Accessibility links

Newsline - November 9, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 219, 19 November 1995
RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK HEAD DISMISSED.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin relieved Tatyana Paramonova of her position as acting head of the Central Bank, Russian and Western agencies reported on 8 November. Yeltsin nominated her first deputy, Aleksandr Khandruev, as the new acting head. Khandruev was an academic economist and moved to the State Bank of the USSR in 1988. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he became deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Russia. -- Natalia Gurushina

REACTION TO PARAMONOVA DISMISSAL.
Presidential economic aide Aleksandr Livshits attributed Tatyana Paramonova's dismissal to the Duma's repeated refusals to confirm her appointment, while commentators said it was because of her tough line towards the commercial banks. Most observers believe the appointment of her first deputy, Aleksandr Khandruev, will not result in radical changes in the bank's policies. "Paramonova and Khandruev are members of the same team," said Sergei Glazev, head of the Duma's Economic Policy Committee. Khandruev is reported to have support in the Duma, but approval of the bank head may be postponed until after the December election. -- Natalia Gurushina

PARTY REGISTRATION ENCOUNTERS DIFFICULTY.
Central Electoral Commission (TsIK) Chairman Nikolai Ryabov expressed frustration on 8 November at the difficulties he is encountering in trying to comply with the Supreme Court ruling to register a number of blocs. After registering the Bloc of Independents as the 39th competitor, the TsIK could not register the Federal-Democratic Movement because one of its candidates, Valerii Kamshilov, is also running on the Common Cause list. Kamshilov denied that he had agreed to join the Common Cause list. The TsIK put off its final decision until 9 November, Russian Public Television (ORT) reported. Ryabov also excoriated the Russian Association of Lawyers for so far failing to turn in its documents, making it difficult for the TsIK to register it by the court-imposed 10 November deadline. The TsIK has an additional four parties to evaluate, Ekho Moskvy reported. -- Robert Orttung

MORE RUMORS OF KOZYREV SACKING.
Citing anonymous sources in the Foreign Ministry, Izvestiya reported on 9 November that Andrei Kozyrev will soon be sacked. The paper reported that a presidential decree firing Kozyrev had already been drafted; only Yeltsin's illness has delayed its signature and release. Kozyrev is no longer signing official documents at the Foreign Ministry, signaling his imminent departure, according to the report. Yeltsin's foreign policy aide, Dmitrii Ryurikov, is to be appointed as his replacement. -- Scott Parrish

KULIKOV STEPS UP CAMPAIGN AGAINST CORRUPTION.
Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov said that when he was named to his position in July, he could not have imagined "the level of corruption in state bodies, particularly the Interior Ministry," that he ended up finding. He said that if he had not started by cleaning house in the ministry, the battle with organized crime would have only addressed "superficial" problems, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 November. Kulikov announced that he is creating a new internal department directly subordinate to himself to investigate ministry personnel. Kulikov was appointed the commander of the special and operational forces of the ministry (i.e. the military wing) in 1992. In February 1995, he was placed in charge of operations in Chechnya. -- Robert Orttung

PERRY, GRACHEV AGREE ON BOSNIAN FORCE FORMULA.
The Russian and U.S. defense ministers announced at a Brussels press conference on 8 November that they had agreed that Russian troops would join the Bosnian peace implementation under the operational control of NATO but not under NATO command, Western agencies reported. They said that a Russian brigade of two or three battalions would be part of a Russo-U.S. division. U.S. General George Joulwan, NATO's supreme military commander in Europe but also in command of all U.S. forces in Europe, would have "operational control" of the division. A Russian general would make any specific orders to the Russian troops. Grachev and Perry agreed that the question of political control over the Bosnian operation has yet to be worked out. -- Doug Clarke

RUSSIA, JAPAN AGREE TO BUILD NUCLEAR WASTE PLANT.
According to an official from the Russian Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Russia and Japan will soon conclude a contract to construct a liquid radioactive waste processing plant in the Far East, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 November. The Japanese government will finance construction of the plant
by the Japanese Tomen company, as a part of its aid program aimed at dismantling old Soviet military nuclear equipment in Russia. The plant will be capable of processing up to 7,000 cubic meters of liquid nuclear waste annually. -- Constantine Dmitriev

YELTSIN, MINISTERS, DISCUSS CHECHNYA.
President Boris Yeltsin met with Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov and Minister for Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov on 8 November to discuss Chechnya and other issues, Russian and Western agencies reported. In a statement released after the one-hour meeting in the Central Clinical Hospital where he is recovering from heart problems, Yeltsin endorsed the efforts of federal authorities and the new Chechen government of Doku Zavgaev to bring about a peaceful settlement in Chechnya. Meanwhile, the presidential press service denied reports that Yeltsin's condition is worsening and that he may soon seek treatment abroad. -- Scott Parrish

POWER SHUTOFF OF MILITARY AND OTHERS BANNED.
The government on 8 November once again adopted a resolution banning power stations from cutting off utilities to the most import facilities of the country, including those of the defense, interior, and emergency services ministries, the secret services, and the border guards, ITAR-TASS reported. The ban, which will remain in effect until 15 May 1996, also applies to vital civil facilities such as power stations, water supply stations, and sewage facilities. On 23 September, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin signed a similar resolution. -- Doug Clarke

WORKERS DEMONSTRATE IN FAR EAST.
Thousands of demonstrators in the Russian Far East city of Bolshoi Kamen called for the resignation of President Boris Yeltsin and the government of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 November. Most of the town's population work at the Zvezda plant, Russia's largest nuclear submarine repair installation. The head of the factory's trade union, Olga Skripko, said the plant had not received payment for orders completed last year. Many of the employees have not been paid for six months. Workers also complained that electricity in the city is shut off for up to 12 hours a day and many housing complexes are not heated. -- Thomas Sigel

BUDGET COMMISSION VOTES TO INCREASE 1996 DEFICIT TO 3.85%.
Russia's Budget Commission voted to increase the 1996 projected budget deficit to 3.85% of GDP, which represents an increase of 6 trillion rubles ($1.3 billion), Interfax reported on 8 November. First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov said that the government-proposed budget deficit of 82 trillion rubles ($18.2 billion) will be increased to 88 trillion rubles ($19.6 billion). Petrov did not mention how the increased deficit would be financed. The commission was formed by the Duma and Federation Council to come up with a compromise acceptable to both houses, after the Duma rejected the government's proposed budget on 18 October. The Duma is to consider the revised draft budget on 10 November. -- Thomas Sigel

OIL PRODUCTION CONTINUES TO SLIDE.
Interfax reported on 8 November that Russian oil output was 236 million metric tons in the first 10 months of 1995, which is a 12% decline from the previous year's levels. The Tyumen region alone accounted for two thirds of total production (154 million tons). The largest companies were LUKoil (46.4 million tons), YUKOS (29.9 million), Surgutneftegaz (27.8 million), and Rosneft (10.6 million tons). Oil production in 1994 amounted to 316 million metric tons. -- Peter Rutland



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 219, 19 November 1995
ARRESTED KAZAKHSTAN COSSACK LEADER'S LAWYER ATTACKED, DROPS CASE.
Ivan Kravtsov, the defense lawyer for Ataman Nikolai Gunkin of Semirechie Cossacks in Kazakhstan, bowed out of handling the case after he was robbed in his Almaty apartment and his wife beaten up by "four unidentified Kazakhs,"
Interfax reported on 8 November. Interfax reported that the procurator of Almaty earlier threatened to strip Kravtsov of his legal license and reported allegations that prison officials poured ice cold water over Gunkin to force him end his 11-day-old hunger strike. Gunkin was arrested on 28 October in Almaty while trying to register as a candidate for December elections on charges of holding an unauthorized rally in Almaty earlier this year.
--
Bhavna Dave

KAZAKHSTAN
TO RECEIVE IMF LOAN DESPITE RISE IN INFLATION.
Inflation in Kazakhstan jumped from 2.4% in September to 4.1% in October, according to First Deputy Prime Minister Nigmatzhan Isingarin told Interfax on 8 November. Consumer prices rose 48.2% in the first 10 months of the year, while industrial prices rose 29.7%. Industrial production went up by 9.4% in September, after falling 16% in the first half of the year. Isingarin noted that "four to five months of continuous growth are needed" before one can talk of successful stabilization. He added that nonpayment of debts remains the most serious problem of the country's economy: electricity arrears alone amount to 47.2 billion tenge ($7.6 million). Interfax reported on 8 November that the IMF will release a $150 million loan to Kazakhstan at the beginning of 1996. The first $50 million tranche of the Systemic Transformation Facility loan was paid earlier this year.
-- Bhavna Dave

PLAN TO RENOVATE GEORGIAN OIL PIPELINE.
Talks in Tbilisi between Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, the president of the Azerbaijani National Oil Company (SOCAR), Natik Aliev, and the chairman of the Azerbaijani International Operating Company (AIOC), Terry Adams, ended on 8 November, Russian and Western media reported. The talks focused on the renovation of the Baku-Batumi pipeline so it can begin to carry "early oil." Aliyev said a $245 million oil terminal with a capacity of 220,000 metric tons will be built off Supsa in "a few" months, with or without Turkish financing. Meanwhile, another top SOCAR official told AFP that a deal between Penzoil, Agip, and LUKoil to prospect for reserves in the off-shore Karabagh oil field had been reached and would soon be signed. -- Lowell Bezanis

PRICE HIKES IN TURKMENISTAN.
The government increased retail fuel prices by 250% on 8 November, Interfax reported the same day. The move aims at ensuring "thrifty use of fuel resources and fuller compensation for production costs." Prices will range from 20-25 manats per litre; as the manat is exchanged on the black market for 500 manats to $1, fuel prices remain dramatically below the international market price. Bread prices also jumped 8-10 times the same day; Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov condemned the increase and the "artificial creation of an artificial deficit." His press office announced that the head of Ashgabat's bread-baking plant and its storehouse chief will be sacked soon. -- Lowell Bezanis

KYRGYZ AUCTION DISAPPOINTING.
An attempt to privatize former state companies in Kyrgyzstan has not yielded the expected results. On 8 November, the first day of the auction, only a few shares of one of the 13 companies on the block, the Tokchuluk meat processing company, received bids, Western sources reported. A specialist for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said the high asking prices were to blame. The starting price from between $24,000 to $2.38 million proved too costly to potential investors who can participate in a closed auction on 9 November at which bidders have greater control over starting prices and share amounts. As much as 70% of the 13 companies are available to interested purchasers. -- Bruce Pannier

KYRGYZ CENTRAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION ANSWERS CHARGES.
The chairman of the Kyrgyz Central Electoral Commission, Mambetzhunus Abylov, rejected a statement recently released by a group of presidential candidates alleging that "all state media bodies are electioneering in favor of one candidate--Askar Akaev," according to Interfax on 8 November. The statement was authored by, among others, the heads of the Communist and Ata-Meken parties and the Adilet (Justice) movement. So far, the only candidate registered for the 24 December election is the incumbent, Akaev, who has gathered a reported 800,000 signatures, representing about one third of the eligible voters. Other candidates have until the end of November to collect the required 50,000 signatures. -- Bruce Pannier



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 219, 19 November 1995
FORMER POLITICAL PRISONERS CALL FOR "SYMBOLIC TRIAL" OVER COMMUNIST CRIMES.
Hundreds of former political prisoners and dissidents from 19 countries gathered in Kiev on 7-8 November, calling for a symbolic "Nuremberg-like" trial over crimes committed by former Communist regimes, Ukrainian TV reported 8 November. The organizers, the International Congress of Political Prisoners of Communist Regimes, believe such a trial would serve as a moral cleansing in various post-Soviet societies where years of repression and human rights abuses have gone unpunished and often uncondemned. The Congress, along with the All-Ukrainian Society of the Repressed and the Israel-Ukraine Society appealed to the Ukrainian parliament to consider making 7 November (the anniversary of the October 1917 revolution) a national day of mourning for victims of totalitarian regimes. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DELIVERS ANOTHER BLOW TO PRESIDENT.
Radio Mayak on 8 November reported that the Belarusian Constitutional Court has found yet another decree issued by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to be unlawful. Following strikes by metro workers in August, Lukashenka issued a decree banning the metro workers union and lifting deputies' parliamentary immunity. The court ruled that the decree contravened the constitution. This is the fifth time the court has voted against Lukashenka, who has been ruling by decree since May because voters failed to elect enough deputies to form a new legislature. The Constitutional Court recently ruled that the old parliament remains the legal legislature until a new one is elected, but Lukashenka has refused to accept this ruling. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER DENIES RESIGNATION.
Uladzimir Syanko has refuted rumors that he has fallen out of favor with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and will soon be resigning, Interfax reported on 8 November. According to Syanko, such rumors are spread to "produce chaos in the Foreign Ministry and give the impression that there is internal strife within the president's team." A week earlier, Lukashenka denied having any intention of firing Syanko. He said that the foreign minister has his own views on certain issues but that as long as he carries out the president's policies, which are based on the results of the referendum, there was no reason to dismiss him. In the referendum, voters supported closer economic integration with Russia. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT OPPOSES ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY.
Prime Minister Tiit Vahi, following a cabinet meeting on 7 November, said he thought the country was not yet ready for the abolition of the death penalty, BNS reported. Justice Minister Paul Varul noted that the parliament can ratify the European Human Rights Convention without accepting the protocol that bans capital punishment. A court in Narva that day sentenced Eduard Magi to death for three brutal murders, rapes, and robberies. Estonian courts have passed several death sentences since September 1991, but none has been carried out. -- Saulius Girnius

LATVIA, EFTA INITIAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENT.
Latvia and the European Free Trade Association (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) initialed a free trade agreement in Geneva on 7 November, BNS reported the next day. The agreement is likely to be signed on 8 December during an EFTA meeting . Latvia is the first Baltic state to initial such an agreement with EFTA. The agreement states that the EFTA countries accept the validity of the rules on the origin of goods stipulated in a free trade agreement between the Baltic States. Latvia also succeeded in imposing restrictions on salmon imports from Norway and Iceland for four years. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA SENDS LATVIA DIPLOMATIC NOTE ON SEA BORDERS.
The Foreign Ministry on 8 November sent a diplomatic note to Latvian Ambassador to Lithuania Alberts Sarkanis stating that the Lithuanian government no longer considers itself bound by any proposals or documents drawn up during negotiations with Latvia on sea borders, BNS reported. The note stressed that Latvia has violated Lithuania's sovereign rights by unilaterally signing agreements with U.S. and Swedish firms for oil exploration in territory claimed by Lithuania. The Foreign Ministry, however, said it expected that the problems raised by Latvia's actions were of a temporary nature only and that ambassador Rimantas Karazija, who has been recalled for consultations, will return to Riga "in the near future." -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES REVEAL FINANCIAL ASSETS.
Incumbent President Lech Walesa has responded to a request by Aleksander Kwasniewski, his rival in the 19 November second round of presidential elections, to reveal his income and tax declarations. Walesa said that he received $1 million dollars for the film rights to his autobiography and that "no more than half a million has remained from this sum." He noted that he has invested all his private funds "in our country." Kwasniewski admitted that in the financial declaration he was obliged to submit as a Sejm deputy, he omitted his wife's financial assets. The Polish press revealed that she owns shares in the Polisa insurance company worth some $20,000, according to estimates by her husband. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLAND BECOMES NON-PERMANENT MEMBER OF SECURITY COUNCIL.
Poland on 8 November became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the next two years, Polish media reported. Permanent Polish Representative to the United Nations, Zbigniew Wlosowicz, pointed out that while Poland has been a non-permanent member four times in the past, it can now present its "sovereign foreign policy" within the Regional Eastern European Group. Hungary and the Czech Republic have both served as non-permanent members since 1989, Rzeczpospolita reported on 9 November. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH POLICEMAN SENTENCED FOR KILLING GERMAN TOURIST.
A local court on 8 November sentenced Pavel Sach to eight months in jail for killing a 26-year-old German tourist near Prague in October 1994. Sach testified that he was attempting to fine Markus Rankel for illegal parking when the allegedly drunk German attacked him. According to witnesses, Sach tripped up Rankel and put his gun to the German's head, Czech media reported. The gun went off and Rankel died four days later. It was the second such incident in the Czech Republic last year. The judge declared Sach pulled his gun when Rankel was no longer a threat, and experts testified that it was "almost excluded" that the pistol could have discharged accidentally. Sach, 25, immediately appealed the sentence, which also barred him for five years from any employment that involves carrying weapons. -- Steve Kettle

CZECH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REFUSES DUAL CITIZENSHIP.
Journalist and former leading dissident Petr Uhl on 8 November failed in an attempt to have an article in the Czech citizenship law annulled stating that anyone who becomes a citizen of another country loses Czech citizenship. In protest at the division of Czechoslovakia, Uhl in 1993 chose to become a Slovak citizen but continues to live in the Czech Republic. As a declared foreigner in his own country, Uhl has no passport and cannot vote; moreover, his work contract is invalid, his lawyer said. The Constitutional Court, however, ruled that Uhl was not stripped of his Czech citizenship but voluntarily "lost" it. Parliamentary chairman Milan Uhde said Uhl was attempting to practice polygamy, retaining one wife at home but still marrying another, Czech media reported. Uhl said if he loses an appeal, he will take the case to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE.
The Slovak National Party (SNS) on 8 November announced its decision to delay a request that the parliament form a commission charged with investigating the activities of President Michal Kovac, the aim of which would be to accuse him of treason. The anticipated report by the parliamentary commission investigating the eligibility of the opposition Democratic Union to run in last fall's elections was also not included in the current session's program. An amendment to the law on referendums proposed by Movement for a Democratic Slovakia deputy Jan Cuper is to be discussed during this session, even though it was not discussed in parliamentary committees. The amendment would mean that signatures collected to call a referendum would be screened by the parliament rather than the President's Office. Mikulas Dzurinda of the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) suggested that in a future session, an investigative commission be established to look into the privatization activities of SNS deputies and their wives. Dzurinda listed nine questions that need to be answered. SNS Chairman Jan Slota responded by calling Dzurinda "an insane, poor man." -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK CULTURE MINISTRY ON ADVERTISING.
Ivan Reguli, director-general of the section on public information at the Culture Ministry, on 26 October sent a letter to state firms on advertising in Slovak newspapers, Sme reported on 9 November. The letter states: "Advertising is an important source of income for mass media. We presume that your organization can support the press that sympathizes with the Slovak government to a greater extent." -- Sharon Fisher

SHUTDOWN AT HUNGARIAN NUCLEAR POWER STATION.
One of the four reactors at Hungary's only nuclear power station was shut down for a few hours overnight , Hungarian media reported on 8 November. According to the state radio the incident did not pose any threat and was caused by a faulty measuring instrument. Director of the Paks reactor Janos Szabo denied initial media speculation that the reactor had broken down, saying it was ordered closed because of the defective measuring device. The station has four high-pressure water reactors that went into service in 1983 and provide more than one-third of the country's energy. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 219, 19 November 1995
BOSNIAN SERBS FREE U.S. JOURNALIST.
Bosnian Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic pardoned David Rhode, a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, on 8 November. Rhode had been charged with illegal entry and spying, but most observers felt that his real "crime" in Bosnian Serb eyes was to have exposed the extent of the massacres of Muslims at Srebrenica. His release to U.S. diplomats came after the Americans had demanded it at the Dayton peace talks, international media noted. AFP added that France at Dayton is linking the fate of its two pilots downed by Bosnian Serbs to the lifting of sanctions against Belgrade. Reuters said that relatives of missing persons in Croatia, who disappeared following Serbian attacks in 1991, have also asked that their concerns be put on the agenda at the talks. -- Patrick Moore

DOES STATE DEPARTMENT HOLD THE SERBIAN "SMOKING GUN"?
The BBC on 9 November reported on the ongoing public controversy between Justice Richard Goldstone of The Hague war crimes tribunal and the U.S. State Department. Goldstone earlier this week suggested that Washington was wary of providing or unwilling to provide his court with the information it needs to prosecute war criminals. U.S. officials said in reply only that there had been "glitches" in making highly secret materials available. A BBC analyst suggested that while nobody denies that Washington is the court's strongest supporter, the State Department might be withholding information that could prove counterproductive to American policy. One such possibility might be evidence clearly linking war crimes to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, whom Washington regards as central to its current "peace process." In another development, Western agencies quoted a State Department spokesman as saying that all parties to the conflict will be expected to help the tribunal and that Washington regards justice as important as peace. -- Patrick Moore

MONTENEGRIN PRIME MINISTER OFFERS LOGISTICAL SUPPORT TO NATO.
Milo Djukanovic, returning the visit by American congressmen who were in Montenegro earlier this year, said he wants to back the Dayton talks by offering logistical support for NATO troops at the port of Bar, Nasa Borba reported on 8 November. Bar could be used to ship weapons, equipment, and men to Bosnia, he suggested. While Washington acknowledged this proposal as a confirmation of the "recognizable foreign policy of Montenegro," a spokesman of the Serbian Radical Party in Montenegro said it was part of a plan for the secession of Montenegro from rump Yugoslavia, Montena-fax reported the same day. -- Daria Sito Sucic

KOSOVO UPDATE.
Kosova Daily Report on 8 November said that Serbian police raided 106 Albanian homes in Pec over the last nine months. At least 88 ethnic Albanians were beaten up and another 61 maltreated, while a total of 149 people were detained. During the same period, 17 Albanian party and trade unions activists were sentenced to long prison terms in the western Kosovar town. The report also says that "Serbian police have been continuously hunting down draft-age Albanians," adding that "dozens were delivered to military inductions, while two of them were forcefully drafted." Elsewhere, police reportedly cracked down on ethnic Albanian schools in Vucitrn near Mitrovica and maltreated school staff. Raids are also reported from around Pristine. Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow-state Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi urged the U.S. to maintain sanctions against rump Yugoslavia until a solution to the conflict has been reached, Reuters reported on 8 November. -- Fabian Schmidt

SATIRICAL WEEKLY LAUNCHED IN SERBIA.
Nasa Borba on 9 November reported that a satirical weekly--the first of its kind in the rump Yugoslavia--has been launched. Smrklost is to be published in Kragujevac and is staffed by local journalists and cartoonists. The independent daily called the new publication the "first Serbian Feral," referring to Croatia's Feral Tribune, which is widely known for satirizing key political and social developments in Croatia. -- Stan Markotich

PRO-MONARCHY DEMONSTRATION IN BUCHAREST.
Some 3,000 Romanians on 8 November gathered in Bucharest to mark the 50th anniversary of a brutally suppressed anti-communist rally, international agencies and Radio Bucharest reported. The demonstrators, waving flags with the insignia of the Romanian monarchy and portraits of exiled King Michael, shouted "Down with Iliescu." King Michael addressed the crowd live via a local radio station. "Even though Romania is not under Soviet occupation anymore, the struggle that we started in 1945 against communism has not finished," he said. Emil Constantinescu, leader of the Democratic Convention opposition bloc, and Ion Diaconescu, deputy chairman of the National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic (PNTCD), also addressed the crowd. The protest meeting was organized by the PNTCD's student organization. -- Matyas Szabo

MOLDOVAN PRIME MINISTER ON TREATY WITH ROMANIA.
Andrei Sangheli, in an interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta carried by BASA-press and cited by Radio Bucharest on 8 November, said Romania's insistence that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is mentioned in the pending treaty with Chisinau is aimed at demonstrating that Moldova is an "artificial state." He stressed that this was not the case, since the Moldovan state was "set up over 500 years ago, long before the Romanian state was set up last century." Romanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mircea Geona on 8 November responded by saying Sangheli's interview reflected conflicts within the Moldovan leadership in which Romania does not wish to become involved. Radio Bucharest reported that Geona reiterated the Romanian position that Bucharest is striving for a relationship of a "special character" with Chisinau. He noted that this must be also reflected in the treaty between the two countries. -- Michael Shafir

CHISINAU, TIRASPOL FAIL TO AGREE ON SUMMIT.
Teams of experts meeting in Chisinau last week have failed to reach agreement on the next Moldovan-Transdniestrian summit, Infotag reported on 8 November. A Transdniestrian official told the agency that the sides disagree over the summit's agenda, with Chisinau insisting on discussing a draft law on autonomy for the breakaway region and Tiraspol wanting to discuss relations between two independent republics. The last summit meeting was held on 13 September. -- Michael Shafir

WAR OF WORDS CONTINUES BETWEEN BULGARIAN PRESIDENT, SOCIALIST PARTY.
Zhelyu Zhelev. addressing EU diplomats on 8 November, accused the Socialist-dominated parliament of poor performance due to division within the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Standart reported on 9 November. Meanwhile, BSP deputies are threatening to ask the Constitutional Court to rule on Zhelev's support for Stefan Sofiyanski, the Union of Democratic Forces' candidate for mayor of Sofia. The second round of local elections in the capital, a run-off between Sofyianski and BSP candidate Ventsislav Yosifov, is to take place over the weekend. According to the BSP, the president is constitutionally prohibited from taking sides in elections. -- Michael Wyzan

ALBANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER PRESENTS LISTS OF BORDER VICTIMS.
Agron Musaraj on 8 November presented the Parliamentary Commission on Defense, Public Order, and the Secret Service with the first lists of Albanians killed at the border between 1990 and 1992 and the chief border guards responsible for the killings. The head of the commission, Azem Hajdari, said the first indictments against border guards could be made when the commission received the complete documentation, ATSH reported the same day. After May 1990, the penal code ceased to specify leaving the country as "high treason" and to justify the killing of illegal emigrants. Hajdari estimates the number of victims to be more than 100. Investigations have already begun against former President Ramiz Alia and Interior Minister Hekuran Isai. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]


Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




XS
SM
MD
LG