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Newsline - June 13, 2002


PUTIN LAUDS DEMOCRACY AND MULTIPOLAR WORLD ORDER...
Speaking at an Independence Day banquet in the Kremlin on 12 June, President Vladimir Putin asserted that, for the first time in decades, Russia is not involved in any conflict with the world at large or any foreign country, Russian news agencies reported. However, he added that Russia must learn to protect its position in a world characterized by extremely cruel competition, especially economically. Russia has no special claims in the world, but insists upon treatment commensurate with its history, potential and enormous size, Putin said. "Russia is building a democratic society and seeks to be part of a democratic, multipolar world order," the president concluded. VY

...BUT ZHIRINOVSKII SAYS RUSSIA'S DEMOCRACY IS NOT FOR EVERYONE...
Meanwhile, speaking in Moscow at a Russia Day rally, Deputy Duma Speaker and leader of Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovskii spoke disparagingly of Asians and Africans living in Russia, lenta.ru and other Russian news services reported on 13 June. Zhirinovskii said that they are poor, should not have more than one or two children and should "behave in an appropriate manner" or leave Russia. "The Russian people have the right to be masters of this country and should not support unwelcome guests," Zhirinovskii said. Lenta.ru also claimed that the LDPR has noticeably ratcheted up the anti-immigrant rhetoric on its official website (http://www.ldpr.ru). Neither the government nor President Putin's administration have commented on Zhirinovskii's openly racist campaign. VY

...AS PUTIN CALLS ON CULTURAL ELITE TO HELP RUSSIA FIND 'ITS ORIENTATION'
Speaking to members of Russia's cultural elite at a state awards ceremony in the Kremlin on 12 June, President Putin urged artists not to yield "to commercial temptations and replace the truth of life with the primitive exposure of human vices," ORT and Russian news agencies reported. "You should help society find its orientation, show it examples of morality, civility, and courage," said Putin to his audience. Responding to a remark by filmmaker Aleksandr Sakurow that "there are too few talented people," Putin interjected that there are "145 million" talented people in Russia. VY

COMMUNIST DEPUTY OFFERS HIS THEORY ON SOCCER RIOT...
State Duma Deputy Vasilii Shandybin (Communist) said in Bryansk on 11 June that he believes the Moscow riot following Russia's 9 June World Cup soccer loss was a "specially planned action, timed to coincide with the Duma's discussion of the law on political extremism," regions.ru reported. "It was a premeditated action following the adoption of the presidential law on the prevention of extremism in order to ban all patriotic parties and movements," Shandybin continued. JAC

...AS DO OTHERS...
"Izvestiya" on 11 June printed comments by a police officer who was on the scene during the rioting, in which he wondered where rioters procured the sledge hammers and gasoline that they used to vandalize cars and storefronts. "Who brings a sledge hammer to watch a soccer match," the unnamed officer said. Russian national soccer team coach Oleg Romantsev told ITAR-TASS on 12 June that "someone is apparently trying to link the ugly incident to soccer," but "it was prepared [by people] who used the game with Japan as a pretext." Other political figures, including Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, have also expressed doubt that the rioting was spontaneous (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 2002). The anti-extremism bill was passed in its first reading on 6 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 June 2002), and the Duma is now considering amendments prior to the bill's second reading. JAC/RC

...AND COPYCAT ANTI-SEMITIC SIGN REMOVED
Police in Moscow located and removed an apparent anti-Semitic booby trap that was virtually identical in appearance to one that seriously injured a woman on 28 May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 May 2002), dpa reported on 13 June. Officials used a robot to pull down the sign -- which bore the slogan "Death to yids" -- and the object attached to its base proved not to be an explosive. Commenting on the incident, Russia's Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar said that "extremism is the greatest danger facing our country today, " Interfax reported. RC

FEMA, EMERGENCIES MINISTRY AGREE TO CONTINUE COOPERATION
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Deputy Director Mike Brown and First Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Yurii Vorobiev signed in Moscow on 12 June a protocol of cooperation in 2002 and 2003, Interfax reported. According to FEMA, the protocol provides for exchanges of experts and information both to prevent and to cope with emergencies, exchanges of fire-fighting expertise, joint training, and coordination of international humanitarian missions. JAC

YAKOVLEV UNDER NEW PRESSURE?
At a meeting with local and federal officials in St. Petersburg over the weekend, President Putin criticized local officials for mismanaging funds allocated for construction and renovation projects in the run-up to St. Petersburg's 300th anniversary in 2003, "The St. Petersburg Times" reported on 11 June. According to the newspaper, developers of 12 of 21 sites have not yet received proper permits, while existing documents show a number of discrepancies regarding project costs and deadlines, as well as the number of architectural objects to be restored. A spokesperson for St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev was quoted by the paper as saying that "the governor isn't taking Putin's comments as criticism. In fact, he is very happy about the outcome and the fact that the funds will be used more effectively from now on." In a comment on the Center for Political Technologies' website, analyst Sergei Mikheev wrote that presidential envoy to the Northwest Federal District Viktor Cherkesov has decided to audit those enterprises and organs responsible for preparing for the anniversary, which he interpreted as a sign of new pressure on the St. Petersburg administration. JAC

OVR FACTION RANKING CLIMBS
Two Duma deputies have joined the Fatherland-All Russia (OVR) faction, "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 11 June, bringing the faction's tally to 51 deputies. Joining the group are Sergei Pekpeev, who was elected to the Duma in May, and Nikolai Olshanskii, who had been a member of the Russian Regions group. The shifts mean that OVR is now the fourth-largest faction in the Duma, after the Communists, Unity, and People's Deputy. JAC

ANOTHER MUSCOVITE TAPPED FOR FEDERATION COUNCIL
Penza Governor Vasilii Bochkarev named Aleksandr Bespalov, chairman of the General Council of Unified Russia, as his representative in the Federation Council, "Vremya novostei" reported on 10 June. According to the daily, Bespalov said that occupying a seat in the upper chamber was not his personal choice, but the decision was "made at the top." An unidentified source in the Federation Council told the paper that Bespalov's selection for the post is a kind of "honorary exile" following Bespalov's failure to accomplish certain, unspecified tasks with Unified Russia. Penza Governor Bochkarev was re-elected to his post in April, reportedly with Kremlin support (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 March 2002). JAC

KREMLIN BACKS ANOTHER INCUMBENT IN REGIONS...
The pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party will support incumbent President Leonid Potapov in the 23 June presidential election in Buryatia, Interfax reported on 11 June. In April, following a visit to Ulan-Ude by Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko, local observers speculated that the Kremlin supports Potapov (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 April 2002). During the last election, Potapov was supported by the Communist Party, but he suspended his party membership at the beginning of this year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 March 2002). JAC

...AS NEW CONTENDERS EMERGE IN RACE TO REPLACE LEBED
Krasnoyarsk media reported on 11 June that hundreds of leading Krasnoyarsk politicians and businessmen have signed an appeal supporting Aleksandr Uss, chairman of the krai's Legislative Assembly, for governor in the krai's 8 September gubernatorial elections, strana.ru reported. According to the site, the signatories are among the region's most prominent individuals, including the heads of Krasnoyarsk Airlines, Krasnoyarsk Aluminum, and the Bratsk Aluminum Factory. On the same day, an initiative group to nominate Krasnoyarsk Mayor Petr Pimashkov informed the krai's election commission that it has begun to gather signatures to support Pimashkov's candidacy. According to the site, 10 candidates -- including Alevtina Makovoz, chairwoman of the Krasnoyarsk branch of the Russian Red Cross; former State Duma Deputy Vasilii Zhurko; National Military Foundation head Oleg Ulyanov; former Deputy Governor Anatolii Gridyushkin -- have already filed documents with the local election commission. A number of other prominent figures, including Duma Deputy Speaker Zhirinovskii and Communist Deputy Sergei Glaziev, are also reportedly considering entering the race (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 June 2002). JAC

TEENS PAY FOR INTERNET ACCESS BY SELLING WEED(S)
At an Internet cafe in the town of Oktyabrskoe in Chuvashia, adolescents are paying for time on computers with medicinal herbs that they gather in the surrounding countryside, ntvru.com reported on 11 June, citing ITAR-TASS. According to the site, the initiative has generated interest in other towns in the republic because the low pay offered for such painstaking work no longer attracts pickers. JAC

RUSSIAN TROOPS SAY PUTIN ORDERED MESKER-YURT REPRISALS
Residents of the Chechen village of Mesker-Yurt on 12 June buried 24 victims of the Russian search operation conducted there between 21 May and 11 June, chechenpress.com reported. Most of the victims were young men who had been subjected to torture; none of them had participated in fighting against the Russian forces, the website said. Before withdrawing from the village, Russian officers warned the inhabitants against lodging any official complaints about atrocities committed by Russian forces. "If you complain, we'll come back and finish you off," they were quoted as saying. Russian officers also rejected the argument that they violated the procedures for conducting such search operations promulgated in March by Lieutenant General Vladimir Moltenskoi, commander of the joint federal forces in Chechnya. They said they do not answer to Moltenskoi and were acting on direct orders from Russian President Putin, according to the website. LF

ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT ENDS SPRING SESSION IN TURMOIL
The 12 June parliament session, the last before the summer recess, ended after 50 minutes without reaching a solution to the standoff between opposition deputies demanding a debate on President Robert Kocharian's impeachment and the pro-presidential majority that rejects that demand as legally unsubstantiated, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 and 12 June 2002). Opposition deputies continued to block the rostrum and prevent a debate, so the majority rubber-stamped three bills without discussion, a procedure that Gagik Harutiunian, deputy chairman of the standing commission on state-legal issues, protested as a violation of parliamentary regulations, according to Noyan Tapan. Both sides denied that they are considering asking the Constitutional Court to rule on the legality of the opposition demand for a debate on impeachment. LF

PROSECUTORS REPORT ON ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SHOOTING INVESTIGATION
Military prosecutors seeking to establish who masterminded the October 1999 Armenian parliament shootings told journalists in Yerevan on 12 June that their failure to do so does not reflect on the effectiveness of the investigation, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported. Deputy Chief Military Prosecutor Artak Harutiunian said the group is investigating several theories and has made some progress this year, but he did not elaborate. He added that two teams of investigators have conducted "numerous investigative operations" abroad, but did not specify in which countries. The five gunmen who perpetrated the killings of eight senior officials have repeatedly said they acted on their own initiative. LF

KARABAKH PRESIDENT SEEKING OPPOSITION SUPPORT FOR RE-ELECTION BID?
Faced with a marked decline in his popularity rating in the run-up to presidential elections scheduled for 11 August, Arkadii Ghukasian is holding confidential talks with representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutiun (HHD), which is the opposition faction in the unrecognized republic's parliament, according to the Yerevan newspaper "Iravunk" of 11 June, as cited by Groong. Ghukasian has reportedly offered the HHD five portfolios in the next government in exchange for its support for his bid for re-election; the party has not yet responded to that offer. LF

AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT'S REPRESENTATIVES MEET WITH NARDARAN VILLAGERS
Baku Mayor Hadjibala Abutalibov and three senior members of the presidential administration met on 12 June with 15 elders of the village of Nardaran on the outskirts of the capital where at least one villager was killed in clashes with police on 3 June, Turan reported. The village elders demanded that those villagers arrested in the wake of the clashes be released; that the police posts surrounding the village be removed; and that residents be allowed to travel freely to Baku to sell agricultural produce in city markets. The administration officials relayed those demands to President Heidar Aliev, who issued instructions later on 12 June that the demands be met and steps taken to address the grievances that the villagers raised in meetings with Abutalibov earlier this year (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 5, No. 8, 28 February 2002). LF

TOTALFINAELF JOINS AZERBAIJANI PIPELINE CONSORTIUM
France's TotalFinaElf signed an agreement with the Owner Group for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil-export pipeline to acquire a 5 percent stake in the BP-led consortium to build that pipeline, Turan reported on 12 June. The decision leaves a 7.5 percent stake still available, which will be divided between BP (the project operator), Norway's Statoil, and Turkey's TPAO, if no other company expresses an interest in acquiring it before the end of this month. LF

RUSSIAN ENVOY DISCUSSES ABKHAZ CONFLICT
Valerii Loshchinin, who is Russian President Vladimir Putin's personal envoy for the Abkhaz conflict, met in Sukhum on 12 June with Abkhaz Prime Minister Anri Djergenia and parliament speaker Nugzar Ashuba, Caucasus Press reported. Loshchinin praised the Russian peacekeepers deployed since 1994 under CIS aegis in the Abkhaz conflict zone, saying they have "kept peace and security at a very high, reliable level," ITAR-TASS reported. "This is a fact that nobody can ignore or deny," Loshchin said. He added that any decision on amending the peacekeepers' mandate should be made jointly by Abkhazia and Georgia. Loshchinin called for efforts to defuse tensions in the Kodori Gorge and for a resumption of talks between Georgia and Abkhazia within the UN-sponsored Coordinating Council, Caucasus Press reported. The council's next session is scheduled for next month in Tbilisi. LF

KAZAKH OPPOSITIONIST'S HEALTH DETERIORATES AFTER INTERROGATION ATTEMP
The condition of former Pavlodar Oblast Governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov deteriorated further on 12 June after an investigator entered his hospital ward unannounced and began questioning him, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. The investigator assaulted Zhaqiyanov's wife, Karlyghash, when she began to film the interrogation. Zhaqiyanov tried to get out of bed to protect her and collapsed. Karlyghash, who embarked on a hunger strike last week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 2002), has reportedly also been hospitalized. LF

DATE SET FOR FORMER KAZAKH MINISTER'S TRIAL
The trial of former Minister of Industry and Trade Mukhtar Abliyazov, who is one of the leaders -- with Zhaqiyanov -- of the opposition movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan, will open on 24 June, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported. Abliyazov faces charges of embezzlement deriving in part from an illegal business deal he allegedly concluded with the president of Uzbekistan's Savdo-Energiya company. He is also charged with making private calls costing 400,000 tenges ($2,625) from his official mobile phone. LF

FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER ACCEPTS EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AWARD
Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Europe and the United States since 1999, was presented with a "Freedom Passport" signed by 15 deputies to the European Parliament at that body's plenary session in Strasbourg on 11 June, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported the following day. Kazhegeldin is the 27th person to receive such an award, which is generally made in support of the entire democratic opposition -- rather any single individual -- in countries where human rights cannot be taken for granted, according to a European Parliament press release dated 5 June. Asked by RFE/RL's Kazakh Service on 12 June to comment on the award, Sharip Omar, who is chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament, said it is "too early" to speak of democratic institutions in Kazakhstan. LF

SUPPORTERS OF KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT DEPUTY BEGIN PROTEST MARCH
Some 1,200 supporters of Azimbek Beknazarov set out on 12 June on a 90-kilometer march from the town of Tash-Komur to Djalalabad, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported. They are demanding the release of seven colleagues detained on 8 June when police used force to disperse their picket in Tash-Komur; the annulment of the sentence handed down to Beknazarov last month; and the punishment of those responsible for clashes between police and demonstrators in Aksy Raion on 17-18 March in which five people died. Meeting in Djalalabad on 11 June, Beknazarov's supporters adopted an appeal to President Askar Akaev and to Abdygany Erkebaev, speaker of the lower chamber of parliament, in which they warned they will resume their blockade of the main Bishkek-Osh highway if those demands are not met. They also demanded the dismissal of Prosecutor-General Chubak Abyshkaev, First Deputy Prime Minister Kurmanbek Osmonov, and acting Interior Minister Keneshbek Duishebaev. LF

CIS MANEUVERS GET UNDER WAY IN KYRGYZSTAN
Staff-military exercises involving some 500 troops from the CIS Rapid Reaction Force began in Bishkek on 12 June, Interfax and RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. The exercises involve troops from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan and are designed to improve cooperation among the various countries' military and interior-ministry forces in combating an invasion by "bandit formations," presumably meaning fighters from the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who are believed to be in Afghanistan close to that country's border with Tajikistan (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 June 2002). LF

KYRGYZ PREMIER CALLS FOR INCREASE IN INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT
Nikolai Tanaev told heads of industrial enterprises on 13 June that he would like to see a 5 to 7 percent increase in industrial output this year, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. Two days earlier, he revealed that that indicator fell by 10.7 percent during the first five months of 2002 compared with the same period last year. It is not clear to what extent that decline was the direct consequence of nationwide protests over Beknazarov's January arrest. LF

ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS UZBEKISTAN
On a two-day official visit to Tashkent, Vartan Oskanian met with his Uzbek counterpart, Abdulaziz Komilov, on 12 June to discuss ways to expand what Komilov termed the "friendly" relations between the two countries, according to Uzbek Radio as cited by Groong. They also signed a Cooperation Protocol between their countries' foreign ministries, uza.uz reported. Oskanian met the same day with Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov to discuss developing political and trade ties and cooperation in transport and communications. LF

WASHINGTON SEEKS MOSCOW'S HELP RESOLVING BELARUS-OSCE ROW
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on 12 June asked Russia to use its influence to resolve an ongoing dispute between Belarus and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) over the OSCE's Minsk mission (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 June 2002), Reuters reported. "The secretary raised the situation in Belarus where they have recently expelled the representatives of the OSCE and just asked if the Russians could use some positive influence there," the agency quoted an unidentified senior U.S. State Department official as saying after a meeting between Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in Whistler, Canada. "Ivanov said they have always emphasized that Belarus needs to have a constructive and cooperative relationship with the international community, and he would check where things stood and get back to us," the official added. JM

PACE OFFERS HELP IN PROBING DISAPPEARANCES IN BELARUS
Wolfgang Berendt, rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Belarus, said in Minsk on 12 June that PACE is ready to form a group of experts to assist the Belarusian authorities in investigating the disappearances of political figures in Belarus, AP and Reuters reported. "We proposed to Interior Minister [Uladzimir Navumau] that this group be set up, but he was very reluctant. The reaction of [presidential administration head Ural] Latypau was much more positive, but the decision hangs on many circumstances," Berendt noted. Berendt, who led a PACE delegation to Minsk this week, invited representatives of both the National Assembly and the Consultative Council of Opposition Politician Parties to participate in a PACE session in Strasbourg later this month. JM

BELARUSIAN LEGISLATURE ADOPTS AMNESTY BILL
The Chamber of Representatives on 12 June passed a bill that, if endorsed by the Council of the Republic and signed by the president, will pardon 1,900 prisoners and reduce the sentences of another 25,000, Belapan reported. Interior Minister Navumau told legislators that the amnesty bill was prompted by the authorities' desire to reduce the current prison population of 53,000, which exceeds the normal capacity of the country's prisons by 13,000. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS MEDVEDCHUK AS CHIEF OF STAFF...
President Leonid Kuchma has appointed lawmaker and financial oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of the Social Democratic Party-united, as head of the presidential administration, UNIAN reported on 12 June, quoting presidential spokeswoman Olena Hromnytska. "Ukraine lacks a constructive political course. Medvedchuk's appointment is outside the context [of such a course]," the "Ukrayinska pravda" website quoted Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko as saying. "[Medvedchuk's appointment] is the price Kuchma had to pay for his victory in the election of parliamentary speaker," Socialist Party lawmaker Yuriy Lutsenko commented. "It's obvious that following Medvedchuk's appointment, the desire of Yushchenko and his adherents to get jobs in the executive branch will decrease," political scientist Anatoliy Hrytsenko noted. JM

...PROVIDES VERKHOVNA RADA WITH LEGISLATIVE WORKLOAD...
President Kuchma has submitted 14 draft bills to the Verkhovna Rada, urging lawmakers to consider them on a priority basis, UNIAN reported on 13 June. JM

...ORDERS GOVERNMENT TO DRAFT ACCORD ON INTERNATIONAL GAS-PIPELINE CONSORTIUM...
Kuchma instructed Deputy Prime Minister Oleh Dubina to work out a concept and an appropriate draft agreement on the creation of an international consortium to manage Ukraine's gas-pipeline system, UNIAN reported on 12 June. Kuchma, Russian President Putin, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on 10 June signed a trilateral accord on cooperation in developing and exploiting the pipeline infrastructure used to transport oil and natural gas from Russia through Ukraine to Western Europe. A day earlier, Kuchma and Putin reportedly signed a bilateral accord on "strategic cooperation" in the natural-gas sector. JM

...AND APPOINTS CHIEF OF ARMS EXPORTING COMPANY
Kuchma appointed Valeriy Shmarov, former deputy premier and defense minister, as the general director of the state-run Ukrspetseksport company which deals in arms exports, UNIAN reported on 13 June. Shmarov takes over after the death in March of Valeriy Malev, who was killed in an automobile accident. JM

CHINESE PRESIDENT VISITS ESTONIA
Accompanied by a large delegation that includes Deputy Premier Qian Qichen and three ministers, Jiang Zemin began a two-day visit to Tallinn on 12 June with a meeting with his Estonian counterpart, Arnold Ruutel, ETA reported. Their talks focused on international cooperation, NATO and EU enlargement, and bilateral relations, including greater use of Estonian ports for the transit of Chinese goods. Trade between the two countries increased dramatically last year to 6.8 billion kroons ($410 million). China was Estonia's fifth-largest trading partner, accounting for 5.1 percent of its total trade turnover. Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland and her Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan, signed an agreement on mutual legal assistance which is designed to raise the efficiency of bilateral cooperation in handling criminal cases. Jiang is scheduled to have separate meetings with Prime Minister Siim Kallas, parliament Chairman Toomas Savi, and ex-President Lennart Meri on 13 June before flying to Iceland. SG

LATVIA'S GOVERNMENT PASSES ECONOMIC POLICY MEMORANDUM WITH IMF
The cabinet on 12 June approved a new economic-policy memorandum with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that includes a pledge to reduce this year's state-budget deficit to 94 million lats ($154 million), BNS reported. The deficit would amount to 1.77 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) instead of the planned 2.45 percent (130 million lats). The memorandum forecasts that GDP will grow by 5 percent this year and by 6 percent in the following years, while inflation will remain stable at 3 percent and the current-account deficit at around 8.5 percent of GDP. The government expects that direct foreign investment will continue to cover around two-thirds of the current-account deficit, thus keeping foreign-debt levels down. Latvia also agreed to keep its currency, the lats, pegged to the Special Drawing Right (SDR) currency basket until the country joins the EU. SG

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR DIRECT ELECTION OF MAYORS
In a speech to the eighth congress of the Association of Local Authorities of Lithuania (LSA) in Vilnius on 12 June, Valdas Adamkus called for the direct election of mayors as a way to strengthen local government in the country, ELTA reported. Other speakers -- including Center Union Chairman Kestutis Glaveckas, Christian Democrats Chairman Kazys Bobelis, and Liberal Union Chairman Eugenijus Gentvilas -- expressed support for the proposal. While not opposing it, parliament Chairman Arturas Paulauskas said he doubts that parliament will have enough time to pass the necessary amendments to the constitution before the next local elections, which should be held in February or March. The parliament, however, is debating a proposal to move up the elections to 22 December, when the presidential elections will he held. Association President Bronys Rope said the association's board opposes changing the date of the local elections. SG

POLISH PRESIDENT PLEDGES TO DEFEND CENTRAL BANK'S INDEPENDENCE
After chairing a cabinet session on 12 June, President Aleksander Kwasniewski told journalists that he will defend the independence of the National Bank against political threats, PAP reported. Kwasniewski also said he will mediate in the ongoing conflict between Leszek Miller's cabinet and the Monetary Policy Council (RPP), headed by National Bank Governor Leszek Balcerowicz, over monetary policies. The government wants a weaker zloty -- to bolster exports -- through the central bank's intervention on the foreign-exchange market, while the RPP argues that such an intervention would be ineffective because the zloty's appreciation trend a consequence of the restructuring of the economy and Poland's expected entry into the European Union. JM

POLISH DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION
Prosecutors in Warsaw brought a charge of corruption against former Deputy Defense Minister Romuald Szeremietiew in addition to an earlier charge that Szeremietiew failed to perform his duty in the ministry, Polish Radio reported on 12 June. Szeremietiew dealt with the procurement of weapons and equipment for the Polish armed forces. He also chaired a tendering commission that was to select a multi-purpose aircraft for the Polish Air Force. JM

POLISH AGRARIAN LEADER PROPOSES PAYING FINE IN INSTALLMENTS
Self-Defense farmers' union leader Andrzej Lepper wants to pay a fine of 20,000 zlotys ($5,000) in installments, PAP reported on 12 June, quoting Lepper's lawyer, Roza Zarska. Lepper was fined by a Gdansk court in January for insulting the president and two former deputy prime ministers. If the court rejects Lepper's request to pay the fine in installments, he is going to apply to replace the fine with a "socially useful activity," Zarska said. "For instance, we will propose the presentation of a series of lectures on the subject of the situation of the Polish countryside after the entry of Poland into the EU," Zarska added. Lepper is notorious for his disrespect for the law and his opposition to Poland's EU entry. JM

CZECH PARLIAMENTARY VOTING GETS STARTED ABROAD...
Elections to the Czech Chamber of Deputies, which take place on 14-15 June, got under way one day earlier for Czech citizens living abroad, CTK reported on 13 June. Voters in North and South America can vote on 13 June at 17 polling stations. However, only 2,960 citizens residing abroad have registered to vote at the 108 Czech embassies around the world. All the votes cast abroad will count for the southern Moravia region, which was chosen at random for this purpose. MS

...AS CAMPAIGN COMES TO AN END
At the Social Democratic Party's (CSSD) last campaign rally in Prague on 12 June, Chairman Vladimir Spidla said he is not talking about "fate, which is unchangeable, but about ways to shape the future." Spidla was alluding to the Civic Democratic Party's (ODS) electoral slogan, "Forward to a New Fate." CSSD Deputy Chairman Stanislav Gross promised that if the CSSD wins the elections, ODS leader Vaclav Klaus "will be laid off." In turn, the ODS called on the electorate to "stop the Socialists," and Klaus told a Prague rally that, "The ODS is the only hope for those who do not want to live in a sort of Spidla-land in the next generations." MS

GERMAN CHANCELLOR CANDIDATE SAYS ABOLITION OF BENES DECREES IS NOT A CONDITION FOR EU ENTRY...
Edmund Stoiber, conservative Christian Democratic Union/Christian Socialist Union candidate for chancellor in September's elections, said on 12 June that the abolition of the Benes Decrees is not a condition for the Czech Republic's accession to the EU, CTK and Czech radio reported. Stoiber denied that he had conditioned accession on the abolition of the decrees in a speech in May, but added, "Nevertheless, there is a connection [that is] logical." Stoiber said he hopes the Czech Republic will start dealing with history more openly after the elections. MS

...AS VERHEUGEN WARNS AGAINST REOPENING 'OLD WOUNDS'...
EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen on 12 June said during a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg that old historical wounds "should be healed, rather than being reopened," CTK reported. He said that the discussion over the Benes Decrees should take into consideration the pain inflicted by the differing historical experience of both sides. Verheugen said this requires both looking historical facts directly in the face and keeping in mind the ultimate goal of an integrated future. MS

...WHILE CZECH CARDINAL READY TO MEDIATE IN CZECH-GERMAN RELATIONS
The Catholic Church is prepared to act as mediator to improve Czech-German relations, CTK reported, citing the BBC. According to CTK, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk told the BBC on 12 June that the Catholic Church in both countries can be an example for politicians to follow. He noted that the German church has apologized for the Nazi period and for the participation of the German Democratic Republic in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops. Likewise, he said, the Czech church has apologized for the postwar deportation of Germans under the Benes Decrees. Vlk said it is in the national interests of both countries to extend mutual forgiveness and find reconciliation. "If we start digging trenches and shooting one another from them, no rapprochement will be achieved," he said. MS

ANOTHER INCIDENT AT TEMELIN NUCLEAR-POWER PLANT
A faulty sensor on 11 June triggered an automatic shutdown at the controversial Temelin nuclear-power plant, and a leak in the generator forced workers to reduce the output of the reactor to just 3 percent the next day, AP and dpa reported. Plant spokesman Milan Nebesar said workers replaced the faulty voltage sensor, but the leak discovered on 12 June forced a sharp output reduction in the plant's Unit 1 reactor. The malfunction came less than two days after the unit went into final testing and began running at 100 percent capacity. Nebesar said it is too early to know how long the shutdown will last. MS

FORMER SLOVAK PREMIER 'WORRIED' ABOUT EU INTERFERENCE IN ELECTIONS
Vladimir Meciar said in a 12 June interview with the Austrian APA agency that he is worried about the reservations expressed by EU member states concerning the possible victory of his Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) in the September elections, CTK reported. Meciar said it would be "unproductive" if European politicians interfere in the elections and if Slovaks are "collectively punished" for their choice. He said that "similar voices were heard" after the last Italian elections and that "something similar happen to Austria," when "European politicians made a mistake" by isolating Vienna after Joerg Haider's Freedom Party entered the government. He said that if the HZDS wins the elections, he expects "careful monitoring" by the West, but that this will only prove that "our partners' worries are unsubstantiated." MS

U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION URGES PASSAGE OF ANTIDISCRIMINATION LAW IN SLOVAKIA
U.S. Helsinki Commission co-Chairman Christopher Smith, meeting with Slovak politicians on 11 June, praised the country's democratic reform process and expressed hope that Slovakia "will stay the course and build on these achievements." A commission press release said Representative Smith commended the Slovak government "for preparing draft antidiscrimination legislation" and added that if the draft legislation is adopted and implemented, it "would provide remedies for Roma who experience race discrimination." Smith said the passage of the legislation would "be a concrete sign of the government's commitment to ensure equality of opportunity for Roma." MS

SLOVAK MAYOR CONVICTED FOR CORRUPTION
A regional court in Banska Bistrica on 12 June sentenced the mayor of Ziar nad Hronom, central Slovakia, to an eight-month suspended sentence for abuse of office, CTK reported. Another unidentified high-ranking official and the mayor's deputy were convicted to five and seven years in prison, respectively. MS

HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT, OPPOSITION DISAGREE ON TIMING OF LOCAL ELECTIONS
Representatives of the government coalition and the opposition met on 12 June with President Ferenc Madl to discuss setting a date for the fall local elections, but failed to reach agreement, Hungarian media reported. Setting the date is a presidential prerogative, but traditionally the decision is preceded by consultations with parliamentary parties. Socialist Party Chairman Laszlo Kovacs and Free Democrat Chairman Gabor Kuncze argued that the elections should take place on 13 October. They said that on 6 October Hungary observes a day of mourning for those killed in the 1848-49 revolution, while 20 and 27 October are too close to the 23 October commemoration of the 1956 uprising. The opposition FIDESZ/Democratic forum leaders Zoltan Pokorny and Ibolya David want the elections to take place in late October, saying the campaign should not overlap with the summer holidays. The daily "Vilaggazdasag" commented that the rightist opposition wishes to build political capital on the 23 October commemorations at the expense of the Socialist Party, which is regarded by many as a communist "successor party." MS

FIDESZ-LINKED HUNGARIAN COMPANIES DENY DECLARING BANKRUPTCY
Contrary to earlier reports, the Happy End and Ezusthajo companies, both beneficiaries of state contracts under the FIDESZ government, have not declared bankruptcy, "Magyar Hirlap" reported on 13 June. The two companies' lawyer, Andras Klittka, confirmed the news, saying there have never been plans to declare bankruptcy. Happy End has lodged a complaint with the Budapest Prosecutor-General's Office over a recent search of the company's premises and seizure of its documents. He said detectives seized 300 files, although no official proceedings have been initiated against the company. MS

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT REPORT ON HUNGARY EMPHASIZES POSITIVE ASPECTS...
The European Parliament in Strasbourg on 12 June approved the recommendation of its Foreign Affairs Commission to extend the representation of Hungary and the Czech Republic from 20 to 22 deputies, once the two countries become EU members, "Nepszabadsag" reported. The commission's report notes that the change of government in Hungary will not change the country's commitment to the EU and that Hungary is one of the countries that are best prepared for EU membership. The report says that Hungary will have no problems adjusting to the EU's internal market, but adds that it will have to observe stricter budgetary discipline, curb inflation, and do more to eliminate inequalities among its regions. The report also warns of the dangers of corruption and urges speedy and substantial moves toward transparent public-procurement procedures. It also calls for an improvement in the status of Roma, noting that the previous government accomplished much toward that end. The report welcomes the Hungarian-Romanian memorandum of understanding on implementing the "status law" and urges an agreement with Slovakia. MS

...BUT COUNCIL OF EUROPE SLAMS STATUS LAW
The draft of a report commissioned by the Council of Europe's Legal and Human Rights Commission severely criticizes Hungary's Status Law, "Nepszabadsag" reported on 12 June. The report says the law should be revoked and replaced by a new bill after consultations with neighboring countries. It says that the neighboring countries have argued the legislation violates basic EU principles such as respect for territorial sovereignty, good neighborly relations, and nondiscrimination. The author of the draft, Dutch parliamentary deputy Eric Jurgens, states in his report that the concept of the Hungarian "nation," as outlined in the preamble of the Status Law, is too broad and can be interpreted as infringement of current state borders. Socialist parliamentary deputy Csaba Tabajdi, who is the new leader of the Hungarian parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe, dismissed the draft as unacceptable, saying it contradicts earlier council documents on ethnic minorities. MS

DJINDJIC WANTS SERBIAN PRESIDENTIAL VOTE IN THE FALL
Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic said in Sremska Mitrovica on 12 June that he wants Serbian presidential elections to take place in the fall, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. He added that he wants the date to be announced in July so candidates have enough time to prepare. The current president, Milan Milutinovic, has been indicted by The Hague for war crimes and will not run again. Polls show that the most votes would go to Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus and Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica. Kostunica, however, cannot run for president of Serbia unless he gives up his current office. The only announced candidate to date is Velimir Ilic, the outspoken mayor of Cacak. PM

KOSTUNICA'S PARTY QUITS SERBIAN PARLIAMENT
The Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) has withdrawn all 45 of its deputies from the Serbian parliament in the latest stage of that party's dispute with the 17 other members of the governing Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS) coalition, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported on 12 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 June 2002 and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 31 May 2002). Several commentators have already dubbed this the biggest political crisis in Serbia since the ousting of the regime of former President Slobodan Milosevic at the end of 2000. PM

S-M GROUP TO MEET
The first meeting of the commission to draw up a draft constitution for the new state of Serbia and Montenegro (S-M) will meet on 18 June, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported from Belgrade on 12 June. Of the 27 politicians making up the commission, 21 are from parties that favor the continuation of a joint state, while six represent parties wanting two independent states. PM

MILOSEVIC'S PARTY TO HOLD CONGRESS
The official organization of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) will hold its congress on 28 September, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported from Belgrade on 12 June. A maverick faction has already announced that it will hold a rival congress on 23 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 2002). PM

BELGRADE TO EXTRADITE ONE MORE WAR CRIMINAL
The Serbian authorities are likely to extradite Ranko Cesic to The Hague as early as 17 June, his lawyer told Reuters in Belgrade on 12 June. Serbian police recently arrested Cesic, whom the war crimes tribunal has indicted for atrocities he allegedly committed at the Luka camp near Brcko in 1992 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 May 2002). It was the first arrest of an indicted war criminal in Serbia since November. In related news, the tribunal rejected an appeal by three Bosnian Serbs -- Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac, and Zoran Vukovic -- who wanted their convictions for systematic rape overturned. PM

SERBS END BOYCOTT OF KOSOVA GOVERNMENT...
Representatives of Kosova's Serbian minority took their oath of office together with their ethnic Albanian colleagues before Michael Steiner, who heads the UN civilian administration (UNMIK), in Prishtina on 12 June, Reuters reported. All officials swore to work "in the best interests of all the inhabitants of Kosovo without discrimination on any ground." Afterward, Steiner said in a statement: "Now that the government is fully completed, let's get down to work." He warned the Kosovars that "we should not count on the long-term and eternal commitment of the international community," AP reported. PM

...AS KOSOVARS MARK LIBERATION
Celebrations took place across Kosova on 12 June to mark the third anniversary of the entry of NATO troops into the province, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. President Ibrahim Rugova said in Prizren that he stands by his goal of independence for Kosova. Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi said in Prishtina that he supports Rugova's proposal to make 12 June Kosova's national holiday (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 June 2002). PM

CROATIAN, MONTENEGRIN PORTS AGREE ON COOPERATION
Officials of Montenegro's chief port, Bar, and Croatia's main port, Rijeka, signed an agreement in Bar to establish cooperation between their respective harbor authorities, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported on 12 June. PM

RACAN CALLS FOR END OF UN PRESENCE IN PREVLAKA
Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan said in New York on 12 June that Yugoslav President Kostunica and Croatian President Stipe Mesic will meet on 21 June and formally request that the UN end its monitoring mission on the Prevlaka peninsula, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 April 2002). He said he has asked UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to end the mandate before the end of 2002. The move is widely seen as one more sign of the growing normalization of relations between Belgrade and Zagreb. PM

CROATIAN RAILWAY UNIONS STAGE WARNING STRIKE
In yet the latest example of continuing labor unrest in Croatia and especially that affecting Croatian Railways (HZ), employees belonging to three unions staged a four-hour warning strike on 12 June, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. The unions said the action prevented 15 trains from running, while HZ management put the figure at four. PM

CROATIA OFFERS WTO HELP TO NEIGHBORS
At a two-day conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for countries of Central and Southeastern Europe in Zagreb on 12 June, Croatian officials offered their assistance to Bosnia, Macedonia, and Yugoslavia in obtaining membership in the WTO, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. PM

BOSNIAN MINISTER REBUFFS ASHDOWN
Nikola Grabovac, who is federal finance minister, rejected a recent call by High Representative Paddy Ashdown for him to step down and accept responsibility for the massive corruption in his ministry, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported from Sarajevo on 12 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 June 2002). Grabovac said that he bears no responsibility for the problem. PM

ANNAN CALLS FOR BIG CUTS IN BOSNIAN POLICE FORCE
UN Secretary-General Annan said in a report in New York on 12 June that the UN should cut its 1,600-strong police mission to 460 after the 5 October Bosnian elections, AP reported. The world body is preparing to hand over control of the police mission to the EU at the end of the year. Annan noted that steps must be taken to prevent the local law enforcement agencies from being subjected to political control and to ensure that the State Border Service has enough money to do its job. PM

MACEDONIA: TALKS OVER ELECTION LEGISLATION CONTINUE
Meeting under the auspices of U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Lawrence Butler, U.S. special envoy James Holmes, and his EU counterpart, Alain Le Roy, the leaders of the four largest political parties failed to reach a compromise over the nomination procedure of election commission members, Macedonian media reported on 13 June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3, 10, and 11 June 2002). During a visit to Prilep, Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski said it is possible that the elections will be held on 15 September according to the old election legislation should the deadlock continue. He added: "We even prefer this possibility.... This law is better for the bigger parties and allows them to gain more seats in parliament," "Utrinski vesnik" quoted Georgievski as saying. UB

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SPEAKS ON CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES...
Addressing students at the private Dimitrie Cantemir University in Bucharest on 12 June, President Ion Iliescu said an amendment proposing the election of the country's head of state by parliament instead of a popular vote is no longer on the agenda, Mediafax reported. That amendment was originally proposed by Iliescu's own Social Democratic Party. Iliescu also said he does not believe that changing the electoral system from proportional representation to single-constituency representation would contribute to the struggle against corruption. He pointed out that single-constituency elections would be very costly for the candidates and might thus generate corruption instead of fight it. Iliescu deplored the fact that in contemporary Romania "money is more powerful than value." MS

...SAYS PARLIAMENT MUST PASS LEGISLATION ON JOURNALIST PROFESSION...
In an apparent retreat from an earlier promise to oppose the so-called "right of reply" bill (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 June 2002), President Iliescu said parliament must approve legislation regulating the journalistic profession, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. He said the need stems from obligations assumed by his country when it joined the Council of Europe in 1994, thus apparently linking the controversial bill to what he said were the council's recommendations on "the fundamental principles of journalism, of journalistic ethics, of respect for the truth." He said the "right of reply" is a "fundamental democratic right," but reiterated that the "moment chosen for passing the bill is inopportune" since the legislation has triggered "a fierce dispute" on matters that "must be calmly debated." MS

...OFFERS MEDIATION IN DISPUTE BETWEEN SRI AND CNSAS
Iliescu also told students at the Dimitrie Cantemir University that he is ready to mediate in the latest dispute between the parliamentary commission supervising the activity of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (CNSAS), the bureau reported. The commission has criticized the council's definition of Securitate activities that should be regarded as "political police" and its intention to make public the names of former Securitate members still employed by the SRI who had engaged in such activity under the Communist regime (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 June 2002). MS

ROMANIAN LIBERALS AT A CROSSROADS, LEADER TO STEP DOWN?
National Liberal Party (PNL) Chairman Valeriu Stoica said on 12 June after a meeting of the party's Standing Central Bureau that he proposed stepping down in favor of PNL National Council Chairman Theodor Stolojan, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Stoica said this would put an end to the current strife in the party (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 April, 17 May, and 11 June 2002) and that Stolojan is the only personality capable of preserving its unity. Stolojan responded that it would be "incorrect" on his part to replace Stoica halfway through his four-year mandate, adding that he does not believe the step would restore PNL unity or end the struggles in the party, which he "does not comprehend." PNL parliamentary deputy Crin Antonescu, who is widely regarded as the rival "Dinu Patriciu-wing" candidate for the PNL chairmanship, said in reaction that he does not share Stoica's belief that only Stolojan can lead the PNL out of its current impasse. MS

ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES CREATION OF PNA
The Chamber of Deputies on 13 June approved a government ordinance on setting up the office of the National Anticorruption Prosecution (PNA), Mediafax reported. The vote was 184 in favor and 59 against, with all opposition members voting against the measure. The PNA is to be subordinated to the minister of justice, and its head is to be nominated by the president at the proposal of the minister for a six-year mandate. The mandate can be extended only once. MS

ROBERTSON TELLS ROMANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER THAT FURTHER REFORM EFFORTS ARE NECESSARY
NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson told Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana in Lisbon on 12 June that Romania has made great progress toward its NATO membership target, but added: "Many things are yet to be done, but time [ahead of the NATO November summit] is sufficient." Robertson was reacting to a letter from Prime Minister Adrian Nastase handed to him by Geoana and outlining Romania's progress in its NATO membership quest. MS

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LAUDS ROMANIA'S PROGRESS, OFFERS ADVICE
The European Parliament on 12 June praised Romania for its determination to open all chapters in the acquis communautaire in 2002 and to end negotiations by 2003-04, Romanian radio reported. The annual review by the European Parliament also lauds Bucharest for progress on reforms, for its participation in the struggle against international terrorism, and for efforts to contribute to stability in the Balkans. At the same time, the report said Romania must improve the administrative process, solve endemic corruption, ensure the political independence of the judiciary, and guarantee freedom of religion. MS

MOLDOVAN PREMIER STRESSES OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IS NOT ROMANIAN...
Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev told a cabinet meeting on 12 June that the country's official language is "Moldovan, not Romanian" and that he "insists" the language be called by its proper constitutional name in official documents, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Tarlev said that those who disagree with this name should start gathering signatures for a petition to amend the constitution. MS

...AND SAYS LEGISLATION ON RELIGIOUS CULTS MUST BE MODIFIED
Tarlev also asked Justice Minister Ion Morei to submit promptly to the government his proposals for amending current legislation on religious cults, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. He said the government should no longer be involved in the problems of the different religious denominations. The government decided to pay 27,025 euros ($25,600) to the Bessarabian Metropolitan Church in damages in accordance with a December 2001 European Court of Human Rights verdict. Morei on the same day said the government will abide by the court's decision and register the Bessarabian Metropolitan Church. However, he did not specify whether that church will be registered by 31 July, as recommended by the 24 April resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. MS

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES MEMORANDUM ON MISSILE DESTRUCTION
In a 12 June closed session, parliament ratified a memorandum of understanding between the United States and Bulgaria concerning the scrapping of Bulgaria's stockpile of SS-23, Scud, and FROG missiles, BTA reported. The document, which was signed by U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria James Pardew and Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov on 31 May, regulates U.S. assistance for the missile destruction. After the ratification, Svinarov told journalists that the dismantling will be carried out with maximum safety and concern for the environment. Citizens living near the missile-destruction sites have expressed concerns that toxic missile fuel could harm the environment (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 and 22 May 2002). UB

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSES REPORT ON BULGARIA'S EU PROGRESS
The European Parliament on 12 June began discussion of a report by Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Elmar Brock on the progress of the EU accession negotiations with the 12 aspirant countries, including Bulgaria, BTA reported. Brock's report notes the Bulgarian government's desire to speed up the negotiations. He urges member states to give Bulgaria a clear sign by "extending generous pre-accession aid." During the debate, parliamentarians will devote particular attention to questions regarding the Kozloduy nuclear-power plant. Brock demands the European Commission and Bulgaria reach a compromise on the decommissioning of the plant's blocks No. 3 and No. 4. There has been some tension between the European Commission and the Bulgarian government over this question recently (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 May and 3 June 2002). UB

There is no End Note today.


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