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Newsline - July 27, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 145, 27 July 1995
ELECTION LEGISLATION ENDANGERED.
If the parliament does not pass legislation on how to fix the boundaries of the 225 single-mandate districts in the Duma by 30 August, the Central Electoral Committee will declare that the districts used in 1993 will remain in force, Nikolai Ryabov announced on 26 July, ITAR-TASS reported. The Duma approved the legislation on 14 July, but the Federation Council rejected it on 21 July, after the Duma had already begun its summer recess. Ryabov said a special session of the Duma may be necessary next month, Segodnya reported on 26 July. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

PARTY SPENDING CAPS PLANNED.
According to the Justice Ministry, 259 political parties currently have the right to participate in the elections. Parties can spend no more than 4.37 billion rubles ($950,000) during the course of the campaign, according to a draft directive prepared by the Central Electoral Commission, Russian Public TV reported on 26 July. Parties cannot accept any money from foreign countries, although there is no mechanism yet in place to prevent transfers from abroad. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

NEW STATE PRESS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN APPOINTED.
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin appointed Ivan Laptev, editor-in-chief of Izvestiya in the 1980s, to replace liberal Sergei Gryzunov as chairman of the State Press Committee, which oversees press subsidies, Russian and Western agencies reported on 26 July. Laptev, who was chairman of one house of the USSR Supreme Soviet in 1991, had served as deputy press committee chairman since December 1994. Gryzunov had been appointed in November 1994 but subsequently came under fire for criticizing official press coverage of the military campaign in Chechnya. Chernomyrdin first announced Gryzunov would be replaced on 27 February, but President Yeltsin postponed the dismissal following widespread protests in the journalistic community. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MOSCOW ALTERS APPROACH TO GROZNY TALKS.
Following a 26 July meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Minister of Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov, who heads the Russian delegation to the Grozny negotiations, told ITAR-TASS that Moscow will no longer press for the signing of a political accord on the status of the republic. Mikhailov said the Russian side is changing its approach in order to "get the hostilities to stop" as soon as possible and "create the conditions for democratic elections" in Chechnya. The Russian delegation will now call for the inclusion of some subsidiary political questions, on which there is already agreement, into the final military accord. The resolution of Chechnya's status will be postponed until after new elections are held in the republic this November, Mikhailov added. The military accord calls for the disarmament of Chechen fighters, withdrawal of most Russian troops from Chechnya, and a prisoner exchange. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT FORMS "GREEN RUSSIA" MOVEMENT.
Six days after several environmentalist groups announced the creation of a Green Movement to run for parliament, Environment Minister Viktor Danilov-Danilyan announced that 18 environmentalist groups agreed to join the new government-sponsored electoral coalition Green Russia, Russian TV and AFP reported on 26 July. Green Russia will advocate more laws to protect the environment and more state funding for preservation programs, including a forest protection plan. The new bloc will include the Ecological Women's Assembly and the Association of Veterinarians, as well as the Green Party and the All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Nature, who co-founded the Green Movement on 20 July pledging not to cooperate with any traditional political parties. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

NEGOTIATIONS TOWARD A COALITION OF COMMUNIST PARTIES.
Several communist parties are negotiating to form a united bloc for the parliamentary elections called Communists of Russia, first secretary of the Russian Communist Workers' Party Viktor Tyulkin told ITAR-TASS on 26 July. However, Tyulkin said Gennadii Zyuganov, who leads the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, is still afraid that uniting with more left-wing communist parties will cost him the support of centrist voters. Meanwhile, Segodnya reported on 26 July that Viktor Anpilov's Workers' Russia, Stanislav Terekhov's Officers' Union and other hard-line groups including the National Salvation Front have formed the "People's Resistance 95" project, which will organize demonstrations this year to commemorate the August 1991 coup, the October 1993 parliamentary uprising, and the anniversary of the October 1917 Revolution. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

MAVRODI PROMISES TO PAY MMM SHAREHOLDERS IN NOVEMBER.
Duma deputy Sergei Mavrodi, head of the controversial MMM investment fund, will begin to pay dividends to MMM investors starting on 16 November, one month before scheduled parliamentary elections, Radio Rossii reported on 26 July. According to a notice posted at the MMM office, investors who are members of Mavrodi's party or who voted for Mavrodi in the November 1994 Duma by-election will be paid first, followed by veterans, pensioners, and invalids. The payment plan is likely designed to boost Mavrodi's re-election chances. One day after winning the November 1994 by-election, Mavrodi suspended all payments to MMM investors, sparking protests outside MMM offices in Moscow. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.

ADOPTIONS BY FOREIGNERS BLOCKED.
The State Duma Committee on International Affairs has asked Procurator General Aleksei Ilyushenko to reverse his decision that a law on adoption be applied retroactively, Russian TV and ITAR-TASS reported on 26 July. According to the law adopted in March, Russian orphans and handicapped children may be adopted by foreigners only if no Russian family can be found. However, ITAR-TASS reported that changes in family and marriage legislation created a "legal vacuum" that halted adoption procedures for 120 handicapped children, which had started in March 1995. The Education Ministry had proposed that those adoption procedures that were started before the amendments came into effect should be completed according to the old regulations. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

MINERS STRIKE AFTER TEACHERS PAID.
Miners of the Tyrganskaya pits in Kuzbass are threatening to strike if they do not receive wages owed to them since May, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 July. The miners refused to descend into the mines when they learned that money from coal consuming clients had been allocated by the municipal authorities of the city of Prokopevsk to pay teachers' salaries. The municipal administration had been unable to pay the teachers since the end of the last school year. -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

SUIT AGAINST BRANCH OF MOON CHURCH.
The Dzerzhinskii raion court of St. Petersburg is examining a suit demanding a ban on the activities of an association that is allegedly a branch of the Moon Church, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 July. The plaintiff in the suit is the St. Petersburg Committee for the Defense of the Family and Personality. Relatives of people who have joined the Moon Church have been seeking help at the committee. ITAR-TASS described the Moon Church as an organization which not only manipulates its members psychologically but which makes demands on them that are "foreign to inhabitants of Russia and the conditions of life in our country." -- Alaina Lemon, OMRI, Inc.

U.S. COMPANIES TO MARKET RUSSIAN MILITARY SATELLITE IMAGES.
Russian military satellites will conduct a space survey of several U.S. states and the resulting images will be processed and marketed by three U.S. companies, Yurii Milov, director-general of the Russian Space Agency, told ITAR-TASS on 26 July. Milov said a contract had been signed between Sovinformsputnik and the three companies: Central Trading Systems, Lambda Tech International, and Aerial Images. He said Russian military satellites of the Cosmos series would perform the survey, which would begin next year. While prices for the images had not yet been set, Milov said they would be "reasonable." -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

YELTSIN DISCUSSES BOSNIA WITH KOZYREV AND GRACHEV.
As NATO threatened the Bosnian Serbs with air strikes, President Boris Yeltsin instructed Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev to continue seeking an "exclusively political" solution to the conflict in Bosnia, Russian and Western agencies reported. A high-ranking Russian diplomat told ITAR-TASS on 26 July that during his recent visit to Belgrade, Kozyrev had received assurances that the Bosnian Serbs would not attack the Muslim enclave of Gorazde, adding that Russia will soon propose that an additional UN contingent that would include Russian troops be dispatched to Gorazde. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of a 26 July U.S. Senate vote to unilaterally lift the UN arms embargo on the Bosnian government, both presidential aide Sergei Karaganov and Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs, warned that if the U.S. takes such action, Russia would consider doing the same for Serbia. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

GOVERNMENT ADOPTS RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT AGRICULTURE.
The Russian government adopted a resolution that orders the Finance Ministry to proceed an additional 6 trillion rubles ($1.3 billion) from the federal budget to finance domestic agricultural producers before 1 October, Rossiiskie vesti reported on 27 July. The 1995 budget envisioned spending of 8.8 trillion rubles on farm subsidies in 1995. Of 18.1 trillion rubles allotted to farms in the 1994 budget, only 10 trillion rubles were actually spent. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

KOZYREV VISITS VIETNAM TO STRENGTHEN ECONOMIC TIES.
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev arrived in Vietnam on 27 July for a two-day visit aimed at strengthening economic and financial cooperation, AFP and ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Prior to 1991, the Soviet Union accounted for 60% of Vietnam's foreign trade; in 1994, it accounted for only 3%. Hanoi has repaid very little of the $10 billion debt to the Soviet Union which it had accumulated before 1991. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 145, 27 July 1995
ANOTHER DEMONSTRATION IN ASHGABAT.
A group of 100 Turkmen women marched in a 26 July protest to the presidential palace in Ashgabat, Radio Liberty's Turkmen service reported the same day. The radio described the action as a "women's strike" against the decaying economic situation in the republic and the authoritarian rule of President Niyazov. The protesters were blocked by militia troops before they could reach the presidential palace. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

RUSSIAN HAND IN TURKMEN DEMONSTRATIONS?
A 12 July protest march in Ashgabat may have been instigated by Moscow, according to an article in the 23-30 July edition of Moskovkie novosti. It pointed out that a week before the "protest march," Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov signed a contract in Tehran to deliver 8 billion cubic meters of gas as part of deal to lay a pipeline linking Turkmenistan to Iranian and European markets. The paper also notes that Moscow's tolerance of Turkmen opposition activity in Russia and Ashgabat's unwillingness to agree to Russian plans to locate military bases on its territory are causes of friction in bilateral relations. Meanwhile, informal reports indicate some 200 people have been detained in Turkmenistan for their involvement in the protest march. Among this group, an unidentified 19-year-old youth who reportedly identified other participants in the action committed suicide upon his release, according to Radio Liberty's Turkmen service. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

TOO MANY DOLLARS IN KAZAKHSTAN?
The purchasing power of the U.S. dollar is declining in Kazakhstan because of the inflow of credits from the IMF, the World Bank, and other international financial institutions, Trud reported on 25 July. At present, the republic has a trade surplus and the gold and foreign currency reserves of the National Bank are $1.277 billion and rising. These are not necessarily positive developments since they suggest that the economy is unable to absorb the amount of dollars now entering the country. The trade surplus, for example, may indicate that importers are having problems gaining access to dollar credits. Kazakh National Bank Chairman Daulet Sembayev also said many of the largest national enterprises are being transferred to foreign companies. -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.

CIS

CHERNOMYRDIN AND MARCHUK FAIL TO AGREE ON FLEET.
Three hours of talks between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Yevgenii Marchuk, failed to produce an agreement on the implementation of the Sochi accords on the Black Sea Fleet, Western and Russian agencies reported. The two prime ministers said Marchuk would return to Moscow on 2 August to hammer out the details of the division, status, and future location of the fleet. Both leaders expressed optimism that another week of work would lead to the final resolution of the remaining problems, while Chernomyrdin reiterated that President Yeltsin's planned visit to Kiev for the signing of a Ukrainian-Russian friendship treaty hinges on resolving the dispute. The fleet issue did not prevent the signing of four other Russian-Ukrainian agreements on culture, education, environmental protection, and the transit of Russian oil and gas across Ukraine. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 145, 27 July 1995
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT BARS PATRIARCH BURIAL IN ST. SOPHIA'S.
Leonid Kuchma has said he will not agree to allow Patriarch Volodymyr, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, to be buried in St. Sophia's Cathedral, Reuters and Ukrainian TV reported on 26 July. This was Kuchma's first public statement on the issue since the 18 July clashes between riot police and mourners at the patriarch's funeral. Kuchma explained his decision by saying he wanted to avoid further tensions between the various rival Orthodox Churches in Ukraine. He also noted that his government will strictly adhere to the separation of Church and state and will refuse to favor one Church over another. He said the use of force by riot police against unarmed mourners was "inexcusable" and stressed that top officials who gave orders to attack the crowd will be held responsible. Kuchma also accused leaders and supporters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which broke away from the Moscow Patriarchate in 1992, of a deliberate effort to destabilize the socio-political situation in Ukraine by provoking violence. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

UKRAINE BANS HARD CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS.
The Ukrainian government has banned the use of foreign currency in cash transactions in the retail trade and service sectors beginning 1 August, UNIAR reported on 26 July. Permission to accept hard currency as payment will be limited to duty free shops at border crossings and airports, foreign travel services, and hotels for foreigners. The National Bank of Ukraine announced the move as a first step toward monetary reform. Ukrainian Radio reported the same day that President Leonid Kuchma said Ukraine would introduce its new currency, the hryvna, by the end of October. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.


UKRAINE'S ENERGY DEBT.
Ukraine has paid $606 million since the beginning of the year to meet its debts to Gazprom, Business segodnia (issue no. 27) reported. Besides cash payments, this total includes $10.2 million for the construction of housing for Gazprom workers, $46.7 million worth of goods, and $377.2 million in services. Gazprom is to supply Ukraine with gas worth $1.365 billion for the year. According to Vek (issue no. 27), Kiev has spent more than 60% of the credits it received from the IMF and EBRD to repay its energy debts to Russia and Turkmenistan. The Deutsche Bank, which has been advising Ukraine on economic and financial affairs, has urged Ukraine to change its energy policies and develop gas and oil deposits discovered in Crimea to reduce its dependency on Russian and Turkmenistan. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN CUSTOMS UNION ENCOUNTERS DIFFICULTIES.
Russian Public Television on 26 July reported that the customs union between Belarus and Russia, set up less than two months ago, is being violated by the Belarusians. The agreement on the customs union stipulated that Belarus levy excise duties on various goods in line with Russian duties. But the Belarusian customs committee has apparently levied fees on only a third of the goods considered by the Russians to be covered by this provision. As a result, cars, gasoline, precious metals, and other products can be imported cheaply from Russia into Belarus. The report gave the example of four Belarusian importers who managed to import some 4,000 BAZov trucks from Russia to Belarus in less than two months without paying $5 million customs duties on them. The customs committee is now trying to collect the duties retroactively. The television report said it hoped Belarus would soon institute proper controls over imports from Russia. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

CONGRESS OF ESTONIAN RURAL PARTIES.
Prime Minister Tiit Vahi told a congress of rural parties in Tallinn on 26 July that the biggest crisis in the country's agricultural sector was over, BNS reported. But despite his optimism, the congress passed a resolution calling on the government and parliament to exempt private farmers from income tax and to halve the sales tax on agricultural products. It also called for stricter food-quality and veterinary checks on the Estonian border. Vahi said it was possible that the country may introduce import duties on some farm goods, adding these would not exceed 10%. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

LATVIAN GOVERNMENT ADOPTS COMMERCIAL BANK REGULATIONS.
The Latvian cabinet on 18 July adopted regulations on commercial banks, bankruptcies, and guarantees for depositors. Because the Saeima was not in session at the time, the rules remain valid unless rejected by that body. Prime Minister Maris Gailis on 26 July met with the leaders of caucuses to discuss the new regulations, BNS reported. With the exception of the For the Homeland and Freedom caucus, the leaders raised no objections and proposed various amendments, which Gailis agreed to. The Saeima is to vote on 27 July on whether to approve the regulations. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

POLISH RIGHT IN DISARRAY.
Preparations for this year's presidential elections are working to divide rather than unite Poland's right wing, as a growing number of groups claim the right to select a single right-wing candidate for president. The landscape became more confused on 27 July when a number of parties and splinter groups, including the Confederation for an Independent Poland and the Non-Party Reform Bloc, announced the formation of the Patriotic Political Camp, which plans to collect petitions for five different potential candidates. The new group's formation appears as conflict threatens to divide another umbrella organization, the St. Catherine's Convent, which has been unable to agree which candidate won its own straw poll. In other news, the government's Public Administration Office has worried opposition parties by instructing voivodship chiefs to gather information on presidential campaign rallies, Rzeczpospolita reported. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

CZECH TRADE DEFICIT DEEPENS.
The Czech Republic's foreign trade deficit for the first half of 1995 totaled 46.9 billion koruny, the Statistics Office reported on 26 July. For the same period last year, the country had a surplus of 4.2 billion koruny. This year, imports have increased by 32.4% to 261.6 billion koruny, while exports have risen only 6.4% to 214.7 billion koruny. However, the June deficit of 9.2 billion koruny was less than in May, when the shortfall was 11.4 billion koruny. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVAKIA CABINET WANTS TO REINTRODUCE DEATH PENALTY.
The Slovak cabinet on 25 July approved a note to the Council of Europe asking that the council revise its recommendation that the death penalty be abolished, Reuters reported the following day. The cabinet argued that Slovak citizens believe "the current protection against, and effective prevention of, brutal crimes is insufficient." It stressed that between January 1991 and May 1995, Slovak courts found 48 people guilty of unusually heinous murders, adding that Slovaks needed protection from organized crime. The death penalty was abolished in Czechoslovakia in May 1990 and is forbidden by the Slovak Constitution. Opinion polls published by TASR on 26 July showed that 70% of Slovaks support reintroducing capital punishment, while only 20% are against it. The Slovak National Party, a member of the government coalition, has long been in favor of reintroducing the death penalty. Robert Fico, a deputy for the opposition Party of the Democratic Left who represents Slovakia on the European Commission for Human Rights, said he believes the death penalty is important in the fight against crime, Pravda reported on 27 July. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 145, 27 July 1995
U.S. SENATE VOTES TO LIFT BOSNIAN ARMS EMBARGO.
The Senate voted 69-29 on 26 July to end the embargo against the Bosnian government once UNPROFOR withdraws or within 12 weeks of Sarajevo's asking it to do so. Majority Leader Bob Dole said it was a matter of "whether some small country that's been ravaged on all sides, pillaged, women raped, children killed, has any rights in this world." He received strong bi-partisan support and enough votes to override President Bill Clinton's threatened veto. Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein warned that the Serbs want to set up "a Fourth Reich dedicated to the genocide of a people just because they are different." Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic had asked the Senate to "untie our hands so that we may protect ourselves," and later welcomed the outcome of the vote. The VOA called the ballot "a stinging rebuke of [Clinton's] Bosnian policy." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

MLADIC CALLS ON GORAZDE TO SURRENDER.
Bosnian Serb commander General Ratko Mladic told the defenders of Gorazde that if they laid down their arms, his forces would not attack them, Bosnian Serb Radio reported on 26 July. Meanwhile, what the VOA called "another example of Serbian ethnic cleansing" continues at Zepa, where the UN said that 8,000 refugees are "on the run . . . [in] another humanitarian disaster in the making," AFP reported. There is still no word on the fate of Zepa's military-aged men, but refugees arriving in Sarajevo and Kladanj called the UN presence "useless," the BBC said on 27 July. The refugees were dumped on the edge of no-man's land, which they had to cross on foot to Bosnian government lines. UN mission chief Yasushi Akashi said, "We are watching the situation most attentively." AFP reported from Geneva that UN special rapporteur for human rights, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, has resigned his post in protest over the international community's inaction in the wake of the disasters at Srebrenica and Zepa. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

CROATS MAKE BREAKTHROUGH SOUTH OF BIHAC.
Hina on 27 July reported that Bosnian Croat forces (HVO) have made great advances along the line between Tomislavgrad and Grahovo. The biggest gains are in the Livno region, and the HVO is now 4 km from Serb-held Glamoc and 8 km from the strategic town of Grahovo. Some 250 Serbian refugees fled to Knin, while the total of Muslim refugees from the Serbian advance to the north has reached 8,000, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Fierce fighting continues on all fronts around the Bihac pocket, which has a population of about 180,000. Local Muslim renegade Fikret Abdic on 26 July proclaimed a Republic of West Bosnia, but the BBC called his gesture "meaningless" since Abdic is dependent on the Serbs. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BOUTROS GHALI DELEGATES AUTHORITY FOR AIR STRIKES.
International media on 25 July reported that the UN secretary-general has authorized the UNPROFOR commander, General Bernard Janvier, to approve air strikes in conjunction with NATO, effective immediately. The Atlantic alliance was anxious to remove the hesitant Boutros Boutros Ghali and especially Akashi from the chain of command. Turkey, meanwhile, announced a long-term military cooperation agreement with Bosnia but said that it will not unilaterally break the arms embargo, which it nonetheless opposes. The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that "a genocide is going on in Zepa, Srebrenica, and Bihac . . . [and that] no UN official must remain neutral in the face of the aggressor and the victim." Iran declared a week of solidarity with Bosnia, and in Athens a demonstration against war and nationalism took place in front of the rump Yugoslav embassy, BETA reported on 26 July. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.


WHAT DID MILOSEVIC TELL KOZYREV?
BETA on 26 July reported that at his recent meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Andreii Kozyrev, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic used the occasion to inform Russia that Belgrade is prepared to recognize Bosnia-Herzegovina, but only in exchange for a the lifting of all sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. Since at least May 1995, Milosevic has insisted that he will barter recognition for a lifting of sanctions, prompting a wave of diplomatic initiatives aimed at securing such an exchange. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.


SLOVAK PREMIER IN ROMANIA.
Vladimir Meciar on 26 July began a two-day official visit to Romania, Radio Bucharest reported. In an initial statement to the press, he praised bilateral relations and expressed the hope that economic cooperation could be further expanded. He also said that problems related to ethnic minorities in the two countries will be discussed during his visit. Both Romania and Slovakia have large Hungarian minorities. Meciar the same day met with his Romanian counterpart, Nicolae Vacaroiu, to discuss developing ties in infrastructure, banking, services, and privatization. They also considered prospects for their countries' integration in Euro-Atlantic structures. Finally, Meciar met with Romanian Senate Chairman Oliviu Gherman, Chamber of Deputies Chairman Adrian Nastase, and representatives of the Slovak minority in Romania. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT SETTLES ACCOUNTS WITH INDEPENDENT PRESS.
The Romanian government, in a communique released on 26 July, sharply attacked the independent daily Romania libera for an article published the same day. Signed by the newspaper's director, Petre Mihai Bacanu, the article alleged that Romanian Premier Nicolae Vacaroiu "endorsed oil contraband" to the former Yugoslavia. The cabinet dismissed the allegations as "gross fabrication ...that seriously damages Romania's [international] credibility." It accused the newspaper of waging a campaign of "forgery, calumny and denigration" aimed at compromising Romania's chances of joining Euro-Atlantic structures. It also stated its intention to take Bacanu to court on charges of calumny against the cabinet and the premier. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

DESTRUCTION OF 14TH ARMY AMMUNITION HALTED.
Local authorities in the Transdniester region of Moldova have forced the Russian 14th Army to stop the experimental destruction of old ammunition, Russian agencies reported. ITAR-TASS was told on 26 July that Igor Smirnov, leader of the breakaway region, put a stop to the operation. Interfax the same day said that city officials in Rybnitsa--where the tests were conducted--had objected. Some 2,000 freight car-loads of ammunition are stockpiled in ammunition dumps near the village of Kolbasna, on the border with Ukraine. Some of the ammunition was produced before World War II. Interfax reported that the Russian military and the local administration were continuing negotiations on a suitable site to continue destroying the obsolete explosives. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS LIKELY IN OCTOBER.
Bulgarian Socialist Party caucus leader Krasimir Premyanov on 26 July said local elections will most likely take place on 15 October, Bulgarian media reported the same day. He was speaking after meeting with President Zhelyu Zhelev to discuss the issue. Zhelev on 27 July will meet with leaders of the opposition caucuses to discuss the date of the elections and possible changes in the composition of the Central Electoral Commission. Meanwhile, the opposition parties have again failed to agree on a common candidate for mayoral elections in the capital. At a meeting of the six parties that signed a cooperation agreement in June, the People's Union insisted that the national leaderships of the parties convene to discuss the matter. This was dismissed by the other organizations. The Union of Democratic Forces, nonetheless, invited the group's leaderships to meet on 27 July, saying the nomination of a common candidate is the "duty of all non-communist forces." -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

BULGARIAN OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF VIOLATING SANCTIONS AGAINST RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.
Former Director-General of the Bulgarian State Railways Atanas Tonev has been charged in connection with violations of the UN embargo against rump Yugoslavia, Standart and Trud reported on 27 July. Tonev has been charged in 10 instances, but prosecutors did not say what evidence they have against him. The press says the charges include the illegal export of fuel, furniture, and cement to the rump Yugoslavia. Standart reports that former deputy prime ministers, ministers, and parliamentary deputies will soon be questioned. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIAN SUPREME COURT POSTPONES REVIEW OF NANO'S CASE.
At the request of Prosecutor-General Alush Dragoshi, the Supreme Court has postponed reviewing the case of Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano until September, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 27 July. Dragoshi explained that Nano's appeal writ was missing. He also requested the removal of Supreme Court Chief Judge Zef Brozi from the case, but the court rejected that request. Dragoshi argued that Brozi was biased, since he had announced earlier that Nano should be released. Nano is serving a prison term for the misappropriation of some $9 million in Italian aid. He has appealed for his release, saying his term has been reduced by various amnesties and the new penal code. An appeals court ruled earlier that Nano should have received a higher sentence under the new penal code and therefore should stay in jail. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

ALBANIANS PROTEST DRAFT LAND LAW.
Albanian demonstrators had to use a foreign express delivery service to send a petition to the parliament protesting a draft law land after lawmakers told them it had to arrive by post, Reuters reports on 27 July. The protesters had tried in vain for two days to hand over the list of signatures before resorting to use of the delivery service. Opposition parties have criticized the draft law, saying it will undermine the property rights of those who owned property before communism. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

GREEK PRIME MINISTER ON DISPUTE WITH MACEDONIA.
Andreas Papandreou said Greece and Macedonia do not agree on 10% of the disputed questions, MIC reported on 26 July, citing the Greek daily Elevtherotypia. Papandreou said Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov continues to stress that the Greek embargo against his country must be lifted before he will make any concessions. The Greek premier said Greece cannot lift the embargo unless Gligorov undertakes "specific measures." According to Papandreou, words are not enough. Both the Macedonian flag and constitution must be changed before the embargo is lifted, he said. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.


[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




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