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Newsline - November 8, 1996

President Boris Yeltsin was transferred from the Moscow Cardiological Center, where he underwent surgery, to the Kremlin's Central Clinical Hospital near Moscow, ITAR-TASS reported on 8 November, quoting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Renat Akchurin, the surgeon who performed the operation, said Yeltsin is ahead of schedule in his recuperation and will be able to resume a large part of his duties in 10 to 12 days, AFP reported the same day. Chernomyrdin announced that Akchurin will be declared "presidential surgeon," AFP reported on 7 November. -- Nikolai Iakoubovski

After he signed a decree declaring 7 November a Day of Accord and Reconciliation, Yeltsin issued a statement calling for unity, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 November. "We are one nation. We have one fate, a common future. And we are all from the same past," the statement said. Under the decree, a new state commission will oversee a competition to design monuments commemorating the victims of the 1917 revolution, the civil war, and political repressions. Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii told Radio Rossii that in calling for Russians not to be divided into reds and whites, Yeltsin was continuing the message of unity he expressed during his presidential campaign. In fact, Yeltsin's re-election campaign was almost entirely built on anti-communist rhetoric that suggested that a Gennadii Zyuganov presidency would return Russia to mass repression, famine, and civil war. -- Laura Belin

Yeltsin signed a decree on 6 November ordering stricter enforcement of presidential decrees "to promote a sense of responsibility" among officials, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. Under the decree, all federal and regional executive organs must take concrete measures within one month toward the strict and timely implementation of decrees. Heads of agencies will be required to submit reports to the presidential administration's Main Control Department, and progress toward implementing presidential instructions will be discussed at government meetings. Like a similar decree in June, which specified penalties for bureaucrats who failed to carry out presidential decrees (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 June 1996), the current measure is likely to have little effect. Yeltsin met with presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais for about 15 minutes on 7 November, according to Yastrzhembskii. -- Laura Belin and Ritsuko Sasaki

Supporters of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), Russian Communist Workers Party (RKRP), and Workers' Russia held a demonstration to mark the 79th anniversary of the October Revolution in Moscow on 7 November. Although in the past the KPRF and RKRP have been at odds over both goals and strategy, speakers at the rally called for all communists and other opposition movements to form one strong anti-government coalition. The most popular slogan, besides the traditional "All power to the Soviets!" was "Chubais in jail!" Speakers, including KPRF leader Gennadii Zyuganov, called for peaceful actions against the ruling regime, but Workers' Russia leader Viktor Anpilov advocated an "assault on Moscow" to overthrow the "anti-popular regime." According to Interior Ministry estimates, about 25,000 people attended the Moscow rally; similar rallies in other Russian cities drew thousands more. -- Anna Paretskaya in Moscow

While communists rallied in downtown Moscow, Chernomyrdin on 7 November visited the air-traffic controllers at Moscow's Domodedovo airport, Radio Mayak reported. In recent years Russia's airport workers have repeatedly threatened strike action: in fact, on 7 November the Tyumen air dispatchers went on strike, Radio Rossii reported. Chernomyrdin noted that the dispatchers have 60 paid days' vacation per year, and their wages were doubled in October to 5 million rubles ($915) a month--way above the average national wage of 848,000 rubles in September, as reported by Ekho Moskvy on 5 November. The report was transparently designed to make other workers jealous of the dispatchers' favorable position. -- Peter Rutland

During his Domodedovo visit Chernomyrdin also commented on Yeltsin's decree declaring 7 November a Day of Accord and Reconciliation, which he said was " a great step forward for our society," Radio Mayak reported. Chernomyrdin observed "this is our history. We had the October revolution, 1905, the February revolution. History must be valued and loved, it must be approached calmly, respectfully... the recent events of 1993, it is all our life, our history. The people who made this history must be remembered." He continued: "Russians today have been scattered throughout the world [for example] in the Baltics, Caucasus, Kazakstan. We must love all Russians, they are all our people." -- Peter Rutland

The Chechen Interior Ministry launched a new crackdown on crime on 7 November, the primary objective of which is to neutralize armed groups in Grozny and evict people from abandoned apartments they have taken over, Radio Rossii reported. Chechen Interior Minister Kazbek Makashev told a meeting of the Chechen general staff on 7 November that the Chechen law enforcement organs are capable of establishing order in Grozny and throughout Chechnya, according to Russian Television (RTR). Also on 7 November, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze's spokesman, Vakhtang Abashidze, said in response to acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev's proposal for a "strategic alliance" between Georgia and Chechnya that the two countries should structure relations exclusively within the framework of the constitutions of the Republic of Georgia and the Russian Federation, ITAR-TASS reported. -- Liz Fuller

Military reform plans under consideration by the Defense Ministry will reduce the number of authorized positions for generals from 1,700 to 500, and cut some 50,000 lower-ranking officer positions as well, the Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on 7 November. As many officer posts are vacant, however, far fewer officers would actually be discharged. The plans also call for a 50% reduction in the some 60 divisions of the Ground Forces, which are currently severely undermanned. Under the plan, at least two fully manned divisions would be based in each of Russia's eight military districts. Meanwhile, Interfax-AiF reported on 4 November that the government is considering combining the FSB, the Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information, and some other agencies into a new Ministry of State Security to be headed by former FSB head Sergei Stepashin. -- Scott Parrish

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Hans Blix, announced in New York on 7 November that his agency will begin talks soon with Russian and American negotiators on establishing a monitoring system to ensure that fissile materials removed from dismantled nuclear weapons are not recycled into new warheads, AFP reported. He described the talks as the first steps toward verifying nuclear disarmament. Currently, enriched uranium and plutonium removed from dismantled Russian and American nuclear warheads is not under international control. Meanwhile, Nikolai Khlebnikov, a Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry official visiting an American nuclear storage facility in Rocky Flats, Colorado, said Russia needs more U.S. assistance to complete a similar facility at the Mayak plant in Chelyabinsk Oblast. Khlebnikov revealed Russia has already removed 500 metric tons of enriched uranium from dismantled warheads. -- Scott Parrish

The first meeting of the reconstituted presidential Commission on Human Rights, chaired by Vladimir Kartashkin, which took place on 4 November, was sharply criticized in Obshchaya gazeta of 6-13 November. The paper contended that the committee's members are more concerned with carrying out government orders than with safeguarding the rights of ordinary citizens. The meeting focused on five general points, including the creation of a special reaction force to defend the lives of Russian citizens, and a mechanism for submitting complaints to the European Court of Human Rights. The commission all but collapsed at the beginning of this year following the resignation of Chairman Sergei Kovalev and a number of other members. -- Penny Morvant in Moscow

Excerpts from a new book of memoirs by Yegor Gaidar, entitled Days of Victories and Defeats, were published in Itogi on 5 November. Gaidar describes the formation of the "reform cabinet" in the fall of 1991 and offers insights into Yeltsin's character as a leader. He says that Yeltsin tends to be too emotional, prone to slump into depression, and excessively influenced by personal friendship. Sometimes this came at the expense of national interests, Gaidar suggests--as in some of the early dealings with the heads of CIS states. -- Peter Rutland

AIDS center representative Irina Savchenko said that 800 new cases of HIV infection have been registered so far in 1996, four times more than for the whole of 1995, AFP reported on 8 November. Drug addicts account for 70% of this year's new cases. Since the first case was registered in 1987, officials estimate that a total of 1,925 people in Russia have contracted HIV; 163 have died. The publisher of the gay newspaper 1/10, Dmitrii Lychev, told OMRI that he estimates at least 20,000 Russians have contracted HIV, a significant portion being drug addicts. According to data from the Health Ministry, only 50,000 of an estimated 2 million drug addicts in Russia are being treated, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 25 October. -- Nikolai Iakoubovski

The city of Petropavlovsk in Kareliya, bordering Finland, has introduced special measures to assist the indigent, Radio Rossii reported on 7 November. An 80-bed shelter for the homeless has been opened, and pensioners with an income of less than half the subsistence minimum are entitled to free meals and packages of goods worth 30,000 rubles ($5) in certain cafes and shops. The national subsistence minimum in September 1996 was 363,000 rubles ($66), ITAR-TASS reported on 15 October. -- Peter Rutland

Sending a Russian-German space mission to replace the Russian-American crew aboard the international space station Mir has been postponed by two months, until February, due to financial problems, Reuters and AFP reported on 7 November. As a result of poor financing (which has been cut tenfold since the 1980s), the company manufacturing boosters was unable to assemble the rocket in time. This is yet another in a series of postponements of space flights this year, most of which were caused by cash shortages. Meanwhile, the Mir station crew is facing a problem with waste disposal, following the breakdown of the recycling pump. Most of the reserve containers are full, and the launch of the supply ship has been postponed until 20 November. -- Natalia Gurushina

The administration of the Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast has signed a cooperation agreement with Russia's largest oil company LUKoil, ITAR-TASS reported on 7 November. LUKoil will supply the region with oil products, while the local government will provide the company with plots of land for the construction of storage facilities and gasoline stations. It will also participate in supplying food to LUKoil subsidiaries in other regions. LUKoil will also participate in the renovation of the Norsi oil refinery, located in the oblast. The deal is part of LUKoil's strategy to strengthen its position in the regions; earlier it signed similar agreements with Tatarstan, Marii-El, and the Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Astrakhan, and Perm oblasts. -- Natalia Gurushina

Interior Minister Vano Siradeghyan and Foreign Minister Vahan Papazyan have resigned, Armenian and Russian media reported on 7 November. The two men are prominent members of the ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) and are among the closest figures to President Levon Ter-Petrossyan. Siradeghyan said he will "soon" be appointed the mayor of Yerevan. Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan, another HHSh leader, said he will retain his post, RFE/RL reported on 7 November. According to ITAR-TASS, several ambassadors to foreign countries are among the candidates to become ministers in the government of newly appointed Prime Minister Armen Sarkisyan. -- Emil Danielyan

Government forces in the Tavil-Dara area have begun a counterattack to dislodge the opposition from positions they captured earlier this month, Reuters and ITAR-TASS reported on 7 November. The current objective of the government forces is the village of Sagirdasht located about 200 km from the Tajik capital Dushanbe. The village overlooks the main highway from Dushanbe to Khorog and has landing areas for helicopters, which prior to its capture, government forces had used to ferry troops and supplies to combat areas in the mountainous east. There have been no reports yet on casualties from either side. -- Bruce Pannier

Aray TV, an independent TV station in Taldy Kurgan, was vandalized by two masked men on 6 November, ITAR-TASS reported. The two gained entry to the station, tied up the operator and proceeded to smash equipment, including a transmitter, tape recorders and other machinery. Nothing was stolen but the station is unable to broadcast. The attack came immediately after the station had aired a program on rising crime in Kazakstan. -- Bruce Pannier

The Crimean parliament suspended an order issued by the Ukrainian Justice Ministry's main directorate in Crimea disbanding local parties registered under Crimean law, UNIAR reported on 6 November. The parliament ruled Crimean parties could resume their activities according to the Crimean law on public associations. The head of the Ukrainian Justice Ministry's directorate, Yevhen Skisov, said only Ukraine's Constitutional Court could suspend the decisions of the ministry. Last month, the Crimean parliament declared the Ministry's ban unconstitutional and expressed lack of confidence in Skisov. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

Thousands of leftists gathered in several Ukrainian cities to protest government policies they say have impoverished millions on the 79th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, Ukrainian media reported on 7 November. Nationalists and national democrats held alternative gatherings to commemorate those repressed by the Soviet regime and called for a symbolic trial of the Communist Party. The largest rallies took place in Kyiv and Donetsk, where demonstrators called on President Leonid Kuchma to resign. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

In connection with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's decree declaring that the constitutional referendum results will be binding, first deputy head of the president's administration Mikhail Sazonau said if any state body interfered with the referendum it would be suspended, Reuters reported on 7 November. Belapan reported that Constitutional Court Chief Justice Valeryi Tsikhinya said "moves are afoot in the presidential administration to suspend the activity of the Constitutional Court." He noted that neither the constitution nor Belarusian laws allowed for the suspension of the court. Tsikhinya said the court would inform the UN, the Council of Europe, and the Council of Constitutional Courts of Europe of any actions taken against it. -- Ustina Markus

The Saeima on 6 November passed a number of amendments to the local election law, BNS reported the next day. The most important change extends local governments' term from three to four years. The rules for nominating candidates, submitting party lists, and ballot procedures were also made identical to national elections. The next local elections are scheduled for March. The following day, the Saeima passed by a vote of 66 to 11 with 8 abstentions a law on obligatory armed service that reduced the term of service for draftees from 18 to 12 months. -- Saulius Girnius

Poland's Labor Minister, Andrzej Baczkowski, died of a heart attack on 7 November at the age of 41, Polish and international media reported. Baczkowski, since February in a government dominated by former communists, was unaffiliated with any political party and was active in the Solidarity movement in the 1980s. He was interned when Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law in 1981. Baczkowski was an expert negotiator in labor matters; most recently, he was responsible for Poland's new social security system. He was a specialist in labor law, a Solidarity adviser, and a senior civil servant working in the labor ministry since 1991. -- Jakub Karpinski

Poland's Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati on 7 November said NATO's approach to enlargement divides Poland and Russia, Polish and international media reported. He added that Russia will likely propose a plan for European security as an alternative to NATO enlargement during the December OSCE summit in Lisbon. Rosati said Poland agreed with developing the OSCE but this could not replace NATO. Poland did not oppose the conclusion of a strategic partnership between NATO and Russia, but this should not be a condition of NATO's growth. He also said Poland favors easing trade barriers, but its priority is its association agreement with the EU, and other trade decisions are subject to Poland's EU association agreement. -- Jakub Karpinski

Constitutional Court Chairman Milan Cic on 7 November announced that his court upheld one of President Michal Kovac's two objections concerning the appointment of top public servants, Slovak media reported. The court said that Kovac has the right to appoint the armed forces' chief of staff but not the secret service director. As a symptom of the long-running battle between Kovac and Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, the parliament removed both powers from Kovac last year, transferring them to the government. Meanwhile, during a Movement for a Democratic Slovakia rally on 7 November, Meciar accused Kovac of spreading rumors about his health problems, TASR reported. "[Kovac] called in five journalists and told them off the record: the prime minister has a brain tumor, he is mentally ill, he is being treated in Switzerland and will soon die. Prepare for a change in the political situation." -- Sharon Fisher

The parliament decided on 7 November that three of four free positions on the Slovak TV board will be occupied for the next six years by allies of the ruling coalition, Slovak media reported. One is a candidate of the Slovak National Party while the other two are from the patriotic organization Matica slovenska, known for close cooperation with the current ruling government, although technically an apolitical cultural institution. The parliamentary vote on the fourth empty seat and on the three free seats on the Slovak Radio board is scheduled for 4 December, when the next parliamentary session is to begin. The ruling coalition, which gained power over the media councils two years ago, is ignoring its promises to allow the opposition to participate in these institutions. -- Anna Siskova

Gyorgy Szabo on 7 November announced his decision to delay his resignation for two weeks at Prime Minister Gyula Horn's request, Reuters reported. "Horn and I have agreed we should give each other two weeks to think about it," Szabo said. He added that the cabinet agreed to increase allocations for indebted hospitals. -- Sharon Fisher

Bosnian Serb police officer Radovan Stankovic filed a complaint with the International Police Task Force (IPTF) after federal police shot at his car as he sped away to avoid detention. The incident took place on 26 August but has only now come to light amid growing reports that IFOR and the IPTF have a deliberate policy of not arresting war criminals even as they cross through IFOR checkpoints (see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 5 November 1996). Stankovic has been indicted by the Hague-based tribunal for crimes against humanity, news agencies noted on 7 November. An IPTF spokesman said the UN police are under no obligation to detain suspected war criminals or report their presence to IFOR. -- Patrick Moore

Chairman of the Bosnian Presidency Alija Izetbegovic, together with other two presidency members, Momcilo Krajisnik and Kresimir Zubak, met on 7 November with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana in Sarajevo and said an international peacekeeping force should stay in Bosnia for at least two more years, Oslobodjenje reported the next day. Izetbegovic said the follow-on force was needed to ensure conditions for free movement and a return of refugees, assist in the arrest of indicted war criminals, ensure conditions for forthcoming municipal elections and disarmament. Solana said that decision will be made in the next few weeks. -- Daria Sito Sucic

The Bosnian Federation constitutional court has ruled that disputed June elections in Mostar were valid, international agencies reported. The ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) has contested the validity of the Mostar municipal polls over voting irregularities in Bonn, and appealed to the federation court. EU spokesman in Mostar Dragan Gasic said the EU hailed the court's decision, which found the case outside of its jurisdiction and rejected the Croat appeal. Gasic said the decision would help clarify the situation in which Croats were continually threatening to boycott the city council sessions until the court ruled. Meanwhile, the Muslim ruling Party of Democratic Action said it will not hand over to Croats the post of Bosnian Federation prime minister (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 November 1996), while a compromise might be found for the federation president post , Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

Serbian state-run arms producers are, according to a 7 November New York Times report, secretly sending arms shipments to Libya, AFP reported that same day. For their part, Serbian officials have flatly denied partaking in any arms trading, but the report notes that Western embassies have concluded that arms have been sent by air to Malta, and from there to Libya, which is under a UN-imposed weapons ban. Among the first concrete evidence to surface linking Serbia appeared in August, when a Russian plane crashed at Belgrade's airport, killing 12 people aboard (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 August 1996). That plane is believed to have been carrying an arms shipment to a transit point in Malta. -- Stan Markotich

Momir Bulatovic stated he would support Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in his bid to become president of federal Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported on 8 November. Milosevic's term as Serbian President ends in late 1997, and while he is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term, analysts have already speculated he may continue to hold power in Belgrade by having parliament elect him to the federal presidency. Nevertheless, Bulatovic also alleged that his and presumably his Democratic Socialist Party's support for Milosevic will not be unconditional. Bulatovic said his support would be contingent on Milosevic's understanding that the federal presidency is a "ceremonial" post, and on his willingness as president to protect Montenegro's rights and existing status within the current federation. -- Stan Markotich

Seven leading members of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), together with 26 junior members, were relieved from their party duties on 7 November over allegations of corruption, Vecernji List reported the next day. Among the those relieved are the head of the Zagreb-based bank, Privredna banka, the head of the Split district, and Marina Matulovic-Dropulic, Franjo Tudjman's appointed candidate to run Zagreb. No party officials have commented on the decision yet, but the move may be a concession to popular anger over widespread corruption and alleged nepotism in Croatia's state-run privatization process, according to international sources. -- Daria Sito Sucic

President Franjo Tudjman and Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa stressed again that Croatia is historically and culturally part of Central Europe and slammed any attempts to link Croatia to the Balkans. Tudjman argued that the country's ties to the eastern Orthodox republics of the former Yugoslavia were short-lived and have no future because Central Europe and the Balkans represent civilizations alien to each other. Any attempts to force Croatia into a new regional association with other former Yugoslav republics,--as the EU seems to favor--would again lead to "tragedy," Vecernji list reported on 7 November. Matesa told Croatia's Western partners that "Balkan" is associated with high inflation and a failure to honor agreements or pay back debts. Croatia, he countered, keeps its word and repays what it owes, Slobodna Dalmacija reported on 8 November. -- Patrick Moore

The IMF on 7 November approved a $80 million loan to Macedonia, Nova Makedonija reported. The loan is aimed at stabilizing the country's economy over the next three years and will be used to help increase GDP, keep inflation down, stabilize the Macedonian denar, and decrease the trade deficit. After a 5 1/2-year grace period, Macedonia will have 15 years to repay the loan. The interest rate is 0.5%.The agreement is expected to be confirmed by the IMF board of directors in January. -- Stefan Krause

Romania's Central Electoral Bureau on 7 November released the final results of the first round of presidential elections, Radio Bucharest and Reuters reported. Incumbent President Ion Iliescu ranks first with 32.25%, followed by Emil Constantinescu from the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) with 28.21%, and Petre Roman from the Social Democratic Union (USD) with 20.54%. In parliamentary elections, only six parties succeeded in passing the 3% hurdle. The following are the winners with their respective percentages for the Senate and Chamber of Deputies: the CDR: 30.70%, 30.17%; the Party of Social Democracy in Romania: 23.08%, 21.52%; the USD: 13.16%, 12.93%; the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania: 6.81%, 6.64%; the Greater Romania Party, 4.54%, 4.46%; and the Party of Romanian National Unity, 4.22%, 4.36%. -- Dan Ionescu

The Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), winner in the parliamentary elections, and the Social Democratic Union (USD) on 7 November signed a coalition pact, Romanian and international media reported. The pact, signed by the leaders of the two political alliances, Emil Constantinescu and Petre Roman, gives key support to Constantinescu in the run-off presidential elections on 17 November. The accord also outlines a power-sharing formula, with the CDR getting the prime minister's office, while USD will name the foreign minister and the head of the Senate. Constantinescu called the signing of the pact a "historic moment" and said the alliance heralded an era of "truly democratic government." Roman, third in the first round of the presidential race, with 21% of the votes, said he would back Constantinescu in order to "put an end to the Iliescu regime." -- Zsolt Mato

Miron Mitrea, secretary general of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, on 7 November sharply criticized the opposition's efforts to set up a ruling coalition, Radio Bucharest reported. Mitrea warned that a possible alliance between the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania would pose a threat to Romania's national security. He accused the CDR of aspiring to take full control at any price, including concessions to the Hungarian minority in Romania. Meanwhile, President Ion Iliescu, while campaigning in Ialomita and Braila counties, appealed to the electorate to "vote for a president able to defend the many against the offensive of the Right in Romania." He added that his opponent "does not deserve the electorate's confidence" because of his "frequent [political] stammering." -- Dan Ionescu and Zsolt Mato

Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) Chairman Ivan Kostov on 7 November said the SDS will start working toward early parliamentary elections, Reuters reported. Kostov said the fact that Petar Stoyanov won almost 60% in the presidential election proves that the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov has lost the confidence of the electorate. Videnov in Duma on 8 November responded to his critics within the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), admitting differences over which economic policy the government should pursue, but calling most problems the result of the "fatal inertia" in politics during the past seven years. Meanwhile, Standart cited an "excellently informed source" as saying that all ministers handed in their resignations after a secret cabinet meeting on 5 November. Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski reportedly suggested the move in order to force the BSP Supreme Council and parliamentary faction to state whether they still support Videnov. -- Stefan Krause

Azem Hajdari, a Democratic Party legislator, was elected president of the Union of the Independent Trade Unions (BSPSH) at a dubious emergency conference in Durres on 5 November, Dita Informacion reported. Fatmir Musaku, a former deputy leader of the BSPSH who left the organization in 1995, was elected general secretary. Hajdari, who is also the head of the parliamentary control commission for the post-communist secret service, charged BSPSH leader Valer Xheka of spying for the communist-era secret service and of corruption, saying he would investigate the trade union's budget, Republika reported on 7 November. A minor brawl developed between trade unionists and Hajdari supporters on 7 November when the latter tried to take over the chair at the BSPSH headquarters. One was injured before police moved in and Hajdari withdrew. -- Fabian Schmidt

The BSPSH steering council, meanwhile, called Hajdari's election illegal and said the Durres conference had no mandate. BSPSH chairmen came only from Llezha, Lushnja, Skrapari and Mati, ATSH reported. Opposition politicians called the Durres conference a "game to weaken the role of the trade unions" and called Hajdari a "Trojan Horse," Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 7 November. President Sali Berisha the same day met with Valer Xheka and other BSPSH leaders, assuring them of his support and praising their work as "constructive." Koha Jone said on 8 November that Berisha seems to have abandoned Hajdari, who was his close ally in the anti-communist student movement in 1990 and the first Democratic Party leader. An overall trade union congress will take place on 9 November. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Steve Kettle and Valentina Huber