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Newsline - June 12, 1996


FOUR KILLED IN MOSCOW METRO EXPLOSION.
Four people were killed and another 12 injured in an explosion on the Moscow metro on 11 June, Russian and Western agencies reported. The blast, caused by about one-half kilo of TNT, went off in a train leaving the Tulskaya station at about 9 p.m. President Boris Yeltsin and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov said they believed it was a terrorist attack designed to disrupt the 16 June elections. In a reference to the Communists, Luzhkov claimed the bombing was carried out by people "shaking with fear," because of opinion polls giving Yeltsin the lead in the presidential race. The Communists, meanwhile, blamed Yeltsin and his entourage. Workers' Russia leader Viktor Anpilov accused them of trying to whip up "anti-communist hysteria," while Duma deputy Viktor Ilyukhin contended that the bombing could be used by Yeltsin to "start to repress the opposition." Another possibility is that the explosion was linked to Russia's conflict with Chechen separatists, who have long threatened a campaign of terror in Russian cities. -- Penny Morvant

MEDIATORS, JOURNALISTS ESCAPE CHECHEN BLASTS.
The convoy in which OSCE and Chechen mediators returned from Nazran to Grozny on 11 June was halted twice by explosions and fired upon by unidentified gunmen near the town of Achkhoi Martan, Western media reported. Eight people were injured in the attacks. Also on 11 June, pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev insisted that contrary to the agreement reached at the Nazran peace talks on 10 June, the election to a new Chechen People's Assembly will be held as originally scheduled on 14-16 June, AFP reported. Zavgaev also postponed until 13 June a scheduled meeting with the OSCE mission head in Grozny, Tim Guldimann, whose mediation efforts he has harshly criticized, according to ITAR-TASS. -- Liz Fuller

GAZPROM ACQUIRES ABOUT 30% OF NTV.
NTV President Igor Malashenko and MOST Group Director Vladimir Gusinskii announced that Gazprom had acquired approximately 30% of NTV's stock, Russian TV (RTR) reported on 11 June (see also OMRI Daily Digest 10 June). Gazprom President Rem Vyakhirev explained that his firm has 1 million stock holders and that he hopes to use NTV to communicate with them. Gazprom is backing Yeltsin in the presidential campaign, as is Malashenko, raising questions about the objectivity of the station's news programs. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN SEEKS COSSACK VOTE IN NOVOCHERKASSK.
During a stop in Novocherkassk on 11 June, President Yeltsin laid a wreath at the statue of the city's founder, Cossack Ataman Matvei Platov, NTV reported. Additionally, he sent a proposed law on Cossack communities to the Duma, ITAR-TASS reported. He observed a moment of silence in honor of the people killed in 1962 following a Soviet crackdown on protesters who took to the streets to denounce price increases. Up to 120 people were imprisoned and some of them thanked Yeltsin for signing recent decrees rehabilitating them and raising their pensions. -- Robert Orttung

YAVLINSKII LEANS TOWARD YELTSIN IN THE SECOND ROUND.
Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii said that if Yeltsin and Zyuganov enter the second round, he would ask Yeltsin to replace several key figures in the government, remove those politicians involved in corruption, and end the war in Chechnya, Russian Public TV reported 11 June. If Yeltsin agreed, Yavlinskii said that he would then consult with his voters on whether or not to back the president. He said that he would not accept any offers to work with Zyuganov since his program "arouses no interest." -- Robert Orttung

ZYUGANOV PROFESSES MODERATION.
Although he was recently quoted in a Hungarian newspaper praising Stalin (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 June), Gennadii Zyuganov struck a moderate tone during 11 June appearances at Moscow's Dom Zhurnalista and on NTV. He promised several times to respect a multi-party system and freedom of speech if elected. When asked about the more extreme elements in his coalition, Zyuganov argued that the real radicals in Russia are President Yeltsin and his team, who "unleashed a war in Chechnya" and "ruined the economy." He dismissed recent opinion polls showing Yeltsin's support growing faster than "bamboo," adding "ratings don't grow from 6% to 40%; any sociologist knows that." Zyuganov also denied that he had offered Vladimir Zhirinovsky several cabinet posts in exchange for his support. -- Laura Belin in Moscow

DUMA TRIES TO BLOCK ENTRY TO PARIS CLUB.
The State Duma has adopted a resolution urging Russia not to join the Paris Club of creditor nations until its auditing commission completes an investigation into Russia's foreign loans, Kommersant-Daily reported on 11 June. Earlier this year Russia negotiated a 25-year rescheduling of its $40 billion debt to Paris Club members (see OMRI Daily Digest 29 April 1996). The government wants Russia to join the Club in view of its own outstanding loans to mostly Third World countries, which it claims total $130 billion. Nationalist deputies expressed the fear that if Russia joins the Paris Club it will have to forgive most of its loans to former clients. The Duma's resolution is not binding on the government, which is expected to press for Russia's entry to the Club at the G-7 meeting in Lyons, France, later this month. -- Peter Rutland

ROSTOV SIGNS POWER-SHARING TREATY WITH MOSCOW.
Rostov Oblast Governor Vladimir Chub and President Yeltsin signed a power-sharing treaty during the president's campaign swing through the oblast, Russian media reported on 11 June. A similar agreement was signed with Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast on 8 June. Rostov is the 23rd Russian Federation subject to sign such a treaty; 12 of them have been signed since the beginning of the presidential election campaign. A power-sharing treaty with St. Petersburg is expected to be signed during Yeltsin's visit to the city three days before the election. -- Anna Paretskaya

TATARSTAN SIGNS TREATY WITH MOSCOW CITY.
Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzkkov and President Mintimer Shaimiev of Tatarstan signed a cooperation treaty in Moscow on 12 June, ITAR-TASS reported. RFE/RL has acquired the text of the three-year treaty, which details a number of economic and cultural cooperation plans. Moscow will re-open the Tatar cultural center which was closed in 1941, and provide accomodation for the republic's permanent representative in the city. Oil refineries in Tatarstan will cooperate with the Moscow Tire Factory in supplying rubber and tires to auto producers in both regions. Tatarstan will supply the raw materials for a new polypropylene line in Moscow and buy the finished product. -- Peter Rutland

RUSSIA REGRETS CHINESE NUCLEAR TEST.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin on 11 June criticized the recent nuclear test conducted by China, ITAR-TASS reported. Demurin said that the 8 June test explosion, and Chinese plans to conduct another in September, would "create a fertile climate for open and concealed opponents" of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, negotiations on which are currently underway in Geneva. However, Demurin welcomed the Chinese announcement that after the September test, China will adhere to the voluntary moratorium on tests being observed by the other four declared nuclear powers. China is the only nuclear power currently conducting tests, and Demurin claimed Beijing's decision to join the moratorium reflected President Yeltsin's advice during his April visit to China. -- Scott Parrish

COUNCIL OF EUROPE CRITICIZES RUSSIA, UKRAINE ON DEATH PENALTY.
Peter Leuprecht, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, condemned Russia and Ukraine on 11 June for failing to abolish the death penalty, Reuters reported. Under the European Convention on Human Rights, which both countries signed when admitted to the council, they agreed to abolish capital punishment within three years and were urged to institute an immediate moratorium on executions. Leaders in both countries have hesitated to act, however, citing rising crime. In May, President Yeltsin ordered preparations for the gradual phasing out of the death penalty, but Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov publicly opposed its abolition a few days later. While Justice Minister Konstantin Kovalev claimed on 28 May that Yeltsin now commutes all death sentences, human rights activists assert that the pace of executions has actually accelerated since early 1995. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA ALLEGEDLY HINDERING JEWISH EMIGRATION AGENCY'S WORK.
Russian government actions are threatening the ability of the Jewish Emigration Agency to operate in Russia, according to The Washington Post on 12 June. Although earlier reports had suggested that bureaucratic difficulties with registration were hindering the agency's work (see OMRI Daily Digest, 2 May 1996), the paper reported that recent events suggest a more serious problem. Local authorities have closed the agency's office in Pyatigorsk, and its offices in several other cities have also been threatened with closure. Furthermore, Russian Justice Minister Konstantin Kovalev recently declared that when its registration is renewed under a 1995 law, the agency will be permitted to have only one office, in Moscow, rather than the 19 currently operating. Jewish leaders cited in the article speculated that the Russian government actions are linked to the presidential campaign, in which nationalist rhetoric has played a conspicuous role. -- Scott Parrish

NUCLEAR SPECIALISTS PROTEST WAGE DELAYS.
About 5,000 nuclear industry workers in the closed Urals city of Snezhinsk held a demonstration on 10 June to protest wage arrears, ITAR-TASS reported. The scientists and construction workers were last paid in January and are now owed 35 billion rubles ($7 million). Participants in the demonstration warned that if their demands are not met, the program of destroying nuclear weapons could be placed in jeopardy. -- Penny Morvant

CHERNOMYRDIN: DEFENSE SECTOR TO GET 7 TRILLION RUBLES.
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on 11 June said at a meeting in Voronezh that the government plans to spend some 7 trillion rubles ($1.4 billion) on the defense sector, ITAR-TASS reported. He said that 6 trillion ($1.2 billion) would be used to clear up the government's debt for the 1994-1996 defense order, while an additional 2 trillion ($400 million) "are likely to be allocated to the implementation of the conversion program in 1996." -- Doug Clarke



AZERBAIJAN BETWEEN RUSSIA, TURKEY.
Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev told a visiting delegation of Russian parliament deputies in Baku that Azerbaijan "gives priority" to relations with Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 June. He also said he was "pleased" that the emigration of ethnic Russians from Azerbaijan had slowed, and offered to help find a settlement to the Ossetiyan-Ingush conflict. The same day, Aliyev hosted a delegation from the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the Turkish Daily News reported. He thanked Turkey for its support in Azerbaijan's dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. In other news, nearly 200 kg of explosives and printed propaganda literature, believed to be destined for Chechen rebels, was intercepted on the Azerbaijani-Dagestani border, Russian media reported on 11 June. -- Lowell Bezanis

KAZAKHSTAN AVERTS PARLIAMENTARY CRISIS.
The Kazakhstani parliament on 11 June averted a political crisis by voting 76-29 in favor of a controversial pension bill that raises the retirement age by three years, according to RFE/RL and Reuters. If parliament had voted against the bill for the second time, President Nursultan Nazarbayev would have been constitutionally required to either accept the resignation of the government or dissolve parliament for the third time in as many years (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 June 1996). Nazarbayev had blamed the previous parliaments for blocking his reforms and this latest vote seems to support his claim that the country needs a strong presidency to speed up the pace of its social and economic transition. -- Bruce Pannier

U.S. TO GIVE MORE MONEY TO KAZAKHSTAN FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT.
A U.S. Defense Department official, Laura Holgate, on 10 June said that the U.S. government will give Kazakhstan an additional $40 million for its nuclear disarmament program, RFE/RL and AFP reported. Although Kazakhstan turned over the last of its tactical weapons by mid-1995, money is still needed to safeguard nuclear materials and destroy missile silos. Under agreements signed in 1993 and 1995, the U.S. has already given Kazakhstan more than $80 million for its disarmament program. -- Bruce Pannier



UKRAINIAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER DISMISSED.
President Leonid Kuchma fired Agriculture Minister Pavlo Haidutsky on 11 June, one day after the minister came under heavy criticism from Ukraine's new prime minister for causing great losses in the troubled sector, Reuters reported. Ukrainian agencies reported that Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko blamed Haidutsky for the financial crisis in the chiefly state-controlled agricultural sector, including failing to pay back wages of 38 trillion karbovantsi ($200 million). The premier said Haidutsky's ministry had failed to implement 12 policy orders, including one providing for total price liberalization. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER ON RUSSIA, SECURITY.
Oleksandr Moroz said he does not believe the outcome of elections in Russia will affect the constitutional process or political situation in Ukraine, Ukrainian radio reported on 10 June. He said Russian Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov is a "mature politician and a realist." Moroz also called for creating greater zones of non-alignment, rather than expanding NATO. Others in Ukraine are not so optimistic about a possible Zyuganov victory. Ukrainian TV ran a commentary on 11 June reminding viewers that Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky's proposal to return the eastern oblasts of Ukraine, Crimea, and northern Kazkahstan "under the wings of the Russian two-headed eagle" was only 24 votes short of passage as a resolution. The commentary warned that imperialist forces in Russia are prepared to redraw borders. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE DENIES SELLING NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY TO LIBYA.
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry has denied selling nuclear technology to Libya in contravention of UN sanctions, NTV reported on 11 June. The denial was in response to a 10 June article in the Washington Times that claimed that Ukraine was maintaining contacts with Libya and planning to form a special committee for bilateral relations. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN POPULAR FRONT ELECTS ACTING LEADER.
The Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) has elected Leanid Barshcheusky as acting head of the party and movement, Belarusian radio reported on 10 June. BPF leader Zyanon Paznyak is currently in Poland and cannot return because there is a warrant out for his arrest. Yuryi Belenki was chosen to be acting chairman for organizational questions. In May, Belapan reported that Belenky had been appointed acting leader of the BPF. The BPF also decided to set up a headquarters to run Paznyak's election campaign for the fall parliamentary by-elections. -- Ustina Markus

LATVIAN BORDER GUARD COMMANDER FIRED.
Latvian Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins on 11 June dismissed Lt. Col. Leonids Leskalns as border guard commander, BNS reported. President Guntis Ulmanis had demanded the resignation the previous day on learning of the theft of 13 Kalashnikov rifles from the border guard battalion stationed in Liepaja on 8 June. Ulmanis also asked Krastins to determine the involvement of other officers in the affair and to make an immediate audit and accounting of all weapons in Latvia's defense forces. Arijs Jansons, the head of the headquarters of the border guards, was named acting commander. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN DEPUTY RETRACTS CHARGES AGAINST FORMER AMBASSADOR.
Kazys Bobelis, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said on 11 June that he would retract his charges that deceased ambassador and unsuccessful 1993 presidential candidate Stasys Lozoratis had collaborated with the KGB to restore "calm and peace in Lithuania," Radio Lithuania reported. Bobelis backed his charges with a collection of documents titled Uzkulisiai (Backstage). The book's publishers charged that Bobelis quoted out of context and spread "tendentious information" and they threatened to sue him for "misinterpreting the book's contents and injuring the publishers' dignity." -- Saulius Girnius

GDANSK SHIPYARD WORKERS STRIKE.
Workers at the bankrupt Gdansk shipyard started a two-day sit-in strike on 12 June demanding an effective restructuring plan from the government. The government has decided to close the shipyard and initiate bankruptcy proceedings because the shipyard's high debt, bad contracts, and bloated employment (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 June 1996). The Gdansk shipyard is often nicknamed the "cradle of Solidarity," the trade union movement that was born there in 1980. Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek said on 11 June that the bankruptcy was caused by the Solidarity "super-government," while Solidarity leader Marian Krzaklewski blamed the government for the bankruptcy. -- Jakub Karpinski

TALKS ON FORMING CZECH GOVERNMENT CONTINUE.
The leaders of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), the Civic Democratic Alliance, and the Christian Democratic Union on 11 June continued their talks on forming a minority government, Czech media reported. The three parties focused on the distribution of ministries in the new government; it appears that several ministries will be abolished, and the distribution of ministries will be more even than in the outgoing government, where the ODS had a majority of seats. Vaclav Klaus, the ODS leader and incumbent prime minister, told Czech Radio on 11 June that the government will not ask the opposition Social Democrats to approve the government's program before it is discussed in the parliament. Klaus argued that Czech voters in last week's elections did not reject his economic reforms but rather showed impatience they had not benefited more. "Too many people think that everything can already be like in Switzerland or the Netherlands or Germany and don't realize this is not possible," noted Klaus. -- Jiri Pehe

PAPER WARNS OF COLLAPSE OF CZECH ARMS INDUSTRY.
Czech arms builders face collapse unless cooperation between the government and the defense industry improves substantially, Zemske noviny warned on 11 June, CTK reported. The daily said that the arms sector relied more on research and development than other sectors, and the privatized arms companies lacked the funds to carry that out. -- Doug Clarke

JUNIOR PARTNER CALLS FOR CONTINUATION OF SLOVAKIA'S COALITION.
Slovak National Party (SNS) Chairman Jan Slota on 11 June said the ruling coalition should continue "at any cost" in the interest of preserving peace and preventing a wave of dissatisfaction, Slovak media reported. Slota added that the ruling parties agree that privatization needs to be finished quickly since it is a source of tension between parties. The case of the state insurance firm Slovenska poistovna remains "quite problematic," but Slota refused to say whether he will demand the resignation of Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Sergej Kozlik, who was allegedly behind the recent management changes at the firm. Stefan Gavornik, president of the National Property Fund's presidium, on 11 June criticized a recent statement by Kozlik regarding the insurance firm (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 June). -- Sharon Fisher

COUNCIL OF EUROPE HEAD CONCERNED OVER PREMIER'S STATEMENT ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.
Council of Europe (CE) Secretary General Peter Leuprecht during a two-day meeting of European Ministers of Justice in Budapest expressed concern over Prime Minister Gyula Horn's recent statement that a referendum should be held on reinstating the death penalty in Hungary, domestic media reported on 12 June. Horn embarrassed his justice minister, Pal Vastagh, who is chairing the meeting, by saying he would vote yes in such a referendum (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 June1996). Leuprecht also criticized Russia and Ukraine for continuing to implement capital punishment despite their acceptance into the CE, Reuters reported. All CE countries must sign the European Convention on Human Rights, which condemns the death sentence. -- Zsofia Szilagyi



BOSNIAN DISARMAMENT TALKS STILL STALLED.
The disarmament treaty slated to have been signed last week remains on hold as diplomats seek a way out of the latest impasse. The Bosnian Serbs insist on signing separately as a de facto independent state, while the Bosnian government demands that they sign as part of the Bosnian delegation. Since the constitutional status of the Republika Srpska is at stake, neither party is likely to back down quickly, Nasa Borba noted on 12 June. Signatories to the regional arms control agreement required by the Dayton treaty are also to include Croatia, rump Yugoslavia, and the Croat-Muslim federation. IFOR will be obliged to enforce the pact, which will require massive cuts in the Bosnian Serbs' arsenal. Reports from Sarajevo suggest, however, that the extra tanks and guns will simply be sent to Montenegro for storage. -- Patrick Moore

IFOR LIKELY TO STAY ON INTO 1997.
Many important people are suggesting that NATO peacekeepers will stay on in Bosnia into the new year, in contrast to original plans. AFP quoted U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry on 12 June as saying: "NATO will not want to give up on the investment they've made in Bosnia. If they feel some further action [to prevent a new war] is necessary, they may very well want to maintain a NATO force to do that. If they make that decision it will be my recommendation that the United States participate... in any force so designated, including ground troops." The statement is significant because the U.S. generally follows the "[Gen. Colin] Powell Doctrine" of avoiding overseas commitments with ground troops and, once committed, striving primarily to minimize casualties. The U.S. envoy to the region, John Kornblum, also indicated that the troops will stay on in Bosnia, Nasa Borba added. In Washington, however, a State Department spokesman said the U.S. "has no plans" to extend the withdrawal deadline despite heavy European pressure to do so. -- Patrick Moore

EU ASKS IFOR TO GUARANTEE SECURITY BEFORE MOSTAR ELECTIONS.
A senior EU official in Mostar, Klaus Metscher, said the European Union has asked IFOR to reinforce security before the 30 June elections in Mostar, as voters fear for their safety, AFP reported on 11 June. Meanwhile, the NATO Ambassador's Council on 12 June will discuss new ways for IFOR to help international officials during Bosnia's first postwar election, AFP reported. In another development, five Bosnian political parties have registered for the Mostar elections, Hina reported on 11 June. Another coalition of five opposition parties was rejected by the electoral commission for registering late, Oslobodjenje reported on 12 June. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CONFUSION OVER EXPULSIONS OF CROATS FROM TRAVNIK AREA.
Muslim
Bosnian government authorities recently evicted some 11 Croat families from villages near Travnik that Bosnian Croat leader Kresimir Zubak called "purely Croat," Onasa reported on 11 June. Vecernji list on 12 June put the number of families involved at 20, but Hina later said that four families had been allowed to return. The Muslims argued that the Croats were not legally registered in the houses to which they had returned after being expelled during the Croat-Muslim war of 1993. Travnik is part of a pilot project of four towns--Muslim-controlled Travnik and Bugojno and Croat-controlled Jajce and Stolac--to which Croat and Muslim refugees are slated to return. This is one more example of tensions between the nominal allies. -- Patrick Moore

SOROS CHARITY REOPENS IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA.
The humanitarian New York-based Soros Foundation was reregistered with Serbia's Culture Ministry on 11 June under the name Foundation for an Open Society and will now be able to resume its charitable work, Nasa Borba reported on 12 June. The Soros Foundation was closed in February 1996, following a local court ruling that its incorporation in 1991 was unlawful. -- Stan Markotich

UN FORESEES EXTENSION OF MANDATE IN EASTERN SLAVONIA.
Jacques Klein, the UN temporary administrator for Eastern Slavonia, said on 11 June that the mandate of the UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) should be extended at least six months beyond the expiration date of 15 January 1997, AFP reported. One of the parties must officially request an extension of the 12-month mission of the 5,000-strong UNTAES forces. Klein also said that local Serbs' demands for autonomy--which include having their own government , flag, anthem, symbol, and regional citizenship--were unrealistic. In another development, 16 prisoners escaped to Serbia from a jail in Eastern Slavonia. A UN helicopter was involved in the search for the fugitives, AFP reported. Eastern Slavonia is the last Serb-held part of Croatia due to return to the Croatian government. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN PRESIDENT UPSET BY HIS OWN RHETORIC.
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had attempted to have an interview published 10 June in Der Spiegel pulled from publication, Nasa Borba reported on 11 June. Milosevic went so far as to contact the German Foreign Ministry "shortly before press time" to have "the authorized [status] of the interview...downgraded." The president probably objected not to what was said but rather to how his remarks were portrayed. The rapport between Milosevic and the two Der Spiegel reporters was said to be "icy." But on 12 June Nasa Borba reported that Milosevic's statement in the interview about "radical changes at the top [leadership] of the Republika Srpska" is prompting speculation and perhaps concern among prominent leaders of the Bosnian Serb republic. -- Stan Markotich

DEFENSE MINISTER ON PROBLEMS WITH ROMANIAN MILITARY.
Gheorghe Tinca told the Defense Ministry's staff that the situation of the army was "discouraging," the daily Cotidianul reported on 12 June. Tinca said the government's austerity program has made the army "insufficiently prepared to face critical situations." Cotidianul and Reuters on 11 June quoted Tinca as saying that Romania wants to buy U.S.-made F-16 fighter planes and that discussions with Lockheed Martin will begin as part of the aviation reforms. Reforms will also include the upgrading of aging Russian-made MiG-21s and the purchase of U.S.-made Cobra and Lockheed Hercules C-130 transport aircraft. The purchase of American-made equipment is part of efforts to integrate with NATO. However, Tinca was cited as saying there were difficulties with "identifying the funds necessary for the project." -- Michael Shafir

PART OF RUSSIAN TROOPS IN MOLDOVA REASSIGNED.
The Joint Control Commission on 11 June approved the placement of former 14th Army subunits in the security zone in the breakaway Transdniester republic, on condition that the troops be pulled out of the composition of Russian troops, BASA-Press reported. The approval meets halfway the Moldovan position that Russian troops must be withdrawn in accordance with the 1992 agreement and cannot be transformed into peacekeeping forces. The agency also reported that a rotation of regular troops in the Russian forces was not carried out as scheduled on 7 June because two trains carrying the troops were detained. A military adviser to Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov denied reports that the Tiraspol authorities had forbidden the departure of the trains in order to prevent the evacuation of military equipment. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE AS PROTESTS CONTINUE.
The parliament on 11 June debated a motion of nonconfidence in the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov because of its economic and social policies, Trud reported. During the 10-hour debate, Videnov said the new austerity measures and structural reform program are "painful...[but] unavoidable." Aleksandar Yordanov of the Union of Democratic Forces addressed Videnov in Russian, saying that is "the language [the premier] understands best" and because Videnov "rules on the principles of Soviet totalitarianism." The vote is scheduled for 13 June, and the government is expected to win it. Meanwhile, some 5,000 people protested in Sofia, demanding the government's resignation and early elections, RFE/RL reported. Opposition and trade unions called for a "united front" for the "salvation of Bulgaria." -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP.
A Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) commission on 11 June recommended Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski as BSP presidential candidate, Kontinent reported. Other candidates who were named at regional conferences declined to run, with the exception of Parliament President Blagovest Sendov, who is not a party member. He and Pirinski have not yet declared candidacies, but Standart quoted an unnamed BSP deputy as saying that Pirinski "does not want to be a tool in the party's hands." The BSP candidate is to be nominated on 15 June. In other news, Prosecutor-General Ivan Tatarchev invalidated Sendov's recent decision to designate a guarded zone around the parliament building. Finally, the government announced that it will not pay for a national meeting of breakaway Orthodox clerics under Metropolitan Pimen. At the meeting, scheduled for 1 July, the clerics might declare independence from the official church, which is headed by Patriarch Maksim. -- Stefan Krause

SANTER AND DINI ON BALKAN TOUR...
President of the EC Jacques Santer and the current chairman of the EU Council of Ministers, Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini met Bosnian, Croatian, rump-Yugoslav, and Macedonian leaders in those countries' capitals during 7-10 June. The EU is preparing a broader Balkan conference next week, Reuters reported. In Belgrade, Santer said, "it is very important that we normalize our relations in this region," adding that "we see very positive prospects for [rump] Yugoslavia for the near future." Concerning Bosnia, Dini said that "the holding of elections not later than 14 September [is] essential for the peace process." He added: "We are aware that [basic] conditions are not fulfilled ... [but] in three months a lot can be done." -- Fabian Schmidt

...SAY MACEDONIA IS NEAR AN AGREEMENT WITH EU.
Dini pointed out that Macedonia is quite close to a trade and cooperation agreement with the EU, which is "a very important move in the establishment of closer relations with the EU." Meanwhile, Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov on 10 June met special adviser to U.S. President Bill Clinton, Richard Clarke, to discuss the role of UNPREDEP. Clarke stressed U.S. support for "strong military ties and ... for the territorial integrity of Macedonia," AFP reported. No decisions have, however, been made so far. U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry will hold talks in Skopje on 12 June on that issue. The U.S. has 550 troops in the 1,000-strong UNPREDEP force. In other news, Nova Makedonija reported that a new round of Greek-Macedonian talks on the name issue started in New York on 11 June but that no breakthrough is expected. -- Fabian Schmidt and Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN SOCIALISTS SET CONDITIONS FOR DIALOGUE WITH DEMOCRATS.
Following a proposal by Democratic Party leader Tritan Shehu for round-table talks between the government and the opposition, the Socialists demanded that the Democrats acknowledge massive irregularities in the elections. A socialist spokesman said that "our only precondition [for talks] is that [the Democrats] move away from the coup d'etat." The Socialists demand an annulment of the election results and investigations into the irregularities. Meanwhile ATSH reported that Parliamentary Speaker Pjeter Arbnori called the Albanian parliament a "temple of democracy." The Central Electoral Commission has so far received over 100 complaints of irregularities. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Susan Caskie





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