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Newsline - September 28, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 189, 28 September 1995
YELTSIN DISCUSSES CABINET POSITION WITH RYBKIN.
During their vacations in Sochi, President Boris Yeltsin discussed with Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin the possibility of appointing him deputy prime minister for foreign policy or foreign minister, according to a source close to Rybkin quoted by Interfax on 27 September. They also discussed the creation of a State Council that would be above the president's administration and led by Rybkin. Rybkin reportedly turned down both offers since he expects to be the speaker in the next Duma or the next prime minister. Spokesmen for both Yeltsin and Rybkin denied the report, according to NTV. -- Robert Orttung

LEADERS CALL FOR UNIFICATION OF SLAVIC PEOPLES.
The governor of Belgorod Oblast, Yevgenii Savchenko, has initiated a drive to bring the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus to Belgorod to "activate the process of unifying the Slavic peoples," ITAR-TASS reported. The same day, Yurii Petrov, one of the leaders of Ivan Rybkin's bloc, proposed that Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan form a new confederation of independent states that could later be joined by countries in the Transcaucasus region and Central Asia. He said the new confederation would not infringe on the political sovereignty of the countries, but that they "would have to sacrifice some rights for the sake of a compromise." Petrov presumably thinks that such an appeal will attract popular support for his party in the upcoming elections.
-- Robert Orttung

RUSSIANS VALUE LAW, STABILITY.
A recent poll asked 1,500 respondents from different regions to name those ideas that they found most attractive in the election slogans of political parties, Vechernyaya Moskva reported on 27 September. The list was topped by the concepts law, human rights, and justice, followed by peace, order, labor, family, conscience, and stability. Democracy ranked 17th on the list ahead of internationalism, dictatorship, and nationalism, which were the least popular values. -- Peter Rutland

JUDGE ORDERS DEFENSE MINISTER TO APPEAR IN COURT.
Krasnopresnenskii Moscow District Judge Olga Govorova ordered Defense Minister Pavel Grachev to appear at the next court hearing of his suit against journalist Vadim Poegli of Moskovskii komsomolets, who in October 1994 accused Grachev of being involved in corruption in Russia's Western Army Group in Germany, Interfax reported on 27 September. Grachev has refused to attend the 25 October court hearing in which he is a plaintiff, saying he is too busy--an explanation Govorova has rejected. It is unclear how the court's decision will be implemented. -- Constantine Dmitriev

THE ELECTIONS TO MOSCOW CITY DUMA POSTPONED UNTIL 1997.
The Moscow City Duma has decided to conduct its next municipal elections in December 1997 instead of 1995 as previously planned, ITAR-TASS and Ekho Moskvy reported on 27 September. The proposal to delay the elections was sent to the Duma by Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov after President Yeltsin's 17 September decree on elections to local governments (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 September 1995). -- Anna Paretskaya

RUSSIAN COSSACKS SEEK UNITS IN REGULAR ARMED FORCES.
The Union of Russian Cossacks Ataman Aleksandr Martynov told a press conference in Moscow that the union plans to form 29 units as part of the Russian armed forces, and 31 units to support the Border Troops, Interfax reported on 27 September. Martynov claims that the union has at least 3.5 million members. It is not clear whether the Defense Ministry plans to incorporate the Cossack para-military units into the Russian regular army. Martynov claimed that Cossack regiments have been involved in combat operations in Chechnya, and were decorated with the Cross for Faith, Freedom, and Fatherland. -- Constantine Dmitriev

CHERNOMYRDIN SIGNS DECLARATION IN SEOUL.
Russia and South Korea continue to reinvigorate their bilateral ties. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and his South Korean counterpart, Lee-Hong Koo signed a declaration on joint ventures and economic cooperation in Seoul on 27 September, Western and Russian agencies reported. The declaration included a proposal for a pipeline linking South Korea with Siberian gas fields near Irkutsk via Mongolia and China. Russian relations with South Korea have warmed and cooled several times since diplomatic ties were reestablished in 1990. Mutual trade amounted to $2.2 billion in 1994 and is expected to reach $3 billion in 1995, although South Korean investment in Russia has remained modest. -- Scott Parrish

YELTSIN, CLINTON DISCUSS YUGOSLAV CONFLICT.
Attempts continue to repair the damage done to U.S.-Russian relations by recent rhetorical warfare over NATO actions in the former Yugoslavia. Speaking by telephone on 27 September, U.S. President Bill Clinton assured his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin that Russia is welcome to participate in a proposed NATO-led peace implementation force for Bosnia, Russian and Western agencies reported. Although Russian officials have opposed participating in a force commanded by NATO, Yeltsin expressed confidence that the two sides could "reach an agreeable approach." The two presidents are scheduled to meet on 23 October in Hyde Park, New York, following ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of the UN. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIANS FIRE ON, SEIZE JAPANESE FISHING BOATS.
The Russian Border Troops seized two Japanese fishing boats on 27 September, after firing on them and wounding one of the captains, ITAR-TASS reported. The incident took place in La Perouse Strait, which separates the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido from Sakhalin. The Russians claimed that the two boats were among 10 that were poaching octopus two nautical miles inside Russian territorial waters. Rear Admiral Sergei Skalinov, chief of staff of the Russian coast guard service, told ITAR-TASS that the Japanese government is encouraging such confrontations because of its demands that Russia return four islands in the Kuril chain to Japan. -- Doug Clarke

MINERS STAGE UNDERGROUND PROTEST.
About 79 miners held an underground protest in a mine in the Vorkuta Oblast in Russia's far north on 27 September over government plans to close unprofitable pits, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Miners at the Promyshlennaya mine said they would remain underground until a government commission visited them to hear their grievances. The action began on 25 September when 42 miners refused to come to the surface. The miners are seeking back wages dating to early July and assurances on compensation and pensions when pits are closed. -- Thomas Sigel

FIRST SEMINAR ON SOCIALIZING AND SAFE SEX HELD IN MOSCOW.
A first of its kind seminar, devoted to the issue of safe sex, is taking place in Moscow, Izvestiya reported on 28 September. According to statistics provided by the "ESOP" center, 60% of men and women under the age of 19 regularly have sex and only 13% of them use modern methods of contraception. Of the female youths under 18 who admitted having regular sex, 31% became pregnant but only 17% gave birth, the remainder preferring abortion. During the last four years, the syphilis rate has increased from five to 40 cases per 100,000 members of the population and gonorrhea has increased 900%. -- Thomas Sigel

HUMAN RIGHTS SEMINAR IN MAGADAN.
A two-week seminar on human rights, organized by the International Association of Human Rights, opened in Magadan on 27 September, Radio Rossii reported. Boris Miller, vice president of the Russian section of the association, said the focus of human rights work in Russia had shifted in recent years. Previously, freedom of speech and other political rights had been the main concern of activists. Now, the main problems are the rights of prisoners, army conscripts, children, and the disabled. Miller estimated that 30,000 people are being illegally held in Russian jails while awaiting trial. The report noted that officials from the local administration and police had not taken up an invitation to attend the seminar. -- Peter Rutland

YOUTH ACCOUNT FOR MAJORITY OF DRUG ADDICTS.
Two-thirds of Russia's drug addicts are young people, Megapolis-Express (No. 39) reports. Drugs are sold in nightclubs, entryways, disco clubs and in student hostels, the report indicated. Prices vary from 40,000-50,000 rubles ($8-$10) per box of marijuana, to $200-$250 per gram of heroin or cocaine. The demand is increasing. In 1994, 82 tons of drugs were confiscated in Russia, although some experts say that accounts for only 20% of the total amount of drugs smuggled into the country. -- Thomas Sigel

GOVERNMENT PREDICTS TOUGH WINTER.
Acute fuel shortages throughout Russia may lead to a difficult winter, First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets said on 27 September, Radio Rossii and ITAR-TASS reported the same day. The minister said the situation is most difficult in the Russian Far East, the Arkhangelsk Oblast in northern Russia, and Altai Krai in Western Siberia. Those regions have only about 30% of the fuel needed for power plants. Meanwhile, Interfax reported that thermal power plants at Konakovo and Kostroma in central Russia have little fuel oil in stock. Soskovets said coal stocks are down and suppliers have cut natural gas deliveries by 30% compared with last year. The main reason for the low supplies is a failure of the power plants to pay suppliers for fuel. The plants complain that they cannot pay for fuel because they are not being paid by consumers. -- Thomas Sigel

SBERBANK TO PAY INCOME ON STATE BONDS.
Russia's largest savings bank, Sberbank, will act as the Finance Ministry's general agent in cashing coupons of state savings loan bonds, Interfax reported on 27 September. The first tranche of bonds has reached 48 authorized banks and financial companies for distribution, according to Bella Zlatkis, head of the Finance Ministry's Securities and Financial Market Department. The bonds, which went on the market on 27 September, will have four coupons on which interest will be paid every three months. It is expected that banks will start selling the bonds to the general public within the next week. -- Thomas Sigel



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 189, 28 September 1995
RIVER DIVERSION PROJECT RESURRECTED?
According to a 27 September report in Komsomolskaya pravda, Russian Water and Resource Chairman Nikolai Mikheev raised the possibility of resurrecting the Siberian River Diversion project, abandoned in 1986. In his speech at the UN-sponsored conference on the Aral Sea Crisis in Nukus (see OMRI Daily Digest, 22 September 1995), Mikheev stated that, "My government is ready to return to considering the project of redirecting the flow of the great Siberian rivers . . . " Afterwards, Uzbek President Islam Karimov praised the Russian minister, noting that if the project is completed, a statue in his honor will be erected in Nukus. -- Roger Kangas

KAZAKHSTAN ASKS RUSSIA TO RAISE OIL TRANSIT QUOTA.
Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbaev asked Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to double the country's oil transit quota, up to 6 million tons for 1996, Interfax Petroleum Information Agency reported on 27 September from Almaty. Kazakhstan also intends to purchase the unused quotas of Russian oil companies, according to Nazarbaev's letter. The increase of Kazakhstan's oil transit quota may mean a postponement of the new pipeline to carry Kazakhstani oil to the Black Sea, which is being planned by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, consisting of Russia, Kazakhstan, and the Oman Oil Co. -- Vyacheslav Kozlov

STRONG REACTION TO ANNOUNCEMENT OF KYRGYZ ELECTION.
Medetken Sherimkulov, the former chairman of parliament, blasted President Askar Akaev for citing his appointment in October 1990 as a rationale for holding elections this year, in an article of Res Publica on 26 September. Sherimkulov reminded the president that if his term began on 27 October 1990, elections should be held on this date and the Central Electoral Committee should have declared this publicly four months prior to the event. A letter from nine deputies of the legislative assembly noted that a referendum in January 1994 on confidence in the president referred to his term in office as beginning in 1991. -- Bruce Pannier

KAZAKHSTAN BEGINS SHOOTING OF MARATHON SOAP OPERA.
Kazakhstan begins the shooting of Crossroads, a soap opera expected to exceed the popular Santa Barbara in the number of its episodes, the coordinator of the project Yelena Molchanova told ITAR-TASS on 26 September. The British governmental Know-How foundation is financing the $2.25 million project as a ploy to offer cultural assistance to the CIS countries. Local screen writers are working with their British counterparts, including the creator of the popular Brookside serial. Kazakhstan's first soap opera will tell about present-day life, "the difficult way from socialism to capitalism," and love between a Kazakhs and Russians. -- Bhavna Dave

RUSSIANS IN AZERBAIJAN WANT RUSSIAN AS SECOND STATE LANGUAGE.
The dwindling Russian community in Azerbaijan has launched a campaign to demand that a referendum be held on designating Russian a second state language in the country's new constitution, Rabochaya tribuna reported on 26 September. President Heidar Aliyev has frequently expressed concern over the emigration of qualified Russian specialists that has reduced the Russian community from over 500,000 in 1989 to 200,000 last year. -- Liz Fuller



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 189, 28 September 1995
CZECH PARLIAMENT CREATES SENATE.
The lower chamber of the Czech parliament on 27 September approved the establishment of the legislature's upper chamber, Czech media reported. The creation of the Senate was provided for in the Czech Constitution, which went into effect on 1 January 1993 when the independent Czech Republic was established. Since then, the lower chamber has rejected three draft laws that would have established the Senate. It substituted for the upper chamber in its absence and could not be dissolved; furthermore, new elections could not have been called in case of a political crisis. Under the new electoral law, Senate elections will take place in 81 electoral districts in a two-round majority system. Candidates must be over 40 years old. They can be nominated by a political party or must gather at least 1,000 signatures. At the outset, one-third of the senators will be elected for two years, one-third for four years, and one- third for six years. -- Jiri Pehe

CZECH LUSTRATION LAW EXTENDED.
The Czech parliament on 27 September extended for another four years the screening law that bans former secret police agents and collaborators as well as high communist officials from holding government office, Czech media reported. The lustration law, which was adopted in 1991 and was to expire at the end of 1996, affected some 140,000 people when it was adopted by the former Czechoslovak Federal Assembly. Hundreds of people protested that they were registered as police collaborators without reason and have sued the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Most won their cases due to lack of evidence. -- Jiri Pehe

CZECH-RUSSIAN TREATY RATIFIED.
The Czech parliament on 27 September approved a friendship treaty with Russia that replaces a Soviet-era treaty signed in 1970, Czech media reported. The treaty, signed by Presidents Vaclav Havel and Boris Yeltsin in 1993, denounces the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia and calls for mutually advantageous economic relations and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Russian parliament ratified the treaty in July 1994. Jiri Payne, chairman of the Czech parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, told journalists on 27 September that "Russia is not our enemy at the current time" and that the treaty should not pose a threat to the Czech Republic's desire for early NATO membership. -- Jiri Pehe

UKRAINE CLARIFIES POSITION ON MEETING CFE TREATY DEADLINE.
Oleksandr Bolychevtsev, an adviser to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry Administration for Arms Control, has said that Ukraine will fulfill on time all its commitments specified in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, Holos Ukrainy reported on 26 September. His statement contradicts a recent Interfax report stating that Ukraine, together with other CIS countries, will not meet the deadline for meeting the requirements (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13 September 1995). Bolychevtsev said that the 1992 Tashkent Accord specified that Ukraine had to cut additional equipment belonging to the Black Sea Fleet Shore Defense Forces and Marines. Because the Black Sea Fleet dispute between Russia and Ukraine remains unresolved, "Ukraine is unable to resolve the question of additional cuts," he noted. -- Michael Mihalka

G-7 EXPERTS OFFER PLAN TO CLOSE CHORNOBYL.
Ukrainian Environment Minister Yurii Kostenko told a news conference on 27 September that G-7 experts have rejected a Ukrainian proposal to build a gas-fired power plant to replace Chornobyl and offered instead their own plan for shutting the nuclear station by 2000, Interfax-Ukraine and Reuters reported the same day. Kostenko said that the experts believed the construction of a single thermal power-generating station was insufficient. According to him, they proposed a more cost efficient and "comprehensive solution" to Ukraine's energy problems, including adding new units to Ukraine's four other nuclear plants, renovating existing thermal plants and increasing the productivity of hydroelectric stations for an estimated total cost of $1.44 billion. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

LATVIA'S BANKING CRISIS SUBSIDES.
Bank of Latvia Governor Einars Repse told the international conference "Banks and Finances in the Baltic States" on 27 September that Latvia's banking system was showing signs of recovery, BNS reported. He noted that although since January the number of operating banks declined from 55 to 39 (with 10 being declared insolvent), the stability of the lats was preserved by his bank's sale of 18.5% of its currency reserves. He said the crisis was caused by the fact that the banking system had developed more rapidly than other spheres of the economy. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER GIVES UP PARLIAMENT SEAT.
Presidential adviser on foreign affairs Justas Paleckis has decided to give up the Seimas seat he gained earlier in the month when Social Democrat Audrius Rudys resigned, BNS reported on 27 September. Paleckis said that a major reason for his decision was that the Social Democratic Party had demanded that he specify those presidential measures he considers incorrect and evaluate the foreign policy of the ruling Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party as a precondition for working in its faction. -- Saulius Girnius

BELARUSIAN-RUSSIAN AGREEMENT ON BORDER CONTROLS.
The Belarusian Cabinet of Ministers has adopted a resolution to sign an agreement with Russia on helping to fund measures to strengthen control of the borders between Belarus and the republics of Lithuania and Latvia, Belarusian Radio reported on 26 September. The chief of the Main Directorate of Border Troops was authorized to sign the agreement. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL TO HAVE FINAL SAY.
The parliamentary commission drafting the new Polish constitution on 27 September decided that if the Constitutional Tribunal rules that a law violates the constitution, that legislation will be rendered null and void. Under current "constitutional provisions," the Sejm can overrule the tribunal's verdicts by a two-thirds majority. Meanwhile, Stanislaw Ciosek, the Polish ambassador to Russia, has been recalled, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 28 September. But Rzeczpospolita stresses that information on his recall is "unofficial." -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH PREMIER IN SPAIN.
Jozef Oleksy, during a three-day visit to Spain, was received on 27 September by Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez. Gonzalez said that Spain will be backing Poland's aspirations to join the European Union by 2000 but that it fears the expansion of EU membership will reduce subsides for the poorer Mediterranean member states. Oleksy encouraged Gonzalez to increase Spanish investment in Poland, noting that he would like to see the volume of trade between Poland and Spain amount to $1 billion in 1997 (at present it totals $700 million), Polish dailies reported on 28 September. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

SHALIKASHVILI VISITS SLOVAKIA.
Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on 27 September that he is "absolutely satisfied" with the level of cooperation between the Slovak and U.S. armies and with Slovakia's participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program, Sme reported. At a joint press conference with his Slovak counterpart, Jozef Tuchyna, Shalikashvili stressed that NATO is not yet in a position to say which countries will join NATO and when. In contrast to U.S. Defense Minister William Perry, who in a recent visit to Slovakia emphasized that Slovakia needs to strengthen democracy before it can join NATO, Shalikashvili avoided discussion of the country's political situation. During the visit, he held talks with Slovakia's president, prime minister, and defense minister. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN COALITION REMAINS INTACT--FOR TIME BEING.
Hungary's two ruling coalition partners still have not reached agreement over the issue of cabinet reform, Magyar Hirlap reported on 28 September. The two parties, fiercely criticized by the opposition for openly discussing their "internal" disputes, previously agreed to settle any disagreement by 26 September. Socialist leader and Premier Gyula Horn and Gabor Kuncze, Horn's deputy coalition leader from the Alliance of Free Democrats, said at a press conference on 27 September that the failure to reach an agreement does not mean the dissolution of the coalition, since the original coalition agreement is still in force. Socialist deputy Imre Szekeres recommended that if the coalition stays together, its internal differences be patched over until next year so that the government can focus on the 1996 budget proposal and draft tax legislation still to be presented to the parliament. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 189, 28 September 1995
MIXED REACTIONS TO BOSNIAN AGREEMENT.
Nasa Borba on 28 September cited U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher as calling the accord of two days earlier a "psychological step toward peace." Tanjug quoted Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and EU mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg as dubbing it "a major step toward establishing a final peace." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cited Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as saying that the pact firmly establishes his Republika Srpska. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, however, stressed that the agreement keeps Bosnia as a single state. Hina reported that Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak argued that "the signed document is so vague that it has no clear provisions" for the future constitutional order. The Frankfurt daily quoted the Bosnian foreign minister as saying that free elections can take place only after Karadzic and Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic are sent to The Hague to be tried for war crimes. Bosnian army commander General Rasim Delic warned against "euphoria." Deutsche Welle on 27 September noted that the agreement is imprecise, sounds too much like earlier failed Yugoslav models, does not include a ceasefire, and involves making deals with indicted war criminals. -- Patrick Moore

BELGRADE CALLS FOR A CEASEFIRE . . .
Rump Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic has urged an end to fighting across Bosnia within a few days, international media reported on 28 September. U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke is continuing his shuttle diplomacy with that end in mind, but AFP on 27 September cited complaints from the French and Italian foreign ministers about Holbrooke's alleged one-man show that ignores Washington's European allies. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic said earlier that a ceasefire must involve the demilitarization of Banja Luka, an end to the "ethnic cleansing" there, the effective lifting of the siege of Sarajevo, road access to Kiseljak and Gorazde, and a large foreign troop presence to implement any peace agreement. The International Herald Tribune on 28 September reported that Bosnian Serbs fired rockets with cluster bombs at Zenica two days earlier and at Travnik the previous day. Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said that "this is an indication that the Serb terrorists are looking for a way to stop the negotiating process." Some other observers have suggested, however, that the Serbs have the most to gain by an end to the fighting. -- Patrick Moore

. . . WHILE RUMP YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT DOES NOT RULE OUT MORE FIGHTING.
Tanjug reported that rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic on 26 September received a high level delegation from the Russian Federation, headed by State Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin. Lilic thanked Russia for its backing of Belgrade's "peace efforts" and for sending humanitarian aid. But while stressing rump Yugoslavia's alleged commitment to the peace process, he also observed that an end to the Balkan crisis was not necessarily in the offing. "What we do not want is to have our patience tested to the limit. . . . It is critical to concentrate our efforts on trying to stop the fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina . . . [otherwise] it is certain that the war will spill over its existing borders." -- Stan Markotich

DISCOVERY OF MASS GRAVE LEADS TO NEW CHARGES AGAINST WAR CRIMINAL.
The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has made further charges against Dusko Tadic following the recent discovery of mass graves in northwestern Bosnia, Nasa Borba reported on 27 September. Tadic is a Bosnian Serb who is the only accused war criminal in the Bosnian conflict to have been delivered to the Hague. One of the tribunal's investigators went to the field near Kljuc to see a mass grave where the bodies of 540 people were at first reported to have been found. But Oslobodjenje on 27 September noted that about 2,000 bodies were eventually located. The new accusations charge Tadic with "war crimes committed between May and December 1992 in the concentration camps Omarska, Keraterm, and Trnopolje" as well as crimes connected with the "expulsion of Muslims from the Prijedor area." -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIA ARRESTS 395 FOR KRAJINA CRIMES.
Croatian authorities have arrested 260 civilians, 70 police, and 65 soldiers in connection with the looting and torching of abandoned Serbian property since the collapse of Krajina in early August. UN spokesman Chris Gunness told news agencies on 27 September that he is still waiting for Zagreb to investigate the alleged murder of Serbian civilians by Croatian troops and to control continuing looting and torching. The Croatian authorities argue that their army is tied up in Bosnia and cannot effectively patrol all of Krajina. Novi list on 28 September reported that some abandoned Krajina Serbian homes are being given to Croatian refugees and displaced persons from the Banja Luka area. In Jajce, however, Croatian authorities have told Croats not to take homes belonging to local Muslims. -- Patrick Moore

MORE ALBANIANS FROM MONTENEGRO TO STUDY IN ALBANIA.
Montena-fax on 27 September reported that an additional 20 ethnic Albanian students from Montenegro will be enrolled this year at Albanian universities. To date, only 30 or so Albanians from Montenegro have been studying in Albania. -- Stan Markotich

COUNCIL OF EUROPE APPROVES MACEDONIAN MEMBERSHIP.
The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly on 27 September approved Macedonia's request for membership, AFP reported the same day. CE officials said the Committee of Ministers will formally approve the admission on 15 October; and Macedonia will officially join, together with Ukraine, on 9 November under the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia will have three seats in the assembly. Macedonia's admission to the organization is the first concrete result of the recently signed Greek-Macedonian accord, whereby Athens agreed not to object to Macedonian membership in international organizations of which it is a member. -- Stefan Krause

NEW POLITICAL ALLIANCE IN ROMANIA.
The opposition Democratic Party-National Salvation Front and the Social Democratic Party of Romania on 27 September signed an accord on forming a political alliance, Romanian media announced the same day. Called the Social Democratic Union, the new alliance plans to run on joint lists in the 1996 parliamentary elections and in many electoral districts in local elections due to be held in early 1996. -- Michael Shafir

STIFF JAIL TERMS FOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS IN ROMANIA.
The Chamber of Deputies on 27 September voted to impose sentences of 25 years to life for drug trafficking. The relevant provisions are to be included in the new Penal Code under review by the chamber. Romanian media and international agencies reported that the legislation also provides for jail terms of up to 15 years for the production and use of narcotics. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ADDRESSES COUNCIL OF EUROPE.
Mircea Snegur, addressing the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on 26 September, said that Moldova wants to settle the conflict in the Transdniester region by peaceful political means, Infotag reported. He called on the Council of Europe to organize an international conference on separatism in Chisinau. In Snegur's opinion, finding a resolution to the conflict is being hampered by "Tiraspol's reluctance to agree on a compromise and by external factors, including backing by some interested forces in the Russian State Duma." Snegur also noted the Moldovan Constitution "prohibits the country's participation in any military blocs and deployment of foreign military bases on the national territory." He stressed that Moldova may participate only in programs of cooperation and training, such as NATO's Partnership for Peace program. -- Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN STUDENT STRIKE COMMITTEE DEMANDS GOVERNMENT'S DISMISSAL.
Anatol Petrencu, leader of the Moldovan student strike committee, told BASA-press on 27 September that the committee is demanding that the parliament and the president dismiss the cabinet. If they fail to do so, Petrencu said, the students' demonstrations will resume on 18 October. He added that the decision was prompted by the present economic plight of the population and the authorities' indifference toward it. Presidential adviser Tudor Colesnic, who heads the commission for dealing with the strikers' economic grievances, said that for the time being, "there are no grounds" to change the government. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIA ANGERED BY INCLUSION ON EU BLACKLIST.
Bulgarian politicians reacted angrily to the European Union's decision to include the country on a list of nations deemed to pose a security or immigration threat, Reuters reported on 27 September. Of the six former communist countries with associate membership in the EU, only Bulgaria and Romania are included on the list of countries for which tough visa requirements will be required. Foreign Ministry spokesman Radko Vlaykov called the decision "groundless and totally unacceptable" because it puts Bulgaria "in a discriminative position compared to other East European countries." Justice Minister Mladen Chervenyakov said Bulgaria's inclusion on the list contradicted its associate EU membership. Foreign Ministry officials said they hope to get Bulgaria removed from the list before it becomes effective in six months. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




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