YELTSIN ANNOUNCES COALITION WITH "THIRD FORCE" CANDIDATES . . .
President Boris Yeltsin announced on 11 May that presidential candidates
Grigorii Yavlinskii, Aleksandr Lebed, and Svyatoslav Fedorov "will join the
president's team," NTV reported. He said that the three are not his "political
rivals" and that they all support a rule-of-law government, a market economy,
and the greatness of Russia. He explained that the "cooperation" would take
various forms and that the three might not have to withdraw their candidacies,
Russian TV (RTR) reported. The three have tried unsuccessfully to unite their
efforts to create a third force candidate to oppose both Yeltsin and Communist
Gennadii Zyuganov. Yeltsin might replace Defense Minister Pavel Grachev as a
concession to Yavlinskii, Segodnya speculated on 12 May, noting that
Col. Gen. Boris Gromov accompanied the president on his Volga trip. -- Robert
. . . BUT THIS IS DENIED BY PUTATIVE ALLIES.
Yavlinskii denied that he
intended to join any alliance with Yeltsin, terming his remarks "electoral
rhetoric," Obshchaya gazeta reported on 12 May. He said that "the
presidential team is trying to drag me into his entourage" and that the reports
of an alliance are made to "sow confusion among my voters and in my regional
campaign headquarters." Yavlinskii warned that Yeltsin could not be trusted to
make the necessary policy changes that Yavlinskii cites as a prerequisite for
working together. He also rejected the president's "nomenklatura" approach of
handing out jobs and expecting everyone to be happy. Before the Duma election,
Yavlinskii had seemingly come close to forming an alliance with Russia's
Democratic Choice leader Yegor Gaidar but then pulled back at the last minute.
Lebed said that he could not join an alliance with Yeltsin because "I do not
think that the existing government is any better than the communists," AFP
reported. -- Robert Orttung
FEDOROV DOES NOT WANT TO BE YELTSIN'S "APPRENTICE."
Eye surgeon and
presidential candidate Svyatoslav Fedorov told NTV on 11 May that he would only
consider supporting President Yeltsin's re-election if Yeltsin gives "carte
blanche" in economic policy to him and like-minded economists, including
Grigorii Yavlinskii. He said he could not serve in the government as a virtual
"deputy" of the president: "I do not want to be an apprentice." However, he
doubted that Yeltsin would agree to limit his own powers and not "interfere" in
economic matters. In 1991, shortly after he was elected president, Yeltsin
offered Fedorov the post of prime minister, but Fedorov refused and Yegor
Gaidar was eventually appointed instead. -- Laura Belin
YELTSIN SAYS NO TO TV DEBATES.
Speaking in Astrakhan, President Yeltsin
rejected Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov's offer, delivered by letter
on 10 May, to debate him on live television. He explained, "I was a communist
for 30 years and have heard enough of this demagoguery, so today, with my
democratic outlook, I can't stand this demagoguery anymore," ITAR-TASS reported
on 11 May. Yeltsin indicated that he will not face off against any of his
challengers. So many candidates are calling for debates, he said, that "If I
debate every one, I simply won't have time to fulfill my presidential duties."
Incumbent presidents are frequently reluctant to risk making gaffes or
elevating the stature of their competitors by debating them on television. --
PATRIARCH ON ELECTIONS . . .
During a three-day visit to Komi, Patriarch
Aleksii II said that in the presidential election the Russian people must make
the "right choice" and prevent a return to the religious repression of the
past, Radio Rossii and NTV reported on 10 May. Although he stressed that the
Russian Orthodox Church takes no part in political battles, his reminders of
Soviet-era persecution echoed a theme sounded frequently by Yeltsin in the
run-up to the election. Citing "reliable sources," NTV reported that the
Kremlin was annoyed that the patriarch had chosen to visit the new Eparchy of
Komi, the 51st in Russia, rather than attend V-E Day celebrations in Moscow. --
. . . AND FOREIGN PREACHERS.
In Perm on 12 May, the patriarch called on
local authorities to adopt legislation regulating the activities of foreign
religious organizations "that have nothing in common with Russia's Orthodox
traditions," ITAR-TASS reported. Aleksii argued that the Duma is unable to pass
such a law because both the parliament and the president are under "strong
pressure from the West" not to adopt legislation restricting foreign
proselytizing. According to the patriarch, 14 regions have already passed laws
on foreign sects. Vyacheslav Polosin, who has participated in drafting new
legislation on freedom of conscience, refuted the allegations that the Duma is
under pressure from the West, Ekho Moskvy reported. He noted that the "overly
strict" and "unconstitutional" draft passed by the Supreme Soviet in 1993 had
been opposed by Protestants within Russia as well as by Western countries. --
FRESH HOSTILITIES IN CHECHNYA.
Russian forces subjected the town of
Urus-Martan, southwest of Grozny, to air bombardment on 10, 11, and 12 May
after Chechen guerrillas fired on Russian military helicopters, Russian media
reported. The head of the local district administration claimed that the town's
population had traditionally not supported Dzhokhar Dudaev's forces. Russian
aircraft also attacked Chechen forces in the mountain stronghold of Bamut on 12
May. The situation in Vedeno, which was reportedly occupied by Chechen field
commander Shamil Basaev on 11 May, remains unclear. NTV on 10 May cited
unidentified Chechen field commanders as stating that acting President
Zelimkhan Yandarbiev is ready to hold direct talks with any member of the
Russian leadership who officially denies any connection with Dudaev's death and
is empowered to declare a moratorium on hostilities. On 11 May, Dudaev's men
released Chechen Health Minister Efim Gelman, who had been held hostage for
more than one year, according to Russian Public TV (ORT). -- Liz Fuller
GENERALS FACE PROSECUTION FOR CHECHNYA AMBUSH.
Russian Justice Minister
Valentin Kovalev on 12 May blamed Russian military officials for the heavy loss
of life when an army convoy was ambushed in Chechnya on 16 April, and told NTV
that they may be prosecuted. Kovalev headed the commission which investigated
the incident, in which he said 73 servicemen were killed, 52 wounded, and three
missing. The rebels also destroyed eight armored vehicles and 20 trucks.
Kovalev charged that the military had not set up checkpoints on the road, nor
provided proper air and artillery cover. He added that the regiment that was
attacked had many untrained and recently deployed soldiers. He said that an
investigation into "criminal negligence on the part of the responsible
officials" is underway. -- Doug Clarke
SOURCES OF FINANCING FOR CHECHEN REBELS.
Izvestiya on 13 May
published a summary of what it claimed is a secret Russian government report on
how Chechen separatists have financed their ongoing operations against federal
troops. The document alleges funds diverted from federally-funded projects in
the republic represent a major source of Chechen rebel financing. Allegations
of misuse of reconstruction funds in Chechnya have been widespread in the past.
The document claims that other major sources of financing for the rebels are
contributions from the Chechen diaspora, operations of Russian commercial banks
controlled by the "Chechen-Ingush" mafia, and donations by foreign Muslim
organizations based in the Middle East. -- Scott Parrish
FIRST MAYORAL CANDIDATES REGISTERED IN MOSCOW.
Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov and the former head of the local Communist Party organization,
Aleksandr Krasnov, were the first two candidates to submit the required number
of nomination signatures to register for the 16 June mayoral election, Ekho
Moskvy and Russian TV (RTR) reported on 12 May. Candidates must submit 70,000
signatures or 1% of the total number of eligible voters. Aleksandr Krasnov
sided with the rebellious parliament in its clash with the president in October
1993, and was appointed for a short time as Moscow administration head by
former vice president and rebel leader Aleksandr Rutskoi. -- Anna Paretskaya
RUSSIA, CHINA MAKE JOINT PROPOSAL AT ASEAN FORUM.
Russia and China
proposed a security concept for the Asia-Pacific region at a Jakarta meeting of
the ASEAN forum on regional security, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 May. Russian
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Panov said the proposed concept was based on
the five-power border security agreement signed in Shanghai on 26 April. Panov
later reiterated that Russia wants a role in any future talks on a Korean
settlement. He added that the recent closure of the Kraskino rail crossing
between Russia and North Korea was a "purely commercial" matter caused by
unpaid North Korean debts, and had no political overtones. Meanwhile, U.S.
Undersecretary of State Winston Lord told ITAR-TASS that the U.S. supports
Russia's application for membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Organization (APEC), which has had a moratorium on new members for the past
year. -- Scott Parrish
U.S. BUSINESSMAN EXPELLED FROM KAMCHATKA.
In the third espionage
incident within a week, the Federal Security Service (FSB) has ordered the
expulsion from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii of Richard Oppfelt, head of Seattle
Medical Export, for "activities damaging to Russian national security
interests," Russian and Western agencies reported on 12 May. Following on the
heels of espionage rows with Britain and Estonia, this latest incident has
intensified speculation that the FSB is deliberately engineering arrests and
expulsions so as to bolster President Yeltsin's re-election campaign. -- Scott
RUSSIAN-NATO TALKS IN BRUSSELS.
Russian Ambassador to NATO Vitalii
Churkin met with his counterparts from the 16 member-states of the alliance on
10 May to discuss ongoing IFOR operations in Bosnia and disputed provisions of
the 1990 CFE treaty, Reuters and AFP reported. No progress was reported,
however, toward breaking the deadlock over the CFE "flank limits," which
restrict Russia's holdings of heavy military equipment along its northern and
southern borders. Western diplomats had hoped to hammer out a compromise before
the opening of a CFE review conference in Vienna on 15 May. -- Scott Parrish
PRIMAKOV IN THE TRANSCAUCASUS.
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii
Primakov traveled from Yerevan to Baku on 10 May, taking with him 67
Azerbaijani prisoners of war and hostages released by the Armenian authorities,
Russian media reported. During talks with Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev,
both men affirmed their commitment to maintaining the existing two-year
ceasefire in Karabakh. On 12 May, Primakov flew to Tbilisi, where he held talks
with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze on South Ossetiya and Abkhazia.
Shevardnadze subsequently praised Russia's mediating role and Russian-Georgian
relations, according to ITAR-TASS. -- Liz Fuller
IRAN FINALLY AGREES TO STAKE IN SHAH-DENIZ.
Iran has finally accepted
Azerbaijan's offer of a 10% stake in the international consortium formed to
develop its Shah-Deniz off-shore Caspian oil and gas deposits, Natik Aliev,
chairman of Azerbaijan's state oil company, said in an Interfax report cited by
AFP on 12 May. The offer was made last year as compensation for the Azerbaijani
government's withdrawal, under U.S. pressure, of a previous offer to Iran to
participate in the Western consortium formed to exploit the Shirag, Azeri, and
Gyuneshli fields. -- Liz Fuller
HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT ON UZBEKISTAN.
Human Rights Watch/Helsinki has
issued a report on Uzbekistan in which it states that while "well-publicized
arrests, detentions, and beatings of political dissidents" have "decreased
markedly," basic civil liberties "remain suspended," Reuters reported on 13
May. Surveillance of individuals and media censorship are still commonplace. In
particular, the organization expressed its concern over measures taken against
members of the country's Islamic community. The report comes at a time when
foreign governments, including the U.S., have noted an improvement in
Uzbekistan's human rights record. -- Roger Kangas
NAZARBAYEV IN TEHRAN.
Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited
Tehran on 12-13 May to sign an agreement with his Iranian counterpart, Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani, whereby Kazakhstan will export crude oil to Iran in
exchange for help in refining and transporting Kazakhstani oil through Iranian
ports, Russian and Western media reported. Oil exports are expected to amount
to 2 million metric tons per year in the initial stages, with an expected
increase to 6 million tons in 10 years. This is the latest in a series of
pipeline deals that Kazakhstan has signed, including a deal signed on 27 April
with Russia (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 April 1996). -- Roger Kangas
"JUNCTION FOR PLANET' OPENS ON TURKMEN-IRANIAN BORDER.
publicized rail link between Turkmenistan and Iran was officially opened on 13
May, according to Western and Russian sources. The 300 km line, agreed to in
1991, will for the first time connect Iran to the Central Asian rail network,
and is expected to cut travel time between Europe and southeast Asia by up to
10 days. Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his Turkmen
counterpart, Saparmurad Niyazov, hosted an opening ceremony for the line
attended by 12 heads of state and 700 other officials and journalists. The $216
million Meshhed-Sarakhs-Tedzhen railway will be used by some 500,000 passengers
and 2 million metric tons of goods in its first year of operation, and those
figures are expected to rise in the near future, Reuters reported. -- Bruce
"FIERCE" FIGHTING IN TAVIL-DARA.
Tajik government troops and opposition
fighters have been locked in "fierce" combat for several days, according to
ITAR-TASS. The fighting, which began on 8 May, has spread and the opposition
has now reportedly took the town of Tavil-Dara on 12 May. The opposition claims
to have killed 45 government soldiers and taken 10 more prisoner, and captured
several military vehicles and artillery pieces. The Tajik government has not
confirmed any of these claims. -- Bruce Pannier
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ISSUES DECREE ON TIMELY WAGE PAYMENT.
issued a decree on 12 May aimed at ensuring timely payment of wages, pensions,
and stipends by the government and state-owned enterprises, Ukrainian TV
reported. The decree stipulates that ministers as well as enterprise managers
will be fired if they fail to pay salaries on time. In another decree, Kuchma
ordered the State Committee on TV and Radio to launch within 10 days regular
broadcasts featuring discussion on the draft basic law by Constitutional
Committee members, national and local lawmakers, government officials, legal
experts and representatives of civic organizations, Ukrainian radio reported.
Kuchma also issued a decree establishing a national athletic training
institution to support athletes training for the Olympics and other
international sports competitions. Financial support will come from the
Kyiv-based "Republican Stadium" company. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST MURDERED.
Police in Cherkasy, in central Ukraine,
found the body of a well-known Ukrainian journalist, Ihor Hrushetsky, lying in
the street near his home, Ukrainian TV reported on 10 May. Police said
Hrushetsky died from a blow to the head and have launched an investigation.
Colleagues believe Hrushetsky may have been murdered for his articles on
political corruption published in such newspapers as Nezavisimost and
the now-defunct Respublika. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY WANTS BLACK SEA BORDER FINALIZED.
Foreign Ministry has asked Russia to speed up the clarification of the Black
Sea border between Russia and Ukraine, NTV reported on 10 May. The request was
spurred by the discovery of new gas and oil reserves in the Black Sea shelf.
Ukraine wants the border delineated to legalize the ownership of planned
drilling sites. Foreign companies have already expressed interest in the
reserves. -- Ustina Markus
BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION APPOINTS NEW ACTING LEADER . . .
Popular Front (BPF) appointed Yuriy Belenky acting Chairman during the absence
of its leader Zyanon Paznyak, Belapan reported on 10 May. Belenky was a former
parliamentary deputy and a BPF deputy leader. Paznyak fled the country in March
after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He returned to Minsk for the 26
April demonstrations but then went into hiding. -- Ustina Markus
. . . AND CALLS ON POLICE TO DISOBEY ILLEGAL ORDERS.
The BPF issued an
appeal to the police, courts, and Prosecutor's Office not to obey any illegal
orders from Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belapan reported on 9
May. The appeal accused those who carried out such orders of "currying favor
with Lukashenka," and states that Lukashenka is not governing the country
democratically. It alleges that the courts are passing illegal sentences,
police are provoking peaceful demonstrators, and false grounds are being
concocted to ban opposition parties. -- Ustina Markus
UKRAINE, ESTONIA SIGN TAX AGREEMENTS.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yevhen
Marchuk and his Estonian counterpart, Tiit Vahi, in Tallinn on 10 May signed
agreements on avoiding double taxation and tax evasion, BNS reported. Both
countries' justice and communication ministers also signed cooperation
agreements. Vahi said he regretted that the free-trade agreement between
Estonia and Ukraine, which has been in effect since 14 March, has not been
implemented since many Ukrainian border officers are allegedly unaware of the
document. Marchuk told Estonian President Lennart Meri that he was impressed
with Estonia's economic reforms and might use them as a model in Ukraine. He
also thanked Estonia for supporting Ukraine's entry into the Council of Europe
and confirmed mutual interests in joining other European organizations. --
HEAD OF ESTONIA'S RUSSIAN CITIZENS' UNION CHARGED WITH TREASON.
Security Police (ESP) on 10 May started criminal proceedings for treason
against Yuri Mishin, the head of Narva's Union of Russian Citizens, ETA and BNS
reported. The charge is liable to a penalty of 10 years imprisonment, but
Mishin, who is a Russian citizen, is more likely to be expelled as was Petr
Rozhok, the head of the Estonian chapter of Russian Liberal Democratic Party,
for similar charges. The Estonian press reported that Mishin is accused of
urging people at an anti-Estonia rally on 1 May to attack the Narva border
check-point. However, Mishin claims he only wanted to draw attention to the
difficulties that Russian citizens will encounter after 12 July when their
former Soviet passports will no longer be recognized in Estonia. -- Saulius
LATVIA, ESTONIA REACH COMPROMISE ON SEA BORDER.
Latvian Prime Minister
Andris Skele and his Estonian counterpart, Tiit Vahi, on 12 May in the Latvian
town of Rujiena reached a compromise on the maritime border in the Gulf of
Rigaduring, Western agencies reported. Vahi said in an Estonian Radio
interview: "The agreement is that everything above the border is Estonian
territory where Estonian fishing rules apply. Everything which is below the
line is Latvian territory and Latvian fishing rules apply there." The
respective parliaments still have to approve the agreement. -- Saulius
POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN THE SEJM.
Polish Foreign Minister Dariusz
Rosati spoke in the Sejm on 9 May and stressed Poland's determination to join
NATO and the EU, Polish media reported the next day. Rosati said Poland would
not ask for Russian permission to join NATO but would keep Moscow informed. He
commented that the OSCE should be strengthened, but "the idea of building on
the basis of the OSCE a new crowning institution of European security is
neither fortunate nor realistic." He said, "Today we can note with satisfaction
a pro-European direction in the policy of Ukraine." He added that Poland is
interested in political cooperation with Belarus to strengthen an "independent
and sovereign existence for this country." Polish dailies commented that both
the Polish government and the opposition agree on foreign policy. -- Jakub
SHIPYARD WORKERS DEMONSTRATE IN GDANSK.
Some 4,000 Gdansk shipyard
workers demonstrated on 10 May to protest non-payment of their April salaries.
The workers sent a written complaint to the Gdansk chief prosecutor who has 30
days to respond to it, Rzeczpospolita reported on 11 May. The shipyard
is on the verge of bankruptcy, but Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek
said the government does not intend to earmark any money to save it. The
shipyard is the site where the Solidarity Union was born in August 1980. --
NEW ATLANTIC INITIATIVE CONGRESS IN PRAGUE.
Some 300 politicians and
other officials from Eastern Europe and the West gathered in Prague on 10 May
for a three-day congress of the New Atlantic Initiative, Czech media reported.
A declaration adopted at the congress calls for strengthening ties between
North America and Europe through democracy, liberalism, and market economy. It
further proposes the creation of a Transatlantic free-trade zone. Czech
President Vaclav Havel advocated NATO enlargement and warned against
isolationism. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also urged for a
speedy NATO enlargement and cautioned against military and political separation
between Europe and the U.S. -- Jiri Pehe
CZECH SKINHEADS ATTACK ROMA.
About 30 skinheads in Brno on 10 May
attacked Roma standing near a tram station in a neighborhood called "The
Bronx," TV Premiera reported the same day. Other Roma living in nearby
buildings came to the victims' defense. Police broke up the ensuing fight and
arrested several Romani youths but none of the skinheads. The police actions
evoked sharp protest from local Roma, CTK reported on 11 May. -- Alaina Lemon
SLOVAK POLITICIAN ALLEGES POLITICAL MURDER.
Movement leader Jan Carnogursky on 10 May claimed that a bullet was found in
Robert Remias's belly, Slovak media reported. Reimas was found dead after his
car exploded on 29 April. Carnogursky said that a piece of Remias's car found
at the scene of the explosion and handed over to Carnogursky's party
in it several holes. Remias was a , former policeman and friend of Oscar F.--a
key witness in the kidnapping case of Slovak President Michal Kovac's son. The
president and the opposition claim that Kovac Jr. was kidnapped by the Slovak
Intelligence Service. A Slovak police spokesman on 10 May said there was no
evidence that Remias was murdered and no bullet was found in Remias's stomach.
He suggested, however, that six bullets in the gun owned by Remias probably
exploded in the extreme heat of the explosion. -- Jiri Pehe
SLOVAK PRESIDENT CRITICIZES TV.
Michal Kovac on 12 May sent an open
letter to the Slovak TV (STV) Board, in which he questioned STV's role as a
public institution, TASR reported. "STV is an institution which is not supposed
to serve only a selected group of political entities and irresponsibly
manipulate citizens' views," Kovac wrote. He warned that under Slovak law, STV
is a public institution "not the coalition parties' or the cabinet's
institution." Kovac met with the STV's board chairman on 6 May to request more
objectivity in STV programming. However, Kovac said that "STV management's
stance has not changed" since the meeting. Kovac wrote that STV's efforts "to
censure the president or place some conditions on him [before he appears on TV]
are regrettable." On 8 May, STV refused to broadcast the president's address
marking the 51st anniversary of the end of World War II. -- Jiri Pehe
HUNGARY TO POSTPONE PURCHASE OF FIGHTER JETS?
The Hungarian government
is about to launch an international tender with a $1 billion order for 30
NATO-compatible fighter planes for the Hungarian Armed Forces to replace its
aging MiG-21s, international and domestic media reported. The companies Saab,
Dassault Aviation, and Lockheed, which respectively produce JAS-39 Gripen,
Mirage 2000-5, and F-16 and F-18 fighter jets, have already shown interest in
the tender. The Finance and Defense Ministries, however, seem to be at odds
over the issue. Finance Ministry officials on 10 May called for shelving the
international tender due to financial difficulties. Meanwhile, the Defense
Ministry is pushing for the deal to go through and expects to reach a purchase
agreement by the end of this year. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
CROATIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OVERRULES TUDJMAN.
The highest Croatian
judicial body on 10 May ruled six-to-four in favor of an opposition suit
against President Franjo Tudjman's recent dissolution of the Zagreb city
council, international and Croatian media reported. The opposition coalition
won a majority on the council last October, but Tudjman has since vetoed all
four of its proposed candidates for mayor and otherwise tried to hamstring the
council's work. He charged that he would not allow the capital to be run by
"enemies of state policy." After formally dissolving the city council on 30
April, Tudjman called for a referendum in what was widely seen as an attempt to
postpone new council elections that his Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ)
seemed likely to lose. The latest court decision appears to be a milestone
display of independence by the judiciary, which has generally been regarded as
an instrument of the HDZ. That party may now find itself forced to take up the
opposition's previous offer of power-sharing in return for the HDZ's
recognition of an opposition candidate for mayor. -- Patrick Moore
CROATIAN, BOSNIAN LEADERS MEET.
President Franjo Tudjman on 11 May
hosted a meeting in Zagreb with his Bosnian counterpart, Alija Izetbegovic,
Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic, Bosnian Federation President Kresimir
Zubak, and federal Vice President Ejup Ganic. They reached an agreement on a
pilot program for the return of refugees to four central Bosnian towns:
Muslim-held Bugojno and Travnik, and Croat-held Stolac and Jajce. Another
measure called for Bosnia to have a temporary duty-free outlet to the sea
through Ploce in Croatia and for Croatian vehicles to be able to transit
Bosnia's coastal strip at Neum, which cuts Croatia into two. Izetbegovic told
Onasa, moreover, that Bosnians do not need visas for Croatia. All sides sounded
optimistic after the meeting, international and regional media reported. But
these latest accords sound very similar to previous measures that were agreed
upon but remained dead letters due to mistrust and the opposition of local
warlords. -- Patrick Moore
HOLBROOKE WARNS ABOUT PARTITION OF BOSNIA.
The man most responsible for
the Dayton accords, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke,
said that the Dayton structure could collapse resulting in the partition of
Bosnia-Herzegovina. He blamed the Serbian, Muslim, and Croatian sides, but
singled out the Serbs for not removing from power indicted war criminals
Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic. He doubts that fighting will resume but
feels that "the Europeans" have incapacitated the civilian side of Dayton by
insisting on multiple chains of command, AFP reported on 12 May. -- Patrick
BELGRADE CALLS FOR IMF, WORLD BANK TALKS . . .
Rump Yugoslav authorities
have requested the "urgent resumption" of talks with the IMF and World Bank,
Reuters reported on 12 May. At a meeting of federal authorities the previous
day, federal Premier Radoje Kontic asked that IMF and World Bank officials be
invited to Belgrade as soon as possible to reopen lines of communication.
Dialogue with international financial institutions collapsed in April 1996 when
Belgrade demanded that rump Yugoslavia be recognized as the sole successor
state of Tito's Yugoslavia as a precondition for continued dialogue. -- Stan
. . . WHILE BANK GOVERNOR CALLS FOR PREMIER'S RESIGNATION.
National Bank Governor Dragoslav Avramovic has called for Kontic's resignation,
Nasa Borba reported on 11 May. Avramovic has since early April been in
open conflict with members of the government over rump Yugoslav relations with
international financial institutions. Avramovic alleges in a letter that Kontic
flagrantly lied when he remarked that Avramovic had abandoned government policy
in talks with IMF officials at the beginning of April. Avramovic advocates
obtaining international loans as soon as possible to keep the rump Yugoslav
economy from ruin, while federal authorities contend that international
financial institutions must first recognize rump Yugoslavia as the successor to
Tito's Yugoslavia. -- Stan Markotich
ROMANIAN EXTREMIST PARTY TO LAUNCH OWN RADIO, TV.
The leader of the
extremist Greater Romania Party (PRM), Senator Corneliu Vadim Tudor, in
Bucharest on 10 May said his party will launch its own radio and TV station "at
whatever cost," claiming that the state-run media do not properly reflect the
PRM's activities, Radio Bucharest reported on the same day. In a related
matter, President Ion Iliescu commented on accusations that the BBC's
Romanian-language program is broadcasting propaganda for the opposition in the
forthcoming elections (see the OMRI Daily Digest, 7 May). He said the
BBC was the only foreign station with numerous programs broadcast locally and
therefore it should attach "more importance to objectivity." He added that
Romania should possibly use the BBC's stations to make Romanian positions
known, saying that the matter was one of "reciprocity." -- Michael Shafir
TIRASPOL HAMPERS IMPLEMENTATION OF RUSSIAN-MOLDOVAN AGREEMENT.
Transdniestrian authorities have insisted on talks with Russia to discuss the
transfer of Russian military equipment stationed in the breakaway region, and
they have refused to recognize the Moldovan-Russian accord on the issue,
BASSA-Press reported on 9 May. The Tiraspol leader, Igor Smirnov, on 8 May
demanded the talks at a meeting with Vladimir Kitayev, the Russian special
ambassador and head of the Russian delegation for talks with Moldova. Stefan
Chitac, a military advisor to Smirnov, said none of the Moldovan-Russian
military accords on the transfer of the Russian equipment will be carried out.
-- Michael Shafir
NEW BULGARIAN INTERIOR MINISTER APPOINTED.
Bulgaria's parliament on 10
May voted to replace Lyubomir Nachev with Nikolai Dobrev, Bulgarian state radio
reported the same day. Opposition deputies abstained from the proceedings,
saying the government had acted with impropriety by holding the vote without
prior debate. Opposition members, some of whom also called for Premier
Videnov's resignation, alleged that Dobrev, a high-ranking member of the ruling
Bulgarian Socialist Party, was predisposed to working toward a "totalitarian
unification of party and state." Nachev resigned following the 3 May slaying of
three police officers in Sofia (see the OMRI Daily Digest, 6 May 1996).
-- Stan Markotich
ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS COMPLAIN ABOUT "CLIMATE OF TERROR."
accused the ruling Democratic Party of political manipulation prior to the 26
May elections, Reuters reported on 10 May. They said police illegally detained
more than 30 Socialist supporters and destroyed their banners and flags. The
Socialists' General Secretary Gramoz Ruci claimed that his party's candidates
have been obstructed from meeting with voters. Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi
reacted to the charges by saying that "those who complain create the incidents
themselves," Albania reported on 12 May. Meanwhile, an unknown culprit
smashed the windows of the office of the Socialists' Vice President Luan
Hajdaraga, Koha Jone reported the same day. The Socialists claimed that
police cars and Democratic Party supporters on 11 May blocked a road,
preventing Tirana Socialist leaders from attending an election campaign rally
in Durres. -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Deborah Michaels