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Newsline - August 17, 1995


Vol. 1, No. 160, 17 August 1995
Alexander Gorelik, head of the International Organizations Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, told Interfax on 16 August that Russia could reach consensus with the U.S. on a single peace plan for former Yugoslavia. Gorelik said recent Russian and U.S. initiatives have much in common, although he noted that Russia opposed parts of the American proposal that reportedly call for the use of military force against any of the warring parties that refuse to accept a peace plan. Gorelik's comments represented a step back from President Yeltsin's failed bid last week to mediate a resolution of the Yugoslav conflict unilaterally. Also on 16 August, a convoy of 49 trucks loaded with 150 tons of humanitarian aid left the Moscow suburb of Noginsk, Russian and Western agencies reported. The convoy is the second of three planned shipments of Russian aid for Croatian Serb refugees. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

In the presence of Chechen military commander Aslan Maskhadov, Russian General Yevgenii Skobelev, and OSCE mediators, a group of Chechen fighters began the process of disarmament called for in the 30 July Russian-Chechen military accord, surrendering assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, and mines in the village of Zandak, located in the Nozhai-Yurt region of Chechnya. The weapons are to be turned over to local "self-defense" units. Concerning another provision of the accord, a military spokesman told RFE/RL by telephone that federal forces are already beginning to withdraw 2-4 km away from their present positions, and NTV reported on 16 August that a column of 100 federal armored vehicles was leaving Grozny, while other federal units had withdrawn from their positions in the Vedeno region. Deadlock over implementation of the accord's disarmament provisions had prompted harsh threats from Moscow and threatened to scuttle the negotiation process in Chechnya. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

Meanwhile, Chechen head negotiator Khozh-Akhmed Yarikhanov returned to Grozny after consulting with Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudaev and told journalists that the Chechen delegation is prepared to resume talks with Russian delegates on the future political status of the republic, Western and Russian agencies reported. NTV also reported that on 16 August Dudaev had made an appearance on the "underground" Chechen TV station, during which he called for the simultaneous disarmament of his fighters and the forces of the current Moscow-backed Chechen authorities. Dudaev also reiterated his view that Chechnya must become fully independent and demanded that federal troops withdraw from the republic by 21 August. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.

Parties like Russia's Democratic Choice, Yabloko, and Our Home is Russia are much more likely to get support from abroad than the Communists, according to a report published in Izvestiya on 17 August. Domestically, banks will support the "rightist" parties while agricultural interests will support the Communists and their allies. The study questioned several commonly held beliefs. While it was earlier assumed that the military-industrial complex would support Yurii Skokov's Congress of Russian Communities, the study found that its interests are divided and that it will actually support a number of parties. The gas industry is also not united in its support for the Our Home is Russia bloc of former Gazprom leader and current Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.

Some of Russia's wealthiest and most influential businessman gathered outside the former KGB headquarters on Lubyanka Square on 16 August to protest the murders that have claimed the lives of dozens of business people, Russian and Western agencies reported. The demonstration was prompted by the death on 4 August of Ivan Kivelidi, the head of Rosbiznesbank and the Russian Business Round Table. Kivelidi and his secretary, who died the day before her boss, were apparently the victims of poisoning. A representative of the Round Table read out a statement calling for a government crackdown on organized crime, then the businessmen lit candles and observed a moment of silence in memory of their murdered colleagues. About 500 people were the victims of contract killings last year. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

Coal miners from the Rostovugol association removed their pickets from the Shakhty city administration building and called off their hunger strike after agreement was reached in Moscow by union, coal industry, and government representatives on the payment of back wages, Russian TV reported on 16 August. According to ITAR-TASS, the Rostov Oblast administration head has also agreed to allocate 4 billion rubles ($910,000) from the regional budget to help Rostovugol pay the wage arrears. However, disputes may soon erupt again. ITAR-TASS said miners from many of the association's pits are unhappy that under the agreement reached in Moscow, July wages will not be paid until September. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.

Russia has "colossal potential for a powerful technological breakthrough in the field of conversion" of military technologies that can be used in the commercial sphere as well, according to President Boris Yeltsin who was addressing a meeting of the Council for Scientific and Technological Policy on 15 August, ITAR-TASS reported. He added that the government's objective is "to qualitatively change the make-up of the military-industrial complex and to switch to a more effective use of the defense sector's unique production, research, and development potential" in order to convert to the mass production of high-quality, competitive civilian goods. The president announced that a new presidential program on dual-purpose technologies had been drafted and that he intended to raise the funding for research and development in the 1996 federal budget from 3 trillion to 9.5 trillion rubles. -- Doug Clarke, OMRI, Inc.

The EBRD announced on 16 August the establishment of a $30 million equity fund to finance new projects for modernizing Russian industry in the Northwest region of Russia, AFP reported the same day. The deal was signed in London on 14 August by representatives of the EBRD and Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The three countries have provided $20 million in a technical assistance fund. This is the seventh fund to be launched by the EBRD in Russia as part of a countrywide post-privatization initiative. The fund will concentrate on the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk oblasts and the Republic of Karelia. The other EBRD regional venture funds for Russia cover Smolensk, the Urals, St. Petersburg, the Far East and Eastern Siberia, the Lower Volga, and the regions of Southern Russia. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

The Russian grain harvest could plummet this year to 45-50 million metric tons because of drought and equipment shortages, according to Agriculture Ministry experts quoted on 16 August by ITAR-TASS. That compares with a harvest of 81.3 million tons last year and with previous forecasts for this year of 80 million tons (see OMRI Daily Digest, 9 August 1995). According to a 16 August report provided by the Bloomberg Business News Service, Russia is not likely to turn to U.S. suppliers to meet its grain shortfall. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) curtailed credit lines to Russia in December 1992 when it defaulted on payments due for past grain purchases; Russian grain buyers have not made any requests for grain credits since then. The report said that a top USDA official expressed skepticism over the size of Russia's predicted drop in production. On 11 August, the USDA estimated that Russia will harvest 70.1 million tons of wheat, corn, and other coarse grains. At the same time, the USDA raised its forecast for Russian wheat imports from 1 million tons to 4 million tons. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.

Russia's export-import balance equaled $16.1 billion during the first half of 1995, which is a 28% increase compared with the corresponding figure for last year, Finansovye izvestiya reported on 17 August. During the first half of 1995, Russia exported goods worth a total of $41.8 billion (a 23.3% increase compared to the corresponding figure for last year), including goods worth $8.1 billion (up 9%) to the former Soviet republics and goods worth $33.1 billion (up 28%) to other countries of the world. Imports totaled $25.4 billion (up 20.5%), including $6.3 billion (up 14.6%) from the former Soviet republics and $19.1 billion (up 22.6%) from other countries of the world. -- Thomas Sigel, OMRI, Inc.


Vol. 1, No. 160, 17 August 1995
A decree signed by Uzbek President Islam Karimov on 15 August provides for the establishment of six joint-stock companies that will replace their state-owned predecessors in buying and selling commodities and providing transport for import-export operations, Interfax reported the same day. Nevertheless, the Foreign Economic Relations Ministry will maintain a controlling interest of 51% in them and will manage the enterprises on behalf of the state. The workers will get a 25% share and the remaining 24% will be put up for sale on the stock market. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

The South Korean Ambassador in Tashkent told Interfax on 15 August that his country's investments in Uzbekistan have doubled in the last year. It appears that the $450 million invested so far has mainly gone into the Daewoo Corporation's automobile-building factory in Andizhan. The ambassador pointed out that South Korea is particularly interested in the production of industrial equipment and home appliances, the textile industry, and communications in Uzbekistan. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

The Kazakh government has adopted a series of measures to aid the ailing coal mines in Karaganda, RIA reported on 15 August. These measures include closing down five loss-making mines in the region, exempting the others from paying most taxes until the end of 1996, and allowing foreign companies to temporarily manage some of the mines. The agency added that the Kazakh government had earlier lifted restrictions on the sale prices of coal as well on its export. On 18 July, about 500-600 miners in Karaganda organized a rally calling for more state support for the coal industry and demanding that their wages be paid, Interfax reported the same day. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.

A military registration and enlistment office will be established in the 90th component of the Russian Federation, the city of Leninsk in Kazakhstan, according to a directive issued by the Russian Armed Forces General Headquarters, Krasnaya zvezda reported on 16 August. The office will be subordinated to the Volga military district and will be responsible for managing the local draft and providing social welfare services to Russian military pensioners. Leninsk residents mainly work at the Baikonour cosmodrome; in mid-June, Kazakhstan agreed to lease the city and adjoining lands for 20 years to Russia. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

On the second leg of her Central Asian tour, Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller visited Kyrgyzstan to sign accords on the protection of the environment, the establishment of a joint bank (Vakif and Kyrgyz Banks), and the establishment of an economic cooperation council, Yeni Yuzyil reported on 17 August. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

A package of Russian-Kyrgyz and Russian-Tajik agreements and treaties on defense cooperation have been ratified by the Russian Duma and affirmed by President Yeltsin, Rossiiskie vesti reported on 16 August. Agreements with Kyrgyzstan determine procedures and mechanisms for the use of Russian military installations in the republic, the status of the Russian military contingent there, and conditions for renting facilities used by the Russian Seismological Service, which is attached to the Defense Ministry. The agreements with Tajikistan include one determining the terms for Russian military advisers and another specifying terms for the maintenance and use of the "Nurek" space monitoring system. -- Lowell Bezanis, OMRI, Inc.

The Tajik opposition gave a mild endorsement of the new interior minister, Saidamir Zukhurov, in a 15 August Voice of Free Tajikistan broadcast monitored by the BBC. The broadcast blasted departing interior minister Yakub Salimov saying he had been carrying out an independent policy in his ministry and had been a stumbling block to the peace process. Zukhurov has been in favor of holding talks with the opposition even "at times when [President Imomali] Rakhmonov and Salimov were speaking about the opposition with disgust." The broadcast said Zukhurov is more qualified for the job "because Zukhurov, unlike Salimov, did not come to the position from the streets of crime but is a professional." -- Bruce Pannier, OMRI, Inc.


Vol. 1, No. 160, 17 August 1995
During a visit to the Black Sea peninsula, Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Durdynets told Crimean officials that Ukraine will allocate 2 trillion karbovantsi (over $10 million) toward the repatriation of Crimean Tatars, Interfax-Ukraine reported on 15 August. Over 250,000 Tatars have returned to the region from other parts of the former Soviet Union 50 years after they were deported by Stalin for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. Durdynets said Kiev would also help local authorities combat growing crime, especially organized crime, which has been a central complaint of the returning Tatars. Recent violent clashes between Crimean Tatar merchants and alleged Russian-speaking criminal gangs, which caused the deaths of two Tatars, apparently prompted Kiev's decision. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

The hierarchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate has appealed to Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev not to submit his candidacy for the vacant Patriarch's see "for the sake of harmony and unification of Orthodoxy in Ukraine", Interfax Ukraine and Ukrainian TV reported on 16 August. A sobor (assembly of senior clergy), held in Rohatyn in western Ukraine, proposed continuing talks with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which broke away in 1992 over Filaret's leading position in the church. Widely viewed as the likely successor to the recently deceased Patriarch Volodymyr, Filaret has attracted opposition for alleged collaboration with the KGB during the Soviet era. The sobor also offered to begin a dialogue with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which has the largest number of followers in the country, as a step toward unification of the three orthodox churches. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.

By crossing out Igor Satikov for having presented an invalid language test certificate, the Latvian Central Electoral Committee raised to 10 the number of persons it removed from the list of candidates to the fall Saeima elections, BNS reported on 16 August. The same day, the committee's decision to remove Larisa Lavina from the candidates' list was upheld by the Riga District Court. The Latvian Center for the Consequences of Totalitarianism informed the committee that it had found the names of 12 candidates from eight parties in lists of KGB informers. The election law allows KGB collaborators to be candidates, but not if they were staff members. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

Belarusian Television reported on 15 August that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has ordered the Education Ministry to stop using text books printed between 1992-95 in the coming school year, and begin using Soviet-era text books instead. Lukashenka made the decision based on the findings of a special commission which spent two months studying text books published from 1992. The commission declared that the books tended to be written with political overtones which were inappropriate to educating youth. The ministry has one year to write new text books which would be considered acceptable. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

Moskovsky Komsomolets reported on 16 August that the transit tax introduced in Belarus a few months ago has failed to raise any revenues and will probably be repealed. The tax was imposed on foreign vehicles passing through Belarus and was expected to bring in revenues of $500 million. Instead, drivers changed their routes to bypass the republic; the number of drivers crossing Belarus this summer was two times less than last summer. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) leader Aleksander Kwasniewski consistently heads opinion polls for the first round of this fall's Polish presidential elections, the second round will be decisive if no candidate gets a majority in the first round. According to a Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS) poll conducted 3-8 August and published by Gazeta Wyborcza on 17 August, Polish National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz would win in the second round, irrespective of who would be her opponent. She would win 38% to 36% over Kwasniewski and 37% to 34% over former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron. Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Kwasniewski and Kuron would each defeat Ombudsman Tadeusz Zielinski by 5-7%, and all four would win over the current president, Lech Walesa. In other developments, Kwasniewski's campaign chief Danuta Waniek said on 16 August that 200,000 signatures supporting Kwasniewski's candidacy--twice the necessary number--have been collected, Polish media reported on 17 August. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

Polish President Lech Walesa on 16 August vetoed the defense bill of 12 July, which was adopted initially by the Sejm on 29 June (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 June 1995). The bill makes the chief of staff responsible to the civilian defense minister and not to the president. Walesa wrote that the bill limits the president's constitutional prerogatives in defense matters, Polish media reported on 17 August. A two-thirds Sejm majority is needed to overrule the president's veto. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.

The Czech government on 17 August allocated more than one 900 million koruny from the state budget to increase wages for school, rail and health workers, Czech media report. All three categories of workers had threatened to strike or take other industrial action if their demands for higher wages were not met. The government originally awarded public sector employees a 10% rise but in June averted a rail strike at the last minute by agreeing to raise railworkers' pay further. They will receive 108 million koruny, while teachers and other schoolworkers were awarded 735 million koruny and health workers 50 million koruny. A spokesman for the schoolworkers' union said it would recommend calling off a one-day strike planned for the first day of the coming school year. The extra wages will be financed from the state budget surplus, which stood at 10.1 billion koruny at the end of July, Hospodarske noviny reports. -- Steve Kettle, OMRI, Inc.

Vladimir Meciar on 16 August walked out of a meeting called by Michal Kovac to brief the premier on a recent trip to the U.S., Reuters and TASR reported. Kovac returned from his 12-day visit on 14 August and canceled a press conference initially scheduled for the next day, saying he first wanted to consult with Meciar and parliament chairman Ivan Gasparovic. Kovac caused a commotion while he was away by telling Slovak Radio that U.S. officials believe Slovakia is falling behind its neighbors in reforms and the development of democracy. After reading a seven-page written report on Kovac's trip, Meciar and Gasparovic left the meeting without comment. According to presidential spokesman Vladimir Stefko, the meeting lasted only 14 minutes. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

The U.S. has replied to a note sent by the Slovak Foreign Ministry asking whether the U.S. has changed its attitude towards the Slovak government, Sme reported on 17 August. The ministry sent the note on 9 August, following Kovac's statements on Slovak Radio (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 August 1995). The content of the U.S. response, which was delivered by the U.S. embassy in Bratislava on 15 August, is unknown. Details of "a friendly working meeting" between U.S. Ambassador Theodore Russell and Gasparovic on 16 August were also concealed. According to Stefko, even Kovac has not been informed about the U.S. response to the note. In an interview published in Pravda on 17 August, the president called the Foreign Ministry's note a "faux pas." -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

A border guard spokesman told journalists on 16 August that Hungary has reinforced its frontier with East Slavonia, the region of Croatia still held by rebel Serbs, Reuters reports. The spokesman revealed that two companies of border guards, equipped with some 30 armed personnel carriers, have been moved to a 66-km border section between the Danube and Drava rivers. The government stressed that the move was of technical character and that the Hungarian armed forces were not being mobilized. Also on the 16th, a Hungarian foreign ministry official expressed concern that Serb refugees from Croatia are being settled in Serbia's largely Hungarian Vojvodina province. -- Jiri Pehe, OMRI, Inc.


Vol. 1, No. 160, 17 August 1995
Bosnian Croat forces (HVO) "stand before Drvar," Vecernji list wrote on 17 August. The apparent aim of the drive is to link up with the Bosnian government's Fifth Corps in Bihac and join up with HVO and government pincer movements from the north and south, all of which are moving in the general direction of Banja Luka. The International Herald Tribune said that military-aged men in Banja Luka are wearing uniforms in hopes of not being pressganged into the army, and that "fear and mistrust grip every quarter of the city." As to Dvar, some Croatian reports that the town has fallen have not been confirmed. AFP quoted Bosnian Serb sources to the effect that "the Serb defense lines are holding," but also that the 4,000 civilians there are being evacuated. News agencies cited Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as saying that "the town must be defended at any cost." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

Regular Croatian troops (HV) are massing around Dubrovnik for what appears to be a thrust into eastern Herzegovina and the Serb stronghold of Trebinje. The immediate purpose is to remove the threat to the medieval city and its environs posed by Serbian artillery in the surrounding heights. Over the weekend the Serbs gave the area its worst bombardment since 1991, although Dubrovnik itself apparently was not hit, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote on 17 August. Forest and brush fires are burning as a result of the shelling. UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi said that "there seem to be movements of Croatian troops in that direction so we may expect some intensification of fighting in the Dubrovnik area." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

Jacques Milano, the head of the Dutch branch of Medecins sans Frontieres, blasted the Serb treatment of Croats and Muslims being deported from Banja Luka to Croatia. "The transport of cattle is done better than this," Reuters quoted him as saying on 16 August. "We urgently appeal to the local authorities that if they are to indulge in `ethnic cleansing', which we strongly disagree with, at least they do it with a little dignity." Elsewhere, the International Herald Tribune said on 17 August that the UN is concerned about the fate of around 20,000 Muslim refugees loyal to Bihac-area kingpin Fikret Abdic. They have been trapped in Croatia for about a week and the UN does not have access to them. The UN fears that they will be sent back to Bihac, which is under Bosnian government control, against their will. Nasa Borba wrote that similar concern surrounds the fate of a column of 10,000 Krajina Serb refugees whose situation remains unknown. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

International media on 17 August reported much confusion over the secret peace plan being promoted by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke in the former Yugoslavia. Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey denied earlier accounts that the Muslims would have to give up Gorazde under the plan, but Bosnia's ambassador to Britain nonetheless called the project "legalizing Serbian crimes." The VOA said that President Bill Clinton wants a major diplomatic breakthrough lest the conflict spread elsewhere in the Balkans, although it is not clear just where he thinks that would be and how such a conflict would arise. Many remain suspicious of the diplomatic initiatives, and Vecernji list ran the headline: "the spirit of Yalta [hangs] over Bosnia." Meanwhile on the ground, the Rapid Reaction Force on Mt. Igman does not inspire much confidence in the UN's own Belgian and Dutch military drivers, who refuse to use the road under the present circumstances, AFP reported. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

Nasa Borba on 16 August reported on an open letter by Mayor Jozsef Kassa to Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic to protest forced changes in the local demographic structure since 1990. He noted that 2,000 new settlers had arrived before 1995 and a further 10,000 have come this year. Some 10,000 Hungarians and Croats have left in the meantime and the entire ethnic map of northern Backa is being changed. Another article in the same paper said that the new refugees are "occupying the empty homes of Hungarians." Meanwhile in Montenegro, the head of the People's Party, Novak Kilibarda, said that the Krajina refugees should be sent to Kosovo or to Vojvodina. The latter area has a Serbian majority but before the Serbian authorities launched ethnic cleansing it had strong minorities of Hungarians, Croats, Slovaks, and other Central Europeans as a result of Habsburg colonizing policies when the area was part of the Kingdom of Hungary. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.

BETA reported on 16 August on Belgrade-watchers' interpretations of Vladislav Jovanovic's sudden removal as foreign minister the previous day. According to one line of thought, Jovanovic had to be removed because of his "hardline" position on Krajina. While Jovanovic is a staunch ally of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, the argument goes, his political leanings may entice other malcontents within Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia to manipulate Jovanovic into becoming the foil for their opposition to Milosevic's handling of developments in Krajina. According to another interpretation, Jovanovic's removal is mere coincidence, and facilitated by circumstances. Jovanovic's replacement, Milan Milutinovic, was allegedly considered for the job at least two years ago, but could not be moved into the post, largely because of opposition by then federal President Dobrica Cosic. BETA also comments that Milosevic and Milutinovic are long-time friends. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

Montena-fax reported on 16 August that the number of Krajina refugees in the republic has climbed to at least 700. The agency also reports that ultranationalist, pro-Serbia politicians and groups in the republic continue their public condemnations of rump Yugoslavia's federal and republican governments for their refusal to defend alleged Serbian national interests in Krajina. On 16 August the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) in Montenegro reiterated its now familiar charge that Krajina would still be under Serbian control were it not for "the cowardly behavior of the regimes in Belgrade and Podgorica." -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

About 2,000 refugees from Krajina have so far arrived in Kosovo and another 1,300 are expected on 17 August, including the majority of the 800 who refused for two days to go to the region (see OMRI Daily Digest 16 August 1995). Serbian officials estimate that about 5,000 hectares are needed to accommodate altogether 10,000 refugees in Kosovo. In one case, a Serbian refugee family reportedly occupied an Albanian house, but no other incidents have been reported. Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova repeated charges that Serbia plans to colonize Kosovo with refugees against their will. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

Romania has limited Yugoslav state airlines (JAT) flights following accusations Belgrade was using the trips to break UN sanctions against it, Reuters reported on 16 August. According to a Timisoara airport official, Romania's Transport Ministry has decided that JAT will operate only one flight a day from Belgrade to Bucharest, instead of two. The move followed an official inquiry into media reports that Romania was allowing Yugoslav passenger jets to overtank copiously during stopovers at Timisoara airport. The rump Yugoslav federation is under a fuel embargo as part of a UN economic sanctions package. Also on 16 August, a spokesman for the Romanian Foreign Ministry said that his country would "actively support any realistic proposal or action aimed at reactivating the peace process" in the region. -- Dan Ionescu, OMRI, Inc.

Ilcho Dimitrov, director of the National Employment Service and deputy social minister, on 16 August said that unemployment increased in July for the first time in 1995, Bulgarian media reported the same day. Some 415,438 people were registered with the service, markedly less than the 499,176 registered at the beginning of the year. The reports do not give figures for June. Dimitrov attributed the rise to the fact that many young people finished their education recently, and have not yet found a job. The number of people under 30 who are entitled to social benefits was given as 22,112. In other news, the National Statistical Institute announced that industrial production in July was 9% higher than the same month last year. For the first seven months of 1995, the growth rate was 2% compared to 1994. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

President Sali Berisha has appointed Suzana Panariti as the new minister for industry, transport and trade. Panariti replaces Albert Brojka, who was elected as the head of the Tirana branch of the Democratic Party on 9 August. Panariti previously worked as Brojka's deputy and is not a member of any political party. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Steve Kettle