Accessibility links

Newsline - November 22, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 228, 22 November 1995
PRESIDENTIAL AIDES CALL FOR CHANGE IN ELECTORAL LAW.
Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Filatov and aide Georgii Satarov have called for the electoral law to be amended, saying that otherwise the elections could be declared illegitimate, Russian Public Television (ORT) reported on 21 November. The two spoke at a meeting of a commission set up by the Civic Accord, a Yeltsin-sponsored initiative to reduce political violence. Other members of the commission denounced the proposals as attempts by those in power to overturn the elections if they are unhappy with the results. Duma Member Yurii Nisnevich (Russia's Choice) pointed out that it would be impossible to agree on changes in the time remaining before the elections, Russian TV reported. The commission recommended setting up a conciliatory commission of both houses of the parliament and the president to recommend amendments. -- Robert Orttung

SHUMEIKO DENOUNCES DUMA PLAN FOR FEDERATION COUNCIL.
Federation Council Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko criticized the Duma bill on the Federation Council adopted on 17 November as "short-sighted." Shumeiko, who wants the Federation Council to initiate the legislation concerning its future, called on members of the upper house to finalize a proposal to send to the Duma, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 November. Filatov said Yeltsin would sign the Duma bill if the Federation Council agrees to it, Radio Rossii reported. The Constitutional Court will hold hearings on Yeltsin's request to clarify what the constitution says about the Federation Council's formation on 7 December. -- Robert Orttung

KHAKAMADA, RUTSKOI SPAR IN FIRST DEBATE.
Common Cause leader Irina Khakamada and Derzhava's Aleksandr Rutskoi participated in the first debate on Russian Public Television on 20 November, the BBC reported. Most candidates have rejected offers to debate, preferring to address the voters singly. Khakamada proposed that regional
Interior Ministry heads be elected locally to make them accountable to voters, arguing that this would boost the fight against crime. Rutskoi denounced the idea as "ridiculous." He called for a tough campaign against "the criminal power that has criminalized society." -- Robert Orttung

RUSSIA'S CHOICE AND WOMEN OF RUSSIA DEMAND GRACHEV'S RESIGNATION.
Two parliamentary parties called for the resignation of Defense Minister Pavel Grachev on 21 November, Russian and Western agencies reported. The deputies criticized Grachev for involving the military in politics by promising that the army would support Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's Our Home is Russia (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 November). However, Moskovskii komsomolets of 21 November suggested that the way the army votes will depend more on the attitude of junior officers than of the high command. -- Constantine Dmitriev

RADIO STATION'S BROADCAST STOPPED.
Russkaya Radio's broadcasts were interrupted at noon on 21 November after 20 men armed with submachine guns, some dressed in police uniforms, broke into the studio and damaged the transmitter, Russian media reported citing chief producer Aleksandr Bunin. A representative of the Interior Ministry department responsible for broadcasting said that the transmission was interrupted because the station lacked the proper licenses, adding that broadcasting could resume as soon as the radio's papers are in order, ITAR-TASS reported. Bunin, however, told Public Russian TV that the incident was the result of the radio's decision to refuse air time to an unnamed extremist right-wing politician. -- Anna Paretskaya

YELTSIN HAILS BOSNIA AGREEMENT.
President Yeltsin praised the Dayton agreement as a "big step" towards resolving "the most tragic conflict in Europe since WW II," Western and Russian agencies reported on 21 November. The hospitalized president called on the warring parties to "strictly abide" by the terms of the agreement, and urged the immediate lifting of UN sanctions against rump Yugoslavia. Yeltsin added, however, that Russia would decide "later" whether to participate in a NATO-led peace implementation force in Bosnia. Russian Col.-Gen. Leontii Shevtsov, who is slated to command the Russian contingent in the force, had said earlier that his troops would be assigned to guard the strategic Posavina corridor, which links Serb-held territory in eastern and western Bosnia. -- Scott Parrish

MILITARY LACKS MONEY TO DESTROY WEAPONS ON TIME.
Russia will be unable to meet the 31 December deadline for destroying weapons shipped east of the Urals in 1990 and 1991, a senior Defense Ministry official told Interfax on 21 November. Gen. Dmitrii Kharchenko said that the military does not have enough money to destroy the weapons, and has proposed that the deadline be extended until the end of 1998. To break an impasse over ratification of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in June 1991 pledged to destroy 6,000 tanks, 1,500 armored vehicles, and 7,000 artillery systems from the weapons the Soviet military had shipped east to exempt them from the treaty. Kharchenko said so far only 1,141 tanks, 608 armored vehicles, and 2,709 artillery systems have been destroyed and that about 100 billion rubles ($20 million) are needed to complete the task. -- Doug Clarke

GENERAL DENIES RUSSIA HAS 100,000 TONS OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS.
Col.-Gen. Stanislav Petrov, head of the Chemical, Radiological, and Bacteriological Defense Troops, told ITAR-TASS on 21 November that Russia has only 40,000 tons of chemical agents in storage, as it had declared on 26 October (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 October 1995). Petrov refuted testimony earlier that day from the head of the Interagency Commission on Ecological Security of the Russian Security Council, Aleksei Yablokov, who told the Federation Council that Russia had 100,000 tons of chemical weapons in storage at secret sites. Petrov reiterated that all Russian chemical weapons storage facilities have been declared and many visited by monitors under international agreements. -- Scott Parrish

OFFICIAL: RED MERCURY DOES NOT EXIST.
A new book, The Secrets of Red Mercury, has been published by Gen. Aleksandr Gurov, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 21 November. Gurov was the head of a Ministry of Internal Affairs team that investigated rumors about the smuggling of red mercury in 1990. The substance, which supposedly can be used to accelerate nuclear explosions, attracted sensational publicity in the West in the early 1990s. Gurov concludes that red mercury does not exist and blamed the rumors on "international swindlers" and foreign adversaries trying to discredit Russia's nuclear program. -- Peter Rutland

LATEST UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES.
During the first 10 months of 1995, 5.9 million people, or 8.1% of the economically active population, were without jobs, according to Goskomstat figures reported by ITAR-TASS on 21 November. The number of officially registered unemployed was 2.2 million, or 3% of the country's 73-million-strong labor force. -- Penny Morvant

MOSCOW PLANS TO TACKLE VAGRANCY.
In an interview with ITAR-TASS on 21 November, Moscow social security official Igor Syrinkov said that the local authorities are planning to tackle the problem of vagrancy and begging, described as "permanent features of Moscow's streets." He said that the porous borders with other former Soviet republics and the lack of legislation against vagrancy meant that poor people from the CIS were gathering on Moscow's streets and stations. He said vagrants without the right to live in Moscow would be expelled, while those who were, or had been, registered in the capital would be found places in shelters and homes run by clinics. -- Penny Morvant

SARATOV MASSACRE.
Eleven people, including a local mafia boss, were found dead in an office in Saratov on 20 November in what police believe was the result of a turf war between local criminal groups, Russian TV reported. The chairman of the Grozd wine concern and 10 other men had been sprayed with gunfire at point-blank range. The shooting is being investigated by a special unit headed by First Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Kolesnikov. -- Penny Morvant

QUESTIONS SURROUND EQUITY/LOAN AUCTION.
Further details are emerging of the first share/loan auctions that took place on 17 November. According to Izvestiya of 21 November, the shadowy firm Euroresurs, which won 15% of Nafta Moskvy in return for a $36 million bid, does not have the money to make good its offer. In this case the shares will go to the bank that served as the guarantor for its bid--the Bank of Tokyo. Nafta Moskvy is the successor to the firm Soyuznefteeksport, which formerly handled 30% of Russia's oil exports. The firm KONT is also questioning the rejection of its $355 milion bid for 38% of Norilsk Nickel, in favor of a $170 million bid from Oneksimbank. The ostensible reason was that KONT's bank, Rossiiskii Kredit, did not have sufficient assets to guarantee the loan. -- Peter Rutland



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 228, 22 November 1995
COSSACK ATAMAN SENTENCED.
According to Russian Television on 21 November, an Almaty court has sentenced Cossack Ataman Nikolai Gunkin to three months in jail after finding him guilty of holding an illegal demonstration in January of this year (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 November 1995). The trial had been delayed for several days because Gunkin had launched a hunger strike. Gunkin remarked that the trial "showed once again how anti-democratic Kazakhstan's regime is." Trial judge Mirakhan Akhmetshiyeva countered by saying that the defense and political opponents are hoping to benefit from the publicity. -- Roger Kangas

YELTSIN ORDERS KOZYREV TO BREAK ABKHAZ DEADLOCK.
Moving to reinforce Russia's assumed role of "broker" in the Caucasus, President Yeltsin instructed Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev to revive the currently suspended Georgian-Abkhaz peace talks, Russian and Western agencies reported on 21 November. Continuing the recent Russian tilt towards Georgia, an anonymous Russian Foreign Ministry official blamed the impasse on Abkhaz intransigence, which he attributed to hopes that the 17 December Duma elections will trigger a change in Russian policy. -- Scott Parrish

"TURKESTAN" FORUM OPENS IN TASHKENT.
An international cultural forum for the peoples of Turkestan opened in Tashkent this week amid fanfare and controversy. According to an ITAR-TASS report of 21 November, the forum of cultural and intellectual figures from the Central Asian states met under the slogan, "Turkestan--Our Common Home." Uzbek President Islam Karimov proclaimed that "Our homeland--Turkestan--is one big home, one great household, one great family." However, some participants objected to the very use of the term "Turkestan." According to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, there is concern that the forum will be used as a vehicle for Uzbek regional hegemony. As has been the case for several regional meetings this year, Turkmenistan declined to send a representative. -- Roger Kangas

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH TO OPEN AN OFFICE IN UZBEKISTAN.
Members of Human Rights Watch are meeting Uzbek officials in Tashkent with a view to setting up a working office in the city, Interfax reported on 20 November. A representative of the group noted that Uzbekistan's past record on human rights is cause for concern, adding that the situation of "democratic liberties" in Uzbekistan should be a factor in determining international aid to the country. -- Roger Kangas

KAZAKHSTAN OPENS CONSULATE IN IRAN.
A Kazakhstani consulate was officially opened on 21 November in the northern Iranian city of Meshhed, ITAR-TASS reported. Kazakhstan is the fourth country to open a consulate in Meshhed, after Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan. The recent detainment in the city of several visitors from Kazakhstan, accused of violating Islamic laws, may have played a part in the decision to open the consulate. The visitors were eventually released and sent home after the intervention of Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani. -- Bruce Pannier

BACK TO AFGHANISTAN VIA TURKMENISTAN.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and authorities from Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkmenistan have reached agreement on repatriating 250,000 Afghan refugees in Iran via Turkmenistan, IRNA reported on 20 November. The move makes way for Iran to resume the repatriation of Afghan refugees under UNHCR supervision, a process that was halted two months ago for security reasons. -- Lowell Bezanis



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 228, 22 November 1995
UKRAINIAN DEBTS TO RUSSIA.
Ukraine has run up a debt with Russia of $186 million in 1995, of which $60 million is for gas supplies, Radio Rossii reported on 21 November. In talks with Russian Gazprom officials the previous day, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko agreed that Ukraine will pay off the debt by the end of the year. Among other things, it will transfer nine fishing trawlers--worth $60 million--to Russia. From 15 December on, Russia will insist on payment for gas deliveries in advance. -- Peter Rutland

LUKASHENKA CALLS BELARUS BULWARK AGAINST WESTERN INFLUENCE.
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in a four-hour speech to local officials on 21 November, said that "Belarus has become a stumbling block against Western influence permeating the Commonwealth of Independent States," Reuters reported. He pledged to continue the country's cautious move to a market economy rather than subjecting the republic to "shock therapy." He said that Belarus did not need the military cooperation envisaged by NATO's Partnership for Peace program. He also rejected offers of free military education because "our military has enough experience, which we are willing to share." -- Saulius Girnius

RISE IN CRIME IN ESTONIA.
The Estonian Police Department announced that the number of registered crimes in the first ten months of 1995 increased by 11.6% (from 29,444 to 32,852) compared with the same period in 1994, ETA reported on 21 November. More than 90% of the increase was due to a 15.1% increase in burglaries, even though automobile thefts decreased from 920 to 672. The number of murders and attempted murders declined from 296 to 269, as did cases of serious bodily injury from 221 to 201. The percentage of crime committed by juveniles increased from 19.3% to 20.7% and by groups from 32.4% to 35.3%. -- Saulius Girnius

U.S.-LITHUANIAN AGREEMENT ON SECURITY OF MILITARY INFORMATION.
U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry and Lithuanian Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius on 21 November signed an agreement on exchanging classified military information, Radio Lithuania reported. This is the only agreement that Perry will sign during his six-day trip to the Baltic states, Denmark, Macedonia, and Austria. Perry told a press conference in Vilnius that US military aid to Lithuania would be doubled next year, with the number of students training at U.S. military academies increasing from 10 to 30. He also noted that the U.S. Congress is debating a law that would provide for sending surplus military technology and armaments to Lithuania. -- Saulius Girnius

WORLD LEADERS CONGRATULATE NEW POLISH PRESIDENT.
Polish President-Elect Aleksander Kwasniewski has received a letter of congratulation from U.S. President Bill Clinton welcoming Kwasniewski's promises to support "Poland's historic transformation since regaining democracy in 1989." French President Jacques Chirac assured Kwasniewski that Poland could count on continued French support for its bid for EU membership. Russian President Boris Yeltsin expressed hope that Poland's new president would deepen bilateral trust. In an interview with CNN, Kwasniewski on 21 November said he was sure that for NATO politicians, it was most important "to have a democratically elected president of Poland." Meanwhile, supporters of incumbent President Lech Walesa on 21 November said they would contest the election results, alleging that the ballot had been rigged, Polish and international media reported. The Supreme Court is required to decide whether the election was legal by 9 December. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLAND SENDS BATTALION TO BOSNIA.
A 600-strong Polish battalion is to leave for Bosnia, Chief of the Polish General Staff Tadeusz Wilecki said on 21 November, after talks with Commander of NATO Forces in Europe George Joulwan, Gazeta Wyborcza reported the next day. The battalion is to join the multinational Nordic Brigade, which will operate alongside American forces. Poland is financing the operation but will have access to NATO's logistics, communications, and transportation facilities. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH PARTIES ON ROMANI, MINORITY CANDIDATES.
Jan Vik, secretary of the extreme-right Assembly for the Republic-Czechoslovak Republican Party, has told the press that his party's platform demands a law stating that "no one in the Czech Republic has the right to be a parasite to the detriment of decent and honest people." He went on to specify Roma as "black racists who are acting as parasites." CTK reported his comments on 21 November in the context of reactions to German minority candidates' request to be included on the election lists of Czech parties. Vik classified the Germans as "anti-Czech" and the Roma as "gangs" and "various mafias." The Czech Social Democratic Party said it would not exclude Germans but did not mention Roma. -- Alaina Lemon

SLOVAK COALITION RESPONDS TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S RESOLUTION.
Slovak National Party deputy Jozef Prokes on 21 November proposed that the Slovak parliament approve a response to the European parliament's recent resolution (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 November 1995). However, the opposition refused to cooperate and walked out of the parliament, Sme reported. Because less than half of all deputies remained, the vote could not take place. Nevertheless, the coalition deputies approved a common declaration criticizing the European parliament for not using all possible means of dialogue available between the EU and associated countries. The coalition also complained that the European Parliament addressed the Slovak government while ignoring the democratically elected parliament. In other news, deputies from Slovakia's ethnic Hungarian coalition on 21 November asked President Michal Kovac not to sign the controversial language bill. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY TO PROVIDE NATO SUPPLY BASE FOR BOSNIA.
Hungarian Defense Ministry and NATO officials are considering establishing a supply base for NATO peacekeeping forces on Hungarian territory, international and Hungarian media reported on 20 November. Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti said "Hungary is ready to help implement what is to be agreed on at peace talks." He added, however, that the UN Security Council must first grant a mandate for peacekeeping in Bosnia. Forty U.S. experts have visited Hungary this week to examine facilities and sites in the south of the country where troops could be stationed initially before moving into Bosnia. They are considering establishing a military logistics base for peacekeeping troops in Bosnia and arranging the passage of U.S. troops through Hungary. Foreign Ministry Political State Secretary Istvan Szent-Ivanyi said Hungary could have NATO forces on its territory in the second half of December. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 228, 22 November 1995
CLINTON ANNOUNCES "HISTORIC AND HEROIC" BOSNIAN PEACE AGREEMENT.
The presidents of Bosnia-Herzergovina, Croatia, and Serbia on 21 November initialed a text in Dayton consisting of 10 articles, 11 annexes, and 102 maps. It will come into force after the formal signing, which is expected to take place soon in Paris. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote that it provides for "one state with one capital" and a central government. The latter will include a presidency, parliament, and constitutional court, with familiar Tito-era legal mechanisms, such as rotating chairmanships and the assignment of posts according to nationality. The Bosnian state will consist of the Croat-Muslim Federation and the Serbian Republic and will remain internationally recognized within its present borders. Free, democratic, and internationally supervised elections will take place; refugees can go home; human rights will be independently monitored; war criminals will be banned from public life and there will be "full cooperation" with the international war crimes tribunal; and some 60,000 NATO troops are expected to separate the hostile forces. The status of Brcko along the Serbian supply corridor will be decided by international arbitration. -- Patrick Moore

QUESTIONS ABOUND OVER BOSNIAN PEACE AGREEMENT.
While the agreement has been widely hailed in the "international community," there are ample grounds for skepticism as well. The three sides signed the document only after an exhausting three-week marathon under intense American pressure. What everyone does when they go home may be another matter, international media noted on 22 November. Croatia can be satisfied because it has achieved most of its aims and could try to distance itself from any future conflict, as Slovenia did after July 1991. Serbia can expect to have most sanctions lifted and will then be free to go its way and claim it has no control over the Bosnian Serbs. The Muslim-dominated government can look forward to the lifting of the arms embargo, albeit in stages. It might not be too far-fetched to imagine a future Serbian-Muslim conflict breaking out once Belgrade has successfully distanced itself from Pale and once Sarajevo has acquired more heavy weapons. -- Patrick Moore

ANGRY MEN OF PALE.
It remains to be seen whether the pact will come into force, since controlling local warlords has been a problem for all sides. Slobodna Dalmacija on 22 November, moreover, foresaw political difficulties involving the Croats and their role in the unified state. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic told his domestic media that an unjust peace was at least better than war. But the big hurdle seems to be the Bosnian Serbs, whom U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke on CNN called the "big losers." Their parliamentary speaker, Momcilo Krajisnik, told international media that "the agreement that has been reached does not satisfy even a minimum of our interests." The BBC reported that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic frequently overruled Bosnian Serb members of his delegation during the talks, and the Bosnian Serbs claimed that Milosevic showed them the final maps only 10minutes before the pact was initialed. Krajisnik called the maps "blackmail" and denied that Milosevic could speak for the Bosnian Serbs. It may be that Belgrade is ready to abandon Pale to its fate (as it did in the case of Knin) or that, having just refurbished the Bosnian Serb military infrastructure, it is simply performing a ruse to get the sanctions lifted. -- Patrick Moore

PEACE IN OUR TIME?
The agreement also contains a number of weak or unclear points. Not everyone agrees with the Americans that there has been a "fair division of territory," in which the Federation took 51.4%. It is doubtful that most "ethnically cleansed" refugees will go home, particularly Muslims who lived in Serb-controlled eastern Bosnia. The pact calls for a unitary state, but it still sounds very much like a partition along ethnic lines. There is no guarantee that the complex Tito-era constitutional mechanisms will work any better than they did when the Serbs sabotaged them in 1992. It is not evident what the future armed forces and police units will look like or whether the region will be demilitarized. Germany has recognized this problem and called for a Bosnian disarmament conference. Nor is it clear what "full cooperation" with the Hague-based tribunal will mean. Implementation talks are to be held soon in London, and moves are under way to put together a NATO force as soon as possible. Vecernji List quoted a Russian general as effectively saying that Russia would control the Brcko corridor. -- Patrick Moore

SERBIAN PRESIDENT SAYS DAYTON DEAL IS "JUST."
Slobodan Milosevic described the peace deal negotiated at Dayton as "a just solution." Speaking in an interview broadcast by rump Yugoslav state television, Milosevic added "the war is now definitely over." He observed that the Bosnian Serbs were the big winners, noting that they have been apportioned "a far better" share of Bosnian territory than under previous peace proposals. Land and strategic towns previously slated for the Muslim-Croat confederation were now to come under Bosnian Serb control, he added. Milosevic also observed that accompanying peace would be a lifting of the international sanctions against the rump Yugoslavia. The UN Security Council is "already moving to put an end to all sanctions," he said. Meanwhile, the Serbian media hailed Milosevic as the catalyst behind the achievement of peace. -- Stan Markotich

"WHAT WE ACCOMPLISHED HERE IS A REAL PEACE."
This is how Croatian President Franjo Tudjman described the outcome of the Dayton talks, Hina reported on 22 November. He said that the results confirmed Croatia's international position and that all media agreed that Croatia has defended its national interests and emerged a winner at the conference. Various opposition parties, however, issued critical statements, charging Tudjman with giving away too much in the dispute over the northern Bosnian Posavina region (the justice minister recently resigned over the issue). Tudjman explained that Croatia had to give up territories it recently took in western Bosnia in order to get what it wanted in the Posavina. He denied there had been discussion in Dayton of exchanging Croatia's Prevlaka peninsula for the Serb-controlled Dubrovnik hinterland. -- Daria Sito Sucic

WILL THE SDA SANDZAK PARTICIPATE IN A CENTER COALITION?
This question was posed by Nasa Borba on 21 November after a meeting of the Muslim National Council of Sandzak. The meeting, attended by representatives of 19 Muslim political organizations, concluded that the Muslims of Sandzak should seek a solution to the minority conflict in the region in accordance with international law and with respect for the integrity of international borders. The council thus demanded to be represented at international conferences on former Yugoslavia. Rasim Ljajic, leader of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), said he is conducting talks with Belgrade, adding that his party will in the future participate in the political life of Serbia. The SDA did not run in the last parliamentary elections but might form a coalition with the moderate Serbian opposition or other minority parties. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS NEW PENAL CODE.
Radio Bucharest announced on 21 November that the Chamber of Deputies has rejected the draft law on the modification and completion of the Penal Code. Results of the vote will be announced on 23 November, but "private parliamentary sources" were quoted as saying that the Greater Romania Party (which recently left the ruling coalition) and the Socialist Labor Party (a member of the government alliance) voted against the draft, together with the opposition National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania. -- Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN-DNIESTER MEETING CANCELED.
A meeting between experts from Chisinau and Tiraspol scheduled for 21 November was canceled after the Dniester delegation refused to attend, Infotag reported. The meeting was intended to conclude preparations for a late November summit between Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and the president of the self-styled "Dniester republic," Igor Smirnov. According to Tiraspol officials, the Dniester negotiators refused to attend because the "Moldovan leadership has subjected Tiraspol to a squall of devastating criticism." Snegur expressed doubts that the Chisinau-Tiraspol summit can be held given this latest development. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT CANNOT RUN AGAIN, SOCIALISTS SAY.
Miroslav Popov, member of the Executive Bureau of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, was quoted by 24 chasa on 22 November as saying Zhelyu Zhelev cannot run for another term as president under the present constitution. Zhelev is currently serving his second term and, according to the constitution, cannot serve a third term, Popov said. The BSP is considering asking the Constitutional Court to rule on the question. Zhelev was first elected by the parliament in August 1990 and then by popular vote in January 1992, after the new constitution went into effect. Meanwhile, some member parties of the Union of Democratic Forces said they will support Zhelev if he runs again. -- Stefan Krause

THREE BULGARIANS INDICTED OVER DEATH OF TAMILS.
Western media report that three Bulgarians have been indicted for the death of 18 Tamil refugees. The Tamils were found in an abandoned Bulgarian-registered truck near the Hungarian town of Gyor on 15 July (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 and 20 July 1995). Among the three indicted is the the driver of the truck, who is accused of multiple homicide. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison. The other two accused were indicted for illegally moving people across international borders. They were released on bail. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIA DEMANDS EXTRADITION OF FORMER COMMUNIST-ERA OFFICIALS.
Albania is to apply for the extradition of several communist-era officials living abroad, Koha Jone reported on 21 November. This announcement follows a letter from the head of the Parliamentary Commission on Defense, Public Order, and the Secret Service to Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi. The officials worked mainly at the Defense and Interior ministries or for the secret services; some were ambassadors or consuls. Among other things, they are charged with corruption and espionage. The accused include Sofokli Duka, the former head of the secret police, and former Defense Minister Kico Mustaqi, who is charged with planning a coup d'etat and bearing responsibility for a violent crackdown on a pro-democracy demonstration in 1991. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIA OFFERS FACILITIES FOR NATO FORCES IN BOSNIA.
President Sali Berisha, in an interview with Albanian TV, repeated earlier offers to provide NATO troops with access to Albanian airports and harbors. Berisha also expressed the hope that the Dayton agreement will offer "real prospects for the solution of the Balkan crisis, including its most delicate problem--the Kosovo question," Rilindja Demokratike reported on 22 November. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]


Compiled by Penny Morvant and Jan Cleave






XS
SM
MD
LG