DUMA DEFENSE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ACCUSES GENERALS OF CORRUPTION...
Defense Committee Chairman Lev Rokhlin, in a speech to the Duma on 5 July,
attacked former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev for allowing "massive criminal
embezzlement in the armed forces" and accused five top generals of corruption,
Russian and Western agencies reported. Rokhlin, who commanded the Russian
assault on Grozny in January 1995, said his findings were based on the results
of an investigation by the Accounting Chamber into a Moskovskii
komsomolets report on corruption in housing construction for the military.
Rokhlin accused Defense Ministry Inspector Gen. Konstantin Kobets of turning a
blind eye to shady dealings by the Lyukon construction company, of which
Kobets' son was said to be a cofounder, and alleged that Vasilii Vorobev,
former head of the ministry's main budget and finance department, had illegally
transferred huge sums abroad. The other generals implicated by Rokhlin were
Grachev's brother-in-law Col.-Gen. Dmitrii Kharchenko, Col.-Gen. Vyacheslav
Zherebtsov, and Col.-Gen. Vladimir Churanov. Rokhlin also laid out his
allegations in an article in Dom i Otechestvo, No 17. -- Penny Morvant
...AND FAVORS RODIONOV FOR DEFENSE MINISTER.
In the same speech, Rokhlin
proposed appointing Gen. Igor Rodionov as Russia's new defense minister.
Rodionov's candidacy has been supported by Security Council Secretary Aleksandr
Lebed. Rokhlin also backed Lebed's call for more powers over the defense and
security establishment, advocating the creation of a Military Council under the
jurisdiction of the Security Council that would be in charge of all bodies
responsible for defense and security. Several observers have contended that the
timing of Rokhlin's speech was linked to the debate over the appointment of the
new defense minister, arguing that his aim was to support Rodionov and
discredit Kobets, another possible candidate for the post, NTV reported. --
REACTION TO CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS.
Following Rokhlin's accusations, the
Duma adopted a resolution demanding a legal investigation of the abuses. The
deputies instructed the Accounting Chamber to audit the Military Insurance
Company and the Rosvooruzhenie military exporter, two firms linked by Rokhlin
to shady deals. ITAR-TASS on 5 July quoted an unnamed member of the military
procurator's office as saying that 428 officers faced criminal charges in 1995.
Kobets said the allegations were without foundation and had only one goal--to
discredit candidates for the post of defense minister. He denied that his son
had any connection with the Lyukon company, Ekho Moskvy reported. Vorobev also
said the accusations were groundless and had already been investigated on more
than one occasion. He announced his intention to sue Rokhlin. -- Penny
LEBED SAYS HE WILL CONFIRM NEW "POWER MINISTERS."
Secretary Aleksandr Lebed told ITAR-TASS on 6 July that while Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin has the overall responsibility for forming a new
government, appointments to the "bloc of power ministries should be agreed with
me." Lebed denied widespread media reports that he and Chernomyrdin are now
engaged in a struggle for influence over the composition of the new government,
saying "there are no contradictions" between himself and the Prime Minister.
"Each has his own affairs, everything is normal," he declared. Speaking after
an inspection of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Lebed also responded
angrily to the announcement on 5 July by Justice Minister Valentin Kovalev that
his ministry will "strictly monitor" the Security Council's activity. Lebed
said he would be "accountable" like all other ministers, and derisively
attributed Russia's problems to an excess of "bosses and supervisors." -- Scott
DUMA PASSES LAW ON FASCISM.
The Duma on 5 July approved a draft law
banning fascism in Russia, ITAR-TASS reported. The bill instructed the Interior
Ministry to warn all groups engaged in such activities and bring legal action
against repeat offenders. Yeltsin issued a similar decree on 23 March 1995 in
an attempt to crackdown on fascist groups on the eve of the 50th anniversary of
the end of World War II. That measure had little visible effect. -- Robert
TV NETWORKS STILL SHY AWAY FROM HEALTH ISSUE.
broadcast on 7 July on state-run RTR and the private network NTV devoted
considerable time to reviewing the election results, Yeltsin's successful
campaign strategy, the likely composition of the new cabinet, and Yeltsin's
priorities for his second term. However, in reviewing the week's events,
neither RTR's "Zerkalo" nor NTV's "Itogi" discussed the continuing questions
concerning the president's health, or the fact that their networks' television
cameras were not allowed to film Yeltsin voting on 3 July. NTV avoided the
issue altogether, while RTR's Nikolai Svanidze only hinted that since Yeltsin
first took office, he "has not become healthier" and must now "reconcile his
political temperament with his actual physical capacities." -- Laura Belin in
IZVESTIYA REPORTS "SECRET" YELTSIN LETTER TO CLINTON ON BALTICS.
July, Izvestiya summarized a confidential letter President Yeltsin sent
to his American counterpart Bill Clinton in an attempt to influence Clinton's
stance during his 25 June meeting with the three Baltic presidents. Written in
a "harsh" tone, the letter appealed to Clinton to reverse American
"indifference" to the situation of the Russian minorities in Estonia and Latvia
and pressure Riga and Tallin to take a more "objective" approach to the issue.
The letter also reiterated Russia's "categorical" rejection of even "the
hypothetical possibility" of NATO membership for the Baltics, but supported
their joining the EU. The paper speculated that Yeltsin's letter may have had
some impact, since Clinton disappointed the Baltic presidents with only vague
assurances about NATO membership, and also made a token reference to the
minority issue. -- Scott Parrish
RUSSIA REITERATES NEED FOR NEW TREATY WITH NORTH KOREA.
a reception at the North Korean embassy marking the 35th anniversary of the
signing of the 1961 Soviet-North Korean Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation,
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Panov said the treaty had "fulfilled its
historic role" and should be replaced, Russian and Western agencies reported on
6 July. Russia unilaterally renounced the defense assistance clauses of the
treaty in 1993, and last year informed Pyongyang that it would not renew the
treaty, which expires this September. Panov said that although Moscow has
submitted the draft of a new treaty without a military assistance clause to
Pyongyang, it has received no response yet. He added that Moscow hopes to build
equally good relations with both North and South Korea. -- Scott Parrish
CHECHEN PEACE AGREEMENT IN JEOPARDY.
Russian forces renewed artillery
bombardment of villages in south-east Chechnya on 7 July amid mutual
accusations of non-compliance with the peace agreements of 27 May and 10 June,
Russian and Western media reported. A spokesman for Chechen chief of staff
Aslan Maskhadov said that the Russian forces had failed to remove roadblocks in
places outside Chechen towns and villages or to close filtration camps by the 7
July deadline, according to AFP; the Russians accuse the Chechens of continuing
attacks on Russian forces. Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed's
personal representative for Chechnya, Sergei Drogush, travelled to Grozny on 6
July to prepare for a visit by Lebed himself. Lebed was quoted by ITAR-TASS as
stating that he would meet with Chechen opposition representatives only if
asked to do so by pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev. Radio Rossii
quoted Zavgaev on 7 July as stating that he is prepared to begin peace
negotiations with acting Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiev. -- Liz
NEW FEDERAL COMMANDER IN CHECHNYA.
President Boris Yeltsin has replaced
Lt.-Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov as the commander of federal troops in Chechnya,
Russian TV reported on 7 July. The information was said to have come from the
command headquarters in Grozny. Tikhomirov's replacement was said to be
Lt.-Gen. Konstantin Pulikovskiy, the deputy commander of the North Caucasus
Military District. Tikhomirov, with the reputation of a hardliner, saw little
hope in a negotiated settlement of the conflict. The previous day he was quoted
by Radio Russia as saying attempts to hold a constructive dialogue with the
"bandits" were fruitless. -- Doug Clarke
IS RUSSIA FACING A FINANCIAL CRISIS?
Speaking at the Carnegie Foundation
in Moscow on 6 July, Washington-based economist Anders Aslund said he does not
believe that an economic crash will occur in Russia later this year. Aslund
said that pre-election spending promises were lower than many reports suggest,
and that "inflationary budgets are a thing of the past." In contrast, Mikhail
Delyagin argued in the 5 July edition of Izvestiya that some sort of
financial crisis is inevitable, given that in April the federal budget deficit
reached 7.1% of GDP, roughly double the limit allowed in the agreement between
Russia and IMF. -- Laura Belin in Moscow and Peter Rutland
DUMA PASSES LAW ON TROPHY ART.
The Duma on 6 July passed a bill making
artworks transported from Germany to the Soviet Union during World War II the
legal property of the Russian Federation, international agencies reported. The
draft must be approved by President Yeltsin and the Federation Council before
it becomes law. Negotiations between Germany and Russia over so-called trophy
art have been deadlocked for the past two years. Russian officials argue that
the 200,000 or so artworks and 2 million books seized by Soviet troops are just
compensation for the massive cultural losses the USSR sustained during the war.
Germany, however, demands that Russia abide by international law, which
prohibits the seizure of national art treasures. German Foreign Minister Klaus
Kinkel told a German weekly on 7 July that if Russia pressed ahead with its
"unilateral action," Russian-German relations would suffer. -- Jan Cleave
UN OBSERVERS' MANDATE IN ABKHAZIA TO BE EXTENDED?
Boutros Boutros-Ghali has recommended to the Security Council that the mandate
of the UN Observer Mission in Abkhazia (UNOMIG), which is due to expire this
month, be renewed until January, 1997, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 July. The head
of the UN mission, Liviu Bota, informed the secessionist Abkhaz leadership on 5
July that Georgia is ready to renew talks on future relations between Abkhazia
and the leadership in Tbilisi, and handed over a message on the resumption of
talks from Boutros-Ghali's special envoy for Abkhazia, Eduard Brunner. On 6
July, an OSCE mission called for an international investigation into grave
human rights violations in Abkhazia including what it termed a campaign of
genocide against ethnic Georgians, Reuters reported. -- Liz Fuller
KAZAKHSTAN, CHINA SIGN JOINT DECLARATION.
China and Kazakhstan signed a
joint declaration on bilateral cooperation and friendship following a three-day
official visit by Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Western, Russian and Chinese
media reported on 4 and 5 July. Both countries pledged to begin the boundary
demarcation process in the spirit of the Shanghai agreement of this April,
conclude a treaty on mutual reduction of border troops, and expand trade. China
promised a moratorium on nuclear testing in September. Russian Radio reported
on 5 July that Kazakhstan's security officials prevented Uighur separatists and
anti-nuclear activists from staging protests. -- Bhavna Dave
KYRGYZ-CHINESE COOPERATION AGREEMENTS.
Before arriving in Almaty,
President Jiang Zemin signed a series of agreements with Kyrgyzstan on 4 July,
concluding a two-day visit to Bishkek, Chinese and Western media reported. Five
agreements on bilateral cooperation in civil and legal affairs, air transport,
customs, meteorological technology and banking were signed. China also offered
3 million yuan ($370,000) aid in goods to Kyrgyzstan. Both countries have
concluded a demarcation of all but one mountain portion of the state border
between the two countries, Xinhua reported on 4 July. -- Bhavna Dave
TAJIK GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION ON FIGHTING IN TAVIL DARA.
After days of
fierce fighting, both sides claim to be in possession of the strategic city of
Tavil Dara, Western and Russian media reported. On 5 July, Tajik Presidential
Spokesman Zafar Saidov acknowledged that not only were government troops in
control of the city, but had moved 2-3 kms eastward. In addition, at least 10
other villages had been retaken in fighting that resumed in late June. Ali
Akbar Turajonzoda of the National Islamic Movement denied these claims, noting
that the government attack had been repulsed after sustaining heavy casualties,
AFP reported on 6 July. Opposition sources claim that Tavil Dara, which they
have controlled since 12 May, is still firmly in their possession. Meanwhile,
the latest round of inter-Tajik peace talks resumed on 8 July in Ashgabat,
Turkmenistan. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov will attend the talks.
-- Roger Kangas
TURKMEN, IRANIAN, AND ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET.
Shikhmuradov, Ali Akbar Velayati, and Vahan Papazyan concluded a two-day
meeting in Ashgabat on 4 July at which they signed several long-term
cooperation accords, Western and Iranian sources reported. At the center of the
agreements is a three-way barter trade that would send Turkmen gas to Armenia,
Armenian rubber and light bulbs to Iran, and "unspecified goods and services"
from Iran to Turkmenistan, with each shipment estimated at $20 million, Reuters
reported on 5 July. Equally important is the commitment on the part of the
three foreign ministers to continue working together on issues of regional
concern. The ministers will meet again in six months' time in Yerevan. -- Roger
UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER, CABINET RESIGN.
Following the adoption of a
new constitution that demands a new government within three months, Prime
Minister Pavlo Lazarenko and his cabinet resigned on 5 July, international
agencies reported. President Leonid Kuchma accepted the resignations, and asked
Lazarenko's government to act as caretaker until a new government is named.
Kuchma said he plans to reappoint Lazarenko. Under the constitution, parliament
must approve that appointment, but the left-wing majority is demanding several
portfolios in exchange for backing Lazarenko. The constitution also stipulates
that government officials cannot hold parliamentary seats. -- Ustina Markus
RUSSIAN MONEY IN UKRAINE.
Russian investors sent about $2 billion to
Ukraine during the Russian election campaign, said a National Bank of Ukraine
official, Radio Mayak reported on 5 July. Most of the money was invested in
bonds. Since Boris Yeltsin has been reelected president of Russia, the bank
expects much of that investment to be reinvested in Russia. -- Ustina Markus
BELARUS LOSES VOTING RIGHT.
Belarus lost its right to vote in the
Council of Europe because it failed to pay its dues, Ekho Moskvy reported on 5
July. Belarus has not paid dues in nine months, and on 1 June its debts to the
council stood at some $10 million. -- Ustina Markus
BELARUS NEGOTIATING NUCLEAR WEAPONS WITHDRAWAL SCHEDULE.
Belarus are negotiating a new schedule for the withdrawal of the 18 nuclear
missiles remaining in Belarus, Radio Rossii reported on 6 July. According to
the schedule confirmed by Russia's and Belarus's defense ministers in December
1995, all nuclear missiles were to have been removed from Belarus by June 1.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka suspended that withdrawal because of
financial difficulties. Belarusian officials assured Moscow they will abide by
their disarmament obligations this year, but they want compensation for
valuable materials in the missiles. -- Ustina Markus
NEW FACTION IN LATVIAN PARLIAMENT.
Six deputies who left the Popular
Movement for Latvia (TKL) faction on 18 June set up on 4 July a new faction,
For People and Justice, BNS reported. Gunta Gannusa was elected head and Janis
Strods her deputy. Members of the new faction want to represent the Christian
People's Party, the former Popular Front of Latvia. The faction will support
government reforms, but it is unclear whether it will formally join the ruling
coalition. The coalition now has nine factions and eight independent deputies.
-- Saulius Girnius
KIELCE POGROM ANNIVERSARY.
Polish authorities and Jewish leaders on 7
July commemorated the 50th anniversary of the "Kielce pogrom." At least 42
Jews, survivors of Nazi extermination, were killed on 4 July 1946 by a mob that
included military and militiamen in the southern Polish town. At the ceremony,
Kielce Mayor Boguslaw Ciesielski said, "I can do only one thing, ask for
forgiveness." Polish Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said Poles need to
"work toward true Polish-Jewish brotherhood." -- Jakub Karpinski
POLISH PARLIAMENT DELAYS CONCORDAT.
The Sejm adopted on 3 July a motion
to delay ratification of the concordat with the Holy See until a new
constitution is adopted. Hanna Suchocka's centrist government in July 1993
signed the concordat, which was criticized by the leftist politicians ruling
Poland since fall of 1993. Also, the Sejm sent to commission on 5 July four
drafts of lustration laws that would require candidates for high government
offices to be screened for cooperation with the former communist secret
services, Polish dailies reported on 6 July. -- Jakub Karpinski
HILLARY CLINTON IN PRAGUE.
The wife of the U.S. president arrived in
Prague on 3 July for a four-day visit. She met with Czech officials and
representatives of the non-profit sector and educational and health care
institutions, Czech media reported. In a 4 July speech at Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty, Clinton spoke about newly emerging democracies in Eastern
Europe. "Improving democracy is a never-ending task, as my own country knows
well," she said. Clinton said Americans can learn about the price of freedom
from East European countries and can share their experiences. -- Jiri Pehe
SLOVAK PARLIAMENT APPROVES LAWS ON TERRITORIAL REFORM.
The parliament on
3 July reapproved a law on Slovakia's territorial division, overriding a veto
by President Michal Kovac, Slovak media reported. The law divides the country
into eight regions and 79 districts. Before the vote, Kovac addressed the
parliament, objecting to the reduction of Bratislava's independent status and
calling for a delay in the law's implementation. Opposition deputies said the
reform will cost much more than government estimates and that the law is the
first step to changing the electoral system from a proportional to a majority
one. On 4 July, the parliament approved a bill outlining powers of the new
regions and districts. Also on 4 July, Foreign Ministry spokesman Juraj
Matejovsky announced the recall of Slovakia's ambassador to Britain and
Ireland, Jan Vilikovsky. -- Sharon Fisher
HILLARY CLINTON IN BRATISLAVA.
During a half-day visit to Slovakia on 6
July, Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeline Albright criticized the
Slovak government and said the country is not yet ready for integration into
Western structures, Slovak and international media reported. Clinton said that
for a democracy and a free market economy "to blossom fully," there must be
certain conditions, including respect for the rule of law, a free press, an
independent judiciary, and respect for minorities. Clinton and Albright met
with Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, President Michal Kovac, and Bratislava
Mayor Peter Kresanek. -- Sharon Fisher
HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT AMENDS SCREENING LAW.
The parliament on 3 July
amended the screening law that requires investigating public officials who have
taken oaths before parliament or the president, Hungarian media reported. The
law calls for screening about 600 persons--including all deputies, the
president, government members, ombudsmen, members of the Constitutional and
Supreme Courts, and president and vice-presidents of Hungarian Radio and
Hungarian Television--for working with the secret police. Except for a few
provisions, it will expire on 30 June 2000. If the supervisory committee finds
that a person cooperated with the secret service, that person will be exposed
if they do not resign within 30 days. The original law, passed two years ago,
was repealed by the constitutional court for being too vague. -- Zsofia
AGREEMENT ON JEWISH COMPENSATION IN HUNGARY.
The Hungarian cabinet and
representatives of Jewish organizations on 3 July agreed to create a "Hungarian
Jewish Heritage Foundation" to compensate for property confiscated from Jews
during World War II, Hungarian dailies reported. The foundation will be headed
by a board of directors, to include Jewish leaders, government officials, and
independent members. The foundation will manage assets, including real estate
and valuables, as well as 4 billion forints ($26 million) in compensation
coupons contributed by the government. Life annuities will be paid to needy
Holocaust survivors. The issue will be put on the parliament's agenda this
fall. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
HILLARY CLINTON IN BUDAPEST.
The U.S. first lady spent two days in
Budapest, where she met with Prime Minister Gyula Horn and other top officials,
Hungarian dailies reported on 8 July. Clinton discussed human and minority
rights with Horn and stressed the importance of cooperation between Hungary and
the U.S. in the Balkan peace settlement. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
EU DECLARES MOSTAR VOTE VALID.
The EU administration on 7 July declared
30 June's elections valid, Reuters reported. Earlier, the Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ) had called for a re-run in Bonn, where there were 26 more votes
than voters. East Mostar's Muslim mayor Safet Orucevic demanded that Bonn's
4,000 votes should count--EU-appointed city ombudsman Constantine Zepos agreed.
The HDZ won almost 26,000 votes in Mostar and the Muslim-dominated List for a
United Mostar received some 22,300 votes. The foreign returns, however, gave
about 6,000 votes to the Muslims, compared to 744 for the HDZ. That tilts the
balance of the city council in favor of the List for a United Mostar, which
will gain at least 19 out of 37 seats. The HDZ on 8 July appeared to be
blocking the publication of the election results, holding up the city council's
first meeting. -- Fabian Schmidt
CANDIDATES FOR BOSNIAN ELECTIONS ANNOUNCED.
Bosnian Serb leader and
indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic will not be the governing Serbian
Democratic Party's (SDS) candidate in the September elections, Nasa
Borba reported on 5 July. He will, however, remain SDS head. The candidate
will be Karadzic's loyal deputy Biljana Plavsic, so Karadzic is expected to
retain control of the government of the Republika Srpska. Plavsic, who just
visited Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, will face six candidates, Nasa
Borba reported on 8 July. In the Croat-Muslim federation, federal President
Kresimir Zubak will run on behalf of the Croatian Democratic Community, while
Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic will head the list for his Party of
Democratic Action. -- Patrick Moore
WAR CRIMES UPDATE.
Finnish forensic experts ignored Bosnian Serb police
and recovered nine bodies near Srebrenica, the International Herald
Tribune reported on 6 July (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 July 1996).
Investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia began exhuming suspected mass graves in the area on 8 July. They
hope to determine whether the Muslim men died in fighting, as the Serbs claim,
or were victims of the largest war atrocity in Europe since World War II, as
the Bosnian government argues. In the Hague, hearings against Karadzic and Gen.
Ratko Mladic are ending. On 6 July, a witness said he saw Mladic at the
Srebrenica killings, the BBC reported. -- Patrick Moore
ISLAMIC MILITANTS STILL IN BOSNIA?
The Clinton administration says all
foreign Islamic fighters have left Bosnia-Herzegovina, but on 7 July The
Washington Post reported that several hundred remain. The Dayton agreement
says all foreign troops were to leave in January--but many Iranians and other
foreigners remain in central Bosnia. Some obtained Bosnian citizenship through
forced marriages, seized homes and apartments, and the fighters constitute a
paramilitary guard for Izetbegovic's Party of Democratic Action, the
Post reported. The paper linked CIA director John Deutch's unpublicized
visit to Bosnia on 5 July to Washington's concern about a possible threat to
U.S. forces in the wake of the terrorist attack on a U.S. base in Saudi
Arabia. It is not clear if the publicity will affect U.S. plans to train the
Bosnian army, which is contingent on the foreigners' leaving. -- Patrick
IFOR FORCES SERBS TO WITHDRAW WEAPONS.
Bosnian Serb troops removed heavy
guns from a NATO-approved collection point near the Serbs' military
headquarters at Han Pijesak on 5 July. IFOR then sent 250 ground troops, plus
20 aircraft and attack helicopters to back up its demand that the Serbs put
back the weapons. The Serbs for the first time threatened to shoot down IFOR
helicopters, AFP reported on 7 July. IFOR's commander, Adm. Leighton Smith,
telephoned Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. On 6 July, villagers jostled
U.S. soldiers, thinking soldiers had come to arrest Mladic, the BBC reported.
Later that day, the Serbs withdrew their weapons and IFOR left the area. One of
the key lessons in the conflict that the international community often forgets
is that firmness and a clear willingness to use force brings compliance. --
SERBIAN PRESIDENT OPENS LINK TO WORLD.
Slobodan Milosevic on 7 July
presided over the opening of Yugoslavija 3 (YU 3)--rump Yugoslavia's newest
satellite ground station--which will enable direct telecommunications with 15
European countries, Nasa Borba reported. The facility, which is in
Prilike in central Serbia, is equipped with 960 channels. YU 3 will have
television links to the Eutelsat and Intelsat networks, Reuters reported.
Construction on YU 3 began in March 1992 with the help of Japan's NEC, but was
suspended within three months because of international sanctions against
Belgrade for its role in prompting the Bosnian war. -- Stan Markotich
ETHNIC ALBANIANS PROTEST IN MACEDONIA.
More than 10,000 ethnic Albanians
rallied in Tetovo on 4 July against the jailing of Fadil Sulejmani, the dean of
Tetovo University, Reuters reported. Sulejmani is due to begin serving a
one-year sentence, convicted for incitement after demonstrations in 1995.
Demonstrators demanded the university's legalization and its integration into
the Macedonian education system. Meanwhile, Canada recognized Macedonia under
its provisional name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and proposed
diplomatic ties. Also, a NATO delegation arrived in Skopje on 3 July for talks
about conditions for Macedonia's NATO membership. -- Fabian Schmidt
SLOVENIAN PREMIER SUPPORTS FOREIGN OWNERSHIP.
Janez Drnovsek said on 5
July his government would support changes to the constitution that would enable
foreigners to own real estate in Slovenia. He said the move is necessary
"because it is a precondition for Slovenia's full membership in the EU,"
Reuters reported. Drnovsek rebuffed suggestions from conservative opponents who
say the constitution should only be changed through a national referendum. He
said a referendum would send a "catastrophic signal" and could signal that
Slovenia is not prepared to abide by EU regulations. In a separate development,
Drnovsek on 5 July proposed a replacement for foreign minister Zoran Thaler:
economics professor Davorin Kracun. -- Stan Markotich
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT IN REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA.
Ion Iliescu on 5-6 July paid
an official visit to neighboring Moldova, Moldovan and Western media reported.
He discussed with his Moldovan counterpart Mircea Snegur, Premier Andrei
Sangheli, and Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi ways to boost bilateral
cooperation. On 5 July, Iliescu addressed the parliament and met with its
leaders. A joint communique mentioned the "strategic goal of economic
integration." Western media noticed that Iliescu avoided reference to any
possible unification. Iliescu said any attempt to "re-shape existing borders"
was "unrealistic and unrealizable." The two sides signed an agreement on
judicial assistance. -- Dan Ionescu
MOLDOVAN PRIME MINISTER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT.
The ruling Agrarian
Democratic Party of Moldova (PDAM) on 6 July nominated Prime Minister Andrei
Sangheli as its candidate in the November presidential elections, Infotag
reported. The nomination was announced at the party's third nationwide
congress. Larisa Iachim, a member of the PDAM parliamentary faction, warned
that "left-centrist forces" could find themselves divided between Sangheli's
supporters and those backing Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi. She asked the
PDAM to support Lucinschi. But PDAM Chairman Dumitru Motpan defended Sangheli,
saying more division within the faction could lead to early parliamentary
elections--which would not be in the party's interest. -- Dan Ionescu
BALKAN FOREIGN MINISTERS MEET IN SOFIA.
Foreign ministers and other top
diplomats of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey, and rump Yugoslavia,
as well as international representatives met at a two-day conference in Sofia
on 6-7 July, Bulgarian and Western media reported. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia,
and Slovenia representatives observed. The Macedonian delegation left before
the opening to protest that--on Greece's insistence--it was to participate
under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The participants agreed
to strengthen economic cooperation, fight organized crime and terrorism, and
enhance security measures. They adopted a declaration on stability, security,
and cooperation in the Balkans. The Bulgarians stressed that the implementation
of the Dayton agreement is a precondition for regional stability. Albanian
Deputy Foreign Minister Arian Starova said rising tension in Kosovo is a danger
to stability. -- Stefan Krause
BULGARIAN CHURCH SPLITS.
A dissident group within the Bulgarian Orthodox
Church on 3 July elected Metropolitan Pimen as the new patriarch and the next
day enthroned him, Western media reported. That cements the split between
followers and adversaries of Patriarch Maksim, who has headed the officially
recognized church since 1971. Clergy opposed to Maksim's politics of compromise
with the former communist regime accused him of collaborating with the secret
police. They also argue that he was appointed but not elected. Pimen's
followers established a rival synod in 1992. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov called
Pimen's election "deeply anti-Bulgarian" and said the government recognizes
Maksim as the head of the only legitimate Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The Holy
Synod said it will sue Pimen's followers. -- Stefan Krause
ALBANIAN PRESIDENT WANTS NEW GOVERNMENT.
Sali Berisha on 6 July asked
Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi to form a new government, Reuters reported.
Meksi was nominated by the Democratic Party, which won 122 out of 140
parliamentary seats in May's disputed elections. Meksi said he was considering
offering cabinet posts to opposition parties. Only the Republicans, the Balli
Kombetar, and the ethnic Greek human Rights party--which hold eight seats in
the legislature--may join a coalition with the Democrats, who hold a two-thirds
majority. The Socialist Party says it will boycott the parliament and demands
new elections. Democrat leader Tritan Shehu suggested his party may hold
informal talks with the Socialist leadership. Meanwhile, legislators from OSCE
member states are debating a recommendation that Albania hold new general
elections. -- Fabian Schmidt
ALBANIA TROOPS TO JOIN IFOR.
The defense minister and chief of staff on
5 July inspected an Albanian peace-keeping company that will soon join IFOR in
Bosnia, ATA reported. The company is to leave for Germany on 8 July for some
additional training and then will become part of the German contingent in IFOR.
-- Doug Clarke
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Steve Kettle and Maura Griffin Solovar