HEALTH ISSUE CLOUDS ELECTION DAY.
President Boris Yeltsin's appearances
on Russian television 1 July gave no explanation of why he had missed four days
of crucial campaigning before the 3 July runoff. He looked weak, leading to
increased suspicion that he had suffered a relapse of the heart disease that
put him in the hospital twice last year. Yeltsin's aides, including Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, gave superficial assurances that everything was
fine. Generally, the pro-Yeltsin media have barely mentioned his sickness.
However, communist challenger Gennadii Zyuganov pressed the issue, demanding an
official report of Yeltsin's health, Reuters reported. -- Robert Orttung
YELTSIN, ZYUGANOV WIND UP CAMPAIGNS.
Yeltsin, in his last televised
speech before balloting begins, on 1 July stressed the need to participate in
the elections, according to NTV. Nezavisimaya gazeta the same day
criticized the president for losing the initiative to his challenger Gennadii
Zyuganov in the second round campaign. While Yeltsin merely stressed the need
to vote, the new Secretary of the Security Council Aleksandr Lebed appeared
everywhere, giving the impression that he was the candidate, the paper
complained. Zyuganov addressed voters on ORT with a scathing attack on
Yeltsin's record, criticizing him for the loss of Ukraine, the Chechen war, and
reducing 80% of Russian citizens to poverty, among other things. -- Robert
TsIK DENOUNCES EARLY RELEASE OF RESULTS IN KAZAKHSTAN.
Commission (TsIK) Chairman Nikolai Ryabov announced that he will file legal
charges against the people responsible for prematurely publishing the results
of second round voting in Kazakhstan, ITAR-TASS reported. The electoral
commission in Almaty reported that President Boris Yeltsin had won 71% of the
vote among Russians living in Kazakhstan, while Gennadii Zyuganov took only
24%, Ekho Moskvy reported. Russians there voted on 30 June because 3 July will
not be a holiday. Ryabov said that the early release of voting results violated
the right to a secret ballot and TsIK member Raif Bektagirov called the
journalists who reported the information incompetent for "blindly passing on
whatever comes [their] way." Voting also took place in Latvia and Estonia where
Zyuganov did well in the first round, but those results have not yet been made
public. The TsIK will not announce any results until all polling stations are
closed. -- Robert Orttung
ORT REPLACES LAST COMMUNIST AD.
Russian Public TV (ORT) replaced a clip
prepared by filmmaker Stanislav Govorukhin, intended for the Communists' last
free airtime slot on 1 July, with a Zyuganov speech broadcast earlier in the
day, ITAR-TASS reported. ORT Deputy General Producer Andrei Vasiliev explained
that the broadcaster had no choice because the Govorukhin clip was 10 minutes
instead of the five minutes allotted by law. ORT had asked the Communists to
pay for the additional five minutes, but they did not transfer money into the
ORT bank account before airtime. The communists criticized what they saw as
ORT's refusal to run their ad. Vasiliev argued that ORT was acting within the
confines of the law and denied that its decision was based on political
motives. The station's news coverage is heavily biased toward Yeltsin. --
LEBED: "I AM NOT A FULL DEMOCRAT."
In remarks to journalists on 2 July,
Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed said "I do not consider myself a
full democrat, I am a semi-democrat," ITAR-TASS reported. Lebed expressed a
preference for a strong presidency, saying that "parliamentary democracy is not
[good] for this country." He argued that he was seeking additional powers "not
for my personal interests, but for solving the problems of the security of the
state." -- Peter Rutland
LEBED DISCUSSES CRIME WITH LUZHKOV.
Lebed met with Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov on 1 July to discuss a draft decree on combating crime in the capital,
ITAR-TASS and Russian Public TV reported. The meeting was also attended by
senior Interior Ministry officials, acting director of the Federal Security
Service Nikolai Kovalev, Moscow Procurator Sergei Gerasimov, and Moscow City
Court Chairwoman Zoya Korneva. Luzhkov said the president, who ordered the
meeting, will hear a report on the document on 8 July. He promised that the
decree would tackle problems such as the understaffing of courts and
procurators' offices without restricting human rights. One of Lebed's key
campaign pledges was to crackdown on crime and corruption, but his preference
for tough methods has aroused concern about human rights violations. -- Penny
ZHIRINOVSKY WILL VOTE AGAINST BOTH.
Liberal Democratic Party leader
Vladimir Zhirinovsky announced that he will vote against both candidates in the
runoff, AFP reported on 1 July. He won more than four million votes in the
first round, 5.7% of those voting, and expects that his voters will follow his
lead. Zhirinovsky had ruled out any kind of alliance with the communists and
set conditions for a coalition with Yeltsin that the president would never
accept. -- Robert Orttung
EXPLOSION AT GROZNY POLLING STATION.
Windows of nearby buildings were
blown out and many residents injured by flying glass after an explosion at a
polling station in Grozny during the early morning of 2 July, ITAR-TASS
reported. Voting in the second round of the Russian presidential election opens
in Chechnya on 2 July. Four Russian-Chechen working groups convened on 1 July
to discuss issues connected with the implementation of the 10 June peace
agreement but made only negligible progress. -- Liz Fuller
JAPANESE PREACHER EXPELLED FROM RUSSIA.
Kenjiro Aoki, a preacher for the
Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, was expelled from Russia on 1
July for repeated visa violations, Russian and Western agencies reported. Aoki,
who was first charged in April, pleaded guilty in the Tatarstan capital Kazan
to charges of breaking Russia's passport regime, which still requires
foreigners to list places where they visit. His departure comes days after
Yeltsin's new security chief Lebed spoke out against the proliferation of
religious sects in Russia (see OMRI Daily Digest, 28 June 1996). The
U.S. State Department described Lebed's derogatory remarks about the Mormons as
"worrisome." Many other Russian politicians and Orthodox Church leaders have
expressed concern about the activities of cults and sects. -- Penny Morvant
JEWISH LEADER DENIED VISA.
Russian authorities refused to grant a visa
to David Harris, director of the American Jewish Congress, who wanted to
participate in a congress on Jews of the former Soviet Union in St Petersburg,
AFP reported on 1 July. The refusal came despite intervention on Harris's
behalf by the U.S. State Department. There have been several reports of
harassment of Jewish Agency branches in Russia in recent months. Security
Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed told reporters on 2 July that he intends to
introduce a stricter visa regime for foreigners intent on visiting Russia,
including citizens from former Soviet republics. He suggested countries will be
graded by the extent of their "friendliness" towards Russia. -- Peter Rutland
YELTSIN'S FORMER ENVOY IN STAVROPOL FACING CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS.
Procurators in Stavropol Krai have launched criminal proceedings against
Aleksei Kulyakovskii, Yeltsin's former special representative in the region,
ITAR-TASS reported on 1 July. Kulyakovskii has been charged with illegal
financial dealings, and investigators have said that they may turn to law
enforcers abroad for help in locating accounts in his name in foreign banks.
Yeltsin sacked Kulyakovskii in late May for misusing public funds intended for
the development of the spa resort Mineralnye Vody (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 24 May 1996). -- Penny Morvant
RUSSIAN MUFTIS BACK REFORMS.
Russian Muslim religious leaders, at a
conference on "Democracy and Islam's destiny in Russia," have supported the
course of reforms and President Yeltsin as its guarantor, ITAR-TASS and Russian
TV (RTR) reported on 1 July. At the conference, they established the Council of
Russia's Muftis which aims to protect Muslims' rights and represent their
interests in state structures. Meanwhile, a new political movement, the Muslims
of Tatarstan, has been constituted in the Tatar capital Kazan, Segodnya
reported on 28 June. The movement's leader, Mufti Khazrat Gabdulla,
declared that it would not campaign for any presidential candidate, but be
involved in politics in general. -- Anna Paretskaya
BOMB BLAST PREVENTED IN NORTH OSSETIYA.
A major blast was prevented on 1
July at a transport hub in the North Caucasus, a spokesman for the Federal
Security Service (FSB) told ITAR-TASS. A team of local and federal security
officers located a powerful explosive device planted at the Prokhladny railway
station between Mozdok and Vladikavkaz in North Ossetiya. The device was
reportedly programmed to explode during the rush hour. The team had been
investigating the Nalchik bus explosion, which killed five people on 28 June.
-- Penny Morvant
FLEET PRACTICES MULTIPLE MISSILE LAUNCHES.
The Pacific Fleet, for the
first time, launched ballistic missiles simultaneously from "several nuclear
submarines," a spokesman told ITAR-TASS on 1 July. The launches took place
during a 28 June exercise, and were "recognized as successful," the spokesman
said. The aim of the exercise was said to be to test "the actual combat
readiness of the nuclear deterrence forces of the Russian Navy." Last week a
navy official announced that the Navy would begin receiving a new generation of
strategic submarines beginning in 2002. -- Doug Clarke
CHERNOMYRDIN UPBEAT ON ECONOMY.
At a press conference on 1 July Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said that inflation was only 1.2% in June, down
from 1.6% in May, ITAR-TASS reported. Inflation cumulated to 16.5% for the
first half of 1996. The same day Chernomyrdin addressed the sixth meeting of
the Consultative Council on foreign investments. Chernomyrdin tried to reassure
the investors that Russia has achieved a degree of economic stability.
Interviewed in Vek on 21 June, Economics Minister Yevgenii Yasin stated
that foreign investment for the whole of 1995 amounted to only $230 million,
but rose to $884 million in the first quarter of 1996. This figure seems rather
high, and may include pledges as opposed to actual fund transfers. The figure
did not include some $2.5 billion that foreigners have spent buying government
securities. -- Peter Rutland
LEADING ECONOMISTS CALL FOR GREATER STATE ROLE.
gazeta on 1 July published an open letter from leading Russian and American
economists, including Leonid Abalkin, Stanislav Shatalin, and Nobel prize
winners Vassily Leontieff, James Tobin, and Lawrence Klein. They argued that
the government should play a greater role in the transitional economy, since
laissez-faire policies have failed to achieve the desired results. -- Natalia
Gurushina in Moscow
NEW RUBLE EXCHANGE RATE TAKES EFFECT.
The new "inclined exchange rate"
formally took effect on 1 July, ITAR-TASS reported. The Central Bank announced
the day's exchange rate to be 5,119 rubles to the dollar. The new inclined rate
system, similar to a "crawling peg," was introduced informally on 16 May, and
replaces the "ruble corridor" introduced on 5 July 1995, when the band was set
at 4,300-4,900 rubles to the dollar. The new system fixes the currency band at
5,000-5,600 rubles to the dollar for the next six months, with the Central Bank
announcing an official rate each day based on the market rate. The system
allows a gradual devaluation of the ruble while providing some predictability
to the exchange rate. -- Peter Rutland
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARIANS TOUR TRANSCAUCASUS CAPITALS.
Tracatelis, the head of a European Parliament delegation, told a press
conference in Yerevan at the end of a tour of Transcaucasus capitals that a
joint commission will be established to supervise implementation of the
cooperation and partnership agreement signed between Armenia and the EU,
ITAR-TASS reported on 1 July. Tracatelis expressed the hope that a fair
solution could be found to the Karabakh conflict which was the subject of
discussion in all three capitals. -- Liz Fuller
RIGHT MONOPOLIZES TURKISH TIES TO CENTRAL ASIA.
ultranationalists and religious right are well organized and represented in the
Turkophone republics of Central Asia and Azerbaijan, according to
parliamentarian Ahmet Ketenci, Cumhuriyet reported on 1 July. The
center-left deputy said three groups are active in Azerbaijan: those connected
with the pan-Turkist MHP (National Action Party of Alparslan Turkes), the
Islamist RP (Welfare Party of now Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan) and those
linked with Imam Fetullah Gulen (a controversial cleric also known as Fetullah
Hoca, who is involved in establishing dozens of middle schools in the former
Soviet Union and the Balkans). -- Lowell Bezanis
NIYAZOV ON RUSSIAN ELECTIONS, STATE ORDERS.
Saparmurad Niyazov has adopted a neutral posture on Russia's presidential
election, according to a 30 June RIA agency report monitored by the BBC.
Niyazov made it clear that Ashgabat seeks "good-neighborly" relations with
Moscow whoever is elected president. He also pointed out that the two countries
"don't have a single disputed or vague issue" between them. Meanwhile, on 28
June Niyazov decreed that private farmers are no longer required to sell their
produce to the state at regulated prices, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 June. The
BBC monitored report indicated that "strategic" types of produce (food, grain,
and cotton) may only be sold on the domestic market while others may be
exported. The ruling applies only to agricultural produce grown outside the
state sector. -- Lowell Bezanis
OPPOSITION DEMOCRATS WIN BIG IN MONGOLIAN ELECTIONS.
The 30 June
elections to the Mongolian parliament, the Great Hural, proved a surprise as
the Democratic Union (DU) Coalition took 50 of 76 seats, Western media
reported. The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), which had been in
power since 1921 and still consisted of former communists, was expected to
maintain its majority in the Hural, but inflation and unemployment persuaded
voters to opt for change. The MPRP took 70 of the 76 seats in the 1992
elections. Among a field of 304 candidates the DU hoped simply to get 23 seats,
enough for veto power. Former US Secretary of State James Baker was an observer
at the elections and said Mongolia will be seen as having "successfully
embraced democracy," according to AFP. Voter turnout was high at 87.3 %.--
JAPANESE FOREIGN MINISTER IN UKRAINE.
Yukihiko Ikeda, who arrived in
Kyiv on 1 July for an official visit, met with his Ukrainian counterpart,
Hennadii Udovenko, President Leonid Kuchma, and Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko,
international agencies reported. Ikeda welcomed Ukraine's commitment to shut
down the Chornobyl nuclear power plant and offered $55 million in new credits
to Ukraine, some $5 million of which is to be used to develop the country's
electronic and telecommunications industry. Excluding this latest offer, Japan
has provided Ukraine with around $150 million in credits since it gained
independence. -- Ustina Markus
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT PLANS STRICTER ECONOMIC REGIME.
Lukashenka has announced plans to introduce a "strict economic regime" that
will primarily affect high-ranking public servants, Belarusian TV reported on
30 June. Lukashenka denied this was a "dictatorial move," saying it was normal
in all "economically developed democratic states." Deputies and officials who
continue demanding "cars, apartments, and currency for foreign travel" are the
prime targets of his proposal. Radio Mayak reported that as of 1 July all
Belarusian officials, deputies, and enterprise directors will be able to travel
abroad only with the president's consent. -- Ustina Markus
BELARUSIAN POLITICAL UPDATE.
Lukashenka has signed a decree transforming
the parliamentary newspaper Narodnaya hazeta into a closed joint-stock
company, Belapan reported on 29 June. The Republic of Belarus will have a 75%
controlling share, while the remainder will belong to members of the editorial
office's working collective. Mikhail Shymansky has been appointed
director-general of the company and editor-in chief of the newspaper.
Meanwhile, the Belarusian parliament has passed a draft resolution creating the
post of commissioner for human rights, Belarusian Radio reported on 28 June.
The previous day, the KGB Collegium met to discuss improving the agency's
foreign intelligence activities. -- Ustina Markus
ESTONIAN-UKRAINIAN TRADE INCREASES RAPIDLY.
Tiit Reiman, head of the
foreign trade department of the Estonian Economics Ministry, said trade with
Ukraine increased significantly after a free trade agreement went into effect
in March, BNS reported on 1 July. Exports to Ukraine in the first five months
of 1996 were up 238% on the same period last year, increasing from 232 million
krooni ($19 million) to 552 million krooni. Ukraine now accounts for nearly 6%
of Estonia's total exports and is its sixth largest export partner. During the
same period, imports from Ukraine rose by 229%. Also in the first five months
of this year, Estonia's total imports and exports increased by 127% and 116%,
respectively. -- Saulius Girnius
LATVIAN SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES TRAGIC EVENTS IN ARMY.
Council, headed by President Guntis Ulmanis, convened on 1 July to discuss
three recent murders in the Latvian armed forces, BNS reported. In separate
incidents on 23 June, two soldiers were shot by their comrades after consuming
alcohol. Three days later, a Latvian Home Guard officer was found fatally
injured by gun shot in his apartment. Ulmanis said the passage of the new law
on obligatory armed service must be sped up and military education should be
resumed in schools. He said that neither armed forces commander Juris Dalbins
nor Defense Minister Andrejs Krastins should resign because problems in the
armed forces were linked to the attitude of society and the parliament toward
the defense forces. Ulmanis also said that draft proposals on improving
discipline in the army and raising the professional level of the officers would
be sent to the parliament. -- Saulius Girnius
UPDATE ON POLISH-JEWISH RELATIONS.
Vandals have overturned and destroyed
more than 60 graves at Warsaw's Jewish cemetery, Polish media reported on 2
July. A police spokesman said the police have launched an investigation into
the incident, which probably took place on the night of 28 June. The police
informed the PAP news agency that the vandalism was likely the result of
teenagers practicing karate rather than an anti-Semitic act. Menachem
Joskovitz, chief rabbi of the 1,000 or so Jews living in Poland, urged the
authorities to take strict measures to prevent such incidents in the future
because, he said, they perpetuated the "stereotype of Poles as anti-Semites."
Meanwhile, President Aleksander Kwasniewski, meeting with government officials
and Jewish community leaders on 1 July, pledged his support for a plan to
better preserve the former Auschwitz death camp, now a museum. Kwasniewski will
discuss ways to promote ties between Poland and U.S. Jewish groups during his
visit to Washington and New York next week. -- Jakub Karpinski
CZECH GOVERNMENT RESIGNS.
As a formal consequence of the recent
parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus submitted his government's
resignation to President Vaclav Havel on 2 July, CTK reported. Later the same
day, he is due to present Havel with a list of 16 ministers in a new minority
government formed on the basis of the coalition agreement signed last week by
the three parties in the outgoing center-right coalition. In the new cabinet,
Klaus's Civic Democratic Party will no longer have a majority of posts.
Instead, it will have eight ministers, while the Christian Democratic
Union-Czechoslovak People's Party, and the Civic Democratic Alliance, will have
four each. The new government is expected to be sworn in this week. -- Steve
SLOVAK COALITION BACK TO NORMAL.
At the parliamentary session on 1 July,
Slovakia's ruling coalition demonstrated that the internal crisis has been
resolved, Slovak media reported. The coalition parties united to remove from
the session's agenda motions giving the Supreme Supervisory Office control over
the National Property Fund (FNM) and implementing changes in the FNM Presidium.
Motions to reconstruct the Slovak TV Board and to fill the second opposition
slot on the board overseeing the secret service were also rejected. None of
those motions will be discussed before September, the coalition said.
Meanwhile, the parliament expanded its agenda to include discussion of the
controversial territorial administration bill, which was vetoed by the
president in April. It also passed a resolution asking authorities in the
southern town of Velke Kapusany to abandon plans to build a monument
commemorating the 1,100 anniversary of Hungarian settlement of the region. --
EU CRITICIZES SLOVAKIA AGAIN.
Two senior EU officials visiting
Bratislava on 1 July warned that Slovakia's political reputation does not
its economic realities, Narodna obroda and CTK
reported. German State Minister of Foreign Affairs Werner Hoyer and French
European Affairs Minister Michel Barnier said their visit--the first
French-German mission of its kind--represented coordinated activity of the
countries that are the "motors of European integration." Barnier stressed that
key EU values include democratic culture and peaceful relations among member
states. Hoyer said the draft penal code amendment on the protection of the
republic, the recently passed law on foundations, legislation regulating
minority rights, and the parliamentary majority's treatment of the opposition
"have provoked certain emotions in the EU." -- Sharon Fisher
IMF DELEGATION CONCLUDES TWO-WEEK VISIT TO HUNGARY.
The IMF delegation
to Hungary told Finance Ministry officials on 1 July that Hungary's
macroeconomic progress is unlikely to be jeopardized by either the high rate of
inflation or the social insurance deficit, which is larger than anticipated,
Hungarian dailies reported on 2 July. The IMF has recently reviewed the
government's economic program following the approval in March of a $387 million
stand-by credit. But the government may be able to make good on only one of its
promises to the IMF: to ensure the current account deficit stays below $2
billion in 1996. Finance Minister Peter Medgyessy recently admitted that the
government will not be able to meet the IMF requirement to keep the budget
deficit below 3.9% of GDP and that it will be unable to prevent real wages from
dropping by more than 2% in 1996, as promised to trade unions earlier this
year. Nor has a solution been found to reduce the ballooning social insurance
deficit. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
KARADZIC NOMINATED FOR BOSNIAN SERB PRESIDENCY...
convention of the governing Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) has endorsed
incumbent President Radovan Karadzic for another term. The first time he was
elected by the parliament, not by a direct vote. It is unclear whether Karadzic
has accepted, international media reported from Pale on 1 July. He is an
indicted war criminal, and the Dayton agreement bans such individuals from
public life. Speaking of Karadzic's candidacy, the international community's
High Representative Carl Bildt said: "That will be an interesting development,
we'll see if that happens." The latest move of the SDS seems to be another
attempt by the Bosnian Serbs to defy the international community and test the
limits of its patience. Pale is also under pressure from Serbia to regulate its
controversial leader to the sidelines. Washington and its allies insist that
Karadzic resign, leave public life, and face charges in The Hague. -- Patrick
...AND RALLIES THE SERBS.
The Bosnian Serb leader, who was reelected SDS
president on 29 June, gave a major televised address to the party's executive
committee on 1 July, Reuters reported. He stressed a now-familiar theme to his
electorate, namely that his fight is theirs as well: "The international
community is pressuring me not only to resign but not to engage in party
business, not to support our candidates. Their opponent therefore is not
Radovan Karadzic, their opponent is the Serbian Democratic Party. Their
opponent is the Serb people.... They know that the people are determined to
have their own country and oppose any forced mixing with others...That is why
they will try everything so that the SDS does not win." -- Patrick Moore
NATIONALISTS WIN MOSTAR ELECTIONS.
The List for a United Mostar, led by
east Mostar mayor Safet Orucevic, gained 48% of the vote in the recent
municipal elections, while the Croatian Democratic Community of west Mostar
mayor Mijo Brajkovic received some 45%, Oslobodjenje reported on 2 July.
AFP, however, quoted an EU official who did not want to be named as suggesting
that the ballot was fraudulent. "My impression is that everything has already
been agreed," he commented. The 37-member City Council will be comprised of 16
Muslims and Croats each and five members of other nationalities. The election
outcome confirms the nationalist polarization in the city and gives little hope
for reconciliation. -- Fabian Schmidt
U.S. DOES NOT RULE OUT SANCTIONS IF KARADZIC STAYS IN OFFICE.
Department spokesman Nicholas Burns on 1 July said that Washington will
advocate reimposing sanctions if Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic remains
in office, Reuters reported. Burns, however, stressed that Washington will not
press for an embargo to be reimplemented in the near future. "I wouldn't want
to lead you to believe that that's something that we're going to exercise
today," he commented. Meanwhile, a high-ranking delegation of Bosnian Serbs,
including Republika Srpska parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik, met with
Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade on 1 July, Nasa Borba reported. It is
unclear whether the meeting was linked to Karadzic's continued maneuvering to
retain power in the republic. -- Stan Markotich
MACEDONIAN ALBANIAN GROUPS ORGANIZE PROTEST RALLY.
Seven ethnic Albanian
organizations have called for a rally in Tetovo on 4 July following the
decision last week to reduce the sentences of Fadil Sulejmani, dean of the
illegal Tetovo University, and other Albanian activists, Macedonian media
reported. Sulejmani's supporters had been hoping that the sentences would be
dropped altogether. Instead, his sentence was shortened to one year. Others
sentenced include university professor Milaim Fejziu and former leader of the
Party of Democratic Prosperity (PPD) Nevzat Halili. Sulejmani had earlier
charged the PPD, which is represented in the parliament, with failing to
support the interests of ethnic Albanians in Macedonia and of Tetovo
University. Meanwhile, Serbian police have arrested Kosovar writer Agim Vinca
because he had a three-year-old Albanian stamp in his passport. Before early
1996, Kosovars were prohibited from traveling to Albania. -- Fabian Schmidt
INFECTED CATTLE TO BE SLAUGHTERED IN MACEDONIA.
government on 1 July ordered that some 1,000 cattle infected with
hoof-and-mouth disease be slaughtered, Nova Makedonija and Western media
reported. It appealed to the EU to supply vaccines for the remaining cattle.
The disease, which can affect humans, is believed to have come from Albania.
Six villages near Skopje and a village in the Titov Veles region are mainly
affected. Some 80 cows and 100 sheep have been killed near Kumanovo, in
northern Macedonia, for fear that they might be infected. Skopje has tightened
border controls with Albania and rump Yugoslavia has imposed restrictions on
goods from Macedonia. One of three border crossings between Macedonia and rump
Yugoslavia has been closed for all traffic and another for freight transports.
-- Stefan Krause
U.S. FIRST LADY IN ROMANIA.
Hillary Clinton arrived in Bucharest on 1
July on the first leg of a tour through seven CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPEan
countries, Romanian and Western media reported. Addressing some 3,000 people at
Revolution Square in downtown Bucharest, she said the U.S. supports "the
courageous efforts under way in Romania to build a new and lasting democracy."
Members of the crowd chanted slogans directed against President Ion Iliescu and
in support of exiled King Michael. The First Lady visited a pediatric AIDS
clinic, a primary school, and a nursery school but called off a visit to the
Kretzulescu church in protest at the intolerant attitude of the Romanian
Orthodox Church toward Jehovah's Witnesses. She was also received by Iliescu at
the presidential residence. Before leaving Romania on 2 July, she is expected
to meet with representatives of non-governmental organizations. -- Dan
SIGNING OF MOLDOVAN-DNIESTER PACT POSTPONED.
An adviser to Moldovan
President Mircea Snegur on 1 July said the signing in Moscow of a memorandum on
normalizing Moldovan-Dniester relations has been postponed until after the
second round of the Russian presidential elections. Infotag quoted the adviser
as saying that Snegur, Igor Smirnov, president of the self-proclaimed "Dniester
republic," and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma all canceled their trip to
Moscow at the last moment. The memorandum was initialed on 28 June following
talks brokered by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov and other
Russian, Ukrainian, and OSCE officials. -- Dan Ionescu
MORE PRICE HIKES IN BULGARIA.
The government on 1 July raised
electricity prices by an average of 118% and telephone and postal rates by some
40%, Pari reported. The new prices take effect immediately. The
government also pegged electricity, heating, and coal prices to inflation and
the U.S. dollar. It discussed raising the minimum monthly salary from 3,040
leva ($19.4) to 4,000 leva on 1 July and 6,000 leva on 1 October. Other issues
on the agenda were adjustments for employees to compensate for inflation and
additional benefits for the socially needy. Meanwhile, the big trade unions
called for protests against the latest price hikes and announced a wave of
strikes. Miners went on a one-day nationwide strike on 2 July to protest the
imminent closing of four mines, Trud reported. -- Stefan Krause
BULGARIAN POLITICAL UPDATE.
The Foreign Ministry on 1 July announced it
will recall Ambassador to Albania Stefan Naumov and initiate legal proceedings
against him, Reuters reported. Naumov has been accused by employees at the
Tirana embassy of issuing them with death threats (see OMRI Daily
Digest, 25 June 1996). An investigation conducted by the Foreign Ministry
substantiated these charges and concluded that Naumov harmed Bulgarian state
interests and failed to fulfill his basic duties, a ministry spokesman said.
President Zhelyu Zhelev must approve Naumov's dismissal. Naumov has denied all
allegations and is expected to stay in Tirana, where he has strong personal
ties. In other news, a national convention of dissident clergy under
Metropolitan Pimen has opened in Sofia, Standart reported. On the agenda
is whether to break away from the official Bulgarian Orthodox Church, headed by
Patriarch Maksim. -- Stefan Krause
NEW ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT CONVENES.
Addressing the new Albanian parliament
at its inaugural session on 1 July, President Sali Berisha called on the
Socialist opposition to take up their 10 seats in the 140-member legislature,
Reuters reported. The Socialists and several other parties that were
represented in the previous parliament have boycotted the new legislature,
claiming the recent elections were fraudulent. Only Socialist Sali Rexhepi has
said he will defy his party's policy and take up his seat. Berisha charged the
opposition with seeking to "destabilize Albanian democracy and to tread upon
Albania's sovereignty." International monitors, however, have confirmed
irregularities in the ballot; and Western diplomats, including from the U.S.,
refused to attend the parliamentary opening ceremony. The new legislature is
composed of 122 Democrats, three Republicans, two members of Balli Kombetar,
and three members of the Human Rights Party. -- Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Steve Kettle and