OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 235, 5 December 1995
YELTSIN VETOES BILL ON MILITARY SERVICE.
President Boris Yeltsin vetoed
on 4 December amendments to the Military Service Act passed by the State Duma
on 15 November (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 November 1995), Interfax
reported. The Duma wanted to release current conscripts after 18 months instead
of prolonging their service to two years. Yeltsin rejected the law, citing
procedural violations. However, Yeltsin did issue a decree on 3 December
allowing troops to be discharged after 18 months if they had been wounded or
involved in combat duty for at least a month. -- Constantine Dmitriev
"UNDECIDEDS WILL WIN" IN DECEMBER POLL.
Speaking on NTV on 5 December,
pollster Dmitrii Olshankii predicted that "the undecideds will win" in the Duma
election since only 55% of Russia's 102 million electors intend to vote. Of
those, another 10% may spoil their ballot or not vote for the party-list
candidates, which means that the parties may be competing for only 45% of
registered voters. He expects the Communist Party to win 14%, Our Home Is
Russia 8%, the Congress of Russian Communities 8%, Yabloko 8%, the Liberal
Democrats 7%, Women of Russia 6%, and Democratic Choice of Russia 6%. He
predicts a tight and unpredictable race for the single-mandate seats,
principally between the Communist Party and Our Home Is Russia. -- Peter
CANDIDATES ATTEND ORTHODOX CHURCH CONFERENCE ON RUSSIA'S FUTURE.
Democratic Party of Russia Chairman Vladimir Zhirinovsky told a conference on
"Russia in the 21st century" that he sees the Russian Orthodox Church as the
basis for the country's spiritual revival and that Orthodox Christianity should
remain the only state-recognized religion in Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 4
December. The conference, organized by the Russian Orthodox Church, was
attended by the leaders of 17 other electoral blocs, including Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin, Federation Council Speaker Vladimir Shumeiko, State Duma
Speaker Ivan Rybkin, Russia's Democratic Choice leader Yegor Gaidar, Communist
Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov, and Agrarian Party leader Mikhail Lapshin.
Lapshin said he sees Russia as a great agricultural country in the next
century, while Gaidar stressed the fatal consequences of a halt to the reform
process. -- Anna Paretskaya
DUMA DEPUTY'S APARTMENT BOMBED.
On the night of 2 December, a small
bomb, estimated to contain 150 grams of TNT, blew in the windows of Duma Deputy
Artem Tarasov's Moscow apartment, Interfax reported on 4 December.
Coincidentally, in a 1 December television election broadcast for the Kedr
(Cedar) Ecological Party monitored by the BBC Tarasov had said, "Like contract
killings, there are contract public opinion polls, according to which a
particular party comes ahead of others. They are made to order, hence their
results vary so much." -- Peter Rutland
SHOOTING IN MOSCOW RESTAURANT.
One person was killed and five wounded in
a shooting at a Moscow cafe over the weekend, Russian and Western agencies
reported on 4 December. Police say two gunmen burst into private rooms at the
Angara cafe on Novyi Arbat Street, killing a Muscovite and wounding two of his
friends. The other casualties, including a British businessman, were injured
when the gunmen opened fire in the dining room as they fled. Also on 4
December, ITAR-TASS reported that Albert Apollonov, a prominent local
businessman, was murdered in Petrazavodsk in Kareliya in what police say was a
contract killing. Apollonov headed the Rosika company that trades in oil
products. Interior Minster Anatolii Kulikov called on 1 December for the
creation of a special bureau to investigate the large number of contract
killings. -- Penny Morvant
RUSSIAN CUSTOMS FINISH DEMARCATION OF RUSSO-BALTIC BORDER.
Committee Chairman Anatolii Kruglov opened the last checkpoint on Russia's
border with the Baltic states, Shumilkino, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 December.
According to Kruglov, up to $67 million and 20 billion rubles ($4.4 million)
were spent on the demarcation of the Russian borders with Lithuania, Latvia,
and Estonia. Meanwhile, Estonia and Latvia continue to insist on border
revisions despite Russian objections. -- Constantine Dmitriev
RUSSIAN, BELARUSIAN SECURITY SERVICES AGREE TO COOPERATE.
Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Mikhail Barsukov and his Belarusian
counterpart, Uladzimir Yahorau, signed a cooperation agreement last week,
Krasnaya zvezda reported on 5 December. The Belarusian service agreed to
safeguard Russian troops temporarily stationed in Belarus. The two directors
also appealed to the Russian and Belarusian governments to develop bilateral
cooperation in combating terrorism, drug trafficking, and arms smuggling. --
YELTSIN PASSES AGREEMENT ON RUSSIAN-EU COOPERATION TO DUMA.
Boris Yeltsin submitted an EU partnership and cooperation agreement to the
State Duma for ratification, Interfax reported on 4 December. The agreement was
signed on 24 June 1994. However, the interim trade accord, which was part of
the agreement, was frozen by the EU in January 1995 due to the war in Chechnya
and then reactivated in April 1995 after the opening of an OSCE mission in
Grozny. The agreement grants Russia "most favored nation" status and recognizes
it as a "transition economy" rather than a "planned economy," which makes it
more difficult for the EU to levy anti-dumping tariffs against Russian imports.
-- Constantine Dmitriev
VLADIMOV WINS BOOKER PRIZE.
Former human rights activist Georgii
Vladimov has been awarded the Russian Booker Prize for best novel of the year
for his A General and His Army, Russian and Western agencies reported on
4 December. Vladimov, who is living in exile in Germany, is the first emigre
writer to win the prize. His novel is devoted to Andrei Vlasov, a captive
Russian general who led a force of Soviet PoWs that fought on the German side
during World War II. There are still debates about whether Vlasov was a
cowardly collaborator or an anti-Communist patriot. -- Penny Morvant
INTELLECTUALS IN DEFENSE OF CULTURE.
Representatives of the "creative
intelligentsia" gathered in the Bolshoi Theater on 4 December to discuss the
crisis in Russian culture. Their discussion focused on the theme, "a civilized
market can only be built in a civilized society," Russian TV reported. The
conference was addressed by such figures as author Fazil Iskander and
Academician Dmitrii Ligachev, who warned against the "self-isolation" of
Russian culture. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin also attended. He promised
to double budget spending on culture to 2 trillion rubles ($435 million) next
year and to introduce tax breaks for cultural organizations. -- Peter Rutland
SPENT FINNISH NUCLEAR FUEL SENT TO RUSSIA.
A trainload of spent nuclear
fuel from a Finnish nuclear power plant arrived in Russia on 2 December for
processing at the Mayak plant in Chelyabinsk-65, Komsomolskaya pravda
reported on 5 December. According to the paper, it is not clear whether the
nuclear residue remaining after processing will be shipped back to Finland or
kept in Russia. Meanwhile, Interfax reported on 4 December that a German
company has signed a contract with the Kursk nuclear power plant to construct a
nuclear waste storage facility and 240 containers to store the plant's
radioactive waste. The German Company for Nuclear Containers, a subsidiary of
Nukem, will control production quality, train specialists, and provide the
know-how for container production. According to Gosatomnadzor, the state agency
responsible for monitoring nuclear safety, the solid waste storage facilities
at the Kursk plant are full. -- Penny Morvant
NEW BILLS FOR OLD.
The Russian Central Bank is taking steps to calm
anxiety about the U.S. government's plan to introduce a new $100 bill in
January. The bank's deputy chairman, Aleksandr Khandruev, said that financial
institutions will be forbidden from charging more than 2% commission for
exchanging the old bills, Russian TV reported on 4 December. The main fear is
that the process will reveal large numbers of fake old bills. Already there
have been several cases of "new" $100 notes turning up--even though the U.S.
has not yet released any. An estimated $15 billion in cash is circulating
inside Russia (see OMRI Economic Digest, 16 November 1995). -- Peter
GOVERNMENT PRE-ELECTION SPENDING SPREE WIDENS BUDGET DEFICIT.
to First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov, additional spending in
December may widen the federal budget deficit from the projected 3.2% of GDP to
4%, Western agencies reported on 4 December. The government has promised to
spend an additional 9 trillion rubles ($1.96 billion) on defense and 5.8
trillion rubles ($1.3 billion) for the Pension Fund, and to pay off a large
amount of wage arrears. The government has recently renewed efforts to collect
taxes from delinquent enterprises, and hopes to raise several hundred million
dollars from the auction of a 78% stake in the YUKOS oil company, which will
take place on 8 December. Petrov also reported that the IMF has agreed to
double the next two monthly payments under the 1996 standby loan. At the same
time, the IMF warned the Russian government to stay within the target budget
figures. -- Natalia Gurushina
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 235, 5 December 1995
SEVEN UZBEK NEWSPAPERS CEASE PUBLICATION.
Financial difficulties have
forced a prominent Uzbek publishing house to suspend publication of seven
Tashkent-based newspapers, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 1 December.
The Sharq publishing house, which owns the papers, is currently facing a debt
of more than 2 million sum ($57,000). The papers that ceased publication on 30
November are Tashkentskaya pravda, Toshkent khakikati,
Turkiston, Molodezh Uzbekistana, and the dailies Watan,
Vecherniye Tashkent, and Toshkent oqshomi. No word was given as
to when they will resume publication or if the publishing house is repaying its
debt. -- Roger Kangas
KARIMOV AND AKAYEV MEET TO DISCUSS ECONOMIC COOPERATION.
Islam Karimov held talks in the Uzbek sity of Andijan on 4 December with his
Kyrgyz counterpart, Askar Akayev, Interfax reported. The leaders focused on
increased economic cooperation, particularly in the field of natural gas and
oil deliveries from Uzbekistan to energy-starved Kyrgyzstan. Kazakhstani
President Nursultan Nazarbayev will reportedly join the meeting to discuss the
Central Asian economic union established in January 1994. To date, in spite of
calls for regional cooperation, the union has achieved very little. -- Roger
FOUR CANDIDATES FOR KYRGYZ PRESIDENTIAL RACE.
The deadline for hopefuls
in the 24 December Kyrgyz presidential election passed on 3 December and the
field of candidates has been narrowed from 13 to just four, Radio Rossii
reported. The officially registered candidates are President Askar Akayev,
former speaker of parliament Medetken Sherimkulov, former Communist Party First
Secretary and current Communist Party Chairman Absamat Masaliev, and former
Communist Party Secretary and current Deputy Prime Minister Jumgalbek
Amanbayev. Ata Meken Party leader Omurbek Tekebayev, Adilet Movement leader
Yuruslan Toychubekov, and the former director of the Kadamzhay Antimony plant,
Mamat Aybalayev, had their applications for registration rejected for
unspecified reasons. -- Bruce Pannier
RADIOACTIVE WASTE PROBLEM IN KAZAKHSTAN.
The amount of radioactive waste
accumulating at uranium mining and processing plants in Kazakhstan is reaching
alarming proportions, according to ITAR-TASS on 4 December. Since the country
became independent in 1991, the quantity of radioactive waste stored in
Kazakhstan has grown to 219 million tons. The republic's Ministry of Ecology
and Biological Resources claims the aggregate radioactivity from the waste
comes to 250,000 curies, which is "many times more than the accepted norm."
Kazakhstan does not have the means to deal with the waste because under the
Soviet Union disposal was a national responsibility carried out by the
government in Moscow. -- Bruce Pannier
TAJIKISTAN OPENS EMBASSY IN ANKARA.
Tajikistan opened an its first
embassy outside the former Soviet Union in Ankara on 4 December, AFP reported.
In August, reports surfaced that former Interior Minister Yaqub Salimov would
be Tajikistan's ambassador to Turkey. Salimov was removed from office that
month amid charges that he headed a personal army of 20,000 troops. In 1994,
Turkey opened an embassy in Dushanbe in an effort to show that it was not only
focusing on the Turkic-speaking republics of the former Soviet Union. -- Lowell
CURFEW IN DUSHANBE.
The Tajik government imposed a curfew on the
capital, Dusahnbe, effective on 1 December, according to a 2 December report on
the opposition's radio station, the Voice of Free Tajikistan. The radio
interpreted the move as a preventative measure to ensure stability in Dushanbe
during the peace negotiations between the government and opposition in
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. -- Bruce Pannier
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 235, 5 December 1995
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN CHINA.
Leonid Kuchma, in China on an official
four-day visit, signed several agreements with his counterpart, Jiang Zemin, on
4 December, international agencies reported. Included were accords on the
peaceful use of outer space and the prevention of double taxation. The same
day, the Ukrainian National Bank and the People's Bank of China also signed an
agreement. Kuchma told reporters that China is Ukraine's second-largest trading
partner and that bilateral trade this year will exceed $900 million. According
to official figures, trade between China and Ukraine in first nine months of
the year reached only $310 million. Ukrainian officials claim this figure is
distorted since most trade is conducted through intermediaries in Russia. It is
hoped that the banking agreement will accurately reflect the volume of trade by
eliminating middlemen and the use of third currencies. Kuchma said he hoped
bilateral trade will reach at least $2 billion annually by the end of the
decade. So far, there are 56 Sino-Ukrainian joint-ventures, but Kuchma said
these were insufficient to realize the real trade potential between the two
countries. -- Ustina Markus
NEW BELARUSIAN AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka on 4 December told Interfax that a unique air defense system has
been developed by the Belarusian military-industrial complex. His announcement
comes some three months after a U.S. air balloon was shot down in Belarusian
air space, killing both pilots. The new system is to be marketed abroad, and
Defense Minister Leanid Maltseu is to submit a proposal on the subject in the
near future. Lukashenka said China has shown a special interest in the system.
-- Ustina Markus
TWO ESTONIAN PARTIES MERGE.
The right-of-center Pro Patria and the
Estonian National Independence Party, meeting in Tallinn on 2 December,
completed their merger to form a new party called the Fatherland Union, BNS
reported. Former Economics Minister Toivo Jurgenson was elected party chairman.
-- Saulius Girnius
BIRKAVS REELECTED HEAD OF LATVIA'S WAY.
At a congress in Riga on 2
December, Latvia's Way reelected Valdis Birkavs as party chairman, BNS reported
on 4 December. The congress also adopted a resolution noting that the current
division of the Saeima into two equal blocs was unfavorable for the formation
of a stable government and that a broad coalition would be in the best
interests of Latvia. It also decided to forge ties with democratic and
reformist forces in Russia such as Yabloko and Our Home Is Russia. The party
has 435 members, of whom 150 are involved in private business, 67 are
politicians, and 93 work in other government offices. -- Saulius Girnius
CLOSE SUBORDINATES DEFEND POLISH CHIEF OF STAFF.
Four Polish generals on
4 December published an article in the military daily Polska Zbrojna in
defense of chief of the General Staff General Tadeusz Wilecki, who is currently
hospitalized. Colonel Zbigniew Czekierda, spokesman for the General Staff, said
the article was a clear signal that there is unity among the General Staff's
leadership, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 5 December. The daily added that
the ruling coalition of the Democratic Left Alliance and Polish Peasant Party
has been looking for a new chief of General Staff among Wilecki's deputies.
Wilecki is considered a strong supporter of outgoing President Lech Walesa. --
CZECH MILITARY WANTS MORE NCOS.
Defense Minister Vilem Holan on 4
December announced that by the year 2005, there will be more non-commissioned
and warrant officers than commissioned officers. CTK quoted Holan as saying
there are currently 20,000 commissioned officers in the Czech armed forces and
only 10,000 NCOs and warrant officers. "Over the next 10 years we are going to
have to turn this pyramid around by 10% each year," he said, adding that in
1996 the military would dismiss 1,400 officers and only recruit 400. About 100
NCOs would be retired while 1,100 would be recruited. -- Doug Clarke
SLOVAK RULING PARTY REJECTS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DECISION.
the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) on 4 December criticized a ruling
by the Constitutional Court that the creation of parliamentary investigative
commissions is illegal, Slovak dailies reported the following day. In
particular, the ruling (see OMRI Daily Digest, 30 November 1995) affects
the bodies set up to examine the events surrounding the fall of Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar's previous government in March 1994 and the circumstances of
the death of Alexander Dubcek in 1992. After a meeting in Bratislava, the HZDS
leadership said it could not accept that the court's ruling was "non-partisan."
It added that the constitution authorized the parliament to create committees
within which such commissions could operate. -- Steve Kettle
U.S. ADVANCE FORCE FAILS TO SHOW UP AT HUNGARIAN AIR BASE.
domestic and foreign journalists waited in vain for the arrival of a U.S.
advance force at Hungary's Taszar air base on 4 December, Nepszabadsag
reported. The arrival date was apparently changed because of U.S. President
Bill Clinton's visit to Germany last weekend. The newspaper also reports that
U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry has signed an order to send 3,000 U.S.
soldiers to Hungary, of whom 2,000 will be in charge of logistics, and 1,000
will serve in technical teams. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT TO FUND PROGRAMS FOR ROMA.
Csaba Tabajdi, political
state secretary at the Hungarian Prime Minister's Office, has announced that
the government will develop a program to improve living standards for Roma, MTK
reported last week. The program is intended to promote initiatives in several
areas, including education, agriculture, social welfare, and affirmative
action. The cabinet also announced the establishment of a Coordination Council
for Gypsy Affairs and a Public Foundation for Gypsies in Hungary; the 1996
national budget allocates 150 million forints ($1.15 million) to funding these
new bodies. Tabajdi stressed that Romani citizens in Hungary have been more
adversely affected by the market changes than any other group. -- Alaina
OMRI DAILY DIGEST
Vol. 1, No. 235, 5 December 1995
CROATIAN GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION BATTLE FOR CONTROL OVER ZAGREB ASSEMBLY.
The Croatian government on 4 December overruled decisions taken by the
opposition coalition in the Zagreb City Assembly and Zagreb County Assembly two
days earlier (see OMRI Daily Digest, 4 December 1995). The government
said these two bodies had not been legally established because they lacked a
two-thirds quorum and thus the documents they adopted were invalid, Hina
reported the same day. The first full sessions of the two assemblies are
scheduled for 2 January 1996. Meanwhile, the Bosnian Croat military
organization has a new chief. General Zivko Budimir replaces indicted war
criminal Tihomir Blaskic, whom Croatian President Tudjman recently promoted,
the BBC reported on 5 December. -- Daria Sito Sucic
"FORGOTTEN SERBS" HAVE IDEAS ON SARAJEVO.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung on 5 December pointed out that many Bosnian Serbs reject the
nationalism of Radovan Karadzic. They have chosen to remain in government-held
areas under the leadership of Mirko Pejanovic's Serbian Civic Council (SGV) and
deny Karadzic's claim to speak for all Serbs. The newspaper suggested that as
many Sarajevo Serbs live in government-held areas as those run by Pale and that
Serbs in the Bosnian capital have experienced the shelling and siege just like
their Muslim and Croat neighbors. Pejanovic told the daily that international
bodies should begin soon to send mediators to calm the fears of Serbs in
Sarajevo suburbs that are about to pass from Pale's to government control. He
also called for restoring telephone links between the divided halves of the
city and for amnesty for Serbian militia members who have not committed war
crimes. -- Patrick Moore
SOME PROBLEMS FROM WAR WILL TAKE TIME TO SOLVE.
UN High Commissioner for
Refugees Sadako Ogata has said that Bosnian refugees should be allowed to go
home gradually. Hina reported on 4 December that this means that those who do
not wish to return immediately should not be forced to leave their countries of
refuge. She called for the UNHCR to prepare a plan for resettlement and for
those refugees living in Serbia and Croatia to come back first. The Bosnian
authorities, however, want refugees "in remote countries" to return first
before they adapt to their new surroundings. In another development, the
Croatian news agency said that some 3 million mines were laid in that country
after 1991 and that 100,000 unexploded shells also remain. Croatia's top
defense council met to discuss the big problem of these dangerous devices in
the "newly liberated areas" and to deal with the transition to a peacetime
military. -- Patrick Moore
EU DELAYS CONFERENCE ON BOSNIA RECONSTRUCTION.
EU foreign ministers,
meeting in Brussels on 4 December, decided to postpone a conference on funding
the reconstruction of Bosnia until 1996 because of uncertainties over how much
funding individual countries will commit, Western agencies reported. The EU had
scheduled a conference for 18-19 December in the expectation that EU, the U.S.,
and Japan and the rest of the world would each pay one-third of the estimated
$6 billion required. But the Clinton administration has said it cannot
contribute more than $600 million. -- Michael Mihalka
TURKISH DIPLOMATS IN BELGRADE.
A Turkish diplomatic mission arrived in
the Serbian capital on 4 November as part of a move to normalize relations
between Ankara and the rump Yugoslavia, AFP reported. This is the first time
high-level diplomats have held talks in one of the two capitals since ties were
reduced to the level of charge d'affaires in 1993. Relations began to thaw
after Turkey sent Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic a note last month
expressing appreciation for his role in the peace process. In other news, the
Turkish Foreign Ministry has announced that Turkey is prepared to contribute
1,300 troops to the NATO force that will oversee the enforcement of the peace
accord signed in Dayton, AFP reported. -- Lowell Bezanis
SLOVENIA'S RECOGNITION OF RUMP YUGOSLAVIA STIRS ACRIMONY IN BELGRADE.
Tanjug on 3 December carried a vitriolic commentary on Ljubljana's 30 November
decision to recognize the rump Yugoslavia. Serbia's state-run news agency
suggested that Slovenia's move was prompted by self-interest and that the
Slovenian government has retained its "hard-core anti-Serb and anti-Yugoslav
position." The report goes on to maintain that economics played a determining
role in Slovenia's move, since prior to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia,
Slovenia's exports to Serbia and Montenegro amounted to some $3 billion. Total
exports to the rump Yugoslav now hover around $7 million. -- Stan Markotich
WAS SARIN USED IN KOSOVO IN 1990?
The Kosovo Information Center has
linked mysterious poisonings in Kosovo in April 1990 to reports about Sarin
nerve gas production in rump Yugoslavia and Serb-held territory in Bosnia (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 27 November 1995). Some 7,000 Kosovar youngsters were
hospitalized five years ago with symptoms of nerve poisoning. ATSH says that UN
toxicologists have come to the conclusion that some unspecified kind of nerve
gas was used in 1990, probably Sarin or Tabun. -- Fabian Schmidt
POLICE RAID SKOPJE SUBURB IN CONNECTION WITH ATTEMPT ON PRESIDENT'S LIFE.
Macedonian police on 2 December conducted large-scale raids in the Skopje
suburb of Kisela Voda in connection with the assassination attempt on President
Kiro Gligorov, MIC reported on 4 December. Some 3,000 houses, garages,
basements, and shacks as well as a couple of thousand cars were searched.
Passers-by were also searched. According to Vecher, the police were
interested in scissors for cutting wire, anyone involved in the sale of spare
car parts, and legal and unregistered car services. The police also handed out
a photograph of a man believed to be linked to the attempt. -- Stefan
ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON TERRITORIAL DISPUTE WITH UKRAINE.
Melescanu on 4 December told the Senate that Romania has a "well-prepared file"
on the territorial dispute with Ukraine over the Serpent Island in the Black
Sea, Radio Bucharest reported the next day. He said Romania is ready to settle
the dispute in parleys with Ukraine but added that if necessary, it is prepared
to take the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He said
that the Serpent Island is not an economic asset at the moment but may become
one due to "important oil and natural gas reserves" found there. The island is
also important for the purpose of drawing marine boundaries between Romania and
Ukraine, Melescanu added. -- Michael Shafir
ROMANIA RELEASES BULGARIAN NUCLEAR BARGE.
Romania has released a barge
carrying nuclear fuel to Bulgaria's controversial Kozloduy power plant ,
Reuters reported on 4 December. The barge was stopped last week because it
lacked transit documents (see OMRI Daily Digest, 1 December 1995). "The
barge and the tug have left after the Transport Ministry and nuclear
authorities granted permission to cross our territorial waters", the deputy
commander of Romania's Danube port of Cernavoda was quoted as saying. -- Matyas
ROMANIAN CDR LEADER JOINS OPPOSITION PARTY.
chairman of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), has joined the National
Peasant Party-Christian Democratic and will run on its lists in the 1996
elections to the Senate, Radio Bucharest reported on 4 December. Constantinescu
is also the chosen CDR candidate for the 1996 presidential elections. Radio
Bucharest also carried a CDR press release saying the selection of CDR
candidates running in the 1996 local and general elections will be made on the
basis of evaluating the candidates' "morality, correctness, professional skill,
and organizational capability." -- Michael Shafir
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ON NATO EXPANSION.
Mircea Snegur has said he sees no
danger for Moldova if NATO expands eastward, Radio Bucharest on 4 December
reported, citing ITAR-TASS. But he added that NATO would be well advised to
consider all consequences deriving from such a step. Snegur reiterated that, as
a neutral state, his country is constitutionally prevented from joining NATO or
any other military pact, including the CIS Collective Security Pact. -- Michael
PRO-SNEGUR PARTY TO SEEK ALLIES AGAINST "ANTI-REFORMISTS."
Snegur, in a veiled allusion to the Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova, has
said his Party of Revival and Conciliation of Moldova (PRCM) will "start
consultations with other parties and political movements" with an eye to
devising "common tactics to counter-balance the anti-reformist and
anti-democratic actions of some political formations," BASA-press reported on 4
December. Snegur told the PRCM Edinet branch, which held its first gathering,
that the party has 27 local branches and that more branches are "to be set up
throughout Moldova by the end of this year." -- Michael Shafir
BULGARIA STRIKES OIL DEAL WITH IRAN.
During Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Trade Kiril Tsochev's visit to Tehran, Bulgaria and Iran on 4
December signed an agreement on broad economic cooperation, AFP reported the
same day. Most notably, Iran will sell more than 2 million tons of crude oil to
Bulgaria annually. The two countries also agreed to raise the level of
bilateral trade to $500 million and to establish a regular airline connection
between the two capitals. The agreement was signed at the end of a three-day
session of the two countries' joint economic commission. -- Stefan Krause
DISBURSEMENTS ON BULGARIAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS LOAN HALTED.
Bank, the EBRD, and the EIB all confirmed on 3 December that there have been no
disbursements in 1995 on a joint 1993 loan to Bulgaria's telecommunications
sector, Demokratsiya reported the next day. The heads of the Bulgarian
Telecommunications Company (BTK) and the Committee for Posts and
Telecommunications denied that this is the case, however. Bulgaria received
$4.24 million and 92.26 million DM during 1993 and 1994 under this agreement.
Resumption of disbursements depends on BTK's substantially raising prices and
paying off debts to foreign telecommunications companies. -- Michael Wyzan
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO ITALY DIE IN BOAT ACCIDENTS.
A boat carrying 23
illegal immigrants from Albania to Italy has sunk and another with 16 Albanians
on board has been missing for 10 days, Koha Jone reported. Two bodies
from the first boat were found near the Puglian coast on 1 December, and five
survivors were rescued by the German military vessel Koln; the remaining 16
illegal immigrants are missing. -- Fabian Schmidt
ALBANIAN CHIEF EDITOR'S TRIAL DROPPED.
Human Rights Watch officials have
announced that the trial of Blendi Fevziu, the chief editor of Aleanca,
was dropped on 4 December. Head of the State Control Commission Blerim Cela had
charged Fevziu with slander. Fevziu in August published a list of allegedly
corrupt officials; that list had previously been read out in the parliament by
Democratic Alliance deputy Perikli Teta. Cela's name was included on the list.
International human rights groups had protested the trial. Fevziu, a Democratic
Alliance candidate, could have been barred from running for the parliament in
May if convicted. -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave