YELTSIN CALLS FOR IMPROVED HIGH-TECH INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE.
meeting of the Security Council 7 February, Yeltsin called on Russia's special
services to find ways to better utilize scientific information collected by
foreign intelligence agencies in the interests of "technological rearmament,"
Ekho Moskvy reported. He told the Council that "it is better to have a leading
technology than a leading ideology," Rossiiskie vesti reported on 8
February. He said only 10-20% of the information received from foreign
intelligence is used, and argued that the key to success was not leadership in
a particular technology, but the quick application of new technology in the
economy, ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin also expressed concern about the departure
of Russia's most qualified specialists and the low level of university
instructors. -- Robert Orttung
A leading Russian cardiologist, Mikhail Alshibai,
discussed Yelstin's heart condition in an interview for Novoe vremya,
no. 5. Yelstin was hospitalized on 11 July and 26 October suffering from
ischemia, or inadequate supply of blood to the heart. Alshibai, who did not
treat the president, said that the second hospitalization was clearly more
serious than the first. He argued that the condition can only be improved by
surgery, which was presumably rejected for political reasons. Alshibai said
that judging by Yeltsin's television appearances featuring slurred speech, that
"There are some symptoms of arteriosclerosis of the vessels supplying blood to
the brain." -- Peter Rutland
ZYUGANOV RESPONDS TO CHUBAIS' CHARGES.
Communist Party leader Gennadii
Zyuganov rejected former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatolii Chubais' charge
that he said one thing at home and another abroad in a speech to the Duma,
Izvestiya reported 8 February. Zyuganov stressed his party's
"social-democratic" goals, emphasizing that the party supported private
property and did not intend to carry out a policy of renationalization.
However, the communists plan to prosecute instances of "illegal" privatization
and do not support the selling of land. Zyuganov's attempts to move toward the
center will undoubtedly complicate his relations with more orthodox communists.
-- Robert Orttung
SPOKESMAN: NEMTSOV WON'T RUN FOR PRESIDENT.
Nizhnii Novgorod Governor
Boris Nemtsov is not going to stand for the June presidential elections,
ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February citing the governor's spokesman, Aleksandr
Kotyusov. The spokesman said that a group formed earlier this week in Moscow to
nominate the popular Nemtsov for president was created without the governor's
knowledge. -- Anna Paretskaya
CHECHEN GOVERNMENT ASKS DEMONSTRATORS TO DISPERSE.
In a television
address on 7 February, Chechen Prime Minister Doku Zavgaev called on the Dudaev
supporters who have been demonstrating in Grozny the past four days to
disperse, Russian media reported. ITAR-TASS quoted Deputy Premier Abdulla
Bugaev as stating that the authorities would not use force against the
demonstrators in what they describe as an "unsanctioned meeting" unless they
resisted police. Russian Television reported that the withdrawal of Russian
federal troops from Chechnya would begin on 8 February with a pullout from
Shatoi raion, which is under the control of the pro-Moscow Chechen government.
-- Liz Fuller
OFFICERS TO GO ON TRIAL FOR ACTIONS IN CHECHNYA.
Ministry troops, including the commander of a division, will be tried for
impeding a military prosecutor in carrying out his duties, Russian media
reported on 6 February. The Main Military Prosecutor's Office said that case
involved an incident on the Chechen-Ingush border on 24 December when federal
soldiers beat up the driver of an inter-city bus. The report said the division
commander would not allow prosecutors to visit the crime scene. -- Doug
FEDERATION COUNCIL WANTS NEW COMMISSION FOR CHECHNYA.
Council on 7 February called for the formation of a new governmental commission
representing both houses of parliament, the president, the government, and the
constitutional court to hammer out a unified policy toward the Chechen crisis,
Russian and Western agencies reported. The Council said that "a resumption of
large-scale military actions must be prevented...and the war ended." President
Yeltsin apparently plans to launch a new Chechen initiative soon. -- Scott
REGIONAL GOVERNORS ACTIVE IN FEDERATION COUNCIL.
reported on 8 February that Aleksandr Ryabov, recently elected governor of the
Tambov Oblast on the Communist Party ticket, was picked to chair the upper
house of parliament's Committee for Security and Defense Issues. Among his
deputies are the respective governors of Sverdlovsk Oblast and Primorsk Krai,
Eduard Rossel and Yevgenii Nazdratenko. The pro-government Yevgenii Savchenko,
elected governor of Belgorod in December, will head the Federation Council's
Committee for Agrarian Policy, while Samara Governor Konstantin Titov, will
head the Budget and Finance committee, according to Rossiiskaya gazeta
on 1 February. -- Anna Paretskaya
YELTSIN APPOINTS REPRESENTATIVES TO PARLIAMENT.
President Boris Yeltsin
appointed his representatives to both houses of the Russian parliament,
ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February. Anatolii Sliva, who headed the Committee on
Local Self-Government in the previous State Duma, will represent the president
in the parliament's upper house, while Deputy Minister of Nationalities
Aleksandr Kotenkov will be his representative to the Duma. The former
presidential representative to the parliament, Aleksandr Yakovlev, resigned
earlier this week (see OMRI Daily Digest 6 February 1996) -- Anna
DUMA PASSES LAW RAISING MINIMUM PENSION, WAGE.
The parliament's lower
house passed a bill on 7 February raising the minimum wage to 75,900 rubles
($16) a month as of 1 February; 255 deputies voted for the hike and 17 against
with four abstentions. According to ITAR-TASS, the Duma also raised the minimum
pension to 75,900 rubles as of 1 March; this bill had the support of 282
deputies. Both the government and the Pension Fund are against the increases,
arguing that they are unaffordable (see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 January).
The law must still be approved by the Federation Council and signed by the
president. -- Penny Morvant
ST. PETERSBURG MAYOR READY TO SUE YELTSIN.
"If Boris Yeltsin issues an
edict forbidding St. Petersburg mayoral elections, then I will sue in the
Constitutional Court," said St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak, according to
Rossiiskaya gazeta on 7 February. Under a decree of the city's
Legislative Assembly, the mayoral elections are to be held on 16 June, along
with presidential poll. Sobchak's term expires four days earlier. However,
Yeltsin is against any local elections or referendums to be held that day,
according to Sergei Tsyplyaev, a Yeltsin representative in St. Petersburg.
Under a 17 September presidential decree, the elections of executive heads of
federation subjects should be conducted in December 1996, with the exception of
Moscow, where Yeltsin will allow a mayoral poll on 16 June. -- Anna
THERE WILL BE NO SUSPENSE IN TATAR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev is the only candidate for the March
republican presidential elections, Russian news agencies reported. Communists,
who had nominated local factory director Ramil Gabdrakhmanov as their
candidate, decided "to quit the race" a few minutes before the deadline for
handing in signatures for candidates expired. According to Russian federal
laws, elections with only one candidate are illegitimate. However, re-election
of the unopposed Kalmykian president in October caused nothing but verbal
denouncement of the Central Electoral Commission's Chairman Nikolai Ryabov. --
RUSSIA AND GEORGIA DISCUSS AIR DEFENSE COOPERATION.
Minster Vardiko Nadibaidze and First Deputy Commander of the Russian Air
Defense Forces, Col.-Gen. Sergei Sapegin discussed the development of the
integrated CIS air defense system in Tbilisi on 7 February, ITAR-TASS reported.
Nadibaidze said that joint training exercises were already underway for the
unified air defense system, which was formed by a February 1995 agreement
signed by all CIS states except Moldova and Azerbaijan. Under a decision made
at the January CIS summit, Russia will finance upgrades in the air defenses of
Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Sapegin
said that Russia planned to provide Georgia with 10 billion rubles ($2.1
million) for its air defenses. -- Scott Parrish
RUSSIA, U.S. TO JOINTLY CLEAN-UP LAKE BAIKAL.
An agreement to work
jointly to protect the ecology of Lake Baikal has been reached at the
Russian-U.S. intergovernmental commission on economic and technical cooperation
headed by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and U.S. Vice President
Albert Gore, Russian media reported on 6 February. The commission agreed to
overhaul the Baikalsk pulp and paper factory, which according to the Russian
branch of Greenpeace is the only firm that dumps its waste directly into the
lake. -- Anna Paretskaya
NIZHNII NOVGOROD FIRM FINISHES BLUEPRINT OF NUCLEAR WASTE REPROCESSING
The Vympel design office in Nizhnii Novgorod has finished the
blueprint for a vessel to reprocess liquid nuclear waste, ITAR-TASS reported on
8 February. The vessel will be built by a shipbuilder in Komsomolsk-na-Amure
and will be able to reprocess 7,000 tons of waste a year. The project is a
joint effort by Russian, Japanese, and U.S. firms aimed at safeguarding the
ecological security of the Russian Far East. It costs $26 million and is being
paid for by the Japanese government as part of funds allocated in 1993 to
support Russian nuclear disarmament. -- Penny Morvant
PRISON GUARDS PROTEST DELAYED WAGES.
Over 60 guards at a jail in
Petrozavodsk in the republic of Kareliya have been on hunger strike for three
days to protest wage arrears, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February. The guards, who
are Interior Ministry (MVD) employees, were last paid in October. On 7
February, a battalion of the MVD's service for transporting detainees in Tula
Oblast also proclaimed a hunger strike, again to protest arrears in wages and
other payments. According to Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Durbazhev, the
MVD began 1996 with debts of 3.4 trillion rubles ($720 million). He said the
MVD needs 42 trillion rubles this year but has been allocated only 25 trillion
in the 1996 budget. -- Penny Morvant
CANNIBALISM IN KEMEROVO.
Police in the Siberian city of Kemerovo said on
7 February they have detained a man who confessed to killing a local criminal,
making ravioli out of him, and then eating the dish during a drinking session
with two friends, Russian and Western agencies reported. Details of the crime
emerged when a group of homeless people rummaging through a rubbish dump
discovered a human head and other body parts later identified as the remains of
Vladimir Laptin, a criminal with a string of convictions. An investigation led
police to three suspects, one of whom confessed to the killing. Last July two
prisoners in a Siberian prison were accused of eating their cell-mate. -- Penny
RUSSIA IMPOSES EXCISE DUTIES ON UKRAINIAN GOODS.
A presidential decree
on levying excise taxes on goods manufactured in Ukraine will come into force
on 18 February, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 February. The introduction of this
measure signed on 19 January (which may seriously affect Ukraine's exports of
tobacco, alcohol and cars) follows the Ukrainian government's decision to lift
excise taxes from all goods exported to Russia, making them cheaper than
Russian commodities. Officials at the State Customs Committee told OMRI that
hitherto the trade flows between the two countries were exempt from import
duties, excise tax, and value added tax. -- Natalia Gurushina
GOVERNMENT TROOPS PULL BACK IN TAVIL-DARA.
Tajik government troops on 7
February pulled back to positions in the Lyulikharv area, according to
ITAR-TASS. The fighting has been going on for a week and according to a radio
Voice of Free Tajikistan report on 7 February, the government dead total about
60 and more than 250 soldiers and officers have been taken prisoner. There was
no mention of opposition force losses or any confirmation from the Tajik
government on their casualties. The same radio report claimed opposition forces
in Tavil-Dara have captured two ammo dumps, two tanks, and eight armored
vehicles. Bad weather has so far prevented the Tajik government forces from
employing air power. -- Bruce Pannier
TAJIKISTAN FACES SERIOUS FOOD SHORTAGE.
The United Nations' Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a statement on 6 February warning that
Tajikistan is facing a serious food shortage, according to Western agencies.
The FAO claims that Tajikistan has roughly 40% of the required food grain
imports necessary this year. A poor harvest coupled with Tajikistan's emphasis
on cotton has contributed to the situation as well as bad harvests in Russia
and Kazakhstan, Tajikistan's main suppliers. Tajik authorities requested the
U.S. government to speed up delivery of 20,000 tons of grain on 19 January,
Tajik Radio reported. -- Bruce Pannier
NIYAZOV HOSPITALIZED FOR TESTS.
Before attending to official business in
Turkey, Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov will undergo a medical
check up at the American Hospital in Istanbul, the paper Yeni Yuzyil
reported on 8 February. The duration of his stay in hospital is unclear his
doctor said, noting that cardiological tests on Niyazov can take several days.
Niyazov's health has been monitored periodically over the past two years at the
American Hospital following an operation on his leg in the U.S. in 1994, the
paper reported. -- Lowell Bezanis
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ISSUES DECREE ON REFORMS IN COAL INDUSTRY.
Kuchma on 7 February issued a decree launching reforms in the country's
troubled coal industry, Ukrainian TV reported. The decree calls for all
enterprises under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Coal Industry, including
the country's 227 coal mines, to be restructured into majority state-owned,
joint-stock companies by 1 September. The firms will be able to conduct
business dealings without government interference. Meanwhile, the government
allocated six trillion karbovantsi ($32 million) to cover a portion of unpaid
wages to striking coal miners. It also promised to allot another 15 trillion
karbovantsi within 20 days. Union officials said 72 mines were still on strike
and the shortage of coal was already affecting the coal regions' power supply.
-- Chrystyna Lapychak
Ukraine on 7 February formally took possession of
Britain's Faraday research station in the Antarctic, Reuters reported.
Agreement on the transfer of the station to Ukraine was reached in July after
Russia had refused to hand over any stations to Kiev. ITAR-TASS reported that
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Kuras met with Israeli religious leader
Rabin Adin in Kiev. The visit came at the same time when Israeli-Ukrainian
relations are strained over the case of former Acting Prime Minister Yukhim
Zvyahilsky, who was accused of embezzling $25 million. Zvyahilsky sought refuge
in Israel, where he was granted the right to permanent residency under a law
granting all Jews that right. Intelnews on 6 February reported that Ukraine's
Foreign Ministry has denied that the three Chinese deported to Beijing last
week were spies. -- Ustina Markus
BELARUSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON PEACEKEEPING.
Leanid Maltseu said he was
opposed to the participation of Belarusian troops in any peacekeeping missions,
including those under UN auspices, Belarusian TV reported on 6 February.
Maltseu added that without a Supreme Soviet resolution, the Defense Ministry
has no intention of even considering such a possibility. Belarus has
consistently rejected participating in any military operations beyond its
borders, even within the context of the CIS Collective Security Pact.
Meanwhile, the IMF is postponing issuing the second tranche of a $250 million
standby credit because of concerns over the pace of economic reform in the
country, Reuters reported on 6 February. The first $70 million tranche was
released in September. -- Ustina Markus
BALTIC FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN VILNIUS.
Povilas Gylys (Lithuania),
Valdis Birkavs (Latvia), and Siim Kallas (Estonia) met in the Lithuanian
capital on 7 February to discuss cooperation, Baltic media reported. The
ministers pledged to continue their common efforts to integrate more fully into
European structures. Noting the importance of Russia as a powerful neighbor,
they expressed an interest in meeting with Russia's new foreign minister,
Yevgenii Primakov. Birkavs agreed with the Lithuanian position that talks on
the Latvian-Lithuanian sea border demarcation should begin by renouncing all
previous agreements. Gylys said the talks could start next month if Latvia did
not insist on waiting until Lithuania formed a new government. -- Saulius
VOTE ON LITHUANIAN PREMIER'S DISMISSAL.
The Democratic Labor Party on 7
February failed to reach agreement on how to vote the next day on the dismissal
of its chairman Adolfas Slezevicius as prime minister, Radio Lithuania
reported. Caucus deputy chairman Justinas Karosas said that the party's
deputies could vote independently but that he would probably ask that the
voting be secret. Slezevicius said that although he was likely to be dismissed,
he would not resign as that would be an indirect admission that the charges
against him were valid. -- Saulius Girnius
NEW GOVERNMENT IN POLAND.
Poland's new government was sworn in on 7
February by President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Like its two predecessors, it is
a coalition of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the Polish Peasant Party
(PSL). The government is headed by Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, a 45-year-old
lawyer from the SLD, who resigned his post as deputy Sejm speaker. There are
six new ministers: Internal Affairs Minister Zbigniew Siemiatkowski (SLD),
Justice Minister Leszek Kubicki (no party), Education Minister Jerzy Wiatr
(SLD), Culture Minister Zdzislaw Podkanski (PSL), Labor Minister Andrzej
Baczkowski (no party), and Leszek Miller (SLD), who is chief of the Office of
the Council of Ministers. Cimoszewicz said he will maintain "continuity in
foreign, economic, and social policy," Polish and international media reported.
-- Jakub Karpinski
U.S. ENVOY IN POLAND.
Richard Holbrooke, U.S. assistant secretary of
state for European and Canadian Affairs, visited Poland on 7 February for talks
with President Aleksander Kwasniewski, Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz,
and former President Lech Walesa. Holbrooke said he assured his Polish hosts
that the Clinton administration is fully aware of Poland's wishes to join NATO.
He added that Poland's participation in the NATO mission in Bosnia "is going to
make a very favorable impression on the United States and on other NATO
allies," Polish and international agencies reported. -- Jakub
CZECH GOVERNMENT EASES CITIZENSHIP RESTRICTIONS.
The Czech government on
7 February approved amendments to the citizenship law, removing the
controversial requirement that applicants must have had a clean criminal record
for five years, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. The Council of Europe and
U.S. senators, among others, have strongly criticized the law as being
restrictive. They say it discriminates in particular against Roma who have
lived in the Czech Republic for a long time but are technically Slovak
citizens. Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus told reporters that the amendments were
primarily intended to ease the way for Slovaks to gain Czech citizenship. --
CZECH PREMIER SAYS NUCLEAR BILL IS NOT ABOUT WEAPONS.
Vaclav Klaus on 7
February said the government's "nuclear bill," which is due to go before the
parliament soon, does not concern nuclear weapons but is "exclusively a bill
about Temelin [the Czech Republic's second nuclear power station] and related
matters," Czech media reported. Czech newspapers have claimed the proposed law
would prohibit NATO nuclear weapons being deployed in the country. They have
also published a paragraph that would ban the "export, production, import,
operation, ownership, storing and any other handling of nuclear weapons." Klaus
has called for the issue not to become part of the upcoming parliamentary
election campaign, saying the Czech Republic must accept the possibility of
nuclear weapons on its territory if it wants to join NATO. The main opposition
wants the country to be a nuclear-free zone. -- Doug Clarke and Steve Kettle
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES PRIVATIZATION AMENDMENT.
parliament on 7 February passed an amendment to the law on large-scale
privatization under which company owners may be freed from the obligation to
provide for employee participation in the privatization process. Sme on
7 February writes that the legislative initiative "strengthens the influence of
today's buyers of direct-sale properties to the detriment of employees." The
parliament also approved a law on the protection of state secrets, which
replaces communist-era legislation. An opposition proposal that former members
of the communist secret police be denied access to classified information was
rejected. Meanwhile, a Czech-Slovak border agreement was approved, providing
for a swap of 452 hectares of territory, Slovak media reported. -- Sharon
SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW TO GO TO HIGH COURT.
The opposition Christian
Democratic Movement (KDH) and Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement (MKDH)
agreed on 7 February to take the state language law to the Constitutional
Court, Pravda reported. The Hungarian coalition--which has argued that
the law infringes on minority rights--wants to lodge the complaint as "urgent"
so it will be addressed as quickly as possible. The KDH was the only Slovak
party that did not vote in favor of the law. MKDH Chairman Bela Bugar announced
he intends to ask Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar for a meeting to discuss
minority language usage and the new territorial administration bill. -- Sharon
HUNGARY READY FOR OECD MEMBERSHIP.
The last obstacle to Hungarian
membership in the OECD was removed on 7 February, when an OECD committee on
foreign investment gave its approval, Reuters and Hungarian media reported. One
day earlier, the committee had met in Paris with a delegation led by Finance
Minister Lajos Bokros. Hungary can now join the organization as early as March,
which would make it the second post-communist country, after the Czech
Republic, to do so. Membership is conditional on parliamentary approval of
amendments to the bank secrecy act. -- Sharon Fisher
MLADIC THREATENS TO BREAK CONTACT WITH NATO.
Bosnian Serb civilian
authorities have made good on their threat to end contacts with the
international community and the Bosnian government in Sarajevo over the arrest
of suspected Serbian war criminals. The International Herald Tribune on
8 February said that indicted war criminal General Ratko Mladic has broken two
months of silence and threatened to end contacts with NATO as well. IFOR
commander Admiral Leighton Smith spoke to Pale's legislative speaker Momcilo
Krajisnik to urge calm and restraint and met with Bosnian Serb commanders. He
told them he could not force the government to release the detained officers
because it is the business of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague and he is
"out of it," AFP reported on 7 February. The news agency also quoted an IFOR
spokesman as saying that the peacekeepers are avoiding arresting indicted war
criminals since this would cause "political problems." -- Patrick Moore
MIXED REACTIONS TO DETENTION OF SUSPECTED WAR CRIMINALS.
The BBC on 7
February quoted top officials of the tribunal as saying that the Bosnian
government's actions were "quite proper" and that all sides "are duty bound" by
the Dayton agreement to cooperate with the court and arrest war criminals.
Onasa cited court officials as adding that they had asked the Bosnians to
arrest General Djordje Djukic and Colonel Aleksa Krsmanovic. The tribunal is
considering asking the Bosnian authorities to arrest on its behalf other
suspects held in Sarajevo. The BBC quoted President Bill Clinton's special
envoy Robert Galucci as saying that the government had a point in arresting
suspected war criminals, but he also expressed sympathy for the Serbian view
that the detentions contravene the principle of freedom of movement. -- Patrick
RED CROSS ON FATE OF BOSNIAN MUSLIMS IN SREBRENICA.
An official from the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on 7 February that he
believed the 3,000 Bosnian Muslims detained by Bosnian Serbs in July 1995 after
Srebrenica's fall were killed, international media reported. He added that the
fate of another 5,000 Bosnian Muslims who tried to flee the area needed to be
"urgently settled." This is the first time the ICRC, which is known for its
caution, has suggested that the 3,000 Srebrenica Muslims may be dead. Several
thousand Muslim men reportedly crossed over into government territory last July
after Srebrenica's fall, but the ICRC was unable to register them. The ICRC
says it is finding new prisoners each day but the Bosnian factions are
violating the Dayton peace accords by denying it access to them. -- Michael
RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN BOSNIA.
Pavel Grachev arrived in Bosnia on 7
February to review the deployment of Russian peacekeepers, international media
reported. He met with NATO commander U.S. General George Joulwan, who commented
that "cooperation between U.S. and Russian troops [in Bosnia] can create a new
relationship between NATO and Russia." Grachev noted that the deployment of
Russian troops had occurred without incident. -- Michael Mihalka
CROATIAN PROTESTERS RANSACK EU OFFICE IN MOSTAR.
administrator Hans Koschnick's 7 February announcement of adminstrative
reorganization of Mostar, a large group of Croats ransacked EU offices in the
city, international and local media reported. Demonstrators trapped Koschnick
for an hour in his car to protest his plan to unify the city. Mostar Mayor Mijo
Brajkovic, who has rejected Koschnick's plans, joined the demonstrators, Hina
reported. He told Reuters to expect Koschnick "to change his decision now."
Meanwhile, NATO called on the Mostar Croats to halt all attacks on the EU
administration and announced that NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana will
visit the town. German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel asked Croatia to support
and protect the EU mission and its staff in Mostar. -- Daria Sito Sucic
SLOVENIAN GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE.
The Slovenian parliament on 7 February
elected three new ministers to portfolios that were vacated in late January
when the coalition partner United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD) broke away,
Reuters reported. The coalition is now composed of the Liberal Democratic Party
(LDS) and the Christian Democratic Party (SKD).Tone Rop, an LDS member, has
been appointed labor minister; Andrej Umek of the Christian Democrats science
minister; and Janez Dular, an independent and one-time deputy editor of the
daily Slovenec, culture minister. The LDS now has seven portfolios, the
SKD five, and independents three. -- Stan Markotich
GEN. SHALIKASHVILI IN ROMANIA.
General John Shalikashvili, chairman of
the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, on 7 February began a two-day visit to Romania,
Romanian and Western media reported. Shalikashvili met with Romanian President
Ion Iliescu and Chief-of-Staff Gen. Dumitru Cioflina to discuss Romania's
ambitions to join NATO and its participation in the Partnership for Peace
Program. They also discussed U.S.-Romanian military relations, which
Shalikashvili described as "very, very close." Shalikashvili is scheduled to
meet with Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca and to visit an army non-combat
battalion that Romania has offered to send to Bosnia as part of the
peacekeeping forces there. Romania was the first country to enroll in NATO's
PfP program. -- Dan Ionescu
MORE STRIKES IN ROMANIA.
Following a warning strike earlier this week,
some 4,000 employees at the Rodae car plant in Craiova began an indefinite
walkout on 7 February, Romanian and international media reported. Workers at
the plant, which is majority-owned by South Korean industrial giant Daewoo, are
demanding cost-of-living wage increases, the dismissal of two Romanian
directors at the plant, and expenses for Romanian workers who receive training
in South Korea. The plant's management said it will go to court to have the
strike called off. Meanwhile, metro workers in Bucharest staged a two-hour
warning strike in support of higher wages and better working conditions. They
are threatening an indefinite strike early next week. -- Matyas Szabo
MOLDOVAN, DNIESTER LEADERS MEET.
Mircea Snegur and Igor Smirnov met in
Tiraspol on 7 February, Moldovan and western media reported. The two sides
discussed financial and monetary issues, with Tiraspol insisting that Moldova
allow the transit of Dniester bank notes printed in Germany. The disputed
status of the Dniester region within the Moldovan state was not discussed,
Infotag said. The only document the two sides signed was a protocol on
cooperation on customs issues. The summit was scheduled for 31 January but was
postponed by the Dniester leaders. -- Dan Ionescu
FORMER BULGARIAN MONARCH TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT?
Former Tsar Simeon II, in
an interview with the French royalist weekly Action Francaise Hebdo, has
said he may run in the Bulgarian presidential elections later this year since
he sees no reason "to limit his options to scenarios from the past," AFP
reported on 8 February. With regard the constitutional provision that the
president must have lived in Bulgaria for the past five years, Simeon said in
his case"this condition is invalid because I am living abroad not out of choice
but by force." One question that remains open is whether running for president
means implicit recognition of the 1946 referendum abolishing the monarchy,
which Simeon claims was invalid. -- Stefan Krause
RUMP YUGOSLAV DEFENSE MINISTER IN SOFIA.
Pavle Bulatovic on 7 February
concluded a two-day official visit to Bulgaria, Bulgarian and international
media reported. Bulatovic and his Bulgarian counterpart, Dimitar Pavlov, signed
a bilateral agreement on restoring military ties disrupted by UN sanctions
against rump Yugoslavia. Bulgarian Prime Minister Zhan Videnov said the
agreement is part of the peace process in the Balkans and a good basis for the
restoration of economic cooperation between the two countries. On the arrest of
two high-level Bosnian Serb officers by the Bosnian government, Bulatovic said
this "may have an adverse effect on the implementation of the Dayton and Paris
accords." He called it "unacceptable" that state representatives on an official
mission should be arrested, and he accused IFOR of indifference. -- Stefan
ALBANIAN, GREEK OFFICIALS HOLD TALKS IN TIRANA.
Greek Foreign Ministry
legal and economic experts concluded two-day talks in Tirana with their
Albanian counterparts on Albanian immigrants in Greece and the possible
legalization of their status, ATSH reported on 7 February. Agreements on
seasonal work and property regulations were discussed, as was the opening of
Greek-language schools for ethnic Greeks in Gjirokastra, Delvina, and Saranda.
Albanian Foreign Minister Alfred Serreqi promised to introduce "the most
advanced standards of education" for the Greek minority, while the Greek
delegation promised to support Albania's efforts to join the EU. -- Fabian
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Pete Baumgartner and Jan Cleave