OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 223, 15 November 1995
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO CONSIDER DEPUTIES' INQUIRY ON ELECTORAL LAW.
Constitutional Court has agreed to consider the constitutionality of the Duma
electoral law, Russian TV reported on 14 November. A group of 103 Duma deputies
say that the law contradicts eight articles of the constitution and should be
changed before the December parliamentary elections. According to Vyacheslav
Nikonov, a representative of the deputies' group, the fact that the law allows
for half of the deputies to be elected by party list is a violation of the
voter's constitutional right to participate in his or her government because
party-list candidates represent the interests of their parties rather then
those of the voters, Ekspress-Khronika reported. The court will also
examine the rule that requires parties to win 5% of the popular vote to gain
parliamentary representation (see OMRI Daily Digest 10 November 1995).
-- Anna Paretskaya
SUPREME COURT ORDERS REGISTRATION OF ANOTHER PARTY.
On 14 November,
the Supreme Court ordered the Central Electoral Commission (TsIK) to
register the Union of Russian Housing Industry Workers for the Duma campaign by
15 November, ITAR-TASS reported. The consequences of this order are not clear
since the TsIK has already determined the order of parties on the ballot and
the dates on which the parties will be given free broadcasting time. -- Robert
POLL SHOWS ONLY THREE PARTIES CLEARING 5% BARRIER.
A Public Opinion Poll
conducted 26 October shows that only the Communist Party, Our Home is Russia,
and Women of Russia would clear the 5% barrier if elections were held now, with
support from 14%, 7% and 6% of those polled respectively. Such a result would
inevitably mean that many voters would not have party representation in the
Duma if they supported one of the 39 other parties that fell below the 5%
barrier. -- Robert Orttung
TELEVISION CAMPAIGN FOR DUMA BEGINS.
State-owned television and radio
stations in Russia began giving the 42 registered parties in the Duma campaign
free air time on 15 November. Russian Public TV (ORT) had wanted to organize
its broadcasts in the form of debates and round tables between the parties to
make the presentations more lively and avoid "demagoguery and populism"
according to ORT General Director Sergei Blagovolin. But the vast majority of
the parties, including the Communists and Aleksandr Rutskoi's Derzhava,
demanded solo appearances instead. ORT announced on 14 November that each party
would have its own air time. Television played a major role in Vladimir
Zhirinovsky's success in 1993 and is expected to influence Russia's numerous
undecided voters this year as well. -- Robert Orttung
ROMANOV ACCUSES CHERNOMYRDIN OF ILLEGALLY GIVING ORT MONEY.
Council Deputy Peter Romanov accused Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin of
illegally giving $10 million and 75 billion rubles ($16.7 million) to Russian
Public TV (ORT) on 14 November. Romanov doubted the legality of the transfer
because he considers ORT a private company. The state has a 51% stake in the
station. Romanov said Chernomyrdin is using state budget money to buy
advertisements for his electoral bloc, Our Home is Russia, Russian TV reported.
Romanov is the director of a large Krasnoyarsk chemical enterprise and has
participated in the nationalistic Russian National Assembly. -- Robert
SHUMEIKO OFFERS NEW PLAN FOR FORMING FEDERATION COUNCIL.
Council Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko proposed that the next Federation Council
include the leaders of the local executive and legislative branches but said it
should be left up to each region to decide whether or not the executive would
be appointed by the president or elected locally. According to his plan, either
the heads of the local branches or their deputies could join the upper house,
ORT reported. The regions could also decide to allow the current Federation
Council members, who were directly elected in 1993, to represent their
interests. The members of the Federation Council did not initially support
those plans, describing them as "undemocratic," and particularly objected to
the idea of including two presidential representatives in the upper chamber as
"illegitimate." Shumeiko's plan is unlikely to be more successful than the two
previous versions of the law vetoed by Yeltsin. -- Robert Orttung
KRO REFERENDUM TAKES SHAPE.
The Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) is
proposing that a referendum be held on the question, "Do you believe that the
activity of the government should be evaluated according to the people's
standard of living?" The idea for a referendum arose at the KRO's 10 November
meeting (see OMRI Daily Digest, 13 November 1995). The KRO must collect
2 million signatures to place the issue on the ballot, Radio Mayak reported on
14 November. -- Robert Orttung
GRACHEV MEETS WITH PATRIARCH.
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev met with
the Patriarch Aleksii II at St. Daniel's Monastery on 14 November to mark the
18-month anniversary of a cooperation agreement between the army and the
Russian Orthodox Church, ITAR-TASS reported. Grachev said that liaison officers
for cooperation with religious organizations will be stationed in military
units. Meanwhile, a group of young Muscovites demonstrated outside the Defense
Ministry to demand that Grachev be replaced by a civilian, Russian TV reported.
-- Constantine Dmitriev
RUSSIA DELIVERS SUBMARINE TO CHINA.
Under the terms of a bilateral
agreement on military-technical cooperation, a Russian delegation, led by
Admiral Valentin Selivanov, chief of the Russian Naval Staff, has handed over a
newly-constructed "Kilo" class diesel-electric submarine to China at the port
of Ninbo, (see OMRI Daily Digest, 6 September 1995), ITAR-TASS reported
on 15 November. Russian and Chinese military experts dismissed speculation that
Russian sales of submarines to China may change the strategic balance in the
North Pacific. ITAR-TASS cited an official from the U.S. State Department who
said that Washington does not think that such deliveries will significantly
increase Chinese naval capabilities. -- Constantine Dmitriev
LOBOV CALLS FOR MORE SPENDING IN CHECHNYA.
in Chechnya, Oleg Lobov, told journalists on 14 November that financing of
federal forces and reconstruction in the republic is totally inadequate,
Russian agencies reported. Lobov blamed the Finance Ministry, which he said had
delayed scheduled payments from the federal budget. As a result, he said,
federal troops were dying for lack of necessary equipment and supplies. Lobov
added that he would recommend the expenditure of 14.7 trillion rubles ($3.3
billion) from the federal budget on reconstruction in the republic during 1996.
ITAR-TASS reported on 15 November that sporadic fighting the previous day left
6 federal servicemen dead. -- Scott Parrish
YELSTIN MEETS NAZARBAYEV.
President Yeltsin met with Kazakhstani
President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow on 14
November, Russian and Western agencies reported. During their televised
meeting, Yeltsin angrily dismissed reports that he requires an operation for
his heart condition as "foolish nonsense." The two presidents discussed
bilateral and CIS issues, and Yeltsin told Russian Public TV (ORT) that he
hoped Russian ties with Kazakhstan would develop "along the same lines as with
Belarus." Despite the apparently friendly meeting, on the same day the Russian
Ministry of Nationalities sent a letter to Kazakhstan protesting the recent
arrest of Semirechie Cossack Ataman Nikolai Gunkin. -- Scott Parrish
RUSSIA RECALLS AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA.
Joining a chorus of criticism from
around the world, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin sharply
criticized the Nigerian military regime for executing nine political activists
despite international calls for clemency, Russian and Western agencies reported
on 14 November. Karasin announced that Russia would recall its ambassador from
Lagos for consultations. The U.S., Great Britain, and several other Western
powers have also recalled their ambassadors from Nigeria to protest the
executions. -- Scott Parrish
JOINT U.S.-RUSSIAN VENTURE TO MARKET SPACE ROCKET.
association Energomash and the U.S. company Pratt & Whitney plan to set up
a joint venture to develop and market a liquid-fueling rocket engine which they
hope will be chosen to modernize the American Atlas booster rocket, Interfax
reported on 13 November. The new RD-180 engine will be based on the RD-170
engine now used in the first stage of the Russian Zenith space booster. It will
be built by Energomash in Khimki, near Moscow. The U.S. space company
Lockheed-Martin will announce the winner of the Atlas contract in January 1996.
-- Doug Clarke
MAFIA TIES TO LATIN AMERICA.
The Moscow organized crime gang known as
Solntsevo is planning to organize large-scale drug smuggling from Latin America
to Russia, Izvestiya reported on 15 November. Many Russian criminals
have dual citizenship and some have acquired the status of honorary consuls to
Latin American countries. The leaders of the Solntsevo gang have established
close relations with the Russian diaspora in Israel, Austria, and the U.S. and
are now turning to Latin America. Costa Rica is particularly attractive because
it is a small, quiet, and economically stable country, according to the report.
-- Thomas Sigel
ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY SEEKS DELAY IN CFC BAN.
Russia will ask for a
four-year delay before it conforms to a global ban on ozone-destroying gases
that takes effect on 1 January 1996, Izvestiya reported on 15 November.
The Environment Ministry said it needs $600,000 and time to convert industry to
ozone-safe methods that comply with the 1987 Montreal protocol on phasing out
production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Industry in Russia is still emitting
90,000 tons of ozone-destructive gas each year. Scientists and
environmentalists argue that ozone depletion results in increased cancer
incidents and lower crop yields. -- Thomas Sigel
STORMS IN FAR EAST CAUSE EXTENSIVE DAMAGE.
Storms ripping across
Russia's Far East last week killed three people, one on Sakhalin Island and two
on the mainland, and injured dozens, Russian and Western agencies reported on
14 November. The hurricane-force winds caused $19 million in damage. The
Kamchatka Peninsula city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii was hit hardest as some
200 families were left homeless and their apartment buildings were destroyed by
the 10 November storms. -- Thomas Sigel
YELTSIN NOMINATES NEW CENTRAL BANK CHIEF.
President Boris Yeltsin
informed the Duma that he is nominating Sergei Dubinin to be the new permanent
head of the Central Bank, NTV reported on 14 November. Dubinin, 44, is an
academic economist who served as acting finance minister from February to
October 1994 and was fired after the ruble collapse on "Black Tuesday". He
currently heads the government Commission on Credit Policy and is a deputy
chairman of Imperial Bank and a member of the Gazprom board. Yeltsin's move
ends speculation that Aleksandr Khandruev, who only last week was appointed
acting head of the bank, would be a candidate for the permanent position.
Dubinin's candidacy must be approved by the Duma. Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin and
Budget Committee Chairman Mikhail Zadornov came out in support of Dubinin.
However, he may be opposed by anti-reform deputies as he is seen as the most
monetarist of the commonly mentioned candidates. -- Peter Rutland
EURASIANS DREAM OF ALASKA.
The weekly Russian Asia, published in
Novosibirsk, wants to integrate Siberia into the global economy. To this end,
it proposes reviving a 1906 project to build a railway tunnel under the Bering
Straits, ITAR-TASS reported on 15 November. The idea of linking Russia with
Alaska by such a tunnel was postponed due to World War I. An equally
implausible idea the paper proposes is to build a new 7,200 km railway along
the northern Arctic coast. In the meantime, a new 640 km line is currently
being built from Tynda (Amur Oblast) north to Yakutsk, an important center of
mining activity. -- Peter Rutland
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 223, 15 November 1995
KAZAKHS, COSSACKS, AND RUSSIANS.
Recent media coverage of imprisoned
Cossack Ataman Nikolai Gunkin prompted Kazakhstani government officials on 13
November to release a statement denying any discrimination toward the
Russian-speaking community in the Central Asian republic, according to
Interfax. Meanwhile, the Cossacks of Russia's Kurgan Oblast, which borders
Kazakhstan, have sent letters of protest to both the Russian and Kazakhstani
governments over the matter. The Cossacks say they are prepared to block roads
along the border in order to obtain a solution to the Gunkin problem as well as
to the larger issue of the Russian speaking population's rights. -- Bruce
UZBEK PRESIDENT IN GERMANY TO IMPROVE ECONOMIC RELATIONS.
President Islam Karimov arrived in Stuttgart, Germany on 14 November to begin a
three-day visit. An ITAR-TASS report of the same day noted that Karimov is
scheduled to meet with representatives of several major companies, including
the auto firm Daimler-Benz, and the shoe manufacturer Salamander AG. The latter
plans to set up a plant that will produce more than 500,000 pairs of men's
shoes per year, according to a Reuters report of 15 November. Germany remains
one of the key investors in the Uzbek economy, with bilateral trade at over
$700 million in 1995. Roger Kangas
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 223, 15 November 1995
LABOR UNREST IN EASTERN UKRAINE.
RFE/RL reported that 100,000 coal
miners in eastern Ukraine went on strike on 14 November to demand the back
payment of wages. Mykhailo Volynets, leader of the coal miners' union, said
that 21 mines have already ceased operations and that all 62 mines represented
by the union would eventually take part in the strike. He noted that the
government owes coal miners some $150 million in back pay. UNIAN claims that
many have not been paid since July. Deputy Premier for Fuel and Energy Vasyl
Yevtukhov met with several deputy ministers on 11 November in an attempt to
resolve the issue. -- Bruce Pannier
UKRAINE TO EXPAND OIL, GAS INDUSTRIES.
The board of the State Committee
for Oil, Gas, and Oil Refining on 11 November approved a proposal to
substantially increase oil drilling off its southern coast. According to an
InfoBank report on 13 November, the proposal permits the drilling of almost
800,000 wells over the next 15 years in both the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
Costs over this period are estimated at $3 billion, while profits are expected
to exceed $5.9 billion. The application deadline for companies interested in
participating has been extended to 31 January 1996. -- Roger Kangas
UKRAINE MAY JOIN NATO'S BOSNIA FORCE.
General Vadym Hrechaninov,
military aide to President Leonid Kuchma, told RFE/RL on 14 November that
Ukraine is willing to have its peacekeepers join the proposed NATO-led Bosnian
peace implementation force. Hrechaninov rejected Russian complaints about
serving under NATO command, saying Ukraine would be guided by its own national
interests. He added that Ukraine's international image would be undermined if
it did not participate in the NATO force. -- Scott Parrish
ESTONIAN DEFENSE FORCES' CHIEF OF STAFF DISMISSED.
commander in chief Lt. Gen. Aleksander Einseln on 13 November dismissed Col.
Arvo Sirel as chief of staff and named air force chief Col. Vello Loemaa as his
acting replacement, BNS reported the next day. Einseln also appointed Aivar
Voronov to replace Lt. Col. Manivald Kasepold as Tallinn garrison commandant.
The two dismissed officers were implicated in the sale of weapons illegally
imported from Finland. -- Saulius Girnius
NO CONFIDENCE VOTE AGAINST LITHUANIAN PREMIER FAILS.
five-hour debate, the Lithuanian parliament on 14 November voted in a secret
ballot on a resolution of no confidence in Adolfas Slezevicius signed by 52
deputies, Radio Lithuania reported. The ruling Democratic Labor Party decided
that its members would not participate in the vote and thus assured its
failure. The vote for the resolution was 57 to five, with three spoiled
ballots. A minimum of 70 votes is required for a no confidence vote to pass. --
BELARUSIAN EX-PREMIER ACCUSES MEDIA OF DISCREDITING CANDIDATES.
Vyacheslau Kebich told a news conference in Minsk on 13 November that the media
are being used to "politically eliminate" possible candidates for the post of
parliament chairman, including the incumbent, Mechyslau Hryb, Control Chamber
Chairman Vasili Sakovich, and Kebich himself, Interfax reported. Kebich said he
is planning to sue Narodnaya hazeta for libel. The newspaper published
an interview with an investigator from the Prosecutor's Office who alleged that
in May 1994, Kebich signed 32 bonds totaling $1.1 billion that the Finance
Ministry would have to pay out between 1999 and 2004. Kebich said this showed
the "complete economic ignorance" of the journalists who ran the interview
since only the Finance Ministry and National Bank have the right to issue such
securities. -- Saulius Girnius
POLISH GOVERNMENT ACCEPTS AMENDMENTS ON ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW.
government has accepted amendments to the 1992 law on anti-corruption measures
that, among other things, ban high-ranking state officials from economic
activity outside agriculture, from employment in commercial companies, and from
owning more than 10% of shares in those companies. Undersecretary of State in
the Ministry of Justice Bogdan Zdziennicki said there were gaps in the new
draft. The obligation to declare economic activities will not apply to the
posts of president, speakers of the Sejm and Senate, and prime minister,
Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 15 November. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz
KWASNIEWSKI LEADS IN OPINION POLL.
The first opinion poll conducted by
the Public Opinion Research Center (OBOP) between the two rounds of the Polish
presidential elections gave Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander
Kwasniewski a 3 percentage point advantage over incumbent President Lech
Walesa. 51.5% of the respondents intending to vote said they would cast their
ballot for Kwasniewski on 19 November, while 48.5% declared their support for
Walesa. A dozen Roman Catholic bishops have expressed their support for Walesa,
having refrained from doing so before the first round. Walesa said that if the
bishop's support had come earlier, "the race would already be over," Polish
dailies reported on 15 November. -- Jakub Karpinski
CZECH PREMIER IN FRANCE.
French President Jacques Chirac reassured Czech
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus on 14 November that he supports the enlargement of
the EU and NATO and that he regards the Czech Republic as a front-rank
candidate for membership in both organizations, Czech media reported. "Chirac
assured me that France is unambiguously for the expansion of the EU and
NATO--even though sometimes . . . it appears that it is not," Klaus told
reporters during a one-day visit to Paris. Klaus also had talks with his French
counterpart, Alain Juppe, and OECD Secretary-General Jean-Claude Paye. The
Czech Republic hopes to become the first postcommunist country to join the
OECD, possibly by the end of this year. -- Steve Kettle
SLOVAK CABINET APPROVES 1996 DRAFT BUDGET .
The government on 14
November approved its 1996 draft budget, which foresees a deficit of 27 billion
koruny ($914 million), a minimum 5% growth in GDP, a 6-8% inflation rate, and a
13% unemployment rate. Maria Suranova, director of the budget department of the
Finance Ministry, said real social expenditures will be higher in 1996 than in
the previous year. Meanwhile, the budget of the Slovak Intelligence Service
(SIS) will be increased by 47% to 759.6 million koruny, and that of the
President's Office cut by 20% to 97 million koruny, Praca reported. The
budget for the President's Office has already been substantially reduced this
year, forcing the president to sack a number of employees. In other news, the
parliament on 14 November adopted a controversial amendment to the law on
prices allowing both the Finance Ministry and local officials to regulate
prices of goods and services. -- Sharon Fisher
POLICE INVESTIGATING ABDUCTION OF SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON CLEARED OF
Pavol Zajac, director of the police force's Office of Inspection
Services, told Slovak Radio on 14 November that Jaroslav Simunic and Peter
Vacok did not commit any criminal offenses while investigating the kidnapping
of Michal Kovac Jr. Simunic and Vacok were dismissed after linking the Slovak
Information Service (SIS) to the kidnapping. In late September, SIS director
Ivan Lexa, who is a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, brought
charges against Simunic and Vacok as well as other policemen, accusing them of
using "psychological pressure" against SIS agents. Zajac said Simunic committed
a disciplinary offense but noted that he cannot be punished because he quit the
police force at the end of September. -- Sharon Fisher
HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES CONTROVERSIAL CUSTOMS BILL.
A customs bill
strongly criticized by foreign investors was unanimously passed by the
Hungarian parliament on 14 November, Hungarian media reported. The new
law--which aims to bring the country's customs procedures in line with EU
standards--imposes higher duties on imported goods. American investors had
opposed the bill, saying it could slow down technological progress and disrupt
long-term investment plans. They added that if it passed, the level of active
capital flowing into Hungary would likely drop. And they also found it alarming
that the Hungarian authorities had failed to consult or inform them beforehand.
Until now, Hungarian customs procedures and tariffs were regulated by decrees
passed in 1966 and 1976, respectively. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 223, 15 November 1995
CROATIAN PRESIDENT PROMOTES INDICTED WAR CRIMINAL.
One day after the
International War Crimes Tribunal indicted General Tihomir Blaskic for
atrocities against the Muslims of the Lasva valley, Croatian President Franjo
Tudjman's office announced his appointment as a staff member of the Croatian
army's main inspectorate. Western news agencies on 14 November reported
reactions from Croatia, Bosnia, and elsewhere that ranged from shock and
incredulity to confirmation of old beliefs that Tudjman is arrogant and lacking
in common political sense. Reuters quoted an unnamed Bosnian official as saying
that the court will have to turn to "Croatia now and it will be up to them to
hand [Blaskic] over to the tribunal or face international sanctions." It
remains to be seen what effect Blaskic's promotion will have on Zagreb's
relations with Sarajevo, Washington, and Bonn. -- Patrick Moore
ARE THE SERBS BACK-PEDALING ON EASTERN SLAVONIA?
Many Croats suspect
that latest agreement on eastern Slavonia is flawed and that the Serbs will put
their own interpretation on it, as they did with Cyrus Vance's plan for
occupied Croatia in early 1992. AFP on 14 November reported that the Slavonian
Serbs indeed appear to feel that the agreement gives them the right to decide
whether to return to Croatian sovereignty at the end of two years. Zagreb's
interpretation closely reflects the text itself, which views the sovereignty
question as closed and provides for a one-year transition with a possible
one-year extension and for local elections but not a referendum. Meanwhile in
Dayton, U.S., Secretary of State Warren Christopher has returned for what is
seen as a last-ditch attempt to save the peace talks, which are deadlocked
primarily on territorial questions and the status of Sarajevo. -- Patrick
IMF MISSION IN SARAJEVO, CENTRAL BANK TO INTRODUCE CURRENCY.
mission arrived in Sarajevo on 13 November for a 10-day visit to assess the
economic situation there and to provide assistance in drafting the 1996 budget,
Hina reported the same day. IMF and World Bank officials have said that the
Muslim-Croat federation will receive credits from them only if it adopts a
common budget, establishes a joint central bank and currency, and agrees to
service its share of the former federal Yugoslav debt. Meanwhile, Bosnian
Central Bank governor Rasim Omicevic announced plans to establish a national
currency in the coming months, Reuters reported on 10 November. He favors
broadening the use of the existing Bosnian dinar rather than introducing a new
currency. The Bosnian dinar has been stable for several months against the
German mark owing to tight monetary policy. -- Michael Wyzan
CROATIAN ELECTION FINAL RESULTS.
Croatian media on 14 November reported
that the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) will have 75 of the 127
seats in the new lower house or Sabor. The HDZ was greatly aided by Tudjman's
capitalizing on the army's successes and by the addition of 12 seats that were
elected by Croats in Bosnia and elsewhere abroad, as well as by the
government's control of the electronic and much of the print media. The HDZ
nonetheless failed to get a two-thirds majority to be able to change the
constitution. An opposition coalition took 16 seats, the Liberals 12, the
former Communists 10, the Croatian Party of [Historic] Rights four, the
regional Istrian party two, and the Independent Democrats one. The remaining
seven seats went to the ethnic minorities, including three for the Serbs. --
CROATIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES AGREE ON ZAGREB MAYOR'S RACE.
Leaders of the
seven opposition parties that in recent elections won 64% of seats in Zagreb's
City Assembly and a majority of seats in the District Assembly have signed a
cooperation agreement. Vecernji List reported on 15 November that they
have agreed to nominate joint candidates for top posts. Goran Granic from the
Liberals will run for mayor and district head, and Zdravko Tomac from the Party
of Democratic Changes is the candidate for the president of both the city and
district assemblies. -- Daria Sito Sucic
CONFIDANT OF ACCUSED SERBIAN WAR CRIMINAL JAILED.
Zoran Macai, friend
and confidante of accused war criminal Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan," has been
found guilty of inciting murder in Hungary and has received a 10-year sentence,
international media reported on 14 November. Macai, who was tried in the
Serbian town of Subotica, served as a camp commander in rebel-Serb occupied
Croatia. The same day, Marinko Magda, a professional killer, was sentenced to
death for six murders committed in the province of Vojvodina. Magda is
currently serving a life sentence in Hungary and was tried in absentia.
Four other defendants, also believed to members of Arkan's notorious
paramilitary Tigers, received lengthy jail terms but are expected to appeal
them. -- Stan Markotich
MACEDONIA BECOMES MEMBER OF PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE.
Macedonia on 15
November became the 27th member of the Partnership for Peace program, MIC
reports. Macedonia has engaged in military cooperation with the US since 1994
and U.S. soldiers participated in a joint military exercise for the first time
on 9 November. More Maneuvers are scheduled for March 1996. U.S. troops are
present in Macedonia as a contingent of UN peacekeeping troops since December
1992. -- Fabian Schmidt
ROMANIAN OPPOSITION LEADER'S FUNERAL DRAWS HUGE CROWDS.
people on 14 November attended the funeral of Corneliu Coposu, chairman of the
National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic, who died on 11 November, Romanian
and Western media reported. The crowd filed past Coposu's coffin on Revolution
Square. Some mourners booed Senate speaker and chairman of the ruling Party of
Social Democracy in Romania Oliviu Gherman when he spoke at the ceremonies
instead of Romanian President Ion Iliescu, who was on an official visit in
Egypt. Ana of Bourbon-Parma, the wife of Romania's exiled King Michael, also
attended the funeral and was greeted by well-wishers who shouted pro-monarchist
slogans. Coposu spent 17 years in communist jails and was seen as a symbol of
anti-communist resistance. -- Dan Ionescu
SENIOR BRITISH OFFICIAL IN ROMANIA.
Sir Nicholas Bonsor, minister of
state at the British Foreign Ministry, on 13 November arrived in Romania to
discuss boosting bilateral trade, Radio Bucharest reported. Bonsor met with
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu to discuss the extension of the EU, NATO
expansion, and British-Romanian cooperation within the new world context. The
next day, he participated in a seminar entitled "The Day of British Trade." He
also signed a bilateral agreement on confiscating revenues accrued from illegal
transactions, such as drug trafficking. -- Matyas Szabo
OSCE EXTENDS MANDATE IN MOLDOVA.
The OSCE has decided to extend its
mandate in Moldova by six months, BASA-press reported on 14 November. The
decision was taken on 9 November at an OSCE Permanent Council meeting in
Vienna. Michael Wygant, head of the OSCE mission in Moldova, told Deputy
Foreign Minister Ion Capatana that the participants in the Vienna meeting
discussed the implementation of the Moldovan-Russian agreement on the
withdrawal of Russian troops from eastern Moldova. He was quoted as saying that
the vast majority of the OSCE member countries support Moldova's stance on the
issue. -- Dan Ionescu
HUGE NEW LOSSES AT BULGARIAN BANKS.
Losses of Bulgarian banks in the
first six months of 1995 were up 402% on the same period last year,
Demokratsiya reported on 15 November. The government is resisting
pressure from the IMF and World Bank to close the two most troubled state
banks, Mineralbank and Stopanska Banka, although it is considering creating a
"hospital bank" in which bad debt would be consolidated. However, such a step
would cause problems for the upcoming mass privatization campaign and may lead
to a chain reaction of enterprise bankruptcies, according to Deputy Prime
Minister Rumen Gechev. -- Michael Wyzan
ALBANIAN FORMER SUPREME COURT JUDGE'S ARREST "APPEARED IMMINENT."
According to international news agencies, Zef Brozi left Albania for the U.S.
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 November 1995) to avoid imprisonment.
Justice Ministry officials reportedly charged Brozi with spending $100,000 in
public funds on a new car, office furniture, and foreign visits. Koha
Jone on 15 November reported that Brozi had received a Fulbright stipend
but that the real reason for his leaving the country was to prevent his arrest.
Observers, doubt the validity of the charges against Brozi and presume that the
accusations are aimed at legitimizing his dismissal under dubious circumstances
in September. Brozi is quoted as saying: "I am very grateful to the U.S. State
Department and U.S. embassy in Tirana for standing by me in these very
difficult conditions." -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave