OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 179, 14 September 1995
COMMUNISTS SEEK YELTSIN'S IMPEACHMENT OVER BALKAN CRISIS.
faction in the State Duma has revived an earlier attempt to impeach President
Boris Yeltsin because of Russia's position on the former Yugoslavia. In July,
the party had collected 175 signatures to begin the complicated impeachment
process, but the motion was abandoned when Yeltsin entered the hospital with
heart trouble. Since then, only one deputy has withdrawn his signature, Ekho
Moskvy reported on 13 September. According to Deputy Duma Speaker Gennadii
Seleznev, Yeltsin's decision to brush off the Duma's resolutions adopted at the
9 September special session that called for a halt to NATO bombing of Serbian
positions provoked the action, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Robert Orttung, OMRI,
REGIONAL AUTHORITIES VIOLATE RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION.
adopted its regional charter 12 September, giving "practically unlimited power"
to the speaker of the local Legislative Assembly, Amangeldii Tuleev, number
three on the Communist Party's electoral list, Segodnya reported on 13
September. The charter gives the assembly the right to appoint the oblast's
governor and grants the assembly chairman the power to sign any normative act
without the agreement of the administration. According to critics in the
Kemerovo Justice Administration, "the charter has nothing in common with the
Russian Constitution" since it violates the division of power. Bashkortostan
has also violated the Russian Constitution by naming its own procurator,
although with the tacit approval of Moscow. According to the constitution, the
Russian procurator general should name the local procurators with the approval
of local authorities, Kommersant-Daily reported on 13 September. --
Robert Orttung, OMRI, Inc.
U.S. EMBASSY IN MOSCOW HIT BY GRENADE.
A rocket-propelled grenade
blasted through a wall of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on 13 September, causing
minor damage but no injuries, Russian and Western agencies reported. No one
claimed responsibility for the attack. The U.S. State Department dismissed
speculation that it was linked to differences between the U.S. and Russia over
NATO air attacks on Bosnian Serb positions around Sarajevo, insisting that it
was an isolated incident committed by someone who "was either sick or a
zealot." The U.S. also praised Russian law-enforcement agencies for their
"excellent cooperation" in helping to secure the safety of U.S. diplomats, AFP
reported. There have been numerous bomb attacks in Russia in recent years,
mostly using explosives pilfered from military bases. Last year more than
300,000 grenades were stolen from army warehouses or dumps. -- Penny Morvant,
RUSSIAN TV ATTACKS NATIONALISTS IN WAKE OF U.S. EMBASSY BOMBING.
Following the 13 September attack on the U.S. embassy, a commentary aired
on fully state-owned Russian Television (Channel 2) accused nationalist forces
of trying to stir up "a psychosis of hostility towards the outside world" in
order to distract voters from domestic problems and ultimately turn Russia into
a "beseiged fortress" and a "giant prison camp behind barbed wire." The more
pro-government, 51% state-owned Russian Public Television (Channel 1, ORT) put
a different spin on the attack. ORT reports emphasized that law enforcement
authorities were taking swift action to crack the case, invoking a "level
number 1" alert for the first time since the violent street clashes around the
parliament in October 1993. The independent NTV speculated that the attack was
connected to continuing NATO air raids against the Bosnian Serbs. -- Laura
Belin, OMRI, Inc.
POLITICAL PARTIES GUARANTEED EQUAL FREE TIME IN STATE-OWNED MEDIA.
Aleksandr Ivanchenko, deputy chairman of the Central Electoral Commission,
confirmed that the commission will require state-owned electronic media to give
30 minutes of free air time to all registered politicial parties and electoral
blocs between 15 November and 15 December, Russian Public Television and
ITAR-TASS reported on 13 September. Parties will be allowed to buy additional
time for political advertising. The final version of the rules on campaign
coverage, which will not apply to the privately owned media, will be released
next week, Ivanchenko said. In a separate directive published in Rossiiskaya
gazeta on 13 September, the commission announced that journalists who are
themselves running for parliament or are authorized representatives of a
political party or electoral bloc will be prohibited from covering the campaign
in the mass media. -- Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
NEW SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC BLOC FORMED.
Russian Movement for Democratic
Reforms (RDDR) leader Gavriil Popov, Russian Social-Democratic Union (RSDS)
co-chairman Vasilii Lipitskii, and the academician Oleg Bogomolov will top the
party list of the new electoral bloc known as the Social-Democrats, Radio
Rossii reported on 13 September. Popov, the mayor of Moscow from June 1991
until June 1992, led the RDDR's independent campaign for parliament in 1993,
but his party failed to win the minimum 5% vote necessary to secure
representation in parliament. Lipitskii's RSDS had previously been allied with
Aleksandr Rutskoi within the Russian Social-Democratic People's Party (RSDNP),
but the RSDNP split earlier this year after Lipitskii refused to join Rutskoi's
Derzhava movement (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 March and 4 April 1995). --
Laura Belin, OMRI, Inc.
KOZYREV SAYS RUSSIA DOES NOT WANT NEW MILITARY BLOC.
journalists on 13 September after a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart,
Uladzimir Syanko, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said Russia does not
plan to form a military-political bloc of CIS states to counter NATO, Western
and Russian agencies reported. Kozyrev said that President Yeltsin's recent
comments on the implications of NATO expansion should be interpreted as a
"warning of what could happen if other forces decided to create lines of
demarcation," not as an expression of Russian policy preferences. -- Scott
Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER IN MOSCOW.
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
arrived in Moscow on 13 September for scheduled talks on bilateral issues and
the Middle East peace process with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Foreign
Minister Andrei Kozyrev, and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Western and
Russian agencies reported. Rabin also told reporters before his departure from
Kiev for Moscow that he would raise the issue of Russia's planned sale of
nuclear power reactors to Iran, which Israel views as a threat to its security
despite Russian assurances to the contrary. However, also on 13 September, a
spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Nuclear Power told ITAR-TASS that
construction on the first of three planned reactors at the Bushehr power
station in southern Iran would begin in one month and rejected Israeli concerns
as "completely unfounded." -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
RUSSIA CRITICIZES UN AND NATO OVER SECRET MEMO.
criticized the UN and NATO on 13 September over a secret memo on the use of
NATO air power in Bosnia, which was not approved by all members of the UN
Security Council before the air strikes began, Western and Russian agencies
reported. After strident protests from Russia, the UN Secretariat released the
text of the memo that Russian Ambassador to the UN Sergei Lavrov said "confirms
a lot of our bad feelings." Earlier, Russian officials claimed that under the
terms of the memo, the UN had abdicated its authority over the use of air power
to protect the "safe zones" in Bosnia, without consulting Russia, despite its
permanent membership on the Security Council. Duma International Affairs
Committee Chairman Vladimir Lukin told ITAR-TASS such an agreement between the
UN Secretariat and NATO was "unprecedented" and had effectively divided the
Security Council into "first and second class members." Despite recent verbal
salvos from Moscow, First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in Geneva
that Russia would continue to cooperate with the other members of the
international Contact Group. -- Scott Parrish, OMRI, Inc.
GOSATOMNADZOR CEASES MILITARY INSPECTIONS.
The State Committee for
Nuclear Safety (Gosatomnadzor) on 13 September halted inspections of military
nuclear facilities, in line with a presidential decree signed in July giving
these functions to the Defense Ministry. Gosatomnadzor Chairman Yurii
Vishnevskii was very critical of the decision, taken while Yeltsin was in
hospital with heart trouble. According to Western agency reports, he accused
the powerful military nuclear lobby of scheming to take advantage of the
president's illness and said the committee is very concerned about aging
nuclear submarines and the storage of spent nuclear fuel at military sites.
Gosatomnadzor was given responsibility for nuclear safety in the military in
1991, but in practice its inspectors were often turned away (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 16 August). Also on 13 September, Gosatomnadzor officials said two
cases of theft of radioactive material (low-enriched uranium) have been
registered this year. -- Penny Morvant, OMRI, Inc.
HARD TIMES AHEAD FOR MOSCOW RESIDENTS?
Moscow flour mills are now paying
world prices for grain and the price of bread is expected to increase by 40-50%
by the end of the year, Moskovskii komsomolets reported on 13 September.
Consumer prices in Moscow rose 7.3% in July, contributing to a 7% fall in the
average real income of Moscow residents compared to the same period last year,
according to Vechernyaya Moskva on 13 September. Sixty-two percent of
the capital's inhabitants are now reported to be living on incomes below the
official poverty line. -- Peter Rutland, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 179, 14 September 1995
NAZARBAEV CONCLUDES CHINA VISIT . . .
Responding to Kazakhstani
President Nursultan Nazarbaev's call for greater bilateral cooperation, Chinese
President Jiang Zemin said the prospects for it are "vast," Xinhua reported on
13 September. At the conclusion of Nazarbaev's three-day visit, both countries
concluded agreements on reducing border military forces and establishing links
between their respective defense ministries. They issued statements condemning
separatist activities; Japan's Kyodo news agency said on 13 September that
Kazakhstan promised not to assist any of the moves for independence in China's
Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous region, which borders Kazakhstan. The two sides
signed a series of agreements on bilateral economic cooperation on 11
September. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.
. . . DIFFERENCES OVER NUCLEAR ISSUE . . .
As expected, the nuclear
issue played a critical role in bilateral talks. Nazarbaev said he had
"discussed" the nuclear issue with Chinese President Jiang Zemin on 11
September, Kyodo reported the next day. China conducted two of its proposed
five underground nuclear tests on 15 May and 17 August at the Lop Nur test site
in Xinjiang. The Kazakhstani Foreign Ministry issued statements expressing
serious concern, RIA reported on 18 August. At his news conference in Beijing,
Nazarbaev recalled the damage to the health of half a million people in
Semipalatinsk, the Soviet-era nuclear test site in Kazakhstan. However, the
joint call for an end to nuclear testing issued on 12 September contained no
specific provisions, Kyodo reported. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.
. . . CALLS FOR KAZAKH-RUSSO-CHINESE COOPERATION.
The expansion of
transport links between Kazakhstan and China will contribute to the revival of
the "Great Silk Road" and increase the prospects for commercial and economic
cooperation between the two countries as well as with Russia and the
Asia-Pacific region, President Nazarbaev told ITAR-TASS on 13 September.
Touching on President Boris Yeltsin's upcoming visit to China, Nazarbaev called
for more tripartite cooperation, noting that important rail and road links
between China and Russia run through Kazakhstani territory and are most
suitable for carrying cargoes between the Urals and the western Siberian
regions of Russia, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Bhavna Dave, OMRI, Inc.
JAPANESE BUSINESS DELEGATION IN TASHKENT.
A group of more than 90
Japanese businessmen representing 16 different companies have been meeting with
Uzbek officials, Uzbekistan Television reported on 12 September. To date, the
Japanese have invested more than $300 million into the Uzbek economy. -- Roger
Kangas, OMRI, Inc.
BLACK SEA FLEET DIVISION PROCEEDING.
Although final agreements on the
division of the Black Sea Fleet have not been reached, the fleet is, in fact,
being split between Ukraine and Russia, Russian Public Television reported on
12 September. By 15 October, Ukraine is to receive one of the most modern bases
of the fleet, the aerodrome complex at Donuzlav. The base is reportedly the
only one which can house hoover crafts. All of the equipment on the base will
be divided evenly between Russia and Ukraine; the flying regiment will be
reorganized and moved to another base; and a helicopter regiment will be
dissolved. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 179, 14 September 1995
BELARUSIAN AIR DEFENSE FORCES SHOOT DOWN U.S. BALLOONISTS.
agencies on 13 September reported that the U.S. has denounced the downing of a
balloon by Belarusian air defense forces, which resulted in the deaths of two
Americans. The balloon, which crossed into Belarus from Poland, was taking part
in the Gordon Bennett International Race. Organizers said there were no
boundaries as to where the balloons could fly and that they had permission to
enter Belarusian air space. Belarusian officials claimed they tried to make
contact with the balloonists visually and by radio before shooting it down. US
Ambassador to Belarus Kenneth Yalowitz has been in touch with the Belarusian
Foreign Ministry over the incident, and Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka has sent a letter of regret to President Bill Clinton. Another
balloon was forced to land in Belarus, but the two pilots are reportedly safe.
-- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
IMF APPROVES CREDIT TO BELARUS.
RFE/RL on 13 September reported that the
IMF has approved a stand-by credit worth $293 million to Belarus. The 12-month
credit is to help the country implement economic reforms. Belarusian Prime
Minister Mikhail Chyhir told Radio Rossii the previous day that Belarus has met
most of the IMF's requirements for the credit: the budget deficit was only
3.2%, inflation stood at around 3%, and the average wage reached $72. -- Ustina
Markus, OMRI, Inc.
TUG-OF-WAR OVER UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR-GENERAL CONTINUES.
legislature has voted to sack Prosecutor-General Vyacheslav Datsiuk for the
third time in four months, Reuters reported on 13 September. Lawmakers said
Datsiuk was too preoccupied with political scandals, including investigations
into alleged criminal activities by the assembly's deputy speaker Oleksander
Tkachenko, instead of fighting organized crime. Deputies received a letter last
week from former acting Prime Minister Yukhim Zvyahilskyi, who has been under
investigation and who accused Datsiuk of leading a politically motivated
conspiracy against him. Zvyahilskyi fled to Israel last year amid charges he
resold aviation fuel purchased by the government and pocketed $25 million.
Datsiuk told a news conference that President Leonid Kuchma had expressed
confidence in him and that he vowed to remain in office. Kuchma has issued two
decrees overturning the parliament's previous decisions to dismiss Datsiuk. --
Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI, Inc.
KUCHMA SAYS UKRAINE WILL REMAIN NEUTRAL.
Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma said on 12 September that Ukraine will not participate in any military
blocs, including any CIS security or NATO alliances, NTV reported. He also
stated that Ukraine has not strayed from a single "letter" of any agreements on
the Black Sea Fleet and that the problem is Russia's delay in accepting Ukraine
as an equal partner. Russian Public Television reported Kuchma as saying that
NATO views Ukraine as an equal partner. This is illustrated by the separate
agreement on cooperation it will sign with Ukraine in Brussels over the next
two days. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
PROBLEMS WITH ESTONIAN DEFENSE BUDGET.
BNS on 13 September reported that
Estonia may not be able to fulfill its obligations under international
agreements if defense spending is not substantially increased. Estonia is
obliged to pay some $50 million for arms purchases from Israel, pay for the
Estonian unit in the proposed joint Baltic UN peacekeeping battalion and
Estonian participation in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, and set up a
training center for peacekeepers in Paldiski. This year's defense budget was
only 4.7% of the total state budget. Deputy Chancellor of the Defense Ministry
Elvo Priks said the defense budget should be closer to 8-12% of the total
budget. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.
POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL ON SEJM PREROGATIVES.
Constitutional Tribunal on 13 September clarified when the Sejm is entitled to
overrule the tribunal's verdicts. It stated that if the president has not yet
signed a bill that the Constitutional Tribunal considers to be
unconstitutional, the Sejm cannot overrule the tribunal's verdict. This Sejm's
right to overrule bills applies to only those already signed into law by the
president. The tribunal's ruling may have practical consequences for the bill
on privatization and commercialization, which has been contested by the
president and sent unsigned to the Constitutional Tribunal, Polish media
reported on 14 September. -- Jakub Karpinski, OMRI, Inc.
CZECH PARTY CLEARED IN CORRUPTION SCANDAL.
Police investigators on 13
September halted criminal proceedings against three people charged with fraud
in connection with a 52 million koruny ($2 million) debt owed by one of the
members of the Czech governing coalition, the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA),
since before the 1992 elections. Among the accused was the head of the ODA
Secretariat, Josef Reichman, who resigned his post in August. After a 10-month
investigation, police decided no laws had been broken, Czech media reported.
The affair caused the ODA's popular support to drop dramatically earlier this
year and generated frictions within the coalition. ODA chairman and Deputy
Prime Minister Jan Kalvoda said the dropping of charges against Reichman should
clear the name of the party. Meanwhile, the trial of the former head of the
Czech Republic's Center for Coupon Privatization, Jaroslav Lizner, was
adjourned on 13 September for two weeks to ensure that further witnesses can
give evidence (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13 September 1995). -- Steve
Kettle, OMRI, Inc.
SLOVAK OPPOSITION DEPUTY BEATEN UP.
Frantisek Miklosko, an outspoken
deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), told reporters on
13 September that he was beaten up by three unknown men outside his home in
Bratislava the previous evening. Miklosko described the attackers as "trained
professionals." He alleged that the attack was connected with a recent speech
he made in the parliament calling for a thorough investigation into the
abduction of President Michal Kovac's son. KDH officials blamed the government
for the current state of affairs, saying the cabinet "determines the rate of
violation of the law." Roman Kovac of the opposition Democratic Union agreed
that the attackers could have had political motives, and he stressed that the
Interior Minister should take action, Pravda reported. -- Sharon Fisher,
HUNGARY'S SMALLHOLDERS GAIN IN OPINION POLLS.
Opinion polls indicate
that while the popularity of the governing Socialists has dropped from 28% to
23% over the summer, that of the Smallholders' Party is increasing, Hungarian
media recently reported. Experts say the growing number of supporters of Jozsef
Torgyan's party, which has often been accused of populism, is owing to
frustration among Hungarians toward the ruling parties and not to the
achievements of the Smallholders. The party has often criticized the ruling
coalition but lacks a comprehensive political and economic strategy to solve
Hungary's current problems. The next general elections are in 1998. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi, OMRI, Inc.
HUNGARY: WORLD IS IGNORING SERBIA'S HUNGARIANS.
Hungary on 13 September
warned that the world is ignoring the plight of ethnic Hungarians in Serbia's
northern province of Vojvodina, where a flood of Serbian refugees threatens to
unsettle the delicate ethnic balance, Reuters reported. Csaba Tabajdi, senior
official responsible for national minority issues, said that refugees are not
voluntarily settling in Vojvodina but are directed to this area by Serbian
authorities. He pointed out that Hungarians now only represent some 6% of the
Vojvodina population, compared with 28% at the end of World War II. Budapest
last month protested to Belgrade over the treatment of ethnic Hungarians and
called on the authorities to stop forcible evictions. -- Zsofia Szilagyi, OMRI,
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 179, 14 September 1995
HAS JAJCE FALLEN?
Croatian media on 13 September reported that Croatian
soldiers were in control of Jajce, in central Bosnia, as well as Sipovo and
Drvar. A Bosnian Serb statement called the story "disinformation" and insisted
that Serbian lines were holding. But AFP on 14 September quoted UN envoy
Yasushi Akashi as saying that NATO intelligence suggested the Croats' reports
were true. If that is the case, the road to Banja Luka will be open to Croatian
and Bosnian troops, which are advancing on the Serbian stronghold from several
directions. Jajce has a key hydroelectric station and its fall would have a
significant practical as well as psychological impact on the Serbs. The BBC
said that 40,000 Serbs were now in flight in the area. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI,
CROATS, BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT TROOPS ADVANCE.
A UN military spokesman told
news agencies on 13 September that Bosnian government forces have scored
important gains in the Mt. Ozren area and that claims of successes by the
Bosnian and Croatian forces seem "likely." He denied charges that NATO air
strikes made the changes on the ground possible, pointing out that the raids
have been mainly in eastern Bosnia whereas the land action has been to the
west. Another UN official, however, urged caution on the ground at a time when
diplomatic initiatives are under way and protested that the government's
advance has sent Serb civilians fleeing. Meanwhile in London, the Foreign
Office again singled out Croatia for blame. A spokesman told Reuters: "We would
condemn what Croatia is doing in western Bosnia." The BBC on 14 September added
that the UN Security Council and the U.S. have also called for a halt to the
advance. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
GENERAL SMITH STAYS TOUGH ON SERBS.
The Guardian and some other
media on 13 September suggested that NATO and the UN might allow the Serbs to
keep some of their big guns around Sarajevo. This would be "to reassure their
own population," in keeping with statements made by Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic. Some observers have suggested that Bosnian Serb commander General
Ratko Mladic has been holding out against the air strikes in the hope that
Western politicians will lose heart and opt for just such a compromise.
UNPROFOR commander Lt.-Gen. Rupert Smith, however, thinks otherwise. As his
spokesman told Reuters, he argued that: "Our line remains we're into peace
enforcement here. Peace enforcement is not negotiating. . . . We've seen
that. It has failed over years here. We are saying if you do not do this, no
conditions, you continue to get bombed." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
KARADZIC CLAIMS FEW CIVILIAN CASUALTIES.
Visiting one of the areas under
attack from allied Bosnian and Croatian forces, Karadzic said that "we have had
very few civilian casualties from NATO aircraft and from enemy artillery." This
contradicts a Russian statement that claimed that the Serbs were a victim of
"genocide" because of the air strikes, the Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung pointed out on 14 September. The internationally wanted war
criminal was seeking to bolster sagging Serb morale. The BBC, however, quoted
his "foreign minister" as telling an international audience that the air raids
had produced great damage and heavy civilian casualties, which has generally
been the Serbian line to date. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
HOLBROOKE MEETS WITH MILOSEVIC.
U.S. envoy and Assistant Secretary of
State Richard Holbrooke concluded talks with Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic in the early hours of 14 September, Tanjug reported the same day.
Milosevic and Holbrooke spoke at length about regional peace prospects. Rump
Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic also participated in the meeting.
Meanwhile, AFP on 13 September reported that at least "several hundred"
protesters gathered around the U.S. cultural center in Belgrade the same day to
protest NATO actions in Bosnia and the U.S.'s "involvement in the Bosnian
crisis." The rally was organized by Serbia's opposition Democratic Party. --
Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.
ROMANIAN FOREIGN POLICY.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mircea Geoana, at a
press conference on 13 September, reiterated his country's position on NATO
enlargement, saying that the matter concerns only NATO and the countries that
have asked to become members. Radio Bucharest quoted Geoana as also saying
Romania welcomes the Geneva agreement on the former Yugoslav countries and
considers the agreement "an important step" toward "mutual recognition among
the three states." He said Romania was "satisfied" with the renewal of contacts
between Greece and Macedonia. Finally, Geoana expressed "full support" for
Moldova's rejection of "any parallel" between the conflict in Bosnia and the
Transdniester (as alleged in Igor Smirnov's speech before deputies of the
Russian State Duma). Romania believes the conflict in "eastern Moldova" must be
solved "exclusively through peaceful means." -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
CHOLERA IN ROMANIA, MOLDOVA.
A statement released by the Ministry of
Health and carried by Radio Bucharest on 13 September says the number of cases
of cholera in Romania has reached 70. BASA-press reported the same day that the
number of cholera cases in Moldova has now reached 235. Thirteen cases were
reported in the capital, Chisinau -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
NO BREAKTHROUGH IN CHISINAU-TIRASPOL TALKS.
International agencies on 13
September reported that the summit meeting between the Moldovan and
Transdniestrian leaders ended with no progress reported. A press release by the
Transdniestrian side said the "discussions were tense" and differences
persisted. Infotag said Mircea Snegur and Igor Smirnov failed to achieve any
progress in defining the legal status of the breakaway region but that it was
agreed negotiations would continue. A member of the Moldovan delegation told
Infotag that Tiraspol is "taking its time" to await the results of the Russian
parliamentary elections in December. He said Transdniestrian "stubbornness"
about insisting on the recognition of its independent status prevented solving
"simpler matters" of an economic nature or the question of restoring bridges
over the River Dniester destroyed during the fighting. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI,
TRANSDNIESTRIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES NEW ELECTION LAW.
republic's parliament on 12 September passed a new election law, Infotag
reported the next day. The law provides for a mixed system of party lists and
single-constituency representation. Elections are due on 24 December, but
Infotag cited Igor Smirnov as saying the timing of the elections may yet be
decided in a referendum in which other issues, among them the region's
constitution, will be voted on. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.
BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTION LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
The Constitutional Court
on 13 September ruled that the local election law partly violates the
constitution, Reuters reported the same day. The court overruled a provision
that reporters of state-run media are not allowed to express their personal
opinion about elections to be held in late October. Constitutional Court judge
Ivan Grigorov said reporters "have the right to express opinions in their
reporting of the local elections" and that this right "in turn guarantees every
Bulgarian's right to be kept informed." But the court did not reject two other
provisions--that soldiers can vote only in their home constituency and that
mayoral candidates are not allowed to have dual citizenship. -- Stefan Krause,
GREECE, MACEDONIA SIGN ACCORD.
The foreign ministers of Greece and
Macedonia, Karolos Papoulias and Stevo Crvenkovski, on 13 September signed an
agreement in New York aimed at normalizing relations between their countries.
The signing came after more than two years of mediation by the UN and the U.S.
Under the accord, Greece recognizes Macedonia's sovereignty and will lift its
embargo, while Macedonia will change its flag and amend its constitution to
stress that it has no claims on Greek territory. Each side will set up liaison
offices in the other's capital and will recognize the common existing border.
Greece and Macedonia have 30 days to implement these measures, and the
agreement will remain in effect for seven years or until a definitive accord is
signed. However, the name issue has yet to be settled; negotiations are
scheduled to start later this year. According to AFP, UN mediator Cyrus Vance
said the agreement will have a ""positive effect . . . in the region." UN
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali and U.S. President Bill Clinton also
hailed the accord. The U.S. established full diplomatic relations with
Macedonia only hours after the accord was signed. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI,
U.S. SUPPORTS ALBANIA'S STAND ON KOSOVO.
Albanian President Sali Berisha
on 13 September said the U.S. was watching Serbia's treatment of the ethnic
Albanian majority in Kosovo and that U.S. President Bill Clinton "will insist"
on the restoration of Kosovo's autonomy, Reuters reported the same day. Berisha
asked Clinton to initiate negotiations between the Kosovar leadership and the
Belgrade government under international mediation. Berisha said U.S. support,
such as the U.S. contingent in the UNPREDEP force in Macedonia, would have a
stabilizing effect. Earlier that day, Boston University President John Silber
abruptly canceled plans to award an honorary degree to Berisha after Nicholas
Gage, a best-selling author of Greek ancestry, alleged that Albania fails to
provide proper education to its Greek minority. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
ALBANIAN OPPOSITION WALKS OUT OF PARLIAMENT.
The Albanian opposition
walked out of the parliament on 13 September to protest government attempts to
unseat Supreme Court Chief Judge Zef Brozi. The government, claiming that Brozi
has violated the constitution in some rulings, asked the Constitutional Court
to convene a hearing on Brozi's conduct in office on 14 September. The
government, however, has not specified its charges. If the Constitutional Court
dismisses Brozi, he will be prevented from reviewing Socialist Party leader
Fatos Nano's case on 20 September. Brozi is expected to release Nano, who is
disputed prison term for misappropriation of Italian aid funds.
Nano's release might reduce the ruling Democrats' chances of winning the
upcoming elections in early 1996, international agencies reported. Prime
Minister Aleksander Meksi earlier ignored an opposition request to explain
police actions outside the Supreme Court on 6 September (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 7 September). -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave