OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 225, 17 November 1995
RUSSIA AND LONDON CLUB AGREE TO DEBT RESCHEDULING.
Meeting in Frankfurt,
Russia and the London Club of 600 creditor banks have concluded a framework
agreement on the rescheduling of loans and interest totaling $32.5 billion,
Russian and Western agencies reported on 16 November. Russia will be granted a
seven-year grace period, during which it will only pay interest. The agreement
does not formally forgive any of Russia's debt, as did a similar agreement with
Poland, but it spreads out the repayments over 25 years. Over the past four
years the banks have avoided the embarrassment of Russia going into default by
rolling the loans forward every 90 days. On 15 November ITAR-TASS reported that
the Paris Club of official creditors had also agreed to reschedule the $40
billion it is owed by Russia, although they failed to agree on a timetable. --
ZYUGANOV WARNS AGAINST CANCELING, POSTPONING ELECTIONS.
leader Gennadii Zyuganov warned on 15 November that there will be "painful
upheavals" if the citizens are denied the chance to vote on 17 December. He is
against amending the current election law now, arguing that it is a task for
the next Duma, Segodnya reported on 16 November. Zyuganov's party
benefits from the current law because it will almost certainly cross the 5%
barrier and will gain an even greater proportion of the seats if numerous small
parties are excluded from the parliament because they won less than 5%. --
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT WILL NOT DECIDE ELECTORAL LAW UNTIL NEXT WEEK.
Constitutional Court will not decide whether it will rule on the
constitutionality of the electoral law until next week, ITAR-TASS reported 16
November. The Court must meet in full session to decide whether it will hear a
case. The Supreme Court and a group of Duma members have asked the court to
rule on the constitutionality of the 5% barrier that parties must reach in
order to gain representation in the Duma. -- Robert Orttung
CHERNOMYRDIN OFFERS SUPPORT TO MEDIA LEADERS.
In a meeting with media
leaders, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said that President Boris Yeltsin
could sign the law on financial support to the media -- approved by the
Federation Council 15 November -- as early as December and it will come into
effect 1 January. The law will exempt all forms of media from a variety of
taxes and customs duties, and reduce the costs of their buildings, equipment,
and paper. NTV reported that it is not clear how the law will be put into
effect, since it will cost 1.5-2 trillion rubles ($330 million to $440
million). -- Robert Orttung
CLINTON BACKS CHERNOMYRDIN.
According to an article in Komsomolskya
pravda on 15 November, Russian observers have concluded that U.S. President
Bill Clinton now supports Viktor Chernomyrdin as the best possible successor to
President Yeltsin, should his health prevent him from running for a second term
in 1996. The paper said supportive remarks Clinton made to Chernomyrdin at
their recent meeting on the sidelines of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin's
funeral had left a strong impression on members of the Yeltsin administration,
because they suggested that Clinton favors Chernomyrdin and that the U.S.
president has started to "give up on" Yeltsin. The paper suggested that
American support could significantly bolster Chernomyrdin in any struggle to
succeed Yeltsin. -- Scott Parrish
FEDERATION COUNCIL OVERTURNS VETO ON SUBSISTENCE MINIMUM.
Parliament's upper house voted on 15 November to override President Yeltsin's
veto of the draft law on the Subsistence Minimum, Interfax reported. The veto
had been overturned by the Duma on 12 August, and the law must now be signed by
the president within seven days. The draft legislation envisages a new social
security benefit to be paid to families whose income is below the official
subsistence minimum. According to the Federation Council's Social Policy
Committee, the law would provide the basis for other legislation that would set
specific subsistence levels and determine how the allowances would be funded.
-- Penny Morvant
PLANS TO IMPROVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCING.
On 16 November the
government devoted its weekly meeting to a discussion of a draft law to
strengthen the powers of local governments. Russian cities currently operate in
something of a legal vacuum with respect to budgetary powers. For example, the
same day the city of Togliatti, home to the giant auto plant Volzhskii AZ,
announced it would seek designation as a "federal city" -- a status currently
held only by St. Petersburg and Moscow. Russian Public TV (ORT) reported on 16
November that Togliatti wants to leave the jurisdiction of Samara Oblast and
deal directly with the federal authorities. City officials complain that they
were only able to retain 40% of the 1.5 trillion rubles ($330 million) in local
taxes they collected this year. -- Peter Rutland
YAKUTIYA TO HOLD REFERENDUM ON EXTENDING PRESIDENT'S TERM.
Assembly of the Sakha Republic (Yakutiya) has decided to hold a referendum on
the extension of President Mikhail Nikolaev's term of office until 2001, Radio
Rossii reported on 16 November. Backers of the referendum collected 204,000
signatures in its support. Communist deputies of the Federal Assembly objected
to the decision, saying that Nikolaev's attempts to prolong his term violates
several articles of the republican constitution. -- Anna Paretskaya
VOLOGDA CORRUPTION SCANDAL.
President Yeltsin has asked
Procurator-General Yurii Skuratov to look into a corruption scandal in Vologda
which was exposed in an Izvestiya article on 15 November, Radio Mayak
reported the next day. Senior officials of the farming region were reportedly
involved in the diversion of 26 billion rubles ($5.8 million) of federal funds
and the harassment of journalists who tried to uncover the story. -- Peter
NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE AS CFE TREATY DEADLINE PASSES.
Diplomats from the
30 signatories of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty met through
the night in Vienna to try and reach a last-minute compromise on the
controversial flank limits that Russia refuses to meet, Russian and Western
agencies reported on 16 November. Treaty limits were scheduled to go into
effect on 17 November, and Reuters reported that negotiators "seem to be
inching forwards, but it could be hours yet." On the same day, a Russian
delegation arrived in Ankara to discuss the issue with Turkish officials.
Turkey has opposed changes to the flank limits, and has threatened to retaliate
if Russia fails to honor them. ITAR-TASS quoted anonymous Russian military
officials as saying that despite the dispute over the flank provisions, Russia
was in compliance with the treaty's overall weapons limits. -- Doug Clarke and
PERRY: RUSSIANS IN BOSNIAN FORCE MUST OBEY OR WITHDRAW.
Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev's claim that Moscow could veto any order
given to its troops in a Bosnian peace implementation force that it did not
like, U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry on 16 November said the Russians
must either obey all orders by an American commanding general or withdraw.
Western agencies quoted him as saying the Russians could not "pick and choose"
which orders to carry out. Perry conceded that any national military force
could disregard an order if they felt it was contrary to their national
interest, but their only other option would be to withdraw from Bosnia. -- Doug
DUDAEV SPOKESMEN SLAM ELECTION PLANS.
Chechen President Dzhokhar
Dudaev's negotiator, Khozh-Akhmed Yarikhanov, blasted plans to hold
simultaneous elections for the Duma and a Chechen head of state on 17 December,
Ekho Moskvy reported on 16 November. Yarikhanov said the announcement of the
elections effectively scuttled the already stalled political talks between his
delegation and federal authorities. Dudaev spokesman Movladi Udugov later
suggested to Interfax that separatist fighters would seek to disrupt the
elections if they were held before Russian troops leave Chechnya. Citing
Udugov, Interfax also reported that 2 civilians had been killed and 12 wounded
when federal forces shelled villages in the Vedeno region, although Gen.
Anatolii Shkirko, commander of federal forces in Chechnya, categorically
refuted reports of such shelling as "provocations," according to ITAR-TASS. --
DEBATE OVER RUSSIAN LOSSES IN CHECHNYA.
As the first year of the Chechen
war draws to a close, Russian media are calling upon security officials to give
a more open accounting of the scale of the conflict. The official casualty list
for Russian forces stands at 2,000 federal troops killed, 600 missing and 6,000
wounded, NTV reported on 16 November. The monthly death toll peaked at 693 in
January and fell to 142 in April, since then losses have averaged about 2-3
deaths per day. NTV suggested that the real losses may be much higher.
Estimates of civilian casualties are even less reliable. Radio Rossii reported
on 16 November that separatist forces still have an estimated 6,000 fighters at
their disposal (including about 300 mercenaries), of whom some 2,000 are
opposed to peace on any terms. An upsurge in attacks is expected as the
December elections draw near. -- Peter Rutland
GRACHEV: RUSSIA CANNOT AFFORD A PROFESSIONAL ARMY.
have proven to be too expensive for Russia, according to Defense Minster Pavel
Grachev, and the military has decided to cut their numbers from the more than
350,000 presently in service to a little over 100,000, Radio Mayak reported on
15 November. "If Russia were to have a professional army," he said, "the entire
country would be working for the army alone just to feed the army." He said the
contract system had failed because the contract soldiers were, as a rule,
family men and needed to be paid much higher than the minimum wage. "If we were
rich," he said, "it would be a different matter. It would, of course, be
wonderful to have professional personnel." -- Doug Clarke
BILL BANNING MILITARY POWER CUT-OFFS SENT TO YELTSIN.
A law providing
for up to 3 year's imprisonment for cutting off the power to military
facilities has been sent to President Yeltsin for signature, ITAR-TASS reported
on 15 November. The law would put some teeth into a 5 November government
resolution banning such blackouts. The military over the past year has been
plagued by a series of embarrassing incidents when local authorities cut off
the utilities to military bases because the military had not paid its bills. --
MANY BORDER GUARDS UNFIT TO CARRY GUNS.
Two days after a border guard in
eastern Siberia killed five of his colleagues on a shooting spree, a report was
released concluding that 60% of Russia's border guards are so unstable they
shouldn't be carrying guns. According to ITAR-TASS, the report was based on
tests conducted by doctors, psychologists, and lawyers following a series of
similar rampages by border guards over the past two years. -- Penny Morvant
PATRIARCH VISITS GERMANY.
The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church,
Aleksii II, arrived in Germany on 16 November, Radio Rossii reported. During
his first visit to Germany, at the invitation of the German Catholic and
Lutheran churches, Aleksii II will meet with German clergymen, Chancellor
Helmut Kohl, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, and other politicians. Aleksii II
told his German counterparts that he opposes transforming international
Christian organizations into a copy of the UN. Meanwhile, Pope John Paul II
announced that he would like to meet with Aleksii II in Moscow soon, ITAR-TASS
reported. -- Constantine Dmitriev
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 225, 17 November 1995
KAZAKHSTAN COURT CONVICTS COSSACK CHIEF. Th
e chief of the Semirechie
Cossacks in Kazakhstan, Nikolai Gunkin, was convicted on 17 November on charges
of holding illegal demonstrations, Reuters reported the same day. Gunkin told
the court that he organized a religious meeting on 8 January to mark the
Orthodox Christmas day, but denied holding any "illegal demonstrations."
Gunkin, who faces up to a year in jail, plans to appeal to international human
rights organizations. Reuters reported Kazakhstani President Nursultan
Nazarbayev as saying that investigations by foreign journalists into the case
may be prohibited under a constitutional clause that bans activities which may
destabilize the country. A report issued by the Kazakhstani-American Civil
Rights Bureau noted that since mid 1994 the Kazakhstani authorities have
frequently denied permission to hold meetings "without giving any reasons," and
arrested the violators by calling them "criminals," Kaztag reported on
16 November. -- Bhavna Dave
RELIGIOUS CONCERNS IN SOUTHERN KYRGYZSTAN.
The activities of various
religious organizations in southern Kyrgyzstan continue to be a source of
concern for the Kyrgyz government. Authorities in Bishkek have been attempting
to keep close watch on "propagators of Islamic Fundamentalism" in the Osh area.
A 13 November report from the Kabar news agency cited by the BBC claims
fundamentalist schools are being opened and imams are calling for a break with
Kyrgyz authorities, saying also that they promote negative attitudes "towards
all those who speak Russian." The same source also claimed that western
missionaries are abusing humanitarian aid to spread their message, saying that
when political parties cannot fill the needs of the people, religious
organizations are quick to appear. -- Bruce Pannier
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 225, 17 November 1995
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT VETOES LAND REFORM BILL.
The Ukrainian parliament
on 15 November voted 245 to 13 with 21 abstentions against the draft law on
land reform, claiming it was "a danger to Ukraine's economic security," UNIAR
reported. Supported by President Leonid Kuchma, the bill would have provided
for private ownership of land. Deputy Prime Minister Petro Sabluk told Reuters
the next day that the veto "does not mean the process of land reform has
stopped or will be stopped." But Ukrainian Agricultural Minister Pavlo
Haidutsky said the dismantling of the collective farm system could lead to the
sorts of decline in agriculture that East European countries suffered after
they allowed private ownership. This year's grain harvest is estimated to be
36.5 million tons, which, according to Reuters, is an improvement over last
year. -- Bruce Pannier
UKRAINE GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO NUCLEAR REACTOR.
Following a 10-day
shutdown, the sixth reactor at the Zaporizha nuclear power station was put back
on line, Reuters reported on 16 November. The reactor, the first opened since
the ban on new stations was lifted in 1993, began operating in early October
but was closed shortly after for repairs to the steam generator and for
examinations of possible leaks of radioactive water. An official from
Derzhkomatom noted that there was no danger and that "some faults in a new
reactor" are only natural. He added that the reactor will operate at 40%
capacity, increasing to 75% in the near future. -- Roger Kangas
CONFLICT BETWEEN ESTONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER, ARMY CHIEF.
Andrus Oovel openly criticized Lt. Gen. Aleksander Einseln on 15 November for
what he called shortcomings in building up the state defense, BNS reported the
next day. Oovel said he opposed the recent appointment of Col. Vello Loema as
acting chief of staff, noting that it had not been discussed with his ministry,
as required by Estonian law. Opposition parliament deputy Juri Adams said such
an open conflict was something that a democratic country could not allow and
suggested that a no confidence vote against Oovel be initiated. Einseln will
meet with Oovel on 18 November after returning from Germany where he is to give
a lecture at a course for senior NATO officers. -- Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIA DEPORTS ILLEGAL REFUGEES.
Lithuanian officials on 15 November
deported 108 illegal Asian refugees by placing them on the train to Moscow.
Most of the deported had been detained during the previous week although one
group had been held since the beginning of October. Since Lithuania does not
have an agreement with Russia and Belarus on the unconditional return of such
refugees, they are sent back on the basis of case-to-case negotiations. The
extent of the problem of refugees trying to reach the West through Lithuania
was shown by the detention of a group of 49 Afghan refugees near the Polish
border later that evening and another group of 20 Asians the next day, BNS
reported. -- Saulius Girnius
RISE IN CRIME IN BELARUS.
Belarusian acting Prosecutor-General Vasil
Kapitan told a news conference on 16 November that crime in Belarus was getting
worse, Belarusian Radio reported. The number of crimes registered in the first
ten months of the year was 108,527 or 12,500 more than in the same period last
year. Of particular concern is the 53.5% increase in serious crimes. -- Saulius
FINAL STAGES OF POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.
Incumbent President Lech
Walesa on 16 November said that if he wins the 19 November second round of
presidential elections, Jozef Oleksy's government should resign.
Rzeczpospolita on 17 November reported the results of an opinion poll
conducted by the Social Research Bureau according to which Democratic Left
Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski would have won 50.8% of votes and Walesa
49.2% if elections had taken place on 15 November. Two-thirds of those who
voted in the first round for former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski intend to vote
for Walesa, as do more than half of those who cast their ballot for former
Labor Minister Jacek Kuron and Central Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
The Polish presidential campaign officially ends at noon on 17 November. --
POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN MOSCOW.
Wladyslaw Bartoszewski paid a one-day
visit to Moscow on 16 November, Polish dailies reported the next day. In a
meeting with his Russian counterpart, Andrei Kozyrev, Bartoszewski discussed
bilateral relations, which, he said, were "developing well" despite political
differences. Moscow supported Bartoszewski's proposal to organize a
Polish-Russian round table in spring 1996. With regard to European security,
Bartoszewski said that while Poland wants to take part in a new, expanded NATO,
it cannot envisage the transformation of the alliance without NATO reaching
agreements with Russia and Ukraine. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz
CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS ON GERMANY TO COMPENSATE VICTIMS OF NAZISM.
Josef Zieleniec on 16 November called on Germany to compensate unconditionally
Czech victims of the wartime Nazi occupation, Czech media reported. In a speech
at Prague's Charles University, Zieleniec said both governments should
contribute to a Czech-German fund for the benefit of those whose suffered. The
Czech Republic is the only country occupied by the Nazis that has never
received wholesale compensation from postwar Germany; victims of Nazism have so
far received only money from a special fund set up by the Czech government last
year. In negotiations over a joint parliamentary declaration currently being
prepared to heal old wounds in Czech-German relations, the German side has
linked the question of compensation with recognizing claims by Sudeten Germans,
3 million of whom were forcibly expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War
II. -- Steve Kettle
CZECH DOCTORS SUSPEND PROTEST ACTION.
Czech doctors, who have been
taking industrial action since the beginning of this month, temporarily called
off their protest on 16 November after being asked to do so by President Vaclav
Havel. After meeting with Havel, David Rath, chairman of the Medical Trade
Union Club (LOK), said the "administrative strike" will be immediately
suspended until the end of this month. Rath said Havel told him that he
sympathized with doctors' concerns over pay and conditions but that he believed
protest action was not the way to solve the situation, Czech media reported.
LOK members and other health service workers staged a one-day strike on 1
November and since then have refused to carry out normal administrative tasks.
Health officials threatened the doctors with sanctions, including cutting their
pay and possible criminal charges, if they continued with the protest. -- Steve
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT PASSES RESOLUTION ON SLOVAKIA.
parliament on 16 November approved a resolution recommending that the Slovak
government respect democratic principles, cease attempts to cast doubt on the
mandates of democratically elected legislators, and guarantee all citizens the
right to freedom of expression in the media and public life. The parliament
warned that it might close its office in Slovakia and stop its assistance
programs if Vladimir Meciar's government does not take democratic principles
into account. The Foreign Ministry rejected the resolution, which, it said, was
"neither a dialogue nor a discussion" but "a monologue and decision" made
without listening to the other party. Meciar's party--the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia (HZDS)--responded by saying that the resolution "is
reminiscent of recent history, when the leader of Nazi Germany first sent
demarches to states and then occupied them with tanks." -- Sharon Fisher
HUNGARY CRITICIZES SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW.
The Hungarian government on 16
November released a sharply worded statement expressing "sorrow and
dissatisfaction" at the Slovak parliament's adoption of a controversial
language law the previous day. It also stressed that the law might hinder the
development of bilateral ties, Hungarian and international media reported.
Foreign Minister Ladislav Kovacs said that before taking any further measures,
the Hungarian government will study the final text of the new law. "Then we
will make our concerns known to the Slovak authorities before consulting the
Council of Europe and the OSCE," Kovacs said. Foreign Ministry State Secretary
Istvan Szent-Ivanyi said the language law contravenes the Slovak-Hungarian
treaty and pointed out that if the treaty is ratified by the Slovak parliament,
it will repeal the language law. -- Sharon Fisher
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 225, 17 November 1995
TOP TWO BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS INDICTED FOR "SAVAGERY" AT SREBRENICA.
International Herald Tribune on 17 November said that the Hague-based
war crimes tribunal has again indicted Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic
and his military counterpart, General Ratko Mladic. This time they are charged
with being "directly responsible" for the "systematic mass killings" of up to
8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica in July, which the paper called "what may be the
worst massacre committed in Europe since World War II." One of the judges noted
"scenes of unimaginable savagery: thousands of men executed and buried in mass
graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered,
children killed before their mothers' eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the
liver of his own grandson." -- Patrick Moore
U.S., GOLDSTONE AGREE THAT WAR CRIMINALS MUST FACE JUSTICE.
Goldstone, chief justice of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, said there
cannot be real peace in the Balkans as long as war criminals go unpunished, the
BBC reported on 16 November. The Independent also quoted him as saying
that diplomats have no right to offer war criminals deals as part of a peace
settlement. The State Department stressed that there can be no peace without
justice and said that it expects Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia to cooperate with
the tribunal, international media noted. To date, Belgrade has been unwilling
to hand over Karadzic, Mladic, or any other of the 45 indicted Serbs. No
Muslims have yet been indicted. -- Patrick Moore
CROATIA DUCKS ON WAR CRIMINALS.
The Guardian on 16 November
reported that Croatian Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa has indicated he has no
intention of handing over the six Bosnian Croats indicted on 13 November.
Reuters quoted him as saying the charges have not been substantiated and that
Croatia must "abide by procedure." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on
17 November quoted Croatian spokesmen as calling General Tihomir Blaskic's
transfer back to Zagreb a rotation rather than a promotion, as it has widely
been viewed. Globus asked Matesa why another of the six, Dario Kordic,
recently got a medal for promoting Croatia's reputation abroad. The newly
appointed premier replied: "It is not my job to give views on why Dario Kordic
received that medal. He was most probably given this medal by the president
himself." Elsewhere, Novi list wrote on 17 November that the Bosnian
army has been guilty of "genocide" against the Bosnian Croats. Slobodna
Dalmacija said that Blaskic is a professional who could not have committed
war crimes. -- Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN CROAT LEADER DISSATISFIED WITH DAYTON TALKS.
Kresimir Zubak, in
a letter sent to U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke on 15 November, said he
cannot sign the proposed peace agreement because it does not sufficiently take
Bosnian Croat interests into account, the BBC reported on 17 November, quoting
Radio Herceg-Bosna. Zubak added that he had expected to be more actively
involved in drawing up the text, especially with regard to the maps but that he
had been informed via intermediaries only. Meanwhile, a UN spokesman in
Sarajevo complained that despite a recent agreement, Bosnian government and
Bosnian Croat forces are denying the UN free movement, Nasa Borba
reported on 17 November. -- Daria Sito Sucic
BOSNIA, CROATIA AGREE TO LINK CURRENCIES.
Federation and the Croatian government agreed on 16 November to link the
Bosnian dinar and the Croatian kuna, German media reported on 16 November. The
link will be based on the Deutsche mark and will go into effect on 20 January
1996. The agreement was worked out with the assistance of officials from the
IMF and World Bank. -- Michael Wyzan
KOSOVAR HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP WANTS MILOSEVIC INDICTED.
for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms has said it will hand over
documents to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia that
could lead to an indictment of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
International agencies on 16 November reported that the council has charged
Milosevic, former Serbian police chief Zoran Sokolovic, and other police
officials with responsibility for crimes against humanity and genocide,
including the killing of about 150 Albanians since 1989. It also points to some
300,000 cases of harassment and torture. According to Kosova Daily
Report, the council said that in October 188 persons were arbitrarily
arrested or detained and 123 Albanian households raided. It also reported cases
of plundering, torture, and forcible induction into the army during that
period. -- Fabian Schmidt
MONTENEGRIN PREMIER'S U.S. VISIT.
BETA on 16 November reported that
developments surrounding the official recent visit to the U.S. by a Montenegrin
delegation, led in part by Premier Milo Djukanovic, may be unnerving some
officials in Belgrade. Djukanovic, who was in the U.S. from 5-13 November, met
with top U.S. administration staff for discussions over NATO's possible use of
the port of Bar. Tanjug on 15 November reported that Djukanovic discussed using
Bar as a transit point for personnel and equipment that may be involved in
enforcing a peace for Bosnia. The premier was quoted as stressing that "this
was not a matter of...installing NATO forces in Montenegro but of
transportation." BETA reported, however, that Djukanovic held the talks
"without consulting Belgrade." -- Stan Markotich
ITALIAN DELEGATION IN SKOPJE PROMISES LOAN.
officials, during a visit to Macedonia on 16 November, offered the country a
credit worth 24 billion lire (about $15 million), Nova Makedonija
reported the next day. The loan is for support of small and medium-sized
enterprises. Italy, which will take over the rotating EU presidency in January,
promised to use its good offices to help complete the process of Macedonia's
integration into international institutions. -- Michael Wyzan
ROMANIA'S HUNGARIAN MINORITY RESUMES PROTESTS.
The Covasna County branch
of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania has called on Hungarian
pupils, teachers, and parents to resume their protests in support of
mother-tongue tuition at all levels, Adevarul reported on 17 November.
The organization proposed hoisting white flags and forming human chains around
the county's Hungarian schools. Adevarul quoted Romanian President Ion
Iliescu in Paris as saying the ethnic Hungarians' criticism of the education
law was "demagogic." -- Matyas Szabo
ROMANIAN CHIEF OF STAFF AT NATO HEADQUARTERS.
A military delegation led
by Romanian Chief of Staff Gen. Dumitru Cioflina has ended its visit to NATO
headquarters in Brussels, Radio Bucharest reported on 16 November. A NATO
spokesman praised Romania's participation in the Partnership for Peace program
and its active role in developing military cooperation with NATO. Cioflina
stressed that joint activities with NATO proved that Romania was a "serious
partner" whose final political goal was full membership in the alliance. In
another development, Romania on 16 November announced that it had met the
demands of the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty by cutting its armed
forces by half, Reuters reported. -- Matyas Szabo
MOLDOVA WILL NOT APPLY TO JOIN NATO.
President Mircea Snegur on 16
November stressed again that his country does not intend to apply to join NATO,
BASA-press reported. Snegur told senior Moldovan officers at the Defense
Ministry that Moldova's participation in the Partnership for Peace program does
not mean it is planning to join the alliance, as claimed by leaders of the
breakaway Dniester region. Snegur stressed that the Moldovan Constitution
stipulated neutrality and that the country would therefore not be part of any
military alliance. -- Dan Ionescu
BULGARIA TO GET RUSSIAN SPARE PARTS FOR DEBT.
Russian and Bulgarian
negotiators on 15 November in Moscow signed an agreement whereby Russia will
provide $48 million worth of maintenance and spare parts for Russian-built
Bulgarian warplanes in partial repayment of its $100 million debt to Bulgaria,
BTA reported. The agreement was reached during a meeting of the
Bulgarian-Russian Commission on Special Production. The report said the
Russians expressed an interest in setting up joint ventures for the
development, production, and sale of military equipment to third countries. --
ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES FRIENDSHIP TREATY WITH ITALY.
parliament on 16 November ratified a treaty between Albania and Italy calling
for wider economic cooperation and joint efforts to fight organized crime, drug
trafficking, and illegal immigration, international agencies reported on 16
November. The treaty also includes a provision regulating the immigration of
Albanian seasonal workers to Italy. The parliament the same day passed a law on
the privatization of the state-owned Trade Bank, Rilindja Demokratike
reported. -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Pete Baumgartner and Jan Cleave