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Newsline - July 7, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 131, 7 July 1995




HARD-LINER APPOINTED AS NEW INTERIOR MINISTER.
President Boris Yeltsin has named Anatolii Kulikov, the hawkish commander of Russia's forces in Chechnya, to replace Viktor Yerin as Interior Minister, Russian and Western agencies reported on 6 July. Kulikov had been a deputy interior minister since 1992 and before the collapse of the Soviet Union, was the Interior Ministry's commander in the North Caucasus. His new appointment is the second stage of a cabinet reshuffle after Yeltsin sacked Yerin, Nationalities Minister Nikolai Yegorov, and Federal Security Service Director Sergei Stepashin in a concession to the parliament in the wake of the bungled attempts to resolve the Budennovsk hostage crisis. However, deputies and observers regard Yeltsin's new appointments (see OMRI Daily Digest on 6 July) as no more than a reshuffle of insiders loyal to the president. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

DUMA APPROVES PRESIDENTIAL VERSION OF CIVIL SERVICE BILL.
The Duma passed the Law on the Basics of the Civil Service in the Russian Federation on 5 July, Segodnya reported on 6 July. An earlier draft was rejected by the president, and the new version incorporates virtually all his amendments. It will now be considered by the Federation Council. The law, which divides public offices into three categories and has been compared to Peter the Great's Table of Ranks, has been under discussion for years. It was inherited by the Duma from the Supreme Soviet, then went through a year of repeated rejections and fine-tuning before finally being approved on 10 February. It was then rejected by the Federation Council and again reworked before being vetoed by the president. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

FEDERATION COUNCIL REJECTS LAW ON LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT.
The Federation Council sent a draft law on local self-government back to the Duma for amendments, Russian media reported on 6 July. In particular, Council deputies noted that the financial obligations of local government and principles for the division of state-owned regional property were insufficiently defined in the draft law. Also on 6 July, the Council rejected a law that would have allowed regional legislatures, instead of administrative heads, to appoint local prosecutors. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

CONGRESS OF RUSSIANS LIVING ABROAD OPENS IN MOSCOW.
About 320 representatives from former Soviet republics convened in Moscow to discuss problems of ethnic Russians living in the near abroad, Russian media reported on 6 July. Konstantin Zatulin, chairman of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, told the delegates that the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO), led by Yurii Skokov, would defend their interests in the upcoming parliamentary elections, Russian TV reported. Zatulin said the KRO, of which Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Lebed is a leading member, is conducting negotiations with other prominent opposition politicians, including Sergei Glazev of the Democratic Party of Russia and Viktor Ilyukhin of the Communist Party. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT CREATES FUND TO HELP RUSSIANS LIVING ABROAD.
A government commission has created a fund to support ethnic Russians and Russian-language publications in the near abroad, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shakhrai told Radio Mayak on 6 July. Shakhrai said the draft 1996 budget proposed allocating about 120 billion rubles ($27 million) to the fund, which will provide financial aid to at least 30 organizations in former Soviet republics. Shakhrai said businessmen and non-governmental organizations would also be encouraged to contribute to the fund. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

APPARENT DISCORD IN MOSCOW OVER CHECHEN TALKS.
Russian negotiators returned to Grozny on 6 July and resumed talks with representatives of Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev, Russian and international agencies reported. As the delegation departed, mixed signals from Moscow suggested the existence of heated disagreements within the Yeltsin administration over the talks. Presidential spokesman Sergei Medvedev said in an interview that Russian negotiator Arkadii Volskii "was incorrect," when he told journalists that President Yeltsin had agreed to modify his 4 July decree on the permanent basing of federal troops in Chechnya. The decree has been signed, and is fully consistent with the constitution, said Medvedev, adding that a withdrawal of federal troops from Chechnya could "destabilize" the situation. Volskii had earlier threatened to resign if the decree was not modified, and Chechen delegation head Usman Imaev has denounced it as a violation of the military protocol signed by Russian and Chechen negotiators in June. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

SOLDIERS' MOTHERS PROTEST TREATMENT OF SOLDIERS REFUSING TO FIGHT IN CHECHNYA.
The Soldiers' Mothers Committee said the rights of soldiers refusing to participate in the military campaign in Chechnya are routinely violated, Russian TV reported on 6 July. Citing statistics from the Prosecutor General's Office, the committee said approximately 2,000 enlisted men and 500 officers have refused to fight in Chechnya. They complained that in many cases, Russian servicemen whose mothers had secured their release from military duty were subsequently arrested and charged with "betraying the motherland." According to the soldiers' mothers, such arrests are unconstitutional, since the military campaign in Chechnya is not an officially declared war. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

GRACHEV COMPLAINS ABOUT LACK OF MONEY.
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev told a group of air defense officers in the Moscow Oblast that the armed forces had in June received only 40% of the money allotted to it, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 July. He said the ministry could not even pay the salaries of most of the people in the military. He also predicted that financial problems would increase with every passing day, adding that revenues from the sale of military equipment had been exhausted. "Our only hope is the commander-in-chief, President Boris Yeltsin. I am forced to turn to him for help." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

STRIKE FIGURES RELEASED.
In the first five months of this year, 859 strikes were registered in Russia, a 120% increase over the same period last year and more than the total for all of 1994, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 July citing a Labor Ministry report. The ministry said that about 183,000 people took part in strikes, which is up from 155,000 in all of 1994 but still a remarkably low figure given the magnitude of the problem of unpaid wages. Education was the worst affected sector, accounting for 70% of the work stoppages. Low wages and labor law violations were the main grievances. A fifth of the total number of strikes occurred in the energy industry, mostly over delays in wage payments. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT APPROVES PLAN FOR DESTRUCTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS.
The government approved a draft law for the destruction of Russia's stock of chemical weapons at a 6 July meeting. The law, which is to be submitted to the Duma for ratification, is a key step in the implementation of the 1993 Paris Convention on chemical weapons. The draft legislation establishes special facilities for the destruction of the weapons, which are currently stored in seven depots in Russia. The location of the disposal facilities has been controversial, and the legislation provides for special "social and environmental guarantees" for the areas surrounding the disposal plants. A government spokesman estimated that it would cost $5.5 billion to destroy the estimated 40,000 tons of chemical weapons in Russia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

IMF ENDORSES RUSSIAN PLAN TO CONTROL RUBLE EXCHANGE RATE.
The IMF hailed the Russian plan to create a fixed exchange rate band
for the ruble, international agencies reported on 6 July. Stanley Fischer, first deputy managing director of the IMF, said that if "the exchange rate policy is backed up . . . Russia's prospects for achieving sustainable economic growth with low inflation are bright." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. TO ADVANCE $100 MILLION TO RUSSIA FOR URANIUM.
William Timbers, president of the U.S. Enrichment Corporation, said on 6 July that his company will advance Russia $100 million for the purchase of uranium from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons, international agencies reported. The advance is designed to help salvage a troubled U.S.-Russian uranium purchase agreement. Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin announced in Moscow last week that problems with the agreement had been resolved. The Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy had complained about American plans to delay payment for the uranium to be purchased under the agreement. However, a dispute over the pricing of future shipments of uranium remains unresolved. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

FOREIGN MINISTRY BRIDLES AT U.S. LEGISLATION.
The Russian Foreign Ministry sent a statement to ITAR-TASS on 4 July complaining that recent American draft legislation interferes in Russian internal affairs. The ministry was particularly upset by a draft resolution submitted on 28 March 1995 by Rep. Christopher Cox, a Democrat from California, which called for Kaliningrad Oblast to be made into a demilitarized zone and its administration transferred to an international body. The statement said that "the Kaliningrad region is a component, inalienable part of the Russian Federation." It suggested that American congressmen would hardly like a foreign proposal for the demilitarization of Alaska. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

PANSKOV ON 1996 BUDGET.
At a 6 July press conference, Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov announced that the draft 1996 budget would be submitted to the government on 10 July and to the Duma after 20 July, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 7 July. The draft envisages revenues of 355 trillion rubles ($79 billion), expenditures of 440 trillion ($98 billion), a budget deficit equal to 4% of GDP, and inflation of no more than 2% a month. In order to give the budget a greater "social orientation," spending on health, education, and other social spheres has been increased. More money is also to be allocated to conversion of the military-industrial complex and high-technology projects. The deficit is to be covered from non-inflationary sources, but unlike this year the emphasis will be on domestic rather than foreign borrowing. Panskov also said that in recent months the government had reduced its wage debt to 100-200 billion rubles and had sent 306 billion rubles to the regions to ease social tensions. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIA TAKES STOCK OF PROPERTY ABROAD.
State Property Committee Deputy Chairman Valerii Fateev said on 2 July that Russia claims to own real estate and shares worth $9 billion in 106 countries, Segodnya and Reuters reported. However, he added that proving ownership is difficult and so far, the country has won only a few of thge disputed cases. According to Fateev, the property in question comprises 1,900 plots of land and buildings and shares in 500 companies. Those include property of the last tsar's family and that of Russian nobles, as well as property that used to belong to the former USSR, which Russia inherited along with the Soviet Union's foreign debts under the terms of a treaty signed with its fellow republics in 1991. The real estate is valued at $3.3 billion, but Fateev said its market value is probably 10 times as high. Several parliamentary factions have accused the Russian government of squandering Russian property abroad. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

CADBURY TO BUILD CHOCOLATE FACTORY IN RUSSIA.
A Finnish building firm is to build a $115 million chocolate factory for Cadbury-Schweppes in Novgorod Oblast, AFP reported on 6 July citing Kommersant-daily. The new plant, with an output capacity of 50,000 tons annually, will be the largest Cadbury factory in the world. It is due to begin operation in mid-1996. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 131, 7 July 1995


TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

FATE OF TAJIK OFFICIAL UNCLEAR.
Authorities have been unable to ascertain the whereabouts of Akabir Odinayev, a Tajik senior official from the Khatlon region in the south who disappeared on 26 June and is believe to have been abducted by a Defense Ministry unit, Reuters reported. The Defense Ministry has two units in the area, the first and eleventh brigades, which were formed from groups owing allegiance to local warlords who supported the present regime during the Tajik civil war three years ago. Though nominally part of the Tajik military, the two groups are competing for control of supplies in the Kurgan Tyube area. A commander from the first brigade said the eleventh brigade is holding Odinayev. An officer in the eleventh brigade, Islam Radzhabov, denied his group is responsible and accused the first brigade of killing his group's commander, Izat Kuganov, early last month. The government has sent reinforcements to the area. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT WANTS TWO OFFICIALS TO RESIGN.
Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev called on Transport Minister Sadykbek Ablesov and government Chief of Staff Orozmat Abdykalykov to resign on 6 July, Reuters reported. Akayev said Ablesov committed numerous unspecified offenses and that Abdykalykov had been leaking state secrets to the media. The Kyrgyz president called for the resignations at a meeting of law enforcement officials dealing with the rising crime rate and corruption in the government. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

ANOTHER ROUND OF BORDER TALKS WITH CHINA ENDS.
The 16th round of talks between China and its CIS neighbors on reducing the level of military forces along their borders ended in Beijing on 6 July, Xinhua reported. Originally, the talks were held between China and the Soviet Union, which has now been replaced by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The agency said the sides had exchanged views in a "friendly and truth-seeking" atmosphere, and progress was made. No other details were released. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 131, 7 July 1995


CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTS NEW SPEAKER.
International agencies on 6 July reported that the Crimean parliament has elected a new speaker who is supportive of the authorities in Kiev. Deputies voted 58 to 31 to appoint centrist Yevhen Suprunyuk as a replacement for Serhii Tsekov, who was dismissed the previous day. Suprunyuk's election is seen as a move toward reconciliation with Kiev and a blow to Crimea's pro-Russian forces. Tsekov was removed because of his authoritarianism and his failure to compromise with Kiev. Suprunyuk has said he will work on an equal basis with both Russia and Ukraine. The new speaker is a member of the Agrarian bloc. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUS STOPS ARMS REDUCTIONS.
Izvestiya on 6 July reported that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has announced that Belarus will suspend the withdrawal of nuclear missiles from Belarus to Russia. Lukashenka said the decision to withdraw the weapons was a political mistake made by the previous leadership. He also commented that it was unnecessary since Belarus and Russia may soon reunite. RFE/RL reported Stanislau Shushkevich, former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, as saying the decision was a disgrace to Belarus's international image. Shushkevich was head of state when Belarus agreed to give up its inherited nuclear arsenal of 81 single-warhead mobile SS-25 Topol missiles. So far, 63 missiles have been withdrawn and the remaining 18 were to have been removed to Russia this month. Izvestiya commented that the decision to stop nuclear reductions was also prompted by financial considerations. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

ESTONIAN PRIVATIZATION CHIEF UNDER FIRE.
BNS on 6 July reported that the Estonian Center Party sent a letter in June to the board of the Coalition Party asking for the dismissal of Vaino Sarnet, director-general of the Privatization Agency. It also requested a thorough examination of personnel at government institutions and proposed that a bill be drawn up banning the Central Bank from holding shares in commercial banks. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN PRESIDENT IN LITHUANIA.
Guntis Ulmanis has met with his Lithuanian counterpart, Algirdas Brazauskas, in Vilnius, Russian Public Television reported on 6 July. Ulmanis said that the three Baltic states needed a joint strategy to join the EU. He stressed the need for the three countries to coordinate their policies toward other states and cooperate in controlling their borders and illegal immigration. He also proposed setting up a joint budget to be used toward financing cultural and ecological projects. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

LITHUANIA PARDONS FORMER SOVIET GENERAL.
The Lithuanian Mercy Mission on 5 July pardoned former Soviet General Ginutis Taurinskas for his participation in anti-state activities, BNS reported. Taurinskas headed the Lithuanian branch of the Soviet paramilitary organization DOSAAF and participated in activities of pro-Soviet forces in Lithuania when the Soviet Union was falling apart. When Lithuania gained independence, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. Pranas Kuris, head of the Supreme Court, justified the pardon saying that Taurinskas has already served two-thirds of the term and, since he suffers from ill health, it was a normal and humane act to pardon him. Opposition leader Vytautas Landsbergis criticized the pardon. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

GERMAN CHANCELLOR IN POLAND.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, visiting Poland for the first time since 1989, addressed a joint session of the Polish parliament on 6 July. He said the European Union will do "everything in its power to put Poland on the right track . . . [but] there will be no shortcuts." "Admitting Poland to the European Union is interdependent with its joining NATO but will not necessarily come at the same time," he added. Kohl also stressed that "no country can forbid another country to take part in any alliance . . . [but] it is necessary above all to cooperate with Russia in constructing European security." Polish and international media reported that Germany has offered its active cooperation in building east-west highways and railroad lines in Poland and in investing in economic zones along these routes. Kohl is scheduled to pay a visit to Auschwitz during his three-day visit. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CENTRAL PLANNING OFFICE ON POLISH ECONOMY.
The Polish Central Planning Office on 6 July issued a report comparing Poland's economy in 1994 with those of other East European countries. Polish and Slovenian growth rates were the biggest in the region, reaching 5%. Poland is expected to occupy first place with Estonia in 1995, with 6%. Polish exports rose 22% in 1994; but Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania registered bigger growths. Inflation in Poland in 1994 was 32.2%, compared with 10.2% in the Czech Republic and 320% in Russia. With regard to unemployment, Poland placed seventh in Europe as a whole (with Macedonia, the rump Yugoslavia, and Spain topping the list). Poland was the only country in the region whose foreign debt decreased, but it has the region's second largest such debt in relation to GNP (42%), after Hungary (72%). Poland's budget deficit amounted to 2.7% of GNP in 1994, compared with 10.4% in Hungary and 9.3% in Russia, Polish media reported on 7 July. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH PRIMATE JOINS HISTORIC JAN HUS COMMEMORATION.
For the first time ever, the head of the Catholic Church in the Czech Republic has taken part in a service marking the death of Protestant reformer Jan Hus. On 6 July--the 580th anniversary of Hus being burnt at the stake as a heretic by the Church--Cardinal Miloslav Vlk joined evangelical Church leaders for a service at the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague where Hus preached. At a ceremony in Hus's hometown Husinec, President Vaclav Havel said the Catholic Church could help heal religious divides in the country by rehabilitating Hus. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAKIA'S RULING PARTY THREATENS TO BAR SOROS.
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) on 6 July demanded an apology from U.S. billionaire and philanthropist George Soros for statements he made earlier this week at an economic forum in Crans Montana, Switzerland. Soros, who was awarded the forum's top prize, said the historic opportunity presented by the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe has been missed. He noted that in many post-communist countries, nationalist ideologies were combining with business interests in a classic recipe for fascism. Soros cited Serbia as an example and said Croatia also showed similar tendencies. He then mentioned the Slovak premier as an example of a strongly entrenched leader who has not always supported privatization and liberalization. International media reported Meciar's party as saying that unless Soros apologizes, HZDS deputies will support a motion in the parliament to bar him from the country as persona non grata. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.

CAR EXPLOSION IN BRATISLAVA.
A car exploded several hundred meters from the Slovak government offices in Bratislava on 6 July, Slovak media reported. Police said the two occupants of the car were killed in the explosion, but they have refused to comment on the reasons or motives for the incident until an investigation has been completed. Some media have speculated that rival Bratislava gangs were seeking to settle accounts. Unofficial sources were quoted as saying that the explosion might be connected to the recent arrest of Italian mafia boss Domenico Branco. Italian police arrested Branco in cooperation with the Slovak police, which were reportedly tipped off by informants in the Bratislava underworld. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.




OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 131, 7 July 1995
HEAVY FIGHTING AROUND SREBRENICA.
International media on 7 July reported that tank, mortar, and artillery fire erupted the previous day between Serbian attackers and Muslim defenders of the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica. Government spokesmen said it was the heaviest Serbian attack since the UN declared the place a "safe area" in 1993. The BBC reported that a UN relief convoy was shot at near Tuzla, apparently from Bosnian Serb lines., while the International Herald Tribune noted a similar attack on relief vehicles heading into Sarajevo across Mt. Igman. Vjesnik quoted UN sources as reporting successes by the Bosnian army around Bosanska Krupa near Bihac, while Novi list reported that Krajina Serb forces are grouping around Knin. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

ZUBAK GIVES THE RAPID REACTION FORCE A DEADLINE.
Bosnian Croat leader and president of the Croatian-Muslim federation Kresimir Zubak has told the Rapid Reaction Force that it must leave Herzegovina by the end of the month if his questions regarding its mission have not been satisfactorily answered by then, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 7 July. Reuters the previous day noted that the UN has stated that the British and French commanders will have tactical control over any RRF missions but that each action must be approved by the cautious UN civilian bureaucracy. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT SINGLES OUT SERBS.
The VOA on 7 July said that Amnesty International has issued a report on human rights violations in the former Yugoslavia. The study argues that the Serbs are responsible for most, if not all, of the atrocities in Bosnia but that all sides hold prisoners of conscience or have sent prisoners to work under dangerous conditions. The Serbs press-gang young men in Serbia on behalf of the Krajina and Bosnian Serb armies. They have also tortured or otherwise ill-treated ethnic Albanian former policemen in Kosovo. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATIAN JOURNALISTS DEFEND FERAL TRIBUNE.
Novi list on 7 July carried a statement by the Croatian Journalistic Society criticizing the recent attacks by thugs on the independent satirical weekly Feral Tribune. The declaration argues that one may think whatever one wants of that particular paper but that nobody has the right to use violence against freedom of expression. In other developments, AFP on 5 July reports on growing social unrest in Croatia. Some 140,000 out of 760,000 workers have not been paid in months, and the situation of the 800,000 pensioners and 385,000 refugees is also precarious. Protests by unpaid workers have taken on political overtones, as the demonstrators argue that the elite of the ruling party are enriching themselves while ordinary people face hard times. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.


BILDT IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA.
Nasa Borba on 7 July reported on European Union mediator Carl Bildt's arrival in Sarajevo the previous day. Bildt's visit is intended to revive the peace process, but he has already expressed doubts over prospects for lasting peace. AFP quoted him as saying there will be "more war in Bosnia rather than peace. . . . There might be a solution, but it is not immediately at hand." Bildt also noted that negotiations with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic are key to facilitating the peace process. Milosevic on 6 July met with Alvaro de Soto, UN deputy secretary for political affairs, but De Soto gave few details about the discussions. The VOA said that journalists asked Bildt if he planned to visit Bosnian Serb headquarters at Pale but that he replied he is "not a tourist" and has no need to go there. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

MONTENEGRIN HOTEL CHAIN REWARDS ANTI-GREEK VACATIONERS.
Montena-fax on 6 July reported that the rump Yugoslavia's Maestralturs hotel chain is involved in the continuing controversy over the rump Yugoslavia's 2 July European basketball championship win in Athens. When the rump Yugoslav national anthem was played, Greek fans, who had seen their team lose to the rump Yugoslav team in an earlier game, booed. Now as a reward to vacationers who can prove they have canceled vacations to Greece in protest at the fans' behavior, Maestralturs is offering a 20% discount. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

RUGOVA MEETS WITH GLIGOROV.
Ibrahim Rugova, president of the Kosovar shadow state, met with Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov in Skopje after visiting the U.S., Spain, and Albania, according to the Kosovar Daily Report and MIC on 6 July. The two leaders discussed the situation in Kosovo and Macedonia, as well as bilateral relations. There was no official statement on the disputed Albanian-language university in Tetovo, but both sides confirmed that "peace and stability in the Balkans can be guaranteed only by settling [outstanding] issues through talks and political means and by strengthening the European option [for] the Balkan states." Elsewhere, Fehmi Agani, deputy leader of the ruling Democratic League of Kosovo, said after meeting with representatives of the ruling Serbian Democratic Party in Belgrade that "the atmosphere was surprisingly cordial," Politika reported on 7 July. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.


ROMANIAN, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS TO MEET?
Radio Bucharest on 6 July, citing Radio Budapest, said Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs has proposed meeting with his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melescanu, to discuss the bilateral basic treaty. The possibility of talks between the two ministers was also discussed by President Ion Iliescu and Prime Minister Gyula Horn at their meeting in Cannes. But Kovacs said he had doubts about how successful such an encounter would be. In a related development, Adevarul on 7 July reported that the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR) has decided to begin "civic disobedience" actions if its demands for changing the recently-passed education law are not met by President Ion Iliescu. UDMR leaders and Iliescu are scheduled to meet on 8 July. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIA, CHINA AGREE ON "DIPLOMATIC FORMULA."
The Romanian Foreign Ministry, in a press release from Beijing carried by Radio Bucharest on 6 July, says Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu has "expressed satisfaction" with the results of his visit to China. The ministry said "representatives of the Chinese People's Republic appreciated the fact that Romania recognizes a single China and [has confirmed] its intention to establish no diplomatic relations and to exchange no official visits with Taiwan." The official news agency Rompres says that formula "leaves the door open to economic and trade relations between Romania and Taiwan." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVAN CURRENCY IS NOW CONVERTIBLE.
Leonid Talmaci, president of the Moldovan National Bank, announced on 6 July that the Moldovan leu has become a convertible currency, Infotag reported the same day. Talmaci said foreign investors are now likely to invest more willingly in Moldova, where the currency is stable and inflation low. He also said inflation fell from 2,000 % when the leu was introduced in November 1993 to 110% in 1994 and will not exceed 10% in 1995. Meanwhile, Privatization Minister Ceslav Ciobanu on 6 July said that approximately 400 more enterprises are to be privatized by September 1995, Infotag and BASA-press reported. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVA REMEMBERS VICTIMS OF SOVIET REGIME.
Radio Bucharest and BASA-press on 6 July reported that a memorial granite stone dedicated to the victims of the Soviet regime was unveiled in Chisinau's Valea Morilor park the same day. The memorial stone stands where the NKVD headquarters were situated in 1940. On 6 July 1949, nearly 41,000 people where deported to Siberia under the pretext of the struggle "against kulaks." Of these, some 80% perished. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

DEMIREL ENDS VISIT TO BULGARIA.
Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on 6 July concluded an official three-day visit to Bulgaria, international media reported. On the last day of his visit, he spoke to the predominantly ethnic Turkish population of a town some 400 kilometers northeast of Sofia. He described his audience as "good citizens of Bulgaria," remarking that in recent years, the Bulgarian government has demonstrated a sound record of protecting the Turkish minority's rights. He also described Bulgaria's Turkish community as a "bridge" between Bulgaria and Turkey. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. PREPARES DEPLOYMENT OF SPY PLANES FROM ALBANIA.
The U.S. army's first shipments of equipment for deploying unmanned Predator spy planes arrived in Gjader on 6 June. The unmanned planes will be operated by remote control over Bosnia-Herzegovina by about 100 U.S. military and civilian staff, Reuters reported on 6 June. Information gathered by the system will be passed onto NATO and the UN command for Bosnia. The first military operation to use the Predator system is also the first time the U.S. has conducted a key military operation in Albania. The operation is scheduled to last for 60 days but may be extended. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT, JUSTICE MINISTRY DISCUSS COURTS' BUDGET.
Albanian Supreme Court Judge Zef Brozi and Minister of Justice Hektor Frasheri have begun discussing the budget of the country's courts, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 7 July. Brozi had earlier criticized Frasheri's plans to subordinate the courts' budget to the ministry's authority. He claimed that a bill proposed by the ruling Democratic Party in June was designed to undermine the independence of the courts, which had a separate budget in 1994. The democrats withdrew the bill after Brozi strongly protested it. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




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