has yet to receive parliamentary approval. * Stan Markotich
"MORALE IS HIGH" SAYS BOSNIAN COMMANDER.
Bosnian army Chief of Staff
Rasim Delic, assessing the military situation throughout Bosnia, has concluded
that Bosnian Serb forces are overextended and weakening while "morale is high"
in all Bosnian government units . "We will try to maintain the present
advantage at all costs," he was quoted as saying by the Croatian news agency
Hina on 25 June. Meanwhile, Bosnian government military sources have said for
the record that the siege of Sarajevo is not, contrary to Bosnian Serb reports,
weakening and may be expected to continue throughout at least the summer; on 25
June international media reported that on that same day Bosnian government
forces captured a strategic hill just outside Sarajevo that had been occupied
by Bosnian Serb troops. Finally, on 25 June Reuters reported that the Bosnian
army continues to block peacekeepers' movements while it awaits clarification
of the role of `rapid reaction' reinforcements for the UN mission." The Bosnian
government has expressed concern that the forces' presence may effectively
hamper offensives against the Bosnian Serbs. * Stan Markotich
NINE KILLED IN SARAJEVO.
Reuters reported on 25 June that a shell
exploded near a playground in the war-torn city, killing three adults and three
children and bringing the death toll from shelling and sniping for that day to
nine. At least thirty others were wounded, police sources reported. * Stan
SCANDAL OF MILITARY ATTACK ON ILIESCU CONTINUES . . .
The leader of the
extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, told a press
conference on 23 June that his formation continued to support President Ion
Iliescu, Radio Bucharest reported the same day. Tudor said his party's weekly
had published the letter of the 300 active and reserve officers implying the
president was guilty of high treason (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 June
1995) in the name of "freedom of the press." The daily Evenimentul zilei
reported on 24 June that Iliescu said he believed the Prosecutor General's
office was manned by "professionals" who know how to "go about their business,"
in what seems to be a threat to sue Tudor. Meanwhile, three opposition parties,
the Liberal Party '93, the Democratic Party-National Salvation Front and the
Social Democratic Party, called on the Supreme Council of National Defense to
investigate the affair and take action if the letter proves to have been
forged. The daily Romania libera on 26 June quotes the chairman of the
Senate's Defense Committee, Alexandru Radu Timofte, as saying that the letter
had been written by just one person and the 300 signatories "do not exist."*
. . . AS DOES SCANDAL ON ALLEGED ILIESCU KGB LINKS.
The daily Ziua
reported on 23 June that two agents of the Romanian Intelligence Service
(RIS) have been identified while taking videotapes of the journalist who first
revealed the alleged past links of President Ion Iliescu with the KGB. The
journalist, Tana Ardeleanu, was filmed while meeting a reporter for the
independent news agency Mediafax. An official of the RIS admitted that the two
had taken the shots, but claimed that the operation had nothing to do with the
allegations against Iliescu. The two agents, he said, were on a mission to
"catch two spies" but had erred and also "acted unprofessionally." Ziua
on 26 June said it was suing the two agents and the RIS. The Association of
Romanian Journalists said in a press release carried by Radio Bucharest on 25
June that it was "astonished" by the RIS deed, which was branded as "an illegal
action of a political police, directed against the independent press," and said
the explanations of the RIS were "puerile." * Michael Shafir
ROMANIA OPENS STOCK EXCHANGE.
The first stock exchange in nearly 50
years was reopened in Bucharest on 23 June, Radio Bucharest reported on the
same day. President Ion Iliescu, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, the Governor
of the National Bank, Mugur Isarescu, and members of the parliament attended
the opening ceremony. The director general of the stock exchange, Stere
Farmache, said real trading on the stock exchange will start in the fall. Till
then there will be "simulacrum operations" testing the ability of the exchange
market. Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu estimated that it will take some two
years until the stock exchange will become "the barometer of our economic
activity." More than 120 former state-owned companies issued public shares so
far. More potential stocks may come from a mass privatization program approved
last week. * Michael Shafir
GRACHEV IN MOLDOVA, SNEGUR IN MOSCOW.
Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev on 26 June begins a visit to Chisinau to discuss the implementation of
the agreement on the withdrawal of the 14th Army, Radio Bucharest and
international agencies reported on 24 June. He will also go to Tiraspol in the
breakaway Transdniestr region, where the army is based. At the same time,
Moldovan President Mircea Snegur starts a visit to Moscow, where he will
discuss with Boris Yeltsin the implementation of the pullback agreement, Radio
Bucharest reported on 25 June. The visits take place against the background of
a declaration issued by the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in reaction to
the bill adopted by the Duma on 21 June opposing the withdrawal of the 14th
Army. The declaration, carried by Infotag and BASA-press on 23 June, says the
Duma "continues to hinder the process of a political settlement of the
Transdniestrian problem" and its position "contradicts the principles of
international law," amounting to an "interference in the internal affairs of a
sovereign state." The withdrawal of the 14th Army, the ministry says, remains
one of the conditions for the peaceful settlement of the conflict. * Michael
BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT REPLACES STATE MEDIA BOSSES.
The National Assembly
on 23 June elected new directors of national television and radio and of the
state-run news agency BTA, RFE reported the same day. Ivan Granitski replaced
Hacho Boyadzhiev as head of Bulgarian National Television, Vecheslav Tunev took
over Bulgarian National Radio from Ivan Obretenov, and Milen Valkov became new
head of BTA. He replaced Stefan Gospodinov, who died last week. Most opposition
deputies voted against the candidates, who had been nominated by the Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP). The BSP majority rejected opposition proposals to have
the three candidates come to parliament and explain their future plans, to have
the outgoing directors explain to the assembly the reason for their removal,
and to broadcast the debate live. Opposition speakers called the replacement a
move to put state media under effective BSP control. * Stefan Krause
ALBANIAN PRESIDENT ACCUSED OF ALLOWING MANIPULATION OF SECRET FILES.
Skender Gjinushi, leader of the Social Democratic Party, accused President
Sali Berisha before the Constitutional Court on 23 June of encouraging
manipulation of former secret police files, international news agencies
reported the same day. He also asked the court to ban Rilindja
Demokratike, the newspaper of Berisha's Democratic Party. The paper had
accused Gjinushi, who was education minister in the last communist government,
of having worked for the secret police Sigurimi under the code name Agap. This
information can only come from Sigurimi files, but officially they have not
been opened do far because there is no law on their disclosure. Gjinushi in
return accused the newspaper of manipulating Sigurimi files, adding that "the
President knows about this" and that Berisha is using these files "to threaten
his opponents." The court did not announce its ruling on the case, but a ban of
Rilindja Demokratike is unlikely. * Stefan Krause
NEWEST U.S. SPY PLANE TO FLY FROM ALBANIA.
The Pentagon is sending its
newest unmanned reconnaissance aircraft to Albania where it will fly missions
over Bosnia in support of NATO and U.N. forces, U.S. media announced on 23
June. The aircraft, called the "Predator", is a new-generation aerial
reconnaissance system still in the experimental stage. It can stay airborne for
up to 40 hours, and its sensors can see through clouds. In early 1994, the CIA
for several months flew some older reconnaissance drones out of the airport at
Gjader, in northern Albania. * Doug Clarke
[As of 12:00 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Steve Kettle