AX FALLS ON 7 GENERALS...
President Boris Yeltsin on 25 June fired seven
top generals, international and Russian media reported. All had close ties to
fired Defense Minister Pavel Grachev. They included three deputy chiefs of the
General Staff: Col.-Gen. Viktor Barynkin, Col.-Gen. Anatolii Bogdanov, and
Col.-Gen. Vyacheslav Zherebtsov. Also removed were Lt.-Gen. Sergei Zdorikov,
the head of the ministry's Main Directorate for Educational Work; Lt.-Gen.
Dmitrii Kharchenko, who headed the International Military Cooperation
Directorate; the head of the ministry's administrative staff, Col.-Gen. Valerii
Lapshov; and a deputy commander of the Ground Forces, Lt.-Gen. Vladimir
Shulikov. Four of them had been named by Security Council Secretary Aleksandr
Lebed as participants in an attempted coup--a charge Lebed later retracted.
Lapshov, Kharchenko, and Zdorikov were military academy classmates of Grachev,
and Kharchenko's daughter was married to Grachev's son. The same day, ITAR-TASS
reported that Yeltsin appointed Lebed to head the commission which vets
candidates for the highest military posts. -- Doug Clarke
... AND AT THE SECURITY COUNCIL.
President Yeltsin on 25 June dismissed
two deputy secretaries of the Security Council, Vladimir Rubanov and Aleksandr
Troshin, ITAR-TASS reported. Two new deputies--Vladimir Denisov and Sergei
Kharlamov--were appointed. Former Federal Security Service head Mikhail
Barsukov also lost his seat on the council. Yeltsin decreed on 25 June that the
Security Council secretary will have one first deputy and three deputies and
that the council's staff should be cut to 183. Yeltsin also instructed Lebed to
draft a new statute governing the work of the council, its structure, and
staff. According to presidential press secretary Sergei Medvedev, Yeltsin wants
to broaden the functions of the council. -- Penny Morvant
YELTSIN CREATES POLITICAL CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL.
President Boris Yeltsin
has transformed his presidential Social Chamber, created in 1994, into a
Political Consultative Council (PKS) to incorporate the opinions of a wider
body of political parties and movements into the process of defining political
and economic policy, ITAR-TASS reported on 25 June. Yeltsin invited the
political parties represented in the Duma, as well as those parties that did
not gain seats in the December elections, to join the body. Gennadii Zyuganov
made a similar proposal on 24 June and published a long list of the members he
would include in his council in the 25 June edition of Sovetskaya
Rossiya. Yeltsin's proposal is merely cosmetic since he expects to win the
3 July presidential vote without establishing a broad coalition with the
communists. -- Robert Orttung
FURTHER REACTION TO ZYUGANOV PROPOSAL.
Presidential spokesman Sergei
Medvedev criticized Zyuganov's call for a coalition government, saying it was a
pity that he concluded the need for "civil peace and accord" only after losing
the first round of the elections, ITAR-TASS reported 25 June. Medvedev also
rejected the idea of creating the Council on National Accord, saying that the
Constitution did not make a provision for it and that it was not necessary.
Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii and Federation Council Speaker Yegor Stroev
also rejected Zyuganov's overtures, as did a host of other regional leaders,
such as Novosibirsk Governor Vitalii Mukha. NTV declared that Zyuganov's
announcement of the plan was well-timed since it did not have to compete with
other events and brought him a lot of attention, but that his initiative is
faltering since he has nothing new to add to it. -- Robert Orttung
ZYUGANOV REJECTS CLAIM THAT THE COMMUNISTS ARE OUT OF MONEY.
rejected the assertion of key campaign aide Aleksei Podberezkin that the
communists were out of money for the election campaign, NTV reported on 25
June. He said that his staff had just sent 1,000 workers to the provinces and
that he was concentrating on forming a coalition government in Moscow.
Podberezkin, the head of the Spiritual Heritage think tank which is supporting
Zyuganov, had blamed Zyuganov's low visibility on his lack of funds and a bias
in the media, Reuters reported. Zyuganov said he was confident of victory in
the second round and called the reports of the numerous rebuffs to his
coalition government proposal incorrect. Zyuganov also played volleyball on 25
June to demonstrate his vigorous health, NTV reported. -- Robert Orttung
YELTSIN CAMPAIGN EXPECTS TURNOUT AT 64%.
Deputy Chairman of the
All-Russian Movement for the Social Support of the President (ODOPP) Vyacheslav
Nikonov said that the president expects turnout at 64% and that Yeltsin will
win 50.8%, while Zyuganov will take 46.8%. If turnout is below 60%, Nikonov
warned, Zyuganov could win, NTV reported on 25 June. Nikonov claimed that, in
the first round on 16 June, Zyuganov was leading before 6 p.m. and that
Yeltsin's supporters only voted in the evening, demonstrating their "lack of
discipline and even irresponsibility," ITAR-TASS reported. -- Robert Orttung
YELTSIN ORDERS PULLOUT FROM CHECHNYA.
President Boris Yeltsin signed a
decree on 25 June calling for the "gradual withdrawal of forces and material"
from Chechnya, Xinhua reported. The withdrawal is to be completed by 1
September. Previously, military sources had indicated that troops not
permanently assigned to the North Caucasus military district would be pulled
out. These include forces from the Leningrad, Moscow, Volga, and Urals MDs. The
same day, NTV quoted the deputy commander of the North Caucasus MD as saying
that the 205th Motorized Rifle Brigade would remain in Chechnya, with its 204th
Regiment to be stationed in the foothills near the village of Shali. Novosti
quoted Lt. Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, the commander of the federal forces in
Chechnya, as saying the pullout would begin on 28 June with troops from the
245th regiment. -- Doug Clarke
PRIMAKOV OUTLINES FOREIGN POLICY GOALS.
In a speech to the Moscow State
Institute of International Affairs last week, Foreign Minister Yevgennii
Primakov laid out the main principles behind Russian foreign policy,
Trud reported on 25 June. He challenged some widespread ideas about the
character of the international system, denying that there had been "winners"
and "losers" in the Cold War, or that the U.S. was the sole superpower in a
"unipolar" world. Primakov also argued that the opening of Russia's economy did
not condemn it to the position of a "raw materials appendage." He said it was a
"very important priority" to build relations with China as a strategic partner.
He warned against excessive focus on relations with the U.S., and argued that
Russia should not seek to join "the club of civilized nations" at any price.
His two leading concerns at present are NATO expansion and Western objections
to CIS integration, which he described as the "main task" of his ministry. --
ARMS TRADE BREEDS CONSPIRACY ACCUSATIONS.
A Nezavisimaya gazeta
report on 25 June claimed that the U.S. has adopted a deliberate policy of
trying to block sales of Russian weapons in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin
America. For example, the paper alleged that U.S. officials are trying to
prevent the sale of Russian helicopters to Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, even
arguing that the "fabrication" of evidence of corruption among Russian
officials may be part of the strategy. -- Peter Rutland
RUSSIAN-BELARUSIAN JOINT ASSEMBLY MEETS.
Parliamentary Assembly met for the first time on 25 June in Smolensk, Russian
and Belarusian agencies reported. The assembly is meant to provide a basis for
the merger of the two countries' economies, and some other government functions
under the terms of the 2 April Agreement on the Formation of a Community.
Belarusian parliamentary speaker Syamyon Sharetsky was elected Chairman of the
Assembly, and Russian State Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev was voted first
deputy chairman. Six commissions were set up: legal affairs, economics, social
issues, foreign policy, crime, and ecology. The first three are chaired by
Russians, and the remaining three by Belarusians. The assembly is to meet at
least four times a year. The next session will take place in the fall. --
MURMANSK OBLAST ASKS NORWAY FOR AID.
Murmansk Oblast has asked Norway
for a loan to help pay wages, a Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on 25
June. Spokesman Ingvard Havnen said the oblast had asked for $12 million to
help cover expenses such as the wages of teachers and doctors, AFP reported.
Havnen said Norway would normally turn down requests to cover running expenses
but added that the application would be considered. In 1995 Norway gave
Murmansk more than $11 million in aid to help clean up pollution and improve
the region's infrastructure. Meanwhile, Izvestiya reported on 26 June
that opposition parties in the Norwegian parliament have spoken out against a
joint Russian-Norwegian project to ensure the safety of nuclear waste dumps on
the Kola Peninsula. Norway has said it will allocate about $24 million to the
program. Its opponents claim it will help Russia increase its nuclear
potential. -- Penny Morvant
FRATERNIZATION RULES TIGHTEN AT U.S. EMBASSY?
Sources in the U.S.
embassy in Moscow leaked a copy of a State Department memorandum, issued on 4
June, that specifies the rules governing romantic relations between U.S.
embassy employees and local personnel, Western media reported on 25 June.
According to the reports, it was only last year that the rules were relaxed for
U.S. personnel: in future, they must officially report all "continuing"
intimate relations with Russian citizens. The memorandum reportedly stated that
Russia still represents a "formidable" intelligence threat to the U.S. A State
Department spokeswoman denied that there had been a change of policy, and said
the document merely reaffirmed previous practice. -- Peter Rutland
JUSTICE OFFICIAL MURDERED; JUDGES UNHAPPY WITH MINISTER.
Borodina, acting head of the Moscow Oblast Justice Administration, was shot
dead in the stairwell of her apartment block in Podolsk, south of Moscow, on 25
June, ITAR-TASS reported. It was the second murder of a justice official within
a month. In late May Deputy Justice Minister Anatolii Stepanov was found dead
in his apartment near Moscow. Meanwhile, Moskovskie novosti (issue 25)
reported that the All-Russian Council of Judges has adopted a resolution
expressing lack of confidence in Justice Minister Valentin Kovalev. The council
said that courts have received less than one-fifth of the sums required to
cover administrative costs and other expenses, and that some courts have had to
stop hearing cases. The judges want responsibility for financing and
administering courts to be transferred from the Justice Ministry to the Supreme
Court's Judicial Department. -- Penny Morvant
Finance Minister Vladimir Panskov provided the latest
budget information in Ekonomika i zhizn no. 25. By 1 June budget
receipts from all sources totaled 103 trillion rubles ($20.3 billion), or 11.6%
of GDP. Only 53% of receipts were taxes and other payments. The remaining
income came from the sale of treasury bonds (29%), foreign currency (15%), and
precious metals (6%). The share of the federal budget in the consolidated
budget fell abruptly from 48% in March to 35% in April, showing that regional
authorities were better able to generate tax revenue than was Moscow. Tax
arrears by the end of April stood at 21 trillion rubles for regional budgets
and 38 trillion for the federal budget. -- Peter Rutland
UZBEK PRESIDENT MEETS BRIEFLY WITH CLINTON.
After meeting with the
presidents of the three Baltic States, U.S. President Bill Clinton had talks
with visiting Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Washington on 25 June, Reuters
and AFP reported. White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said later the two
discussed "key political, economic, and security issues of mutual interest,
including progress in political and economic reform." Before the presidents
met, McCurry told a press conference that human rights would be a topic but
downplayed the issue. Uzbekistan attempted to improve its poor image on human
rights by announcing at the start of June that it would release some 80
political prisoners. However, the Washington Post noted in a 25 June
article that only a handful had been freed and Radio Liberty could confirm the
release of only five. -- Bruce Pannier
KAZAKHSTANIS URGED TO GATHER THEIR OWN FUEL.
Kazakhstan's chief energy
inspector, Yeset Zhumabekov, has urged its citizens to collect their own winter
fuel--including dung--given the inability of the country's power sector to meet
consumer demands, a BBC monitoring of a 20 June article in Karavan-Blitz
reported. Kazakhstan's power sector is bankrupt and has no prospects of
collecting the $1 billion debt owed by its consumers. Kazakhstan's debt to CIS
countries for electricity exceeds $400 million. -- Bhavna Dave
TAJIK GOVERNMENT FORCES TAKE LOSSES.
A 24 June report from ITAR-TASS
quoted the Tajik opposition press service as saying its forces had "resolutely
rebuffed the Dushanbe elite troops" in fighting near Tavil-Dara and Sagirdasht
in central Tajikistan. The opposition claimed to have killed at least 21
government soldiers. Meanwhile, as many as 70 opposition fighters attacked a
police station in Komsomolabad, a town on a strategic road linking the Tajik
capital, Dushanbe, to the eastern regions of the country, according to Reuters.
During the 12-hour attack, the opposition killed five militiamen before
retreating into the hills. -- Bruce Pannier
GEORGIA TO RETURN WAR TROPHIES TO GERMANY.
The Georgian government is
preparing to return to Germany some 120,000 books from the 1600-1900s that were
confiscated from libraries in Bremen and Magdeburg by Soviet troops in 1945,
Die Welt reported on 26 June, quoting the Georgian Ambassador to
Germany, Konstantine Gabashvili. He said that Georgian President Eduard
Shevardnadze had wanted to give several of the most valuable volumes to his
German counterpart Roman Herzog during the latter's visit to Tbilisi earlier
this month, but had been pressured not to do so by Moscow. -- Liz Fuller
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT BANS FOREIGN MILITARY BASES...
More than 300 of 340
deputies attending the 25 June session of parliament voted to ban foreign
military bases on Ukrainian territory, Russian Public Television reported. The
vote was part of an article-by-article review of the draft Ukrainian
constitution. Since the Russian Black Sea Fleet is still based in Ukraine,
deputies allowed for a transition period of an unspecified length during which
the Russian fleet would be allowed to remain in Ukraine. -- Ustina Markus
...AS IT CONTINUES TO REVIEW DRAFT CONSTITUTION.
another 10 articles of the draft Ukrainian constitution on 24 June, but again
failed to approve many key provisions, UNIAN and Holos Ukrainy reported
on 24-25 June. The legislature approved articles outlining foreign-policy
objectives and promoting nation-building, political pluralism, and
environmental protection. Deputies rejected provisions on the rule of law, the
validity of international treaties on Ukrainian territory, use of the state
language, and a ban on formation of armed groups. Leftist opposition to a land
market prevented the approval of an article on land-ownership rights.
Unapproved provisions within articles that have been adopted are to be
rescheduled for another reading. Legislators were scheduled to review the next
section, on "the rights, freedoms, and duties of a person and a citizen," on 25
June. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
NATIONAL DEMOCRATS DEMAND BAN ON COMMUNIST PARTY OF UKRAINE.
agencies reported on 24 June that national democratic forces in Ukraine, led by
the Rukh party, have collected 2 million signatures for a petition demanding a
ban on the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU). Rukh leader Vyacheslav Chornovil
has presented the petition to President Leonid Kuchma. Rukh activists have been
collecting signatures since late April. Rukh has long lobbied for a ban on the
CPU, which it claims is deliberately sabotaging the adoption of a new Ukrainian
constitution because it is fundamentally opposed to Ukrainian independence. --
Russian Duma Deputy and professor of psychology
Galina Starovoytova said Belarusian deputy Stanislau Shushkevich is mentally
healthy, NTV reported on 24 June. Her statement was in response to the
Belarusian president's chief ideologue Uladzimir Zamyatalin's demand that
Shushkevich undergo a psychiatric examination because of his criticism of the
Belarusian regime. According to Starovoytova, Shushkevich's "intellect is
considerably more highly developed than the average CIS level." In other news,
Reuters reported on 25 June that liberal politicians have denounced the beating
of the wife of an RFE/RL correspondent. The woman was attacked by unknown
assailants in her home, apparently to intimidate her husband, who works for
RFE/RL and the banned independent weekly, Belarusskaya delovaya gazeta.
-- Ustina Markus
BALTIC PRESIDENTS MEET CLINTON.
Presidents Lennart Meri (Estonia),
Guntis Ulmanis (Latvia), and Algirdas Brazauskas (Lithuania) only partially
achieved their aims in their meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton in
Washington on 25 June, RFE/RL reported. Clinton did not accept the Lithuanian
formula of "who, not when" on NATO enlargement, but affirmed that "the first
nations admitted will not be the last." The talks were not limited to the topic
of NATO. Meri asked for help in countering Moscow's "disinformation and
destabilization" campaign in the region, while Ulmanis focused on the
importance of economic integration into Europe. Brazauskas stressed his concern
about changes in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty that allow
Russia to station more tanks in the Pskov Oblast, which borders Latvia and
Estonia. -- Saulius Girnius
BALTIC STATES APPEAL FOR SECURITY GUARANTEES.
The Latvian and Lithuanian
delegations to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly made an appeal on
25 June in Strasbourg to the member states of the CFE treaty to provide them
with adequate security guarantees, BNS reported. The head of the Estonian
delegation, Kristiina Ojuland, did not join the appeal, arguing that the
assembly was not the place to discuss military issues. Lithuanian delegate
Vytautas Landsbergis suggested that the Baltic states be given 600 anti-tank
missiles to match the 600 tanks that Russia will be permitted to station in the
Pskov Oblast. -- Saulius Girnius
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT IN POLAND.
Leonid Kuchma arrived in Warsaw on 25
June for a two-day trip to cement the partnership between the two neighbors,
international media reported. Kuchma and Polish President Aleksander
Kwasniewski signed a declaration on bilateral relations that included
assurances that Ukraine will not oppose Poland's aim to join NATO. Poland in
turn promised that future NATO membership will not be aimed against any
country, Kwasniewski's spokesman said. Ukraine, however, remained opposed to
any nuclear arms on Polish soil. Kuchma called Poland Ukraine's "special
strategic partner" in its bid to move closer to European structures and said
his country will seek associate NATO membership if the alliance expands. The
two presidents also signed four economic accords, including one on regulating
visa-free travel between the two countries and the return of artwork. Also,
Poland promised to support Ukraine's bid to join the Central European Free
Trade Agreement. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
NEW CZECH PARLIAMENT MEETS.
The 200 deputies elected to the new Czech
parliament took their oath of office on 25 June at the assembly's first
session. The election of a parliamentary chairman, expected to be Social
Democrat leader Milos Zeman, will take place later this week, along with the
nomination of other officials, Czech media reported. Meanwhile, leaders of the
three parties trying to form a minority government met again and reported to
President Vaclav Havel, who said a coalition agreement could be signed
imminently. The parties have almost reached agreement on the distribution of
posts in a 16-member cabinet whereby the Civic Democratic Party of Prime
Minister-designate Vaclav Klaus will have eight seats and the two other parties
four each. According to lists published in Czech dailies on 26 June, the
outgoing ministers of finance, foreign affairs, internal affairs, and industry
will retain their posts. -- Steve Kettle
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT SESSION ADJOURNS...
The parliament on 25 June
interrupted its session until 1 July, delaying a vote on changes in the boards
overseeing the National Property Fund (FNM), Slovak and international media
reported. The adjournment was supported by the three coalition parties and the
Party of the Democratic Left (SDL), which recently said it would support a
minority government led by Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar under certain
conditions. SDL deputy chairman Robert Fico said more time is needed to
determine whether the ruling coalition, led by Meciar's Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), remains together. Other opposition parties have
been highly critical of the SDL's behavior, beginning with the party's 21 June
violation of an opposition agreement on the expansion of the board that
oversees the Slovak Information Service. SDL deputy Viliam Sopko was appointed
to the board while other opposition candidates were rejected. -- Sharon
...AS COALITION'S FUTURE REMAINS UNCERTAIN.
Speculation about the
coalition's future currently dominates the Slovak media and will continue at
least until the parliament reconvenes on 1 July. Association of Workers of
Slovakia (ZRS) chairman Jan Luptak told Slovak Radio on 25 June that the
coalition agreement remains "firmly in force," and that "the HZDS will never
have a better coalition partner than the ZRS." Slovak National Party chairman
Jan Slota also insisted that the coalition agreement remains valid, as shown by
the votes on the foundations law and the adjournment of the current parliament
session. Luptak said the coalition parties "reached agreement" during secret
talks on 25 June. On 24 June, Meciar said that Slota and FNM presidium
president Stefan Gavornik (a ZRS member) are "unacceptable partners," and Slota
reportedly said someone other than Meciar should be prime minister. -- Sharon
SLOVAK STEEL COMPANY GAINS CONTROL OF INDEPENDENT PAPER.
Repkova, editor-in-chief of the opposition daily Narodna obroda,
reported on 26 June that the eastern Slovak steel giant VSZ now has a
controlling stake in her paper's publisher, NOFRA. Repkova explained that while
VSZ already had some shares in NOFRA, it recently bought another 49% that was
previously held by a German company. The sale will likely mean the end of the
paper's independence; VSZ has close ties to the government, marked by the
recent appointment of Julius Rezes--the 26-year-old son of Slovakia's transport
and communications minister--as the firm's vice president. Meanwhile, the daily
Nova Smena mladych is closing due to low circulation, CTK reported on 25
June. The paper came into existence on 2 January thanks to funding from the
Meciar government, which saw a need for another pro-government daily. -- Sharon
HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT COMMEMORATES EXECUTED PREMIER.
Parliament on 25
June passed a bill "immortalizing the memory" of the martyred prime minister
Imre Nagy, leader of Hungary's 1956 uprising against Soviet domination,
Hungarian and international media reported. Most votes in favor of the
controversial bill came from the Socialist Party (MSZP), while the junior
coalition partner Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) abstained and most
opposition deputies voted against it. The bill, which sparked emotional
exchanges before approval, declares that "the personality, behavior and
morality of Imre Nagy is inseparable from the 1956 revolution, from the idea of
democracy and national independence." The MSZP has embraced Nagy as a means of
distancing itself from its predecessor, which collaborated with the Soviets in
crushing the revolution. Opponents of the bill said the MSZP had no business
celebrating a man their predecessors killed. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
BOSNIAN ELECTIONS TO GO AHEAD ON 14 SEPTEMBER...
OSCE chairman Flavio
Cotti announced on 25 June that the Bosnian general elections will take place
on the last possible date set down in the Dayton peace agreement. The elections
have been described as the most complicated in history and will take place on
seven different levels in the Croat-Muslim federation and in the Republika
Srpska. An OSCE diplomat told the BBC that the upcoming elections will give an
impetus to all sides to respect the civilian provisions of the treaty, such as
freedom of movement and open media. But to date such provisions have largely
been ignored, and, as long as IFOR refuses to enforce them, they are likely to
be ignored in the future. -- Patrick Moore
...WHILE DOUBTS REMAIN.
Bosnian Vice President Ejup Ganic welcomed the
announcement of the vote, saying: "we think the elections will reinforce the
stability of Bosnia-Herzegovina." But his government also stressed that the
Serbs' non-compliance with the civilian aspects of Dayton threatens to render
the electoral process meaningless. Cotti himself added that the vote could face
"serious problems" if Serbian war criminals remain in power, AFP reported on 25
June. The Clinton administration and some other Western governments have been
pressuring the OSCE to press ahead with the elections regardless. The White
House wants the vote out of the way before the U.S. elections in November. --
BOSNIAN SERB SPEAKER SUGGESTS KARADZIC WILL STEP DOWN...
Serb parliament in Pale debated the fate of Republika Srpska President and
indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, AFP reported on 26 June. Parliament
speaker Momcilo Krajisnik said the deputies debated Bosnian Serb officials'
recent talks with High Representative Carl Bildt and rump Yugoslav officials.
Bildt threatened Krajisnik the day before that sanctions would be reimposed on
the Bosnian Serbs if Karadzic was not removed. Krajisnik said Karadzic would be
ready to step down from office "if it was in the interest of the Serb people,"
and that parliament deputies had decided to eliminate "all obstacles" to
holding elections. BBC reported on 25 June that Karadzic will resign as the
Bosnian Serb leader at a 28 June congress of his Serb Democratic Party (SDS),
while Belgrade media reported that Karadzic has hired a Belgrade lawyer to
advocate his interests in The Hague. -- Daria Sito Sucic
...AS BELGRADE GIVES BOSNIAN SERB LEADER ULTIMATUM.
Slobodan Milosevic, along with his federal counterpart Zoran Lilic and
Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic, have delivered Karadzic an ultimatum
demanding his immediate departure from the Bosnian Serb presidency, Nasa
Borba reported on 26 June. According to the ultimatum, Karadzic's
noncompliance with the terms of the Dayton deal warrants his ouster, and his
failure to leave office would result in a renewed round of sanctions against
the Republika Srpska by rump Yugoslavia. Reuters observed that the ultimatum
"came after months of lobbying by U.S. and European officials who believe
Karadzic's continued presence in office is a threat to the Bosnian peace
process," and adds that with Karadzic's ouster, other Bosnian Serb hardliners
may become easier to prosecute at The Hague. -- Stan Markotich
BOUTROS-GHALI CRITICIZES CROATIA ON HUMAN RIGHTS.
UN Secretary General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali has submitted a report to the Security Council that
criticizes the human rights situation in Croatia, AFP reported on 25 June.
Since the UN's last critical report on the situation in Croatia, published in
February, Ghali has said that there has been no improvement either in
investigating numerous human rights violations, particularly in sectors
formerly held by Serbs, or in the repatriation of the 200,000 Croatian Serbs
who fled to rump Yugoslavia after the Croat offensive in Krajina in summer
1995. -- Daria Sito Sucic
SLOVENIA'S POLICE CITED FOR BRUTALITY.
The Council of Europe condemned
alleged brutality on the part of Slovenia's police on 26 June, Reuters
reported. According to a report from the council's Committee for the Prevention
of Torture, "a number of people have stated that they have been subjected to
excessive force, in particular baton blows, from the police when they were
arrested." The council also requested the Slovenian government to assert
authority over the country's police forces. -- Stan Markotich
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN GERMANY.
Ion Iliescu was received by his German
counterpart Roman Herzog on 25 June at the start of a four-day state visit to
Germany, Western and Romanian media reported. On the same day, he met with
Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who stressed Germany's support for Romania's bid for
closer ties to Euro-Atlantic structures and asked Bucharest to continue its
course of democratic, legal, and economic reforms. Iliescu, who described
Germany as a key trade and security partner for Romania, is also scheduled to
meet with German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, Finance Minister Theo Waigel,
Bundestag President Rita Suessmuth, and other senior German officials and
businessmen. The two sides are due to sign accords on investment protection,
transportation, and war graves. -- Dan Ionescu
MOLDOVAN OPPOSITION PARTY GEARS UP FOR ELECTIONS.
The Party of
Democratic Forces (PFD) claimed to be the first organization to officially
announce its participation in the upcoming presidential elections and to have
already nominated its candidate, Infotag reported on 25 June. The statement was
made at a press conference staged by the PFD two days after its national
congress, which nominated party chairman Valeriu Matei as the party's candidate
for the November presidential elections. PFD deputy chairman Alexandru Mosanu
said his party's stance is that Moldova should quit the structures of the
Commonwealth of Independent States. He also criticized a draft memorandum for
the settlement of the Dniester crisis for allegedly "creating a state within a
state," which he said could lead to the "Dniesterization" of the entire
Republic of Moldova. -- Dan Ionescu
RECORD HIGH NUMBER OF ABORTIONS IN BULGARIA.
A record high 120,000 women
in Bulgaria had an abortion in the first five months of 1996, Trud and
Kontinent reported on 26 June, of which 100,000 were legal and the rest
illegal. According to official data, 150,000 pregnancies were interrupted in
1995, while only 72,000 babies were born. Sociologists believe that within a
few years, one out of four families will have only one child. Among the
educated, the young, and the rich, the desire to have children is constantly
declining. -- Stefan Krause
ALBANIAN OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS TO STAND TRIAL.
A Tirana court charged
ten people with taking part in a 28 May rally, Reuters reported on 25 June. The
Socialists, the Social Democrats, the Democratic Alliance, and the Party for
National Unity had called the rally to protest election fraud. The rally was
quickly and bloodily broken up by police, who severely injured many
demonstrators. The protesters are now charged with ignoring "numerous and
continuous warnings made by the Interior Ministry" and with provoking the
police. OMRI correspondents at the scene of the demonstration saw no
provocation by the demonstrators other than their meeting in Tirana's main
square. The government news agency ATSH called the defendants "Socialist Party
militants and ex-employees and collaborators of the communist secret police."
They face penalties of up to 200,000 leks ($2,000) or up to three months in
jail. -- Fabian Schmidt
MOUSE CAUSES POWER OUTAGE IN TWO ALBANIAN CITIES.
Two Albanian towns
were blacked out when a mouse caused a short circuit and sparked a $10,000
power-plant blaze, Reuters reported on 25 June. The fire burned down a
high-voltage distribution center in Kruja, causing a second blaze at a power
station in Fushe-Kruje. Local power supplies were cut for several hours and
bread supplies were subsequently disrupted. The power-plant machinery was
designed to shut down in the event of a short circuit to stop power surges but
there was a technical fault and the machinery went up in smoke. -- Fabian
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Steve Kettle and Tom Warner