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Newsline - September 29, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 190, 29 September 1995
YELTSIN'S INNER CIRCLE JEALOUS OVER CHERNOMYRDIN'S NEW VISIBILITY.
In its 28 September issue, Obshchaya gazeta reported that President Boris Yeltsin's advisers are plotting to limit the increasing prominence of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Part of the campaign against him, the newspaper argued, is Federation Council Vladimir Shumeiko's recent criticism of Our Home is Russia and his support for Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel's Transformation of the Fatherland bloc, which reportedly was instigated by Yeltsin. Yeltsin's staff sees Rossel's movement as a possible counterweight to Chernomyrdin's bloc following the collapse of Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin's left-center bloc. Congress of Russian Communities leader Yurii Skokov denied rumors that he had discussed the possibility of becoming prime minister with the president, ITAR-TASS reported. Skokov is often cited in press reports as a possible replacement for Chernomyrdin. -- Robert Orttung

CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION CLARIFIES MILITARY'S ROLE IN CAMPAIGN.
Those currently serving in the military have a constitutional right to run for the Duma, the Central Electoral Commission declared on 28 September. However, the law "On Defense" prohibits any political agitation within military units or institutions, ITAR-TASS reported. During their free time and off the military base, members of the military may participate in campaign activities. Defense Minister Pavel announced earlier this week that the army will nominate 123 servicemen in single-member districts. -- Robert Orttung

POLL SHOWS THAT MANY DOUBT INTEGRITY OF ELECTIONS.
A July poll showed that 56% of respondents believe that some election rigging took place in the 1993 parliamentary elections and constitutional referendum and that 48% believe that it will occur again in the December elections. The Washington-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems, American Viewpoint, and the Moscow Institute for Comparative Social Research conducted the poll and its results were released on 28 September. IFES's Moscow representative Michael Caputo attributed the high level of skepticism to the voters' low level of knowledge about the elections, ITAR-TASS reported. The poll found that only 32% are interested in politics, but that 74% claim they will participate in the elections. -- Robert Orttung

COMMUNISTS BLAST YELTSIN FOREIGN POLICY.
In a sign that foreign policy issues will play a major role in the Duma election campaign, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), issued a statement on 28 September blasting the current government for a failed foreign policy. The statement blamed the government for "the loss of great power status," and transforming Russia "into a second-rate country." Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin, recently returned from the rump Yugoslavia, called for an end to the "senseless" UN sanctions against that country and claimed they had cost Russia $50 billion since their imposition. -- Scott Parrish

JOINT VENTURE DIRECTOR ARRESTED.
Peter Yanchev, director of the Russo-British firm Balcar Trading, has been arrested on suspicion of illegal dealing, Izvestiya reported on 26 September. Balcar Trading originated as an auto-dealer in Balashikha, near Moscow, in 1992, but it subsequently became the exclusive exporter for the Noyabrskneftegaz oil corporation. Thanks to its contacts in government circles, Balcar was able to export 10 million tons of oil in 1994. In January and March of this year, Balcar won government licenses to sell eight and then 25 million tons of oil to Mobil Corporation, which would in turn arrange loans for the Russian government. -- Peter Rutland

REHABILITATION OF KUBAN COSSACKS.
The Krasnodar Krai legislature finally approved a bill on the rehabilitation of the Kuban Cossacks, ITAR-TASS reported on 28 September. The bill denounces the forced deportation of the Cossacks from the region and the lack of independent representation for them in state institutions as a destruction of their ethnic unity and a violation of human rights. However, articles granting privileges to the Cossack-run associations, enterprises, and mass media and putting real estate at their disposal free of charge were excluded from the final version of the bill as too radical. -- Anna Paretskaya

DEFENSE MINISTRY OFFICIAL DISCUSSES THE FALL DRAFT.
Col. Gen. Vyacheslav Zherebtsov, head of the Main Organization and Mobilization Department of the General Staff, said up to 224,000 people will be drafted from October to December 1995, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on 28 September. In accordance with legislation passed this spring, the term will increase from 18 months to two years on 1 October to provide the army with a sufficient number of enlisted personnel. The armed forces will then total 1.47 million servicemen, less than the 1.7 million target set by the president. Zherebtsov said that this fall, a two-year alternative service will start being offered to Russian citizens, although he favors at least a four-year alternative service. -- Constantine Dmitriev

CLINTON ORDERS MORE HELP TO RUSSIA ON SECURITY OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
U.S. President Bill Clinton on 28 September directed several federal agencies to increase their cooperation with Russia to improve the security of nuclear weapons, Western agencies reported. He told the Energy Department to assist in improving the accounting systems for nuclear materials and tasked the Defense Department to speed construction of a nuclear material storage facility. Lt. Gen. Sergei Zelentsov, a consultant to the Russian Defense Ministry, said the ministry's control over nuclear weapons is "highly effective," ITAR-TASS reported. The agency quoted Viktor Kruglov, deputy chief of the ministry's Nuclear Safety Inspectorate, as saying that 120 decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines are being kept under constant surveillance and that accidents from their reactors are "fully ruled out. -- Doug Clarke

RUSSIA CRITICAL OF NATO EXPANSION PLAN.
"We are still opposed" to NATO expansion, Vitalii Churkin, the Russian ambassador to Belgium, said following the release of the new NATO study on the criteria and procedure for accepting new members, Russian and Western agencies reported. In a later interview with Russian Public TV (ORT), however, Churkin said that the new NATO study made clear that the alliance will not expand rapidly. This will allow Russia to "do everything necessary" to ensure its national security, presumably by seeking to delay the process as long as possible. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA EXPRESSES REGRET OVER KURILS FISHING INCIDENT.
At a meeting with Japanese diplomats in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed regret over the shooting of a Japanese fisherman who had violated Russian territorial waters near the disputed South Kuril Islands, Russian and Western agencies reported (See OMRI Daily Digest, 28 September 1995). The ministry added, however, that Tokyo had been warned that Japanese vessels violating Russian waters would be fired upon and said the incident underlined the need to conclude an agreement on fishing rights in the area. Three rounds of talks on the issue, which is linked to the larger territorial dispute, have made little progress. Meanwhile, Interfax reported that the two fishermen captured in the incident will be charged with poaching in Russian territorial waters. -- Scott Parrish

CURRENCY EXCHANGE GUARD AND CASHIER MURDERED IN MOSCOW.
A guard and cashier at a hard currency exchange were shot and killed in Moscow in the early hours of 28 September, Interfax reported. They were found at 3 a.m. at an exchange point of the Zomoskvoretskii Bank in a northwestern raion. The murderers escaped with $53,000 and a Kalashnikov assault gun which belonged to the guard. The guard is the second police officer to die at the hands of gunmen in Moscow during the day and the sixteenth since the beginning of the year. -- Thomas Sigel

LANDSLIDE BURIES AT LEAST 17 IN INGUSHETIYA.
A landslide, triggered by a construction crew's improper use of explosives, buried at least 17 people in the Sunzhenskii Raion of Ingushetiya on 27 September, Russian and Western agencies reported the next day. Rescue workers from Moscow, led by Deputy Russian Emergency Minister Sergei Khetagurov, arrived at the disaster scene on 28 September. -- Thomas Sigel

MOBS STEAL TONS OF AMBER.
Nearly a ton of amber is smuggled out of Russia's richest amber region, Kaliningrad, every day, Argumenty i Fakty reported on 28 September, according to Western sources. The newspaper cited Colonel Boris Levenkov of the Federal Security Service as saying amber poaching has increased almost 10-fold since the Soviet collapse. Poaching is so profitable that people are willing to pay bribes as high as $3,000 for jobs in the mine and factory that give them access to amber, the newspaper reported. It estimated that total losses from amber smuggling could run as high as $1 billion. -- Thomas Sigel

TENDER ON SAKHALIN OIL PROJECT ENDS IN FAILURE.
An international tender for prospecting and developing several Sakhalin off-shore oil fields (Sakhalin-4 project) failed to find a Western company capable of implementing the project on terms suitable for Russia, according to the Petr Sadovnik of the
Sakhalin Regional Committee for Geology and Natural Resources, Interfax reported on 28 September. Only the U.S. firm Exxon submitted a bid, although over 20 corporations showed interest at the presentation of the tender in Denver last November. Sadovnik said Exxon's proposal did not meet the minimum conditions set by the Russian government for production sharing and the payment of resource fees. -- Thomas Sigel



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 190, 29 September 1995
ASHGABAT'S TIES TO RIYADH ON THE MEND?
Turkmenistan and Saudi Arabia reached agreement on 26 September to open embassies in their respective capitals, according to a Turkmen agency report monitored by the BBC. Relations between the two countries got off to a bad start after Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov traveled to Riyadh in 1992 and offended his hosts when he contravened diplomatic and Islamic practices and prematurely tabled a request for a $10 billion loan; Ashgabat's ties to Iran and Israel have also put a damper on closer ties with Riyadh. -- Lowell Bezanis

KAZAKHSTAN ELECTION DECREE.
Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbaev is likely to sign a decree on the election procedure in the republic soon, according to "well-informed sources" cited by ITAR-TASS on 28 September. According to the constitution, the new parliament will consist of two chambers and be elected for four years. The upper chamber--the Senate--will consist of two representatives nominated by Kazakhstan's 19 regions and the capital Almaty. The lower chamber--the Majilis--will consist of 67 members to be elected in single-seat territorial constituencies. Nazarbaev has promised elections to the Majilis in December. -- Bhavna Dave

CASPIAN STATES MEETING ENDS IN ALMATY.
A two-day meeting on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, attended by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran, ended in Almaty on 27 September, Kazakhstani Radio reported that day. Kazakhstani Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Gizatov described Russia's absence from the meeting as "a manifestation of a non-constructive approach." Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Albert Chernyshev told Interfax the same day that Russia could not attend due to "purely technical reasons." He said Russia's request for a postponement of the meeting was turned down by other participants, though Russia was not offended by it. Gizatov said that Kazakhstan is willing to accept the position of Russia and Iran by regarding Caspian as a lake, compromising its earlier stand that it be defined as an inland sea. Kazakhstan's proposal of a demarcation of territorial waters into national sectors and the creation of neutral water zones was discussed at the meeting. Russia has proposed a common ownership of sea-bed resources. -- Bhavna Dave

SIX NAMES ANNOUNCED AS CANDIDATES FOR GEORGIAN PRESIDENT.
Georgia's Central Electoral Commission reported that six candidates for president had gained the required number of signatures for nomination, BBC reported on 29 September. Eduard Shevardnadze is leading with 105,310 signatures on the nomination list of the Union of Citizens of Georgia and 79,776 on the nomination list of the Socialist Party. He is followed by: Dzhumber Patiashvili (former first secretary of the Georgian Communist Party)--105,906 signatures; Kartlos Gharibashvili (former chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia)--75,925; Roin Liparteliani (chairman of the Agrarian Party of Georgia)--74,164; Akaki Bakradze (writer and opposition figure)--64,495; and Panteleimon Giorgadze (chairman of the United Communist Party of Georgia)--54,430. -- Irakli Tsereteli

CIS


KAZAKHSTAN, UKRAINE URGE MORATORIUM ON NUCLEAR TESTS.
Ukraine and Kazakhstan, two of the four former Soviet republics which had nuclear weapons on their territory, urged other nations to join them in renouncing nuclear weapons, Western media reported on 28 September. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Kasymjomart Tokaev called for a moratorium on nuclear tests, urging that a comprehensive test ban treaty be concluded no later than next year. Kazakhstan has expressed its concern over Chinese nuclear tests in Lob Nor in the Uigur Autonomous region of Xinjiang, which borders on Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. -- Bhavna Dave



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 190, 29 September 1995
UKRAINIAN PREMIER IN U.S.
Yevhen Marchuk, during his trip to Washington, met with U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Senate majority leader Bob Dole, Interfax and Ukrainian TV reported on 27-28 September. He also addressed a government roundtable on US assistance for Ukrainian reforms. The US officials urged that privatization be sped up to boost U.S. investment in Ukraine, and Gore promised the U.S. would use its influence to increase aid to Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Hennadii Udovenko called for the lifting of UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia in a speech to the UN General Assembly, Interfax-Ukraine reported 28 September. Udovenko said the embargo was counterproductive in promoting a peaceful settlement of the conflict. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS TWO NEW MINISTERS.
Leonid Kuchma has appointed Serhii Holovatyi, a reformist deputy and founder of the Ukrainian Legal Foundation, as Ukraine's new justice minister, Ukrainian TV reported on 27 September. He also replaced the Ministry of Culture with a new Ministry of Culture and Art. Dmytro Ostapenko, director of the Ukrainian National Philharmonic, was named to head the new ministry. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE AGREES TO G-7 PLAN TO SHUT DOWN CHORNOBYL.
Ukrainian Environment Minister Yurii Kostenko on 28 September said his government has agreed in principle to a plan proposed by experts from the G-7 industrial nations for shutting down the Chornobyl nuclear power plant by 2,000 (see OMRI Daily Digest, 28 September 1995), Ukrainian TV and RFE/RL reported the same day. Kostenko said Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma responded favorably to the proposal for restructuring Ukraine's energy sector after closure of Chornobyl. He said a plan of action would be ready by mid-October and that Ukraine and the G-7 would sign a final agreement in November. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUS RESUMES DESTRUCTION OF CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS.
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 28 September said that Belarus has resumed the destruction of weapons as required by the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, Interfax reported, He said the destruction was stopped in March because of a lack of funds and that its resumption had been prompted by German assurances in August that Western governments will guarantee financial aid for the destruction program. Meanwhile, ITAR-TASS the same day quoted a Russian general as saying Belarus has temporarily suspended the transportation of strategic nuclear weapons to Russia. Vladimir Verkhovtsev told a Moscow press conference that the removal of the weapons would not take long once the political decision to resume it was made. -- Saulius Girnius and Doug Clarke

WALESA VETOES PENSION BILL.
Polish President Lech Walesa on 28 September vetoed the bill on pensions, which foresees only one increase for pensioners next year (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 September 1995). "Old-age or disability pensions are not a matter of charity or state benevolence," Walesa said in a speech on Polish TV. Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy said earlier that rejection of the bill would mean a collapse of the state's finances. Oleksy also warned against seeking to make political capital out of the bill during the presidential campaign. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH DEPUTIES REFUSE TO GIVE UP PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY.
The vast majority of deputies in the Czech parliament on 28 September voted against a bill that would limit immunity for parliamentary deputies, Mlada fronta dnes reported. Among other things, the bill would have abolished the immunity of deputies in the case of traffic violations. In other news, the opposition Social Democratic Party on 28 September asked President Vaclav Havel to veto the extension of the lustration law passed the previous day. -- Sharon Fisher

CZECH PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS.
The parliament on 28 September approved a law allowing for the creation of non-profit organizations in 1996, Lidove noviny and Hospodarske noviny reported. Under the legislation, such organizations can be founded by private individuals living in the Czech Republic as well as by the state. They will be exempt from property taxes as well as levies on inheritances and gifts but will have to pay other taxes, duties, and administrative fees. Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik said non-profit organizations will not be allowed to redistribute their profits to the advantage of the founders but only to reinvest them. Kocarnik expects the new law to encourage the development of non-government organizations in social services, culture, sport, health care, and education. The organizations can be financed through investments, gifts, inheritances, and grants from the state or local budget. -- Sharon Fisher

CZECH, SLOVAK, RUSSIAN FIRMS TO CONSTRUCT MOCHOVCE.
Following consultations in Bratislava on 28 September on the completion of Slovakia's nuclear plant at Mochovce, Skoda Praha was officially confirmed as the general contractor for technological aspects of the project, Hospodarske noviny reported. Prague-based Energoprojeckt, along with several Russian firms, was chosen as the plant's general designer, while Hydrostav Bratislava and Bratislava-based Elektrosystemy were selected to oversee construction and electrical equipment, respectively. According to Slovak Economy Minister Jan Ducky, the security system will be provided by the German firm Siemens and the French company Framatome. The sources of funding have not yet been determined, but it is probable that the Czech banks Komercni banka and Ceska sporitelna will be the project's major source of investment, Mlada fronta dnes reported. -- Sharon Fisher

ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATION IN BRATISLAVA.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 demonstrators gathered in Bratislava on 28 September to protest Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's authoritarian style of government, Slovak and international media report. The rally was organized by the Committee for the Freedom of Speech as well as by several youth organizations. Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky, referring to the abduction last month of President Michal Kovac's son, told the demonstrators that "the chief of the secret service, Ivan Lexa, is arrogantly preventing the investigation of the kidnapping, and Meciar supports him. Is that not a sign that both are implicated in the kidnapping?" -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PREMIER ABANDONS PLANS FOR CABINET RESHUFFLE.
Hungarian Premier and Socialist leader Gyula Horn on 28 September withdrew his plans to carry out a cabinet reshuffle and agreed not to take any measures that would infringe the coalition agreement of 1994, the Hungarian press reported the next day. The two coalition partners--the Hungarian Socialist Party and the Alliance of Free Democrats--now consider their long tug-of-war to be over. The Socialists, especially Horn, had been pressing for a reshuffle to improve the way the government works. Meanwhile, the parliament is likely soon to pass legislation providing for the convertibility of the forint, according to Hungarian press reports. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY SAYS HEAVILY ARMED EX-YUGOSLAVIA POSES THREAT.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs told the UN General Assembly on 28 September that huge stockpiles of arms in the former Yugoslavia are a threat to neighboring countries, Hungarian newspapers and international media reported the next day. Kovacs stressed his country's concern for the ethnic Hungarian minority in the Serbian province of Vojvodina. He called for a comprehensive peace settlement for the former Yugoslavia that would guarantee minority rights. Meanwhile, Hungary is concerned about the several thousand ethnic Hungarians living in eastern Slavonia (now under Serbian control), many of whom were recently singled out for forced labor. According to Sandor Jakab, deputy of the Democratic Community of Hungarians in Croatia, five of them have been killed by Serbs. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

NATO PRESENTS ENLARGEMENT STUDY.
NATO on 28 September briefed participants in the Partnership for Peace program on its enlargement study, international media reported the same day. The study addresses the "how" and "why" of NATO enlargement but not the "who" and "when." It states that new members will come under NATO's "nuclear umbrella" even though nuclear weapons need not be based on their soil. One reason for Russia's opposition to NATO enlargement has been the possible deployment of nuclear weapons in neighboring countries. NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes said NATO will seek to continue involving Russia in European security matters. -- Michael Mihalka



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 190, 29 September 1995
CROATIAN OPPOSITION MAKES ELECTION PACT.
Seven ideologically diverse parties ranging from the far right to the moderate left reached an agreement on 28 September to field joint candidates in the 29 October parliamentary elections. The VOA reported that they want the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) to face only one challenger in each district so as not to divide the opposition vote. The HDZ controls most of the media and an extensive patronage network and is expected to profit from popular support for the Croatian military's lightening victories against the Serbs this year. A new electoral law for the 127-seat Sabor also favors the HDZ by allowing for only 28 deputies to be elected on a district basis, as opposed to at-large candidacies on party lists. The number of seats reserved for the Serbian minority has been reduced, and 12 deputies will be elected at large by Croats abroad in what is seen as an attempt by the HDZ to obtain at least a two-thirds majority in the Sabor. The opposition has been weak thanks to a combination of its own ineptitude and the HDZ's skillful use of power. -- Patrick Moore

BLEAK PICTURE FOR CROATIAN SERBS.
Nasa Borba on 29 September quoted a UN spokesperson as saying that only about 1,000 Serbs are left in the Knin region, and that virtually all of them are elderly. She added that 73% of Serbian houses in the area have been burned or otherwise rendered uninhabitable and that torchings and looting continue. One of the main Serbian political leaders in Zagreb, Milorad Pupovac, told Reuters that "the basic problem for those [Serbs] left is they are not integrated into Croatian society. From the psycho-political point of view, Serbs are just not welcome." Tanjug on 28 September reported that UN mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg arrived in eastern Slavonia for talks with Serb rebels, saying "this is a last chance for a settlement of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia." -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN WRAPUP.
Fighting continued around Kljuc and Mt. Ozren, Nasa Borba reported on 29 September. Western news agencies noted that the Serbs are consolidating their position around Banja Luka and Bosanski Novi, while Serbian gunners have shelled Konjic and Zenica. UN and European observers said that some brief fighting has taken place between Croats and Muslims over newly captured territory but that the alliance between them is more or less holding. One diplomat told AFP that "at the end of the day, Croatia has two objectives: to protect its borders and to gain entrance to the European Union." For these reasons, good relations with the Muslims are in the Croats' long-term interest, as Zagreb's friends in Washington and Bonn tirelessly point out. -- Patrick Moore

WHITE HOUSE SUPPORTS SUIT AGAINST BOSNIAN SERB LEADER.
The Clinton administration has endorsed a lawsuit against Radovan Karadzic filed by two Bosnian women who have charged him with war crimes, the International Herald Tribune reported on 28 September. After a lower court ruled that the civil lawsuit could not be brought against the Bosnian Serb leader, the women turned to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Another indicted war criminal, Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, has arrested the military officers considered responsible for the defeat that Bosnian Serbs suffered during the Croatian-Bosnian offensive, Nasa Borba reported on 29 September. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN OPPOSITION CRITICIZES BOSNIAN PEACE PLAN.
Reuters on 29 September quoted Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) leader Vojislav Kostunica as saying the latest Bosnian peace initiative plan "will not survive." He added that long-term prospects for the survival of Bosnia-Herzegovina were bleak and suggested that there will be a rapprochement between Belgrade and the Bosnian Serbs. Meanwhile, Nasa Borba on 29 September quotes Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party and accused war criminal, as calling the Bosnian peace plan "a capitulation and a defeat for Serbian national policy." -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN NEW YORK.
Teodor Melescanu and Laszlo Kovacs, in New York to take part in the UN General Assembly session, met to discuss Budapest's reaction to President Ion Iliescu's proposal for a historic reconciliation between the two countries, Radio Bucharest reported on 28 September. Kovacs said the Hungarian government is already studying the submitted documents. He stressed that solving outstanding problems in bilateral relations should precede the proposed reconciliation, adding that the issue of minority rights requires a legal framework to include specific commitments. Melescanu told Radio Bucharest that the first meeting to discuss concrete diplomatic steps will be held soon. -- Matyas Szabo

ROMANIA REACHES AGREEMENT WITH EXIMBANK.
According to RFE/RL on 29 September, Romania has become the fourth Central European country to conclude a cooperative financing agreement with the U.S. Export Import Bank (Eximbank). President Ion Iliescu was present for the signing of the agreement, which greatly increases financing available for projects within Romania and possibilities for including Romanian products in joint U.S.-Romanian projects in third countries. Iliescu on 29 September met with IMF and World Bank officials. According to RFE/RL, the talks were successful and Bucharest has a good chance of receiving the second half of the IMF stand-by agreement, which is due to expire in December. Romania received the first half of a transformation loan in May 1994 but has been unable to meet the fund's performance criteria to receive the second half. -- Michael Shafir

NATO AIR AGREEMENT SIGNED IN ROMANIA.
Radio Bucharest and Reuters on 29 September reported that an agreement on harmonizing civilian and military airspace standards was signed in the Romanian mountain resort of Sinaia between NATO, on the one hand, and Romania, Slovenia, and Albania, on the other. The agreements requires the signatories to upgrade their air traffic control and air space surveillance to NATO standards. -- Michael Shafir

CHISINAU, TIRASPOL DEADLOCKED ON "MOLDOVAN-LANGUAGE" SCHOOLS.
Officials from Chisinau and Tiraspol on 28 September failed again to reach agreement on resolving the issue of schools in the Dniester region that offer instruction in the "Moldovan" language using the Latin script, Infotag reported. The representatives of the breakaway republic say the Latin script may be used only in schools "financed by anybody but not by the Dniester budget." BASA-press quoted Aleksandr Karaman, vice president of the Dniestrian region, as saying that if "Moldovan-language schools do not acquire a legal status by 10 October, they will be closed." These schools have to be registered with local authorities and must accept the Tiraspol Education Ministry curriculum. -- Matyas Szabo and Michael Shafir

BULGARIA EXPRESSES INCREASED DEFIANCE OVER NUCLEAR ISSUE.
Deputy Premier Kiril Tsochev, speaking on Bulgarian Radio on 28 September, said Bulgaria will reopen a reactor at the controversial Kozloduy nuclear plant if the facility meets technical inspection standards. The results of a national Atomic Energy Commission review, currently under way and slated for completion on 1 October, will determine whether the reactor will be restarted, Tsochev said. He added that Bulgaria "is not waiting for [foreign] permission to restart the reactor." There has been widespread international concern about safety standards at Kozloduy, most recently voiced by Germany (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 September 1995). -- Stan Markotich

ALBANIAN UPDATE.
Montena-fax on 28 September reported that the foreign ministers of Greece and Albania, Karolos Papoulias and Alfred Serreqi, met the previous day in New York. The Greek side was reported as saying that talks were "beneficial to both sides," despite the fact that little progress was made on outstanding issues such as the status of the Greek minority in Albania. In another development, MIC on 28 September reported that the Tirana daily Koha Jone has taken the government to task for its foreign policy toward neighboring Macedonia. According to the report, Tirana's "softer" attitude toward Macedonia compares unfavorably with Greece's hardline approach. Koha Jone alleged that Tirana's failure to lobby for ethnic Albanian interests in Macedonia has made it "clear to Albanians [in Macedonia] that the borders between the two countries are definite, telling them exactly where their place is." -- Stan Markotich

DEMIREL RECEIVES TABUNSHCHIK.
Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on 27 September met with Georgi Tabunshchik, leader of Moldova's Gagauz autonomous region, TRT TV reported the same day. Demirel again pledged "every kind of support" for the Gagauz people but noted that the consolidation of Gagauz autonomy must be accomplished peacefully. A major goal of Turkish foreign policy since 1991 has been promoting the interests of Turkic speakers throughout the region. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave





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