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Newsline - April 4, 1996


YELTSIN OFFICIALLY REGISTERS AS CANDIDATE.
The Central Electoral Commission on 3 April officially registered President Boris Yeltsin as a candidate for the June election. Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov is so far the only other candidate to have turned in the 1 million signatures necessary for registration. Yeltsin filed papers showing that his income for 1995 was 27 million rubles ($5,600), down from 552 million rubles in 1994. Most of the 1994 income came from an honorarium for the publication of his book in Great Britain. Yeltsin kicked off his campaign by leaving for Belgorod where he said he will visit as "both the president and a presidential candidate," ITAR-TASS reported. -- Robert Orttung

DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA LEADERS BACK YELTSIN.
Democratic Russia co-chairmen Lev Ponomarev and Gleb Yakunin announced their support for Yeltsin's candidacy on 3 April as individuals and called on their party to do the same, Russian TV reported. Ponomarev favors Yeltsin over Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii because he believes that a "democrat" cannot win in today's Russia and Yeltsin's experience guarantees stability. While the pro-reform camp remains divided, Duma member Petr Romanov withdrew his presidential bid in favor of Zyuganov, NTV reported. -- Robert Orttung

MILITARY LEADERSHIP MANEUVERS IN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.
The political preferences of the Russian top brass can be divided into five factions: pro-Yeltsin; neutral; anti-Grachev; openly oppositional; and pro-Grachev; according to a 40-page document reportedly prepared by military experts for Communist presidential candidate Gennadii Zyuganov and cited in the 31 March-7 April issue of Moskovskie novosti. The pro-Yeltsin faction, led by First Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kokoshin, is allegedly seeking the electoral support of lower-ranking officers by promising promotions and advancement if the president is re-elected. Many top brass--led by General Mikhail Kolesnikov, chief of the general staff--remain neutral in the hope of retaining their posts no matter who wins the election. A January poll of military personnel cited in the article gave Zyuganov 22% support, followed by Vladimir Zhirinovsky with 18%. Yeltsin lagged with only 4%. -- Scott Parrish

DUMA TO CONSIDER LOWERING THE VOTING AGE.
Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) member Aleksei Mitrofanov will soon propose that the Duma lower the voting age from 18 to 16, Ekho Moskvy reported on 3 April. The move is a clear attempt to boost Yeltsin's electoral prospects since he has much broader support among the young, while Communist voters tend to be older. Younger voters, however, have much lower turnout figures. -- Robert Orttung

DUMA FAILS TO ADOPT LAW ON HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER.
The Duma failed in its seventh attempt to pass a law on the human rights commissioner on 3 April. The law needs 300 votes for adoption, but the body was more than 40 short because the Regions of Russia faction supports naming the commissioner at the same time as the law is adopted, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky pointed out that the commissioner can be named with a 226 majority, which would give the Communists the strong possibility of naming their candidate without the consent of other parties. All members of the Council of Europe are required to have such a law. -- Robert Orttung

BOMBING CONTINUES IN CHECHNYA.
The village of Shalazhi in southwest Chechnya was subject to aerial bombardment during the night of 2-3 April although village elders had signed a peace pact with Russian commanders on 2 April, Reuters reported on 3 April. A spokesman for the Russian military denied that Russian planes were responsible. The village of Bamut in southern Chechnya was similarly subjected to artillery fire, and other villages in Vedeno Raion were surrounded by Russian troops in direct contravention of President Yeltsin's assurance that hostilities would cease at midnight on 31 March. -- Liz Fuller

LEBED ON CHECHNYA.
Aleksandr Lebed accused President Yeltsin of "betraying" the soldiers in Chechnya, in an article he published in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 3 April. He said Yeltsin erred in launching the recent wave of attacks, in which "hundreds" of Russian troops were killed, only to sue for peace days later. He said that this stop-and-go policy was reminiscent of the fighting last spring. He urged Yeltsin to push on for the military victory that he considers to be "very close." Lebed said that "doubts can exist only before the beginning of a war...We are fighting not so much for a specific territory but for Russia's national dignity. Russia must announce to the world that it will never again retreat." -- Peter Rutland

550 FEDERAL TROOPS MISSING OR HOSTAGE IN CHECHNYA.
An official of the presidential commission for prisoners-or-war, internees, and missing-in-action has reported that 550 federal servicemen are missing or held hostage in Chechnya, Russian media reported on 3 April. The head of the temporary working group searching for these men was said to have told the State Duma the previous day that this number includes 468 soldiers, 70 officers, and 12 warrant officers of the Russian army, the Internal Troops, and the Federal Border Service. Another official revealed that 41 Russian servicemen had been exchanged for Chechen separatists in the past two months. -- Doug Clarke

DUMA ENDORSES RUSSO-BELARUSIAN COMMUNITY.
The State Duma adopted a resolution "welcoming" the agreement forming the Russo-Belarusian Community, Russian media reported. The resolution, sponsored by the Popular Power and Agrarian factions, called on the other members of the CIS to support Russo-Belarusian integration, ITAR-TASS reported. The agreement is scheduled for a ratification vote in the Duma on 5 April. The Yabloko faction, however, released a statement criticizing the agreement, which it said "created a national structure with an undefined status." Finansovye izvestiya on 4 April questioned the feasibility and economic rationale of integration with Belarus, echoing several other major Russian dailies that describe the agreement as a purely political maneuver. -- Scott Parrish

EU, U.S. TO HELP RUSSIA PREVENT SMUGGLING OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL.
The EU and the U.S. are planning to help train Russian experts in Western methods of accounting for the nuclear material used to build atomic weapons, Reuters reported on 3 April. The Russian Methodological and Training Center will be established later this year in Obninsk, near Moscow. The European Commission said the center will train hundreds of Russian experts in an effort "to help develop a true safety culture that will be a key element in the program to tighten monitoring and control of nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union." The program is the result of a meeting of nuclear experts from the EU, U.S., and Russia to prepare for the Moscow G-7 summit on nuclear safety later this month. -- Doug Clarke

RUSSIAN, POLISH DEFENSE MINISTERS DISCUSS COOPERATION.
Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev and his Polish counterpart, Stanislaw Dobrzanski, met in Moscow on 3 April, Russian and Western media reported. Grachev hailed the prospect of improved defense cooperation between the two countries and announced that several joint military exercises would be held this year. He also said that the Polish minister had expressed interest in buying Russian military equipment and spare parts while offering to repair Russian warships in Polish shipyards. The two agreed to form a joint group of experts to draft a formal treaty on military cooperation but remained divided over NATO's eastward expansion. -- Doug Clarke

MAFIA BOSSES ARRESTED.
Police arrested 25 suspected criminal bosses of Caucasian nationality in a 3 April raid of a Moscow apartment where the group was meeting to allocate business, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 April. They included Georgian Otari Kvaratskhelia, a leading "thief in law" (members of the informal criminal elite). According to an official at the Butyrka prison, due to threats or bribes only one of 14 "thieves in law" arrested over the past two years has actually been taken to court. -- Peter Rutland

AID FOR PRISONERS.
Leonid Brezhnev's son in law, Yurii Churbanov, has donated 500 mattresses and pillows to Moscow `s Butyrka prison, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 April. Churbanov, a former deputy interior minister, was incarcerated for several years in the 1980s after being convicted of corruption. The governor of Butyrka, Aleksandr Volkov, told a press conference that Moscow prisons owe suppliers 19 billion rubles ($4 million) and are finding it difficult to provide adequate food and medicine. "Unfortunately," commented Volkov, "the so-called 'new Russians'" think about these things only when they find themselves behind bars." Moscow intends to build a seventh holding prison for suspects awaiting trial, since the existing jails are overcrowded, with an average floor space of one meter per inmate. -- Peter Rutland

LET THEM EAT CAKE.
Dismissing rumors of a flour shortage, the director of Mosgorkhlebprodukt, Yevgenii Strelkov, assured Moscow residents that the city's bakeries will make available 700 tons of traditional Easter pastries, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 April. The same day, the Moscow City Duma approved its 1996 budget. The new budget, like that for 1995, will not run a deficit. Revenue and spending are each set at 47 trillion rubles ($9.7 billion), including 7 trillion rubles for housing construction. Mayor Yurii Luzhkov is up for re-election in June, and is expected to secure an easy victory. Most Muscovites seem to regard Luzhkov as an effective city manager. -- Peter Rutland

NEW REGULATIONS ON BANKS' RESERVE FUNDS.
The Central Bank has reduced the size of commercial banks' compulsory reserves from 20% to 18% of their total deposits starting on 1 May, Segodnya and Kommersant-Daily reported on 3 April. The bank also decided to cut the size of the banks' foreign currency reserves. At present, commercial bank reserves deposited at the Central Bank total 21 trillion rubles ($4.3 billion). The step is designed to alleviate the liquidity squeeze that many banks are currently experiencing. -- Natalia Gurushina

FOREIGN TRADE TURNOVER GREW IN JANUARY.
Russia's foreign trade turnover totaled $9.2 billion in January, a 10% increase over the same period in 1995, Segodnya reported on 3 April. Exports grew by 7% to $5.9 billion, with a 17% increase in exports to CIS countries ($1.2 billion). Exports to the rest of the world ($4.7 billion) went up by 5%. There were no major changes in the structure of exports, consisting mostly of oil, gas, and metals. The existence of the ruble corridor zone continues to boost Russia's imports, which surged by 14% to $3.3 billion. However, there was a 13% drop in imports from non-CIS countries ($1.9 billion), while imports from the CIS region rose by more than 200% to $1.4 billion. -- Natalia Gurushina



JAPAN INCREASES ITS SHARE IN CASPIAN OIL CONSORTIUM.
Japan's Itochu Oil Exploration Company on 3 April acquired Pennzoil's 9.8% stake in the consortium formed to exploit three Azerbaijani Caspian oil fields, ITAR-TASS reported. The acquisition follows Itochu's March 1996 purchase of the U.S. oil company McDermott's 2.5% share in the oil consortium. Itochu is the largest Japanese investor in Azerbaijan, and now has the third largest share in the consortium after BP and Amoco, who each have 17% stakes. -- Liz Fuller

KAZAKHS FREE TO DROP RUSSIAN ENDINGS IN THEIR LAST NAMES.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev has decreed that Kazakhs will be permitted to drop the customary Russian suffixes in their last names and write them in accordance with Kazakh cultural and linguistic traditions, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 April. In place of Russian suffixes such as "yev/ov" or "yeva/ova," Kazakhs are now free to use the Kazakh language equivalents "uli/kizi" for their last names. (For example, Suleymenov or Suleymenova can now be written as Suleymenuli or Suleymenkizi). The changes can be requested upon the issue of new Kazakhstani passports or other personal identification documents. -- Bhavna Dave

KAZAKHSTANI FOREIGN MINISTER IN IRAN.
Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev, on a three-day visit to Iran, discussed bilateral cooperation in oil and transportation with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Velayati, Russian and Western media reported on 4 April. Tokayev is in Tehran to prepare for President Nazarbayev's scheduled visit to Iran in May, when he will participate in the inauguration of the new 296 km long Tajan-Sarakhs-Mashad railroad, connecting northern Iran with Turkmenistan. Tokayev said the new "connection-line" between Central Asia and the Middle East will boost regional trade. They also discussed constructing ports on the Caspian Sea to facilitate the transport of Kazakhstan's oil to Iran. -- Bhavna Dave

NATO APPROVES PROGRAM FOR KYRGYZSTAN.
During his one-day visit to Kyrgyzstan, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Robert Hunter gave President Askar Akayev formal NATO approval of an individual "Partnership for Peace" program for Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL reported on 3 April. All former Soviet republics, with the exception of Tajikistan, have enrolled in this program, which envisages cooperation on non-military issues such as natural disasters and environmental protection. Akayev and Hunter also discussed a scheduled June seminar in Bishkek that will focus on dealing with emergency situations. -- Bhavna Dave

FUROR OVER JOURNALIST'S SLAYING IN DUSHANBE.
Reactions to the 28 March murder of Russian Public TV (ORT) journalist Viktor Nikulin continue to register in Tajikistan, Russian sources reported on 2 April. Both Tajik government and opposition officials condemned the killing and deny any involvement. The government has pledged to solve the crime. Fellow journalists, however, are skeptical, as no case of a journalist being killed in Tajikistan has been solved, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 April. As a sign of protest and memorial, all independent newspapers will cease publishing for a week beginning on 5 April. Nikulin's father, Mikhail Nikulin, has reportedly received death threats from the anti-government opposition, a charge the opposition flatly denies. -- Roger Kangas



EU, U.S. CRITICIZE SLOVAK LAW ON PROTECTION OF REPUBLIC.
The EU and the U.S. State Department on 3 April expressed concern that Slovakia's law on the protection of the republic could restrict freedom of speech, assembly, and expression, Reuters and RFE/RL reported. The new legislation was passed by the parliament on 26 March. Meanwhile, a State Department official said the law "contradicts the democratic values shared among NATO countries." Also on 3 April, Slovak opposition representatives agreed to adopt a common strategy on the new legislation. They further decided to form expert groups to coordinate policy in economy, media, privatization, and ethnic problems, Pravda reported. -- Sharon Fisher

REFERENDUM PROPOSED IN CRIMEA.
The Crimean parliament included on its 3 April agenda the possibility of staging a regional referendum to determine Crimea's future, international media reported. The move came in response to Kyiv's repeated delays in approving the peninsula's new constitution, which it has been debating since November. The Ukrainian parliament failed to vote on the constitution on 3 April but is likely to approve it today, when the debate is scheduled to resume. However, deputies are unlikely to approve a long list of clauses they consider to be "separatist," including provisions for Crimean citizenship, recognition of the Crimean "people," and the establishment of Russian as the sole official language. Ethnic Russians make up about two-thirds of the peninsula's population. -- Jiri Pehe

HUNT UNDER WAY IN UKRAINE FOR SERIAL KILLER.
Ukraine's national guard and police units are patrolling villages in the Zhitomir region, 100 km west of Kyiv, where the most recent of some 40 murders attributed to a serial killer have been committed, international media report. The killer is believed to be the most murderous in Ukraine's history, the Ministry of Internal Affairs said on 3 April. The man generally ingratiates himself with a family before killing all its members with a hunting rifle. A total of nine families have been killed in Lviv, Zaporozhye, and Kyiv. A suspect was arrested on 30 March, but police remain unsure whether he was involved in the crimes. -- Jiri Pehe

RUSSIA, UKRAINE REACH AGREEMENT ON OIL TRANSIT FEE.
According to the Ukrainian State Oil and Gas Industry Committee, the Russian Fuel and Energy Ministry has finally accepted the new terms for shipping oil through the Druzhba pipeline, ITAR-TASS and RFE/RL reported on 3 April. Ukraine on 1 January unilaterally increased the fee by 60 cents to $5.2 for each metric ton of oil transiting Ukraine en route to Central Europe. The Russian government is now willing to pay the new tariff, which is subject to change if the volume falls below or rises above 16-19 million tons this year. Only last week it was reported that supplies of oil to Slovakia and Hungary had been interrupted because of the fee dispute. -- Peter Rutland

ESTONIA SEEKS SECURITY GUARANTEES.
Estonian Premier Tiit Vahi has urged the West to provide security guarantees to states left out of NATO expansion, Reuters reported on 3 April. The agency quoted Vahi as saying in an interview that the best guarantee for his country is full NATO membership. But he added that if some states are accepted in a first wave of NATO expansion, it is important to know what security guarantees the others will receive. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are participating in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, which offers increased military cooperation but no security guarantees. Meanwhile, the presidents of Estonia and Moldova, Lennart Meri and Mircea Snegur, have expressed concern about recent moves aimed at forging closer ties between Russia and Belarus. Snegur is currently on an official visit to Estonia. -- Dan Ionescu

THIRD WORLD MIGRANTS ON HUNGER STRIKE IN LITHUANIA.
A group of 44 people from China, Iraq, and Afghanistan are on a hunger strike in the northeastern town of Visaginas to press claims for refugee status in Lithuania, Reuters reported on 2 April. The asylum-seekers, who have been detained for three months at a makeshift camp, threatened suicide if their situation is not resolved. All of them reportedly came from neighboring Belarus. At least 500 refugees are currently being detained in Lithuania, which has become a transit route for migrants trying to reach the affluent Scandinavian states. -- Dan Ionescu

POLISH-RUSSIAN MILITARY EXERCISES PROPOSED.
Polish Defense Minister Stanislaw Dobrzanski, meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Pavel Grachev, has proposed holding Polish-Russian military exercises later this year in Poland. He also suggested that a Polish-Russian peacekeeping battalion be formed and that military-technical cooperation be expanded. Poland is to set up peacekeeping battalions with Lithuania and Ukraine. Dobrzanski said his Moscow visit is intended to improve Polish-Russian relations, ahead of President Aleksander Kwasniewski's scheduled visit to Moscow next week. He said an improvement is expected by Poland's future NATO partners, who have approved his proposals, Polish dailies reported on 4 April. -- Jakub Karpinski

PERSONNEL CHANGES IN POLISH TV.
Following the recent dismissal of TVP1 head Maciej Pawlicki and the resignation of TVP director Wieslaw Walendziak, two of Pawlicki's deputies and two chief editors have been fired. The director of cultural and entertainment programs, Waldemar Gasper, has been "suspended." Christian-National Alliance leader Marian Pilka said that during Walendziak's term, the TVP was pluralist and that it will be now be predominantly leftist, Polish dailies reported on 4 April. -- Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REJECTS TWO LAWS.
The Slovak Constitutional Court on 3 April ruled against two 1995 laws-- one giving the state a "golden share" in the privatization of certain "strategic" companies and the other allowing it to take possession of land if ownership cannot be determined within three months, Slovak media reported. The court ruled that the former violates ownership rights guaranteed to all citizens by the constitution and that the latter is also unconstitutional. Both laws were appealed by opposition deputies. The opposition on 3 April decided to also appeal the income tax law, which was vetoed by the president and recently re-approved by the parliament. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARY TO SELL FURTHER STAKE IN FOREIGN TRADE BANK.
The Hungarian State Privatization and Holding Co. (APV Rt.) on 3 April announced it is ready to sell its 26.8% share in the Hungarian Foreign Trade Bank (MKB) to the Bayerische Landesbank, Magyar Hirlap reported. If the deal goes ahead, the German bank will own 51% of MKB. The APV Rt. invited the German Investment and Development Co., the EBRD, and the Bayerische Landesbank--the three foreign joint owners of MKB--to make an offer, but only the last-named expressed interest. In 1994, the MKB was the first Hungarian commercial bank to be privatized. The bank's after-tax profits soared from 487 million forints in 1994 to 2.6 billion forints in the first six months of the following year. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



HAGUE TRIBUNAL TO REPORT RUMP YUGOSLAVIA TO SECURITY COUNCIL.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has reaffirmed that it regards rump Yugoslavia as "criminal" and will formally ask the highest UN body to take action against it. The issue is that Belgrade continues to harbor three Serbian army officers against whom the court has issued arrest warrants. The three are wanted in connection with the murder of 261 non-Serbs in the Croatian town of Vukovar after it fell in November 1991, Nasa Borba and the Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported on 4 April. Also in The Hague, Croatian Gen. Tihomir Blaskic pleaded "not guilty" in connection with the massacre of Muslim civilians in the Lasva valley in 1993. The court, meanwhile, returned Bosnian Serb Col. Aleksa Krsmanovic to Sarajevo, where he faces a possible trial for crimes against humanity. The Hague tribunal had concluded it did not have enough evidence to charge him. -- Patrick Moore

ROW OVER DECLARATION ON BOSNIAN UNITY.
Some 21 political parties and organizations have signed a statement backing the indivisibility of the republic, Oslobodjenje wrote on 4 April. Most of the groups are Muslim--including President Alija Izetbegovic's Party of Democratic Action--but the Serbian Civic Council and representatives of the Jewish community have also signed. The five main opposition parties in parliament nonetheless balked, charging that they were not consulted by Izetbegovic and former Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic. The largest Bosnian Croat party also did not sign the resolution sponsored by the two men. The apparent rapprochement between the president and his estranged former prime minister is the subject of much speculation in Bosnia, Vjesnik reported on 3 April. -- Patrick Moore

ANTI-NATIONALIST SERBS SAY SARAJEVO CAN STILL BE MULTIETHNIC.
Bosnian Presidency member Mirko Pejanovic has said that the capital can still be multiethnic because many Serbs are interested in coming back. He argued that the main obstacles are the Serbian nationalist "war criminals" in Pale and "the state apparatus of local authorities" in Sarajevo, Onasa reported on 2 April. Pejanovic heads the Serbian Civic Council (SGV), which remained loyal to the Bosnian government throughout the war. The SGV has been active in persuading Serbs to stay in Sarajevo or to return there. -- Patrick Moore

CROATIAN PARLIAMENT CURBING FREEDOM OF SPEECH?
The Sabor on 29 March passed two controversial laws, which critics say are directed against the country's few independent media. Under the first measure, the public prosecutor must start legal proceedings against anyone offending or slandering the president, parliamentary speaker, prime minister, or and presidents of the supreme and constitutional courts, Reuters reported. The second is aimed at persons "revealing state secrets." Investigative journalism in Croatia is largely limited to one daily and two weeklies, and the latter especially are active in exposing corruption and abuse of office by some members of the governing party and their families. Government officials stated that the laws are in keeping with "European norms" and were passed to protect institutions, not personalities. Independent analyst Slaven Letica said that the law will be challenged in the courts because it violates the principle of equality of all citizens by singling out five top officials for special treatment. -- Patrick Moore

MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS CALL FOR DISSOLUTION.
The Macedonian parliament on 3 April rejected a motion by the Liberal Party demanding that the parliament be dissolved and early elections held, Nova Makedonija reported. The Liberals' claim that the parliament is no longer representative (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 April 1996) was dismissed by the Social Democrats and Socialists. Ethnic Albanian parties and independent legislators were split over the issue. The Social Democrats called the Liberals' proposal a "political bluff," saying the initiators of the motion should resign their seats in the parliament if they doubt its legitimacy. -- Stefan Krause

SERBIAN POLICEMAN CONVICTED IN CONNECTION WITH KILLING OF ETHNIC ALBANIAN CHILD.
Boban Krstic, deputy police chief in the Kosovar town of Kacanik, has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison in connection with the 1994 killing of a six-year-old ethnic Albanian boy, Bota Sot reported on 4 April. Krstic was convicted for "endangering public order" rather than for manslaughter. He had fired 30 bullets into a car in July 1994, killing the boy and seriously injuring his parents. He later claimed that he believed that a criminal suspect was in the car. Bota Sot said that Krstic was also involved in the death of an Albanian in the Kacanik jail in 1994. It added that he fought in Bosnia on the side of the Bosnian Serbs and was highly decorated there. -- Stefan Krause

EXIT VISAS FOR KOSOVAR ALBANIANS ABOLISHED.
The abolition of exit visas for ethnic Albanians in Kosovo took effect on 1 April, international agencies reported. Until now, Kosovars traveling to Albania via Macedonia without an exit visa risked imprisonment by the Serbian authorities if they had Albanian stamps in their passport. Albania praised the move as a step toward normalizing relations. -- Fabian Schmidt

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT ON BASIC TREATY WITH HUNGARY.
Ion Iliescu on 3 April accused Hungary of delaying the signing of a bilateral basic treaty, Romanian and Hungarian media reported. He stressed that Romania was not prepared to make any concessions on including in the treaty Council of Europe Recommendation 1201, which is on ethnic minorities. Hungary is demanding that the recommendation be included. Iliescu said that if Hungary drops that demand, "we will immediately sign the basic treaty." He said ethnic groups that once formed a majority but are now a minority find it hard to give up their former privileges. -- Matyas Szabo

BULGARIA COMPLAINS ABOUT NOT BEING INVITED TO ARMS CONTROL TALKS.
The Bulgarian government on 3 April complained that it has not been invited to talks in Vienna on arms control in the post-cold war era, Reuters and Demokratsiya reported. Delegates are to discuss the so-called Wassenaar Agreement, which is intended to succeed COCOM. A Foreign Ministry spokesman spoke of "the apparent injustice" of leaving Bulgaria out of the meeting, which is to be attended by representatives of 31 states. He added that Bulgaria fulfilled all preconditions and that he hoped an invitation would be forthcoming. Georgi Dimitrov, head of the Foreign Ministry's International Organizations Department, said that of the 28 initial signatories to the Wassenaar Agreement, only the U.S. opposed Bulgaria's participation. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT SUBMITS MEMORANDUM ON NATO.
The socialist government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov on 3 April submitted a memorandum outlining its position on NATO to the parliament's foreign policy and national security commissions, Standart reported. The memorandum was in response to a request from NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Gebhardt von Moltke that the Bulgarian cabinet clarify its position on participation in NATO enlargement talks. Vasil Mihaylov of the Union of Democratic Forces said the document says nothing about whether Bulgaria wants to join NATO. Stoyan Denchev, deputy chairman of the foreign policy commission, said it is not the parliament's job to deal with such documents and that the memorandum should have been sent straight to NATO. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN PROSECUTOR SAYS HE MAY ARREST PATRIARCH.
Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev on 3 April said he will start legal proceedings against Patriarch Maksim and will arrest him "if necessary," Standart reported. Maksim is accused of involvement in the occupation of a candle-making factory that is run by the "alternative" Synod of Metropolit Pimen. In the latest of a series of incidents involving Maksim's and Pimen's supporters, the factory was occupied by priests loyal to the Patriarch on 18 March and was cleared by the police on 1 April. Maksim's followers, however, occupied the building again on 2 April. Maksim's and Pimen's supporters parted ways after the government invalidated Maksim's election in 1971 and appointed a new synod under Pimen. Pimen's followers have announced they may soon form a second Orthodox Church in Bulgaria. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave






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