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Newsline - February 7, 1996


DUDAEV THREATENS WESTERN EUROPE.
Speaking at a press conference in the Chechen village of Roshni-Chu during the night of 56 February, President Dzhokhar Dudaev asserted that he no longers plans to wage war against Russia, but intends to attack Western Europe, which he accused of provoking the war, Radio Rossii reported. Dudaev further accused the OSCE mission in Chechnya of inciting hostilities and claimed that the U.S. government had given Moscow $6.5 billion to help finance the war--a claim that the U.S. Embassy in Moscow swiftly denied. In Grozny, thousands of Dudaev supporters demonstrated for the third consecutive day to demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya. NTV reported on 6 February that Dudaev's chief of staff, Aslan Maskhadov, has issued orders to his field commanders not to hold any further talks with the pro-Moscow government of Doku Zavgaev. -- Liz Fuller

COMMUNISTS PROMISE NEW CONSTITUTION IF THEY WIN PRESIDENCY.
A new constitution is atop the agenda if a communist candidate wins the presidential elections, State Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev told Rossiiskaya gazeta on 6 February. Seleznev suggested that the proposed new constitution would eliminate the presidency and restore the supremacy of parliament. -- Penny Morvant

CHERNOMYRDIN BREAKS VACATION.
A government spokesman said on 6 February that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, on vacation in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, would return to Moscow on 7 February for two days of meetings, Russian media reported. Chernomyrdin will attend a meeting of the Security Council and meet a Danish government delegation. Chernomyrdin's departure on vacation at the weekend prompted speculation in the press that he was about to be sacked, but he has denied the rumors. -- Penny Morvant

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT STARTS HEARINGS ON DEPUTIES' IMMUNITY.
The Constitutional Court began hearings 6 February on President Boris Yeltsin's request to test the law on Duma deputies' immunity status, Russian media reported. The constitution says members of the parliament cannot be arrested, or subjected to investigation except when detained at the scene of a crime; they also cannot be subjected to body searches. Yeltsin objected to the widening of the immunity limits, which, according to the law, covers a deputy's housing, luggage, transport, correspondence and documents, and excuses a deputy from testifying in court. The Duma representative to the court, Sergei Baburin, defended the existing norms of parliamentary immunity as necessary to preserve "the deputy's freedom of political action," and protection from possible political manipulation of the legal system. The court is expected to announce its verdict this month. -- Anna Paretskaya

FEDERATION COUNCIL REJECTS LAW ON SUBSISTENCE MINIMUM.
The Federation Council rejected the draft law on the subsistence minimum on 6 February, Russian media reported. Under the law, which Yeltsin has rejected on two occasions, benefits would be paid to people whose income is below the subsistence minimum. Last year, an average of 37 million Russians lived below the poverty line, which was set in December at 327,000 rubles ($69) a month. The upper house acknowledged that the law is essential but was concerned that it would require 30 to 60 trillion rubles not provided for in the 1996 budget. St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak said that if the law was passed in its current form it would share the fate of the law on veterans, which has never been implemented because of financial constraints. -- Penny Morvant

LAWS STALL IN FEDERATION COUNCIL.
At its meeting on 7 February the Federation Council also failed to overcome President Boris Yeltsin's veto on four other laws which had previously passed both parliamentary chambers. The laws pertained to financial support for the northern regions, the regulation of public meetings, the governmental structure of regional subjects, and the securities market. The law regulating the securities market, which is urgently needed, has been en route through the legislature since 1994. -- Peter Rutland

REMAINING PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL MEMBERS ENDORSE YELTSIN.
Several members of the advisory Presidential Council, including Andranik Migranyan, Sergei Karaganov, and Emil Pain, expressed their continued support for President Boris Yeltsin in an open letter published in Izvestiya on 7 February. The letter was written in response to the recent resignations of several members of the council, including human rights advocate Sergei Kovalev and Izvestiya commentator Otto Latsis. The authors argued that Yeltsin remains the "main bulwark of democracy in Russia." They contended that in the face of "a rising threat of Bolshevik restoration," supporting Yeltsin was the "only reasonable course of political action." The authors did, however, express strong disagreement with Yeltsin's Chechnya policy, and urged the president to take immediate steps to reach a peaceful settlement of the conflict there. -- Scott Parrish

FOREIGN MINISTRY SLAMS AMBASSADOR TO VATICAN.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin harshly criticized the Ambassador to the Vatican, Vyacheslav Kostikov, on 6 February for his comments in a 4 February interview with NTV, Russian and Western agencies reported. Kostikov, who served as President Yeltsin's press secretary until December 1994, gave the interview in connection with the upcoming release of his memoirs, excerpts from which have already been published in Argumenty i fakty. In the interview, Kostikov painted a negative portrait of Yeltsin as power-hungry and lacking a "democratic ideology of his own," adding that Yeltsin's inner circle of advisors conducted a "constant, exhausting struggle" for influence over the president. Karasin said that Kostikov's comments were "a violation of moral and professional rules and norms" since it is "unacceptable for an ambassador to make negative comments about the leadership of his own country." -- Scott Parrish

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST ARRESTED FOR SPYING.
Aleksandr Nikitin, a Russian employee of the Norwegian-based environmental group Bellona, was arrested by the Federal Security Service in St. Petersburg on charges of espionage, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February. In a press release from Oslo, Bellona described the arrest of Nikitin, a nuclear expert who used to serve in the Northern Fleet, as a "serious blow against democracy and environmental efforts in Russia," according to Western agency reports. Bellona, which was founded in 1986, specializes in charting radioactive contamination of the Kola peninsula. The organization has been subject of a criminal investigation since the release of a report in October on the appalling state of a nuclear waste dump used by the Northern Fleet that the Russian authorities claim revealed state secrets. -- Penny Morvant

IRAN BEGINS PAYING FOR BUSHEHR REACTOR.
Grigorii Kaurov, a spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy, told journalists on 7 February that Iran had begun making payments for the completion of the controversial Bushehr nuclear power station, Russian and Western agencies reported. Kaurov said that under the terms of the estimated $800 million Russo-Iranian contract that went into effect on 12 January, the first VVER-1000 reactor bloc on the site will be completed by 2000. Russian technicians continue to prepare the site for full-scale construction, which Kaurov predicted would begin no sooner than May. The possible construction of three other reactors at the site has been discussed with Iran, he said, but has not yet been finalized. Kaurov also noted that Iranian specialists for the plant will be trained at Novovoronezh power station. -- Scott Parrish

BALTIN GLAD TO BE RELIEVED OF COMMAND.
Admiral Eduard Baltin, the former commander of the Black Sea Fleet, told Russian media on 5 February that he was "deeply grateful to the Russian president for relieving me of the burden that rested on my shoulders." Baltin said that the could not hand over part of the fleet to Ukraine, as he had been ordered to, because it represented "not only history but also a part of Russia." He said that he therefore had been dismissed because of "pangs of conscience." Baltin turned over command of the fleet to his deputy, Vice Admiral Gennadii Suchkov, on 5 February. -- Doug Clarke

RUSSIA AND CHINA COMPLETE SU-27 DEAL.
Russia and China have concluded a secret agreement which allows completion of the delayed sale of 72 SU-27 fighters to China, The New York Times reported on 7 February. One-third of the planes had been delivered under a 1992 deal, but further deliveries stalled because of Russian complaints about the barter goods China was using to cover two-thirds of the estimated $1 billion purchase price. The new agreement settled the payment terms, clearing the way not only for delivery of the remaining planes, but also for a contract allowing China to produce the SU-27 under license, (see OMRI Daily Digest 5 February 1996). -- Scott Parrish

CONTROVERSY OVER NORILSK NICKEL INTENSIFIES.
The Duma set up a commission on 2 February to investigate the privatization of Norilsk Nickel, and on 5 February Procurator General Yurii Skuratov announced that he was opening an investigation, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. In November Oneksimbank won control of the state's 38% stake in the firm in return for a $170 million loan, in an auction which the bank itself organized. Norilsk Director Anatolii Filatov has refused to allow the bank to appoint any new directors, and successfully went to court to block a bank request to call an emergency shareholders' meeting on 2 February. Norilsk Nickel has annual sales of $1.2 billion, and produces 90% of Russia's nickel and cobalt, 75% of its copper, and all its platinum. Due to chronic wage arrears the firm's trade unions are supporting Oneksimbank in its effort to take over the firm. Krasnoyarsk Krai governor Valerii Zubov, who sits on the Norilsk board of directors, is taking a neutral position in the dispute, according to Russian Television on 23 January. -- Peter Rutland

POSSIBLE REVISIONS TO SHARES-FOR-LOANS SCHEME.
In the wake of criticism of the results of the 1995 loans-for-shares auctions, the government is considering repaying the loans and repossessing some of the shares, Russian media reported on 3 February, although it is not clear where the money for such an operation would come from. If the loans-for-shares auctions are restarted, the rules will probably be altered. Likely changes include barring the State Property Committee's agent banks from participating, and allowing bidders to pay part of the required deposit with treasury bills. -- Natalia Gurushina

DEFENSE CONVERSION HOPES IN SVERDLOVSK . . .
Overall production at defense plants in Russia has fallen by 44% over the past two years, radio Ekho Moskvy reported on 6 February. Conversion programs have been hindered by a shortage of investment for retooling. However, the special agreement signed by Sverdlovsk Oblast with the federal government (see OMRI Daily Digest 12 January 1996) allows the oblast to divert federal tax revenues directly into conversion projects at local defense plants. Thus the Mias rocket design center in Sverdlovsk Oblast is building a line for the production of city trams, formerly imported from Czechoslovakia, Russian Television reported on 6 February. -- Peter Rutland

. . . BUT ST. PETERSBURG ROCKET PLANT IN TROUBLE.
Like many defense plants, St. Petersburg's Severnyi Zavod is on the brink of financial collapse, NTV reported on 5 February. The plant produces Patriot-style surface to air missiles, but has been reduced to making toboggans and other consumer goods. The last purchase order from the Russian government was for 62 rockets, in 1994. They managed to sell 120 S300 missiles to China last year, but had to accept payment in barter goods (such as lighters, thermoses, and china dogs) which they gave out as wages. Two local banks that accepted Severnyi promissory notes, Kredit Petersburg and Metal Invest, have gone bankrupt. -- Peter Rutland



NIYAZOV VISITS TURKEY.
The Turkish papers Cumhuriyet and Zaman reported on 6 February that Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov is in Turkey for discussion of the gas pipeline project running through Iran and Turkey to Europe. Confusingly, some international agencies were still reporting that Niyazov will not visit Turkey until next week. Rumors are circulating in Ashgabat that Niyazov's health is poor and that he may be going to Turkey for medical treatment. -- Lowell Bezanis

UN GROUP ARRIVES IN UZBEKISTAN.
A delegation to evaluate Uzbekistan's human rights record arrived in Tashkent on 5 February, Uzbek television reported, as noted by the BBC. Under the auspices of the UN Development Program, the group will meet with various government officials, NGO's, and political party leaders. They are also scheduled to meet with several opposition figures whose parties are currently not registered with the government. -- Roger Kangas

FBI TO TRAIN KAZAKHSTANI OFFICIALS TO FIGHT CRIME.
Following a meeting between Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev and FBI Director Louis Freeh at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the FBI promised to help Kazakhstan train its law enforcement agents to fight crime, Western media reported on 6 February. This meeting was a follow-up to an agreement reached between the two countries in March to cooperate to combat nuclear weapons smuggling, drug trafficking, and other organized and financial crimes. -- Bhavna Dave



RUSSIA BLASTS EST0NIA FOR DEPORTING ULTRANATIONALIST.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigorii Karasin on 6 February condemned the recent expulsion from Estonia of ultranationalist Petr Rozhok, BNS reported. Rozhok, a Russian citizen who was the Estonian representative of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party, was deported for "anti-constitutional activity" in March 1995. Estonia subsequently granted him visas to attend two court appeals but expelled him after those visas expired. Officials in Moscow told BNS they do not regard the deportation as aimed against a specific person but as a precedent-setting case for expelling Russian citizens. -- Saulius Girnius

DANISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN LATVIA.
Niels Helveg Petersen and his Latvian counterpart Valdis Birkavs, meeting in Riga on 5 February, signed an agreement to help finance Latvia's efforts to join the EU, BNS reported. Denmark plans to allocate 35 million Danish kroner ($6 million) for technical and administrative assistance to Poland and the three Baltic states. Petersen the next day held talks with Prime Minister Andris Skele, parliamentary speaker Ilsa Kreituse, and other parliamentary deputies. He said that Denmark supports Latvia's membership in the EU, NATO, and the World Trade Organization and added that visa-free travel between Latvia and Denmark was also discussed. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER TENDERS RESIGNATION.
Gintaras Zintelis on 5 February submitted a letter of resignation, but Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius refused to accept it, Reuters reported the next day. Zintelis said his decision was not connected with the current campaign to oust the premier, explaining that he wanted return to an academic career. Meanwhile, Seimas deputy Bronislovas Genzelis, who resigned from the ruling Democratic Labor Party in December, was formally accepted as the eighth member of the Social Democratic Party faction. -- Saulius Girnius

NEGOTIATIONS ON NEW POLISH GOVERNMENT CONTINUE.
Leaders of the two ruling parties in Poland--the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL)-- continue to discuss the formation of a new government. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz (SLD), who was appointed prime minister last week, said on 6 February that he wanted to have the cabinet sworn in the next day. But former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy said the PSL was opposed to Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek and Interior Minister Jerzy Konieczny. Jerzy Wiatr (SLD) and Leszek Kubicki, a non-party Supreme Court Justice, are candidates for the education and justice portfolios, respectively, Polish dailies reported on 7 February. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH EDITOR SENTENCED FOR REVEALING STATE SECRETS.
Jerzy Urban, formerly spokesman for Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski and since 1990 editor of the satirical weekly Nie, was sentenced on 6 February to a one-year suspended prison sentence for publishing secret documents. The court also ordered him to pay a $4,000 fine and banned him from working as a journalist for one year. In June 1992, Urban had published documents dating from 1959 suggesting that Zdzislaw Najder, who was head of RFE/RL's Polish service in the 1980s, was a secret police informer. Urban said he would appeal the sentence. His weekly has a circulation of hundreds of thousands and frequently is critical of right-wing politicians, Polish national symbols, and the Catholic Church. -- Jakub Karpinski

RUSSIANS DENY CZECH SECRET SERVICE CHARGES.
The Russian embassy in Prague on 6 February denied Czech secret service (BIS) charges that Russia has launched a campaign to discredit the Czech Republic in the West, Czech media reported. BIS's annual report for 1995 accuses Russian intelligence services of trying to hinder the Czech Republic's possible admission to NATO and speculates that they could also try to influence the Czech parliamentary elections in late May. An embassy official called the reports "open provocation." According to Mlada fronta Dnes on 6 February, BIS estimates that around 400 Russian agents are operating in the Czech Republic, including 56 accredited diplomats. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus refused to comment on the allegations, saying he has not yet read the BIS report. -- Steve Kettle

SLOVAKIA REJECTS NEUTRALITY.
The Slovak Foreign Ministry on 6 February issued a statement rejecting Russian Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin's recent proposal that a neutral zone be created in Central Europe between NATO countries and Russia. The ministry said the Russian plan "does not correspond with progress in discussions on the security model for the 21st century." In other news, a 10-day joint Slovak-U.S. military exercise began on 6 February in Zilina. Training is focused on reconnaissance tasks for international humanitarian missions, non-military rescue missions, aid to civilians in military conflicts, and fighting terrorism, TASR reported. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK JUSTICE MINISTRY REACTS TO PROTEST AGAINST FOUNDATIONS BILL.
The Slovak Justice Ministry on 6 February issued a statement responding to the ongoing campaign by the Third Sector Association against the bill on foundations (see OMRI Daily Digest, 17 January 1996). The ministry denied the association's claims that the bill was prepared within a couple of days and without consulting those affected by it. It said the draft bill has yet to be reviewed by the cabinet and that the parliament will have the final word. Representatives of the Third Sector Association are expected to meet on 12 February with Katarina Tothova, deputy premier for legislative issues, Praca reported. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT DIVIDED OVER SCREENING LAW.
Hungarian deputies on 6 February began to debate an amendment to the screening law, Hungarian dailies reported. The law, which was passed under the previous administration in 1994 and subsequently declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, forbids those who worked for the communist-era III/III department of the secret service from holding public office. Coalition and opposition deputies are at odds over who should be screened. The cabinet's draft law provides for screening only those who have taken an oath in the parliament, while the opposition wants to include judges, prosecutors, and senior officers in the armed forces and police. Ferenc Koszeg of the Alliance of Free Democrats, the junior coalition party, argued that the law should allow all reports, not just those maintained by the III/III department, to be made public, including those on Hungarian emigres and enlisted soldiers. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



BOSNIAN SERBS BREAK OFF TIES WITH SARAJEVO GOVERNMENT OVER ARRESTED SERBS.
Pale has broken off contacts with the Sarajevo government and threatened to block traffic into Serb-held suburbs if the eight recently arrested Serbs are not freed, Nasa Borba said on 7 February. The Onasa news agency reported the previous day that the government has identified General Djordje Djukic and Colonel Aleksa Krsmanovic as responsible for "a large number" of murders in eastern Bosnia and around Sarajevo. A government spokesman said the two were arrested during "a routine traffic control" on 30 January. Oslobodjenje on 7 February added that Djukic served in the Yugoslav army in Belgrade but later followed General Ratko Mladic to the Bosnian Serb general staff. The government has asked the Hague-based International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to take part in investigations. The other Serbs were arrested for possessing quantities of weapons and explosives. Elsewhere, Human Rights Watch has appealed to the UN Security Council not to lift sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs yet. -- Patrick Moore

ADMIRAL SMITH STILL WILL NOT SEND IFOR AFTER WAR CRIMINALS.
John Shattuck, the U.S. State Department's top official for human rights, has taken NATO commander Admiral Leighton Smith by helicopter to two of the most notorious sites of Serbian atrocities. The men visited the Omarska camp and saw one building from which no prisoner is known to have emerged alive. Shattuck called it a "killing camp" but arrived to find a freshly painted Serbian army barracks with soldiers lounging around and watching television. The Serbs said that the reports on the camp by journalists and survivors were propaganda. The two officials later flew to the Ljubija mine, believed to be a huge mass grave. Smith said he still will not have his men "seek out" war criminals, because this is not in their mandate. The BBC on 7 February commented that many doubt that the war criminals will ever face justice unless IFOR becomes more involved in hunting them down. -- Patrick Moore

PALE PREVENTS BANJA LUKA MAYOR FROM MEETING U.S. ENVOY.
President Bill Clinton's special envoy Robert Galucci is in Banja Luka to meet leading personalities, Nasa Borba reported on 7 February. He spoke to the heads of the Roman Catholic and Islamic communities as well as with some Serbian politicians. But the Independent Social Democratic Party charged the hard-line Pale leadership with having blocked his meeting with Mayor Predrag Radic. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, Oslobodjenje quoted Michael Steiner, the deputy of the international community's Carl Bildt, as saying dialog between local Serbs and the government on reintegrating the capital is progressing well. -- Patrick Moore

UN HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL MEETS WITH BOSNIAN SERBS.
Elisabeth Rehn on 6 February visited the Bosnian-Serb stronghold of Pale to hold talks with Republika Srpska Vice President Nikola Koljevic, parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik, and Prime Minister Rajko Kasagic, Nasa Borba reported. Rehn said Bosnian Serb leaders have granted her freedom of movement to carry out her work, despite disagreement over the Hague-based war crimes tribunal and mass graves in Bosnia. Krajisnik complained that the trials in The Hague have been politicized, with charges of ethnic cleansing and massacres unfairly slanted against Serbs. He added that "Muslims were keeping Serbs as ethnic hostages in government-controlled towns," according to AFP. Rehn told the reporters she believes some missing Srebrenica citizens are still alive, "although they were not in the Srebrenica area," Hina reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

U.S. ANNOUNCES INCREASED AID AMID CONTINUED EU CRITICISM.
The U.S. on 6 February announced it is increasing aid to Bosnia, international news agencies reported. A U.S. official speaking in Tuzla said his government wants to allocate $200 million in economic assistance to Bosnia for the remainder of the 1996 fiscal year. The U.S. previously had said it would contribute only $600 million. It has come under ongoing criticism by the EU, which expects the U.S. to provide one-third of the estimated $5.1 billion needed for reconstruction in Bosnia. An EU spokesman in Brussels was also critical of Japan and the Islamic states. Meanwhile, a spokesman in Washington said the U.S. will step up efforts to accelerate the deployment of UN police to Bosnia. -- Michael Mihalka

APPEALS FOR MORE AID.
Regional leaders attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, have appealed for more aid, international agencies reported. Bosnian Prime Minister Hsan Muratovic estimated Bosnian war damage at $45 billion, while the Croatian delegation said their country needed $17 billion. Rump Yugoslav Prime Minister Radoje Kontic estimated his country lost more than $200 billion directly and indirectly through the war. Hungarian President Arpad Goncz asked that some of money be earmarked for aiding Hungarian infrastructure. Meanwhile, The World Bank reported that almost 90% of the Bosnian population depends on international aid. -- Michael Mihalka

UNHCR SAYS NO BOSNIANS WERE COMPELLED TO GO TO AUSTRALIA.
A UNHCR official in Belgrade on 6 February denied that Bosnians have been sent against their will to Australia, international media reported. He said refugees who fled the enclaves of Zepa and Srebenica when they fell to Bosnian Serb forces in the summer of 1995 "adamantly refused to go back." But a spokesman for a group of some 100 refugees in Adelaide said they had been sent against their will and wanted to return. The UNHCR official said the refugees in Australia are welcome to return to Bosnia but will have to wait their turn, since there are the tens of thousands of other refugees seeking help in repatriation. -- Michael Mihalka

GAS CUT OFF TO ZAGREB.
Many residents of the Croatian capital on 7 February found themselves without gas amid sub-zero temperatures, German media reported. The energy firm INA is seeking to force the state-run gas board to pay 28 million kuna ($5 million) in back debts. INA plans to cut off more gas gradually. -- Patrick Moore

MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT URGES UNITY IN GOVERNMENT COALITION.
Kiro Gligorov on 6 February appealed to the Social Democratic Union, the Socialist Party, and the Liberal Party to keep the present government coalition together, Reuters reported. Gligorov' statements followed reports that Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski is preparing to name a new government without the Liberals. "Excluding one member of the coalition from the future reconstructed government is not a political platform I represent [nor is it] the will of our voters," Gligorov said. The Liberals complained that Crvenkovski excluded them from talks about a new government. The dismissal of Macedonian TV editor-in-chief Saso Ordanoski, a Social Democrat, may have been a result of the coalition crisis. Macedonian TV Director-General Melpomeni Korneti, a Liberal, reportedly disagreed with one of his editorials predicting there would be no Liberals in the next government. -- Stefan Krause

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT DENIES SEEKING MOSCOW'S HELP IN 1989.
Ion Iliescu has denied accusations that he sought Moscow's help during the December 1989 revolt, which many Romanians believe was hijacked by his leftist allies, Reuters reported on 6 February. For the first time since he gained power in December 1989, Iliescu's office issued documents allegedly proving that he did not ask ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to help oust Nicolae Ceausescu. The Presidency said the move was meant to deny "fabrications by the media and politicians about the Romanian revolution and the legitimacy of the National Salvation Front." Under Iliescu's leadership, the NSF seized power after Ceausescu's overthrow. -- Matyas Szabo

ROMANIAN SENATE VOTES ON COUNTERESPIONAGE BILL.
The Senate on 6 February adopted by a vote of 82 to seven with six abstentions a draft law on the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), Radio Bucharest reported. Under the new legislation, the country's counterintelligence service will be supervised by a joint panel set up by the Commissions for Defense, Public Order, and National Security of the parliament's two chambers. The SIE will be subordinated to the Supreme Defense Council, headed by President Ion Iliescu. The bill has still to be approved by the Chamber of Deputies. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN DELEGATION IN BUCHAREST.
A delegation from the Moldovan parliament's Foreign Policy Commission have met with foreign policy experts in the Romanian parliament's two chambers, Romanian media reported on 6 February. The two sides agreed that the Romanian and Moldovan parliaments will draw up by the end of their current sessions a legislative proposal on easing border crossing restrictions. They also discussed the free exchange of newspapers and publications as well as issues related to national minorities. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIAN LEGISLATOR FOUND SHOT.
Todor Todorov, chairman of the parliamentary agriculture committee and a member of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, was found shot in the head at his home in Malina, northeastern Bulgaria, on 5 February, 24 chasa reported. He was rushed to the hospital in Dobrich and operated on but is in a deep coma. Police said there was no evidence of violence and are convinced that Todorov attempted to commit suicide. Bulgarian media link the incident to the criticism of the agriculture committee amid the ongoing grain shortage. Standart cited Petar Komarov, a high-level official at the Agriculture Ministry, as saying Todorov has frequently received telephone threats against himself and his family and was disappointed by the attitude of fellow party members. The BSP declined to comment on the incident. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS ACCUSED OF PLANNING COUP.
Rilindja Demokratike on 7 February reported that Italian journalist Pietro Zannoni has produced a document, dated 3 March 1990 and signed by a Yugoslav Security Service agent, allegedly proving that the Albanian Socialist Party was involved in espionage and other activities. The document mentions plans to finance agents in Albania "to control the communist apparatus." It also refers to "preparations for a communist coup d'etat in Albania with the support of Russia" and to preserving "relations between the Serbian and Albanian Communists to maintain Serbian domination over Kosovo." The Socialists have repeatedly denied the charges. -- Fabian Schmidt

HOLBROOKE ON CANCELED VISITS TO ATHENS, ANKARA.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke on 6 February said it was his decision not to visit Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, CNN reported the same day. Holbrooke said "we have decided on our own that this is not an ideal time to visit," noting that there still is no new Turkish government. Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis the previous day had made clear Holbrooke was not welcome in Athens. Meanwhile, U.S. President Bill Clinton set letters to Simitis, Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel thanking them for "for their cooperation in successfully resolving the issue" of the disputed islet of Imia/Kardak. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 1200 CET]


Compiled by Pete Baumgartner and Jan Cleave




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