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Newsline - June 13, 1996


LAST POLLS GIVE YELTSIN STRONG LEAD.
The last polls to be published before election day give President Boris Yeltsin a strong lead over Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov. A VCIOM poll found that 36% of respondents would vote for Yeltsin, only 24% would back Zyuganov, and 9% of those who plan to vote are still undecided, NTV reported on 12 June. ROMIR gave Yeltsin 34% and Zyuganov 23%, with 18% undecided. Both polls showed Aleksandr Lebed, whose campaign is making a strong finish, in third place. The polling agencies anticipate that Zyuganov's support will be higher than indicated in the polls, but not enough to overtake Yeltsin who is also expected to win the runoff. Institute for the Sociology of Parliamentarism Director Nugzar Betaneli, often cited as having made the most accurate predictions in the 1993 and 1995 Duma races, gave Yeltsin 40% and Zyuganov 31%, Ekho Moskvy reported. In contrast, the pro-communist Sovetskaya Rossiya on 13 June published a poll showing Zyuganov with 36% and Yeltsin with only 27%. * Robert Orttung

REACTIONS TO BOMB BLAST.
President Yeltsin on 12 June condemned the previous day's "brutal, barbaric" bomb attack on the Moscow metro and promised that the 16 June election would go ahead as scheduled despite what he termed the attempt to "destabilize the situation in the capital." In a bid for support, he urged Russians to respond to the "extremists" by voting for "stability," Russian and Western agencies reported. The Communist Party also expressed outrage at the attack, and Workers' Russia leader Viktor Anpilov angrily denied allegations by Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov that left-wingers were behind the bombing, calling the accusations an "evil fabrication." ITAR-TASS on 13 June reported that two people of Caucasian nationality had been detained in Moscow after allegedly making a call to the police threatening further terrorist acts, but there is no evidence that the two were behind the metro blast. * Penny Morvant

YELTSIN LEADS RED SQUARE RALLY.
Yeltsin and Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov held a large rally and concert near the Kremlin on 12 June, a holiday marking Russian independence, despite concerns over additional terrorist attacks following the metro bombing on 11 June. Organizers expected 300,000 participants, according to Russian TV (RTR), but observers reported a turnout of 40,000 to 100,000 people. Yeltsin said that the bombers wanted to disrupt the election, but that the "motherland would not let them." The rally was held amid tight security. The bands seemed to be the main draw, but most of the crowd of young people seemed inclined to support Yeltsin, AFP reported. * Robert Orttung

COMMUNISTS HOLD COUNTER-RALLY IN MOSCOW.
Several hundred supporters of Workers' Russia leader Viktor Anpilov marched to Lubyanka Square, in the shadow of the former KGB headquarters, to support Communist candidates for the presidency and Moscow Mayor's office on 12 June. In contrast to Yeltsin, Anpilov marked the day as a tragedy since the 1990 declaration of Russian sovereignty foreshadowed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Officers' Union leader Stanislav Terekhov claimed that Yeltsin had brought several regiments into the city to impose martial law in case of a Zyuganov victory, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. Both speakers called on the crowd to be vigilant against provocations from the authorities. Zyuganov did not attend the rally. * Robert Orttung

ZHIRINOVSKY PORTRAYS HIMSELF AS CENTRIST.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky told about a thousand supporters in Moscow's Teatralnaya Ploshchad on 12 June that only three candidates are seriously contesting the election: the current president, the "left forces" led by Zyuganov, and himself, "in the middle." "People are tired of extremes," he added. During his 35-minute address, Zhirinovsky repeatedly stressed that his Liberal Democratic Party of Russia will not tolerate any extremist acts or violence, whatever the election results. He drew cheers by condemning the so-called "fifth column" in the presidential election and what he called attempts by the U.S. to turn Russia into a colony. Lauding his own party's staying power, Zhirinovsky mocked the "dozens of artificial parties" that were once powerful but have "disintegrated" in recent years, such as Democratic Russia, Yegor Gaidar's Russia's Democratic Choice, and Sergei Shakhrai's Party of Russian Unity and Concord. * Laura Belin in Moscow

TULEEV WITHDRAWS WITH PRAVDA STATEMENT.
Presidential candidate Aman Tuleev announced that he has withdrawn from the race in favor of Gennadii Zyuganov, according to a statement published in Pravda on 13 June. He called on voters not to believe the "lies" of President Yeltsin's campaign, claiming for example that the store shelves were not empty under the "Communists" but only under the "traitor" Gorbachev. Tuleev also argued that there was a much better selection of hard alcohol and wine under the Communists, charging that lines for vodka only appeared under Gorbachev. He also engaged in populist media-bashing, asking whether NTV's popular "Itogi" host Yevgenii Kiselev could have been responsible for the heroic deeds of the Soviet Union. * Robert Orttung

KRO BLASTS TsIK.
The Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) held a rally in Moscow on 12 June, protesting against "depriving millions of former Soviet citizens of their right to vote," ITAR-TASS reported. KRO and the Russian Popular Party argued that, according to the Russian Constitutional Court, all people born in the Russian Federation before the break up of the USSR--including those who left Russia for one of the Soviet republics but never gave up Russian citizenship--are automatically entitled to Russian citizenship and therefore a right to vote (see OMRI Daily Digest, 21 May 1996). KRO leader Dmitrii Rogozin said the very fact that "the Central Electoral Commission ignores this issue casts doubt on the legality of the 16 June presidential election." * Constantine Dmitriev

MAYOR OF MOSCOW OBLAST TOWN MURDERED.
Viktor Mosalov, the mayor of Zhukovskii, was shot dead outside his apartment on 13 June, Reuters reported, citing Interfax. Zhukovskii, a town about 20 km east of Moscow, has a population of about 100,000 and houses a major Russian space research center. It is not clear why Mosalov, who was elected mayor in March, was killed. The murder comes less than a week after Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov's running mate was badly hurt in an assassination attempt. * Penny Morvant

CHECHEN LEADERSHIP VOWS TO DISRUPT ELECTION.
Acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev on 13 June vowed to employ "any means" in order to disrupt the scheduled 16 June election to a new Chechen People's Assembly, AFP reported. Speaking in Moscow on 12 June, Arkadii Volskii argued that the pro-Moscow Chechen government should postpone the election in accordance with President Yeltsin's decision and the agreement reached at the Nazran peace talks. But pro-Moscow head of state Doku Zavgaev claimed that Yeltsin had personally told him that the election should go ahead as scheduled; Yeltsin's press service has refused to comment, according to Russian Public TV (ORT). The commander of the Russian federal forces in Chechnya, Lt. Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, denied reports that the Russian troop pullout from Chechnya has already begun, and said that no date has been set for the withdrawal. * Liz Fuller

MEMORIAL TO STALIN'S VICTIMS UNVEILED IN FAR EAST.
A monument to the victims of Stalin's slave labor camps was unveiled in Magadan on 12 June, Russian and Western agencies reported. The 15-meter high monument, the first of its kind, portrays a haunting face called the Mask of Sorrow and stands on the site of the area's first transit camp. From 1932 to 1956, millions of political prisoners were shipped to Magadan, the administrative center of the northeastern corrective labor camps. Yeltsin sent a number of representatives to the ceremony, including his campaign head Sergei Filatov and Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zaveryukha. Reiterating a common campaign theme, they cautioned that voting for Zyuganov in the presidential election could bring back the terror. Reuters reported, however, that local officials who urged the crowd to vote for Yeltsin were heckled. Magadan is one of the most expensive cities in Russia. * Penny Morvant

RUSSIA TO SUPPLY IRAQ WITH FOOD, MEDICINE.
Russian Deputy Foreign Trade Minister Vladimir Karastin announced on 12 June that Russia will supply Iraq with food and medicine under the terms of a recent UN resolution allowing Iraq to sell a limited amount of oil in exchange for humanitarian goods, AFP reported. Karastin, on a visit to Baghdad, added that Russia had also received permission from the UN Sanctions Committee to supply Iraq with spare parts for several thermal electric plants. Russia and France pushed the "oil-for-food" deal through the UN Security Council, hoping it would facilitate a full lifting of the UN economic embargo on Iraq, with which both countries had extensive trade with prior to 1990. Iraq's refusal on 11 June to allow UN inspectors access to a suspected weapons site, however, has torpedoed any hopes that the sanctions might be lifted soon. * Scott Parrish

WASHINGTON PROTESTS RESTRICTIONS ON JEWISH EMIGRATION AGENCY.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns on 12 June protested against possible Russian government restrictions on the activity of the Jewish Emigration Agency, AFP reported. While Washington opposes the restrictions reported on 12 June by The Washington Post, Burns said it has no evidence that "there has been any effect on the ability of Jews to emigrate from Russia." Burns said U.S. Ambassador to Russia Thomas Pickering had met with Moscow's chief rabbi to discuss the issue but attributed the restrictions to "bureaucrats," and said the U.S. remains confident that the current Russian government is committed to freedom of movement, expression, and immigration. * Scott Parrish

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL DEPLORES HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION.
The international human rights agency Amnesty International sent an open letter on 12 June to Russia's presidential candidates deploring the continuation of human rights abuses in the country, Ekspress-khronika reported the following day. The letter argued that Russia's promises to become a true member of the Council of Europe were no more than an exercise in diplomacy and public relations, adding that abuses still abound both in civilian life and in the conflict in Chechnya. Repeating criticism made by other human rights groups, it noted the infringement of human rights in prisons and the army, the continued use of the death penalty, and abuses perpetrated by Russian troops in Chechnya. The letter called on Russia's future president to meet the obligations the country assumed when it joined the Council of Europe and take steps to improve human rights. * Penny Morvant

LARGEST U.S. INVESTORS INTEND TO STAY IN RUSSIA REGARDLESS OF ELECTION OUTCOME.
The largest U.S. investors in Russia--including the oil companies Amoco, Conoco, and Mobil, and the consumer goods manufacturer Procter and Gamble--intend to stay in the country regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, AFP reported on 13 June. Officials from the companies say they can work with any government, adding that the next president should be judged by "actions and not words." They also noted that Communist leader Gennadii Zyuganov may not necessarily be opposed to foreign businesses. U.S. direct investment in Russia last year amounted to $812 million, or 41% of total foreign investment. Meanwhile, uncertainty over the outcome of the election caused a decline in share market volume in Prague, Warsaw, and Budapest, Reuters reported on 12 June. * Natalia Gurushina



GEORGIAN DEPUTY COMMENTS ON CFE QUOTAS.
The chairman of parliament's Committee for Security and Defense, Revaz Adamia, denied reports that Georgia may hand over part of its weapons quota under the CFE treaty to Russia, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 June. He said that the legislature is unlikely to consider the issue in the near future, adding that the protocol on the quotas of weapons and military equipment is part of a bilateral treaty on Russian military bases in Georgia, which will be ratified only after Georgia restores its territorial integrity. * Irakli Tsereteli

GOVERNMENT FORCES BOMB TAVIL-DARA.
Tajik government forces backed by Russian aircraft on 11 June attacked the rebel occupied town of Tavil-Dara in central Tajikistan, AFP and ITAR-TASS reported. Warplanes struck Tavil-Dara with such ferocity that United Tajik Opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri described the town as "flattened" and opposition representative Ali Akbar Turajonzoda, speaking from Tehran, claimed Tavil-Dara "has been practically wiped off the face of the Earth." Government troops were also reported to be conducting operations in the Kulyab region of southwestern Tajikistan. Nuri sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali, saying that all out war could start within the next few days. No exact casualty figures were given, but reports say that hundreds of people have died. * Bruce Pannier



UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, SPEAKER QUIBBLE OVER EXPIRATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AGREEMENT.
President Leonid Kuchma blasted Parliament Chairman Oleksander Moroz for claiming that a power-sharing agreement signed by the Ukrainian leader and lawmakers last year had expired on 8 June and needed to be extended, UNIAN and ITAR-TASS reported on 11-12 June. Moroz said that the so-called constitutional agreement, which allowed a temporary law on separation of powers to take effect, has run out, but that he believes it should be extended "either by parliament or the president." Kuchma said language in the accord means it remains in force until a new Ukrainian constitution is adopted. He blamed parliament for delaying the adoption of the draft constitution and accused Moroz of trying to destabilize the country. * Chrystyna Lapychak

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE AIMS TO FINALIZE DRAFT CONSTITUTION BY 19 JUNE.
Mykhailo Syrota, chairman of a special parliamentary conciliatory commission, said in Kyiv on 12 June that commission members are working long hours to finish the draft of a new Ukrainian constitution for debate on 19 June, Ukrainian TV reported. He said there are 1100 amendments or additions that needed to be worked out and incorporated into the draft, which will be reviewed article-by-article during the second reading. Syrota said he believes legislators will approve the draft by Ukrainian independence day, on 24 August, with the required two-thirds majority, and that they will pass the 24 new laws needed for the new basic law to be implemented. * Chrystyna Lapychak

RUSSIAN INVESTMENT IN UKRAINE UPS KARBOVANETS.
The Ukrainian karbovanets has increased in value from 191,000 to the dollar to 182,200 to the dollar because of Russian purchases of Ukrainian treasury bills, Reuters reported on 12 June. Head of the Ukrainian Central Bank's hard currency department Mykola Melnychuk said Ukraine had never experienced such a large influx of foreign capital. Ukrainian T-bills yield an average of 100 percent or more interest over a year. Valerii Lyvytsky, economic adviser to President Leonid Kuchma, attributed the sudden influx of Russian investment to political uncertainty in Russia and warned that a victory for President Boris Yeltsin at the polls could reverse the trend. He added that the influx carried inflationary risks for Ukraine and that the accompanying currency stabilization could hurt Ukraine's exports. * Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ON ELECTIONS; ARRESTS UPDATE.
Syamyon Sharetsky told the integration committee of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan that it would be a mistake to artificially speed the process of integration among the countries, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 June. Sharetsky said the EU countries, which are coming closer together while maintaining their sovereignty, are an example to follow. He added that it is too late to speak of federation or confederation. In other news, an RFE/RL correspondent reported that poet Slavomir Adamovich's condition is worsening because he has been on a hunger strike for eight days. Adamovich was arrested while trying to enter Lithuania several weeks ago; he is being held in custody for allegedly writing a poem called "Kill the President." * Ustina Markus

DUMA DEPUTIES URGE LATVIA TO LET RUBIKS RUN FOR PRESIDENT.
Nine deputies of the Russian State Duma, including Deputy Chairman Sergei Baburin, sent an appeal to Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis and Saeima Chairwoman Ilse Kreituse asking that imprisoned former Latvian Communist Party First Secretary Alfreds Rubiks be provided with equal conditions for campaigning for president, BNS reported on 12 June. The appeal was probably prompted by the decision by Interior Minister Dainis Turlais not to allow Rubiks to hold press conferences in prison. * Saulius Girnius

COUNCIL OF EUROPE ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VISITS ESTONIA.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Leni Fischer met on 11 June with Parliament Chairman Toomas Savi and Prime Minister Tiit Vahi, BNS reported the next day. She held talks with Foreign Minister Siim Kallas, the current chairman of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, who will present a report to a CEPA political committee meeting in Tallinn on 13 June. Fischer said that Russia should provide Estonia information about Russian residents in there, a request that Russia has refused to fulfill in order to be allowed to open more polling stations for the 16 June presidential elections. She also criticized Russia's policy of refusing to grant visas to Estonian CEPA members, preventing them from attending CE meetings. * Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA ALLOWS EXTRA POLLING STATION IN VISAGINAS.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry's CIS Department head, Ricardas Degutis, told BNS on 12 June that Lithuania will allow Russia to open an extra voting station in Visaginas for the Russian presidential election on 16 June. Visaginas has a large number of Russian residents, many of whom work at the Ignalina nuclear power plant. Degutis said the decision was a "political step of goodwill." Russian citizens will also be able to vote at the embassy in Vilnius and the consulate in Klaipeda. * Saulius Girnius

POLAND, GREECE SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT.
Polish Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati and his Greek counterpart, Theodoros Pangalos, signed a friendship and cooperation agreement on 12 June in Athens, Reuters reported. Pangalos said Greece will back Poland's bid to join NATO and the EU and called for increased trade between the two countries. Rosati said political and economic ties between Warsaw and Athens are developing well but "there is even greater room for further cooperation." * Stefan Krause

GDANSK SHIPYARD MANAGEMENT TO REGISTER NEW FIRM.
The management of Gdansk shipyard said it will file an application to register a new company that will use assets of the shipyard. The shipyard's president, Ryszard Goluch, said the new company will employ about 2,500 workers and lease 60 percent of the old yard's production assets for 10 years, Rzeczpospolita reported on 13 June. The project appeared to be at variance with the guidelines set by the Privatization Ministry, which wanted the new shipyard to lease the assets for one year to complete construction of 4-5 already-contracted vessels. After one year, the assets were to be turned over to the liquidator for sale to a future investor. Goluch is talking with Polish banks about the financing of the vessels' construction. * Dagmar Mroziewicz

ANOTHER CONTROVERSIAL CONVERSATION BROADCAST IN SLOVAKIA...
The private, Bratislava-based Radio Twist on 12 June aired a recorded conversation between Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Sergej Kozlik and Justice Ministry State Secretary Lubomir Dobrik concerning the state insurance firm Slovenska poistovna. The tape reveals the involvement of Kozlik, a member of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), in the recent management changes at the firm. The installation of new management with close ties to the HZDS provoked a crisis within the ruling coalition, and Slovak National Party (SNS) Chairman Jan Slota reportedly played the tape during recent coalition negotiations. Last month, Radio Twist made headlines after broadcasting a conversation between Interior Minister Ludovit Hudek and Slovak Information Service chief Ivan Lexa in which they discussed the firing of a police investigator. * Sharon Fisher

... AS RULING COALITION FAILS TO REACH AGREEMENT.
Representatives of the government coalition parties met for the third time on 12 June to discuss the continuing crisis, Slovak media reported. Although Slota stressed that the SNS "will never initiate the coalition's disintegration," he noted that the ruling parties have yet to resolve the conflict over Slovenska poistovna. The HZDS's position on the case constitutes a partial violation of coalition agreements, he said. Slota expressed dissatisfaction with the development of coalition talks, but he emphasized that a solution should be found by the time the parliament convenes on 19 June. * Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRESIDENT ON FIRST OFFICIAL VISIT TO HUNGARY.
Slovak President Michal Kovac in Budapest on 12 June reassured Hungary that Slovakia will respect the rights of its Hungarian minority and said he would urge Slovak legislators to pass a law on the use of minority languages, Hungarian dailies and international media reported. The Slovak government introduced a controversial language law late last year that allowed only Slovak to be used in public places. The government promised to pass a law on the protection of minority languages but has so far failed to put the bill before parliament, provoking strong criticism from Kovac. On this first official visit, Kovac also supported an out-of-court settlement in the Gabcikovo dam dispute and called on Hungarians and Slovaks to work for reconciliation between their countries. * Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN PREMIER SAYS VISEGRAD FOUR SHOULD JOIN EU SIMULTANEOUSLY.
"It is in Hungary's interest that the Visegrad countries become members of the EU simultaneously and in the first round of enlargement," Gyula Horn told visiting Slovak President Michal Kovac on 12 June, MTI reported. Meanwhile, President Arpad Goncz assured Kovac that it is not in Hungary's interest to keep Slovakia out of any European organization. The present Hungarian government has repeatedly stressed that it supports its neighbors' accession to Western organizations, while the previous Antall-Boross government abstained from the Council of Europe vote on Slovakia's and Romania's membership in 1993. Budapest also attempted to block Slovakia's accession to the CSCE in 1992. * Zsofia Szilagyi



CLINTON CONTRADICTS PERRY ON IFOR, EXPLAINS NON-ARREST OF WAR CRIMINALS.
U.S. President Bill Clinton said on 12 June he expects IFOR troops to complete their mission in Bosnia by the end of the year, Deutsche Welle reported the next day. He apparently overruled Secretary of Defense William Perry, who had just said that he could see NATO extending its role into 1997 (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 June 1996). Clinton sidestepped a question as to why the peacekeepers have not yet arrested indicted war criminals like Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic: "The IFOR troops can arrest anybody that's been charged with a war crime with whom they come in contact. But they are not charged with, in effect, being the domestic or the international police force and targeting people and going after them." Critics have charged that IFOR has turned a blind eye as war criminals move about freely, apparently even through IFOR checkpoints. * Patrick Moore

BOSNIA'S ELECTION DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED AT END OF JUNE?
Robert Frowick, the head of the OSCE mission in Sarajevo, said that Swiss Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman Flavio Cotti will announce in late June whether elections in Bosnia will be held in fall as scheduled by the Dayton peace accord, AFP reported on 12 June. But the U.S. and major European powers are pushing for an exact date to be set at the two-day conference that will start on 13 June in Florence to review compliance with the Dayton Agreement six months after it was signed, Reuters reported. Frowick said that so far no party involved in Bosnia has asked for a delay of the elections. Meanwhile, international organizations, such as the International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch, have warned that minimum standards for fair elections are already being flouted, Nasa Borba reported on 13 June. * Daria Sito Sucic

BILDT HOPES TO AVOID SANCTIONS AGAINST SERBS.
After a meeting with Bosnian Serb Parliament Speaker Momcilo Krajisnik, High Representative for Bosnia Carl Bildt said that he hopes and has always hoped to avoid sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs, AFP reported on 12 June. He was commenting on the recent call by the head of the international war crimes tribunal, Antonio Cassese, for sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs. In another development, Bosnian Serb Premier Gojko Klickovic said Bosnian Serbs will never support the reintegration of Bosnia-Herzegovina even if the West punishes them economically, Nasa Borba reported on 13 June. * Daria Sito Sucic

RED CROSS ISSUES "NO FAULT" CALL ON MISSING PERSONS IN BOSNIA.
The ICRC says that there are over 12,000 persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina still described as missing, Reuters and Onasa reported on 12 June. The Muslims are looking for 10,805 individuals, the Serbs for 1,703, and the Croats 217. Most are presumed dead, and the ICRC now says it will welcome any information on the fate of the missing, with no questions asked as to how they happened to die. The purpose of the new policy is simply to seek confirmation of deaths in order to put the minds of families at ease. A spokesman added that it is the business of the war crimes tribunal and not of the Red Cross to determine guilt and punish murderers. Meanwhile, the Bosnian government has handed over two indicted war criminals to The Hague. Hazim Delic and Esad Landzo are wanted for crimes committed in the Celebici concentration camp. * Patrick Moore

BELGRADE LOOKS TO ZIMBABWE FOR ECONOMIC BOOST.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe arrived in Belgrade on 12 June for an official three-day visit, AFP reported the same day. Mugabe, who has been one of the few world leaders to openly support rump Yugosalvia's authoritarian regime and to oppose sanctions against Belgrade, is slated to meet with a host of officials, including Serbian President Milosevic, Federal President Zoran Lilic, and Federal Premier Radoje Kontic for talks aimed at reaching agreement on bolstering bilateral trade. * Stan Markotich

RUMP YUGOSLAV GENERAL CANCELS PRESS CONFERENCE.
Rump Yugoslavia's commander of the army, General Momcilo Perisic, on 12 June abruptly canceled an annual press conference commemorating army day, Beta reported. Perisic hinted that an inability to speak openly and low morale in the ranks were factors in his decision. "It is far better to say nothing at all than to say that which is already well known. Besides, what needs to be said, and what would interest you, would be upsetting," he said. * Stan Markotich

MACEDONIAN, NATO SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT.
Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski signed a document on military cooperation with NATO in Brussels on 12 June, AFP reported. He met with the ambassadors of the North Atlantic Council member states. Frckovski said the cooperation agreement was the first step toward Macedonia's aim of full NATO membership. He said there is "social and political consensus" in Macedonia on joining NATO. Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry concluded a visit to Macedonia, where he dedicated a military training center and held talks on the future of UNPROFOR. Addressing the parliament, Perry named cooperation within NATO's Partnership for Peace program and military transparency as the keys to stability and peace in the Balkans. President Kiro Gligorov urged the U.S. to extend its troops' stay in Bosnia lest "the NATO mission fail and renewed fighting break out." * Stefan Krause

BODIUL SKEPTICAL ON TRANSDNIESTRIAN CONFLICT.
The former first secretary of the Moldovan Communist Party, Ivan Bodiul, said in an interview with Nezavisimaya Moldova cited by Infotag on 12 June that the Moldovan and the Transdniestrian authorities are very far from a solution to the conflict. Bodiul said there was no solution but union, adding that Chisinau should offer Tiraspol a transition period. In his opinion, Moldova should have two, and possibly three, official languages: "Moldovan," Russian, and Ukrainian. In other news, for the first time a Transdniestrian official came out in support of President Boris Yeltsin's re-election. Grigori Markutsa, chairman of the breakaway republic's Supreme Soviet, called on Russian troops and citizens residing in the region to vote for Yeltsin. But Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov, currently in Moscow, met with Yeltsin's main rival in the elections, Gennadii Zyuganov. * Michael Shafir

BULGARIA THREATENED WITH ISOLATION FROM FINANCIAL MARKETS.
The Industrial Bank of Japan (IBJ) has threatened that unless Bulgaria accepts its responsibility to cover payments due by Mineralbank on 14 June, Bulgaria's relations with Japan will seriously worsen, Pari reported on 13 June. Finance Minister Dimitar Kostov on 31 May had asserted that the government was not obliged to cover the $47.6 million owed IBJ by Mineralbank under a loan taken out in 1989. The Bulgarian National Bank on 31 May applied to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against the 80% state-owned bank, which had losses of $62.8 million by the end of 1995. Mineralbank owes other Japanese banks over $100 million. Recently, Belgium's Banque Generale took ECU 5 million from the BNB's account with it in order to cover Mineralbank's overdue debt to it, and the BNB threatened to take court action against the Belgian bank in response. * Michael Wyzan

BULGARIAN PREMIER SURVIVES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE.
The government of Zhan Videnov on 13 June easily survived a no-confidence vote called over its handling of Bulgaria's economic crisis, Bulgarian and Western media reported. The secret vote was 99 for, and 135 against, with one abstention. While the government was expected to survive the vote, such a clear defeat of the motion came as a surprise. The ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party and its partners hold 125 seats in the 240-member parliament. All opposition parties had said they would support the no-confidence vote. In other news, former Tsar Simeon II announced that he will return to Madrid on 16 June after three weeks in Bulgaria. * Stefan Krause

OSCE ISSUES REPORT ABOUT ALBANIAN ELECTIONS.
An OSCE report released in Vienna on 12 June said there were serious "irregularities" before and during the 26 May parliamentary elections. The report says 32 out of 79 articles of Albania's electoral laws were violated during the campaign and the voting. It also charges Albanian authorities with failing to cooperate fully with foreign observers, AFP reported. The report did not call for new elections. President Sali Berisha had earlier decreed a partial re-run on 16 June, but the OSCE has not yet decided whether to send monitors. The opposition said it would boycott the partial re-run and demands complete new elections. * Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION WANTS AUSTRIA TO MEDIATE.
Albanian opposition parties on 12 June sent a letter to Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky, asking him to mediate between them and the ruling Democratic Party in the post-election deadlock. The letter said that "Albania is going through a critical situation as a result of manipulation and physical violence during the whole process of the May 26 elections." The letter was signed by the Social Democratic Party leader Skender Gjinushi and Democratic Alliance leader Neritan Ceka, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, more than 2,000 supporters of the Socialists demanded new elections at a rally in Tirana on the fifth anniversary of their party's founding on 12 June. * Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Susan Caskie





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