UNIFIED RUSSIA'S 'CATEGORY A' OFFICIALS MIGHT BE VIOLATING ELECTION LAW...
Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, Moscow Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, and 27 other governors and republic presidents on Unified Russia's party list were supposed to have announced by 1 October that they are taking leave from government service until the end of the campaign for the State Duma elections, but have failed to do so, gazeta.ru reported on 1 October. According to one reading of the law on the election of State Duma deputies, any "Category A" state official who gets a spot on a party list must go on leave no later than three days after the party is officially registered and remain on leave until election day or face exclusion from the elections. Unified Russia's party list was registered with the Central Election Commission (TsIK) on 28 September. JB
...OR JUST TAKING ADVANTAGE OF ITS LOOPHOLES
Not only did the two ministers and 28 regional leaders on Unified Russia's party list fail to go on leave within three days after the list was registered with the TsIK, but Tyumen Oblast Governor Sergei Sobyanin, Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Eduard Rossel, and Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Aleksandr Khloponin announced they will go on leave only on 7 November, the official date for the beginning of campaigning, the website reported. Nizhnii Novgorod Oblast Governor Gennadii Khodyrev said he is "psychologically prepared" to go on leave on 4 November, gazeta.ru reported. Unified Russia's candidates apparently believe they are not violating the law on the election of State Duma deputies. According to gazeta.ru, the law is unclear about whether a party is officially "registered" for the elections when its party list is registered with the TsIK or when its special campaign-financing account is opened and it begins campaigning. The website called the TsIK's press service for an answer, but was told to send the question in writing and was promised that it would be answered within "the period of time stipulated by law." JB
INTERIOR MINISTER SAYS GOVERNORS, MAYORS ARE ON UNIFIED RUSSIA PARTY LIST TO EXERT 'CIVIC CONTROL'
Interior Minister Gryzlov, who is head of Unified Russia's Higher Council, said on 1 October that the governors and mayors on the party's election list joined it in order to ensure that there is "civic control over the organs of power," RIA-Novosti reported. "It is now necessary that those mechanisms of civic control that exist are used with maximum effectiveness," Gryzlov said. "I am convinced it is necessary to use as fully as possible the positive management experience [gained] in both federation subjects and on the level of local self-government. Therefore governors and mayors have joined our party's federal list." Gryzlov also argued that it is a positive development that officials are not hiding their political convictions, are openly talking about their programs of action and their goals, and are putting their principles and records before the voters. JB
NUMBER OF CHILDREN CONTINUES TO DECLINE
Speaking at a Moscow press conference on 1 October, Valerii Yelizarov, director of the Center for Demographic Issues, said the number of children in Russia has fallen from 40 million in 1990 to just over 30 million in 2003, and the figure continues to decrease, lenta.ru reported. He predicted that it will reach 25 million by 2010. Fortunately, the decline has been accompanied by a decline in Russia's abortion rate, added Lidiya Bardakova, UN population coordinator for Russia. Ten years ago there were 200 abortions for every 100 live births, while now there are 130, she said. VY
RUSSIA SELLS HELICOPTERS TO MALAYSIA
State arms exporter Rosoboroneksport has signed a $70 million contract to sell 10 Mi-171 military transport helicopters, RBK reported on 1 October. The deal follows a May contract worth $900 million for 18 state-of-the-art Su-30 fighter jets (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 May 2003). Indonesia earlier this year signed a $192 million deal for Russian aviation hardware. VY
SCANDINAVIA WORRIED ABOUT RUSSIAN OIL TERMINALS...
Sweden, Norway, and Finland have expressed concern that the construction of new Russian oil terminals in the Leningrad Oblast town of Primorsk and in Murmansk will have a negative impact on the regions' environment, strana.ru reported on 1 October. The three countries are trying to use EU mechanisms to have the entire region declared a sensitive ecological zone and to ban the construction of potentially hazardous industrial facilities there. Russia, however, has made enormous investments into the terminals and is determined to exploit its territory as it deems appropriate. The website noted that Russia's recent statements at an international conference on global climate change in Moscow (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2003) demonstrate the close linkage between ecology and politics. VY
...AS PRESIDENTIAL ECONOMIC AIDE SPEAKS AGAINST KYOTO PROTOCOL
Speaking at the Moscow climate-change conference on 29 September, presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov said the Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to limit emissions of gases believed to cause global warming, treats Russia unfairly, polit.ru and other Russian media reported on 30 September. Illarionov also said that some Russian financial-industrial groups that are lobbying for Moscow to sign the protocol "do not understand the consequences of this step." He said that the United States withdrew from the protocol in 2001 because Washington believes it is detrimental to the development of its economy. "The question arises whether Russia is richer than the United States [and can afford] to ratify the protocol," Illarionov asked rhetorically. VY
MOSCOW WATCHDOG SAYS TWO MEDIA OUTLETS VIOLATED CAMPAIGN COVERAGE RULES
The Moscow City Election Commission's working group for information disputes has cited two media outlets for violating recent changes to the law on guaranteeing the rights of voters that regulate the coverage of election campaigns, "Gazeta" reported on 1 October. The weekly "Kommersant-Vlast" was singled out for publishing an item headlined "Aren't you tired of Luzhkov?" which asked prominent businessmen and politicians what they thought of the Moscow mayor. The working group said this article violated the prohibition of reportage that creates "positive or negative attitudes toward candidates." The other publication, the Moscow city government's "Tverskaya, 13," was cited for material covering Luzhkov's visit to the Gubkin Oil and Gas University and a press conference in which he laid out his future plans. This material allegedly violated the ban on reporting on "the activities of a candidate not connected to his professional activity" and publishing material with an "obvious predominance of information about one candidate." The working group, however, did not impose serious penalties on the publications, asking them only for "written explanations," "Gazeta" reported. JB
YABLOKO'S ST. PETERSBURG BRANCH BACKS KREMLIN CANDIDATE IN RUN-OFF
The St. Petersburg branch of Yabloko is calling on city residents to vote for presidential envoy to the Northwest Federal District Valentina Matvienko in the 5 October second round of the city's gubernatorial election, RosBalt reported on 1 October. The branch's leadership has approved an appeal condemning Matvienko's opponent, St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Anna Markova, as "the direct heiress" of former St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev's team and the policies it carried out. In addition, Yabloko said Matvienko has the potential to improve the lives of local residents and that her program and Yabloko's have much in common. The party said it is ready to help the future St. Petersburg governor carry out those aspects of policy that coincide with Yabloko's program. JB
RUSSIAN, SOUTH CAUCASUS PARLIAMENT SPEAKERS MEET
The Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian parliament speakers and the chairman of Russia's Federation Council met in St. Petersburg on 29-30 September, local media reported. It was the fifth such meeting in recent years. The agenda of the meeting focused on regional problems and conflicts and the pre-election situations in Azerbaijan and Georgia, Turan reported on 1 October. No official statement was issued following the meeting, but "Novye izvestiya" reported on 1 October, quoting "unofficial sources" within the Federation Council, that the four officials failed to reach consensus on any issues. According to zerkalo.az on 2 October, during a bilateral meeting, Armenian parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian reaffirmed Yerevan's desire for economic cooperation with Azerbaijan, but his Azerbaijani counterpart, Murtuz Alesqerov, reiterated Baku's position that such cooperation is not possible until Armenian forces withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani territory. LF
AZERBAIJANI SERVICEMAN DETAINED ON LINE OF CONTACT
A 19-year-old Azerbaijani conscript was detained on 26 September by troops of the Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces on the Line of Contact between Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces, according to Turan and Artsakh State TV on 30 September, as cited by Groong. The latter source claimed the Azerbaijani was fleeing to escape hazing by senior officers and lost his way in a fog. Talks are under way on returning the conscript to Azerbaijan. LF
AZERBAIJANI PRIME MINISTER BEGINS ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Ilham Aliev met on 1 October with voters in Azerbaijan's Salyany, Bilasuvar, and Neftechala districts, Turan and zerkalo.az reported on 1 and 2 October, respectively. Aliev praised the reforms of Azerbaijan's economic and social sectors that, he pointed out, have enabled his father, incumbent President Heidar Aliev, to double salaries for many public-sector employees. Prime Minister Aliev promised if elected president to create 60,000 new jobs within the next five years. He further criticized the Azerbaijani opposition, whose activities he claimed are directed toward undermining the country's sovereignty. LF
LOCAL OFFICE OF AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION PARTY RANSACKED
The Saatli branch office of the opposition Azerbaijan National Independence Party (AMIP) was stormed on the morning of 1 October by police and local officials, Turan reported. Office equipment was broken, campaign materials torn to pieces, and the branch office head, Azer Huseynov, was arrested. The town's mayor warned witnesses that the local fire brigade would use fire hoses and "poisoned water" to disperse anyone who tried to attend a campaign rally to be conducted in Saatli on 2 October by AMIP Chairman and presidential candidate Etibar Mamedov and Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (progressive wing) Chairman Ali Kerimli. LF
ANOTHER CANDIDATE QUITS AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENTIAL RACE
Azerbaijan's Central Electoral Commission removed Alliance for Azerbaijan Chairman Abutalib Samedov on 1 October from the list of candidates for the 15 October presidential election at his own request, Turan and Interfax reported. The number of candidates now stands at 10, including both Prime Minister Aliev and incumbent President Aliev. Samedov has called on his supporters to vote for Prime Minister Aliev. LF
PRO-PRESIDENTIAL AZERBAIJANI PARTY VOWS TO PREVENT 'COUP D'ETAT' BY OPPOSITION
The pro-presidential Modern Musavat Party issued a statement in Baku on 1 October saying that it plans "radical measures," including the creation of "operative-mobile groups" to be deployed on 15 October to thwart anticipated attempts by the opposition to foment "disorder" and to stage a coup d'etat, Turan reported. LF
GEORGIAN OPPOSITION SLAMS GOVERNMENT'S FAILURE TO PAY PENSION ARREARS
Mikhail Machavariani, a leading member of the Burdjanadze-Democrats election bloc, on 1 October criticized the Georgian government's failure to meet either its July or its 30 September deadline for paying pension arrears, Caucasus Press reported. He claimed that pensions for April are currently being paid in rural areas, while in Tbilisi pensioners are currently receiving their pensions for July. Deputy Minister of State Akaki Zoidze told a press briefing in Tbilisi the same day that all arrears will be paid by the end of this month. He calculated that the government owes 16 million laris ($7.6 million) in back pensions for 2003 and an additional 120 million laris for previous years. In his regular Monday radio interview, President Eduard Shevardnadze cited a figure of 85 million laris owed for the period 1998-2001, and blamed the failure to pay those pensions promptly on the impact on the Georgian economy of the financial crises in Russia and Turkey, Caucasus Press reported on 29 September. LF
GEORGIAN OPPOSITION PARTY APPEALS ELECTION-COMMISSION DECISION TO SUPREME COURT
The Union of Traditionalists of Georgia (STK) has asked the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by the Central Election Commission (CEC), which rejected an initiative by the STK to hold a referendum on amending the constitution to reintroduce a cabinet of ministers, Caucasus Press reported. The STK applied to the CEC to register an initiative group that would collect the 200,000 signatures required to compel such a referendum. The CEC ruled that the question to be posed in the referendum -- "Do you approve the establishment of a cabinet of ministers on the condition that the incumbent president does not occupy the post of prime minister?" -- is unconstitutional because it infringes on the president's rights. LF
GEORGIAN PRESIDENT REJECTS NEW ANTIDRUG INITIATIVE
At a government session on 1 October, President Shevardnadze called for revisions to a government-drafted bill imposing harsher penalties for consumption of or trafficking in drugs, Caucasus Press and the website of the independent television station Rustavi-2 reported. Interior Minister Koba Narchemashvili questioned the advisability of Minister of State Avtandil Djorbenadze's proposal to set up an independent agency, subordinate to the president, to coordinate measures to combat drug addiction and trafficking, Caucasus Press reported. LF
KAZAKH PARLIAMENTARIANS SAY TAPE OF IMPRISONED OPPOSITION LEADER IS AUTHENTIC...
Parliamentarians on a commission to authenticate a disputed videotape of jailed opposition leader Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov told journalists in Astana on 1 October that the film is genuine (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 September 2003), Interfax-Kazakhstan reported the same day. Contradicting earlier reports of the film's content, parliamentarian Zheken Kaliuli said Zhaqiyanov did not vow to give up politics if he received a presidential pardon, but rather said that he would engage in moderate political activity. Kaliuli also said independent experts have authenticated the film. Some members of Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, the opposition coalition that Zhaqiyanov co-founded, have insisted that the film was edited to falsify Zhaqiyanov's statements. BB
...BUT PARLIAMENTARY GROUP IS UNABLE TO VISIT HIM
Kazakh Justice Minister Onalsyn Zhumabekov told journalists in Astana on 1 October that prison employees who prevented a group of parliamentarians from visiting Zhaqiyanov did not break the law that permits such visits, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported the same day. The lawmakers were not allowed into the prison because of a quarantine imposed by a medical officer on 11 August, Zhumabekov said. He also denied that prosecutors and court staff were allowed into the prison during the quarantine. The report did not mention when the parliamentarians had tried to visit Zhaqiyanov. BB
KYRGYZ GOVERNMENT WON'T BACK DOWN ON CASH REGISTERS
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Nikolai Tanaev said on 1 October that the government will not rescind an order forcing all retailers to use cash registers, Interfax reported, quoting the government press service. Some 10,000 traders at Bishkek's major open-air markets held a three-day strike on 29 September-1 October to protest the government order. Tanaev said the traders do not want to use cash registers because they want to avoid taxes, while the government sees the introduction of the registers as helping to "get the economy out of the shadows." The market merchants' trade union has demanded a meeting with Tanaev to settle the dispute. Trade union leader Temirbek Zhanaliev said on 1 October that Kyrgyz law requires only that market traders have a license. BB
EU DELEGATION PROMISES SUPPORT FOR KYRGYZ REFORMS
Hugues Mingarelli, who is leading a European Commission delegation to Central Asia, told Prime Minister Tanaev in Bishkek on 1 October that the European Union will continue to support Kyrgyzstan's political and economic reform process, akipress.org reported the same day. The EU is assisting Kyrgyzstan under a partnership and cooperation agreement, which Tanaev said is promoting his country's accession to important international political, economic, financial and trade organizations, as well as providing for exchange visits by European and Kyrgyz ministers and experts. Mingarelli is the head of the European Commission's directorate for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. BB
HIZB UT-TAHRIR ACTIVIST SENTENCED IN BISHKEK
The Sverdlov Raion Court in Bishkek convicted 24-year-old businessman Akzhol Karagulov on 1 October of distributing leaflets of the banned Muslim extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, akipress.org reported the same day. Karagulov was arrested in March while distributing leaflets in one of Bishkek's major markets. The National Security Service (NSB) asserted that Karagulov also founded a Hizb ut-Tahrir cell in Bishkek. Karagulov pleaded guilty to charges of inciting religious hatred and seeking the overthrow of the constitutional system, the usual charges against Hizb ut-Tahrir activists. In view of his youth and the fact that this was his first offense, Karagulov was sentenced to nine months in a low-security colony and fined the equivalent of $100. According to the NSB, 18 Hizb ut-Tahrir activists were arrested in the three northern oblasts of Kyrgyzstan in the first six months of 2003, causing law enforcement agencies to worry that the movement is expanding its influence into the northern parts of the country (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25 August 2003). The NSB estimates there are about 2,000 movement members throughout Kyrgyzstan. BB
TAJIK BORDER OFFICIAL SAYS RUSSIAN GUARDS DON'T COMPLY WITH AGREEMENTS
First Deputy Chairman of the Tajik State Border Defense Committee Nuralisho Nazarov told Interfax on 1 October that Russian border guards in Tajikistan are not complying with bilateral agreements but that the Tajik side has no immediate plans to seek the Russians' removal. Nazarov caused a stir in September by saying that Tajikistan's border guards are ready to take over defense of the country's borders (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 September 2003). According to Interfax, Nazarov complained that Tajik border guards have never been allowed to attend meetings between Russian and Afghan representatives, and that the Russian media have exaggerated his comment about the removal of the Russian border guards from Tajikistan. BB
UZBEKISTAN STEPS UP BORDER PATROLS TO PREVENT COTTON SMUGGLING
Uzbekistan has stepped up patrols on its borders with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in order to prevent the illegal export of cotton from the harvest that is currently under way, centran.ru reported on 1 October. Additional mounted patrols have been added, and inhabitants of villages near the border have been mobilized to help watch the borders. Most of the smuggling attempts have reportedly occurred on the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border. Uzbek sources say both Kyrgyz and Uzbek citizens have been detained trying to smuggle cotton into Kyrgyzstan, which is having a poor harvest this year. BB
RUSSIAN EARLY-WARNING RADAR PUT ON DUTY IN BELARUS
A strategic, long-range radar station has been put on combat-alert duty near Baranavichy in Belarus, Belapan and ITAR-TASS reported on 1 October. The radar, designated "Volga," is expected to enhance Russian defensive capabilities that were reduced after Moscow had to scrap a similar facility near the Latvian town of Skrunda in late 1998. According to Volga's designers, the radar is capable of tracking ballistic missiles and space objects 4,800 kilometers away. Its modular structure ensures that step-by-step construction, advancement, and modernization can be performed without removing it from service. JM
UKRAINIAN LAWMAKERS VOW BOYCOTT OVER ELECTION BILL
The parliamentary caucuses of the Socialist Party and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Block said on 2 October that are refusing to vote in the Verkhovna Rada until a draft bill stipulating parliamentary elections under a fully proportional party-list system is included on the current session's agenda, UNIAN and Interfax reported. According to both caucuses, the parliamentary leadership decided on 29 September to include the issue on the legislative docket. Lawmakers from the Socialist Party, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, and Our Ukraine blocked the parliamentary rostrum and brought the session to a halt after parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn proposed another issue for consideration. The adoption of a fully proportional election law is reportedly a sine qua non for the Socialist Party to support a constitutional-reform bill submitted to the Verkhovna Rada last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 September 2003). JM
UKRAINIAN SOLDIER DIES IN IRAQ
Sergeant Yuriy Koydan, from the Ukrainian contingent participating in stabilization efforts in Iraq, died on 30 September when the BRDM-2 armored reconnaissance vehicle under his command overturned while patrolling an airport in Al-Kut, Interfax reported on 1 October, quoting a Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman. JM
ESTONIAN REFORM PARTY CHAIRMAN OPPOSES COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICE
Siim Kallas, in a lengthy e-mail message to his Reform Party colleagues, stated that compulsory military service has become outdated, and Estonia should rely on professional units and a volunteer corps, BNS reported on 1 October. He wrote that Estonia's military capability should be based on NATO's joint-military-action concept. It should have well-trained, highly mobile units capable of serving on international missions. The country's security cannot be guaranteed by larger armed forces, but only by NATO, Kallas argued. He suggested that it would be more sensible to spend additional defense funds on first-rate equipment, antiaircraft defense, and other high-technology weapons that can only be effectively used by professional soldiers. SG
SENIOR LATVIAN OFFICIALS SEE NO NEED FOR REFERENDUM ON EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga told reporters on 1 October after talks with Prime Minister Einars Repse, parliament speaker Ingrida Udre, and Foreign Minister Sandra Kalniete that she sees no reason for Latvia to hold a referendum on the proposed European constitutional treaty, BNS reported. Latvia just held a referendum on EU membership on 20 September. "We cannot hold referendums every day on technical matters and on issues the people already have voted for," Repse said. Udre was more reserved, noting that only a draft constitution has been proposed and that it is not yet clear what the upcoming Intergovernmental Conference on the European Constitution, opening in Rome on 4 October, will decide. SG
SLOVENIAN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS MINISTER VISITS LITHUANIA
Janez Potocnik told Lithuanian European Committee Director-General Petras Austrevicius in Vilnius on 1 October that EU candidate countries should already be clearly aware of their priorities in the community and get involved in the discussion of the EU's future, BNS reported. Both officials are very familiar with EU matters, as they served as their countries main negotiators in their EU-accession talks. Austrevicius noted that small EU countries can influence the EU decision-making process only by working together. Potocnik also held talks with Finance Ministry Secretary Lina Adauskiene, Foreign Ministry State Secretary Rytis Martikonis, and students of the International Relations and Political Science Institute of Vilnius University. SG
POLISH CAB DRIVERS THREATEN TO ESCALATE PROTEST AGAINST CASH REGISTERS
Finance Minister Andrzej Raczko said on 1 October that he will not abandon plans to mandate that taxi meters be replaced with cash registers to keep better track of fares, PAP reported. The statement reportedly came as a surprise to taxi drivers, who have threatened to escalate their protest against the move. Drivers had mounted a go-slow protest in downtown Warsaw on 30 September, causing huge traffic jams. Police put their number at 3,000, while protest leaders said there were some 8,000 taxis involved in the demonstration. The new meters were initially to be introduced in October 2002, but the decision, following drivers' protests, was put off until March 2003 and subsequently until the beginning of 2004. Drivers maintain that their current meters are sufficient for tax purposes. JM
CZECH CABINET DEFINES TASKS OF DELEGATION TO EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION CONFERENCE...
The cabinet on 1 October approved the tasks to be pursued by the Czech delegation at the Intergovernmental Conference on the European Constitution, scheduled to start in Rome on 3 October, CTK reported. Among other things, the government tasked the delegation, which will be headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, to seek the continuation of the current "one member-one vote" representation on the European Commission. The Czech views envisage a collective EU presidency shared by three to four EU members in teams rotating at the head of the European Commission. It also tasked the delegation to seek a clearer definition of the role of EU foreign minister and the relation of that office to the EU president. The government also wants a clearer definition in the proposed constitution of the president's role. The Czech government also wants the continuation of the current arrangement, whereby decisions on taxation and finances must be unanimously agreed. Spidla noted that the tasks might be subject to change, since the delegation's mandate is to be debated on 7 October in the lower house. President Vaclav Klaus attended the cabinet meeting -- the first time he has done so since taking office in March. MS
...WHILE VISEGRAD FOUR PREMIERS HOLD CONSULTATIONS IN CENTRAL BOHEMIA...
At a meeting of the prime ministers of the Visegrad Four countries held in Dobris, central Bohemia, on 1 October, the heads of government from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia concluded that their positions on the proposed European constitution are close on many points, CTK and TASR reported. Czech Prime Minister Spidla said after the meeting that he and his colleagues -- Peter Medgyessy, Leszek Miller, and Mikulas Dzurinda -- do not wish to "coordinate [positions] at any cost" and that it is sufficient that those positions are similar on many points. RFE/RL quoted Spidla as saying that "unanimous agreement" was reached on the need to have the EU Commission function on the base of the "one country-one commissioner" principle. The four prime ministers also agreed on the need for a rotating chairmanship of the Council of Ministers. They also emphasized that they do not want the envisaged European defense system to be built at the expense of weakening NATO. MS
...DISAGREEING ON MINORITY RIGHTS
The Czech, Polish, and Slovak prime ministers refused to support the position of their Hungarian counterpart Medgyessy on the need to have a reference to minority rights included in the proposed European constitution, TASR reported. RFE/RL quoted Slovak Prime Minister Dzurinda as saying: "The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms of the EU defends the rights of minorities and [that charter] is also included in the draft of the EU constitution. We consider that right and appropriate." MS
SLOVAK COALITION HAS NEW CONFLICT TO FIGHT OVER...
According to a TASR report, the conflict-ridden four-party center-right Slovak coalition on 1 October added to its long list of issues of contention a new problem. Hungarian Coalition Party Chairman Bela Bugar said his formation cannot agree and will not forget the position taken on 29 September by Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan in Brussels, when he opposed Budapest's proposal to have collective minority rights mentioned in the envisaged European constitution. Bugar said that for the Hungarian minority in Slovakia the issue is an existential one. Kukan countered by saying that every Slovak government since 1993 has been opposed to collective minority rights and the current cabinet is no different. Kukan said it was both unrealistic and unfair of the Hungarian government to bring up this issue on the eve of the Intergovernmental Conference in Rome, when Budapest is well aware that it has never managed to enlist support for its position. Kukan also denied that he criticized Hungary at the Brussels meeting, saying: "Do not make a hero of me.... I mentioned neither Budapest, nor Hungary, nor national minorities in my address" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2003). MS
...AND MAYBE MORE THAN ONE
Foreign Minister Kukan also used the word "unrealistic" to describe the position taken by the junior coalition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) towards the envisaged European constitution. A planned cabinet meeting that was to discuss the position of the Slovak delegation in Rome had to be postponed due to the KDH's insistence that Slovakia seek to remove from the document any mention of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. According to the KDH, that mention could result in imposing on Slovakia the exercise of rights that are not acknowledged by Slovak legislation, such as same-sex marriage. MS
HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER EMPHASIZES MINORITY RIGHTS IN UN SPEECH
Laszlo Kovacs on 1 October told the UN General Assembly in New York that Hungary is committed to promoting the international protection of minority rights, Hungarian radio reported. Regional agreements exist, but there is still no universal document on the protection of these rights, Kovacs said. Hungary believes that the UN is capable of addressing that need, he concluded. Speaking about Iraq, Kovacs said the country's reconstruction should be a priority, and suggested that the UN play a role in restoring Iraqi sovereignty. MSZ
SPEAKER OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SAYS MACEDONIA WILL NOT FACE PROBLEMS OVER ICC
Patrick Cox, speaker of the European Parliament, told Macedonian legislators on 1 October that their decision to support the U.S. position on the International Criminal Court (ICC) will not have a negative impact on the country's relations with the EU. "Brussels has never placed Macedonia before the option EU or the U.S.A.," MIA quoted Cox as saying. He added, however, that being before the ICC is better than being in Guantanamo Bay, RFE/RL's Macedonian broadcasters reported. The Macedonian parliament recently ratified an extradition-immunity agreement with the United States prohibiting the handover of each other's citizens to the ICC. In July, Cox had urged Macedonia not to ratify the agreement (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 July and 17 September 2003). Outgoing French Ambassador to Macedonia Francois Teral told "Utrinski vesnik" of 27 September that the EU did not press Macedonia over the issue "because here in Macedonia and in the region, we are satisfied with the cooperation between the Europeans and the Americans. We did not want to jeopardize this good cooperation for external reasons." UB
MACEDONIA SCRAPS TEXTBOOK CALLING U.S. 'TERRORIST'
The Macedonian authorities have dismissed as "unacceptable" the anti-American views expressed by three prominent professors in a new university textbook entitled "The Defense Book," and have ordered the text changed before it is introduced at two state-run universities, dpa reported on 1 October. The book calls U.S. foreign policy an "example of international terrorism" and refers to the United States and NATO as "aggressors." The text nonetheless hails NATO membership as an important goal of Macedonian foreign policy and notes examples of Western-style reforms in the Macedonian military. Press reports about the text "shocked" leading political parties and public opinion, the news agency added. Macedonia's security policy depends heavily on Western assistance. Many ethnic Macedonians consider the United States prejudiced toward the ethnic Albanians and the Muslims of the Balkans. PM
SERBIAN HARD-LINERS PICK PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
On 30 September, the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) nominated Tomislav Nikolic as its candidate in the 16 November Serbian presidential elections, Serbian media reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24, 29, and 30 September 2003). The party's leader, Vojislav Seselj, surrendered voluntarily to the Hague-based war crimes tribunal in February (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 and 24 February 2003). PM
SERBIAN DOCTORS AND PHARMACISTS ON STRIKE
Some 12,000 members of the Doctors' and Pharmacists' Union of Serbia (SLFS) went on strike on 2 October for better pay, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. Hospitals and clinics will handle only emergency cases, births, and children's illnesses during the strike. PM
BOSNIAN SERB COMMUNICATIONS CHIEFS TOLD TO RESIGN
On 1 October, Republika Srpska Prime Minister Dragan Mikerevic told the top managers of Telekom Srpske to quit, threatening unspecified legal measures if they do not, RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service reported. The move comes in response to a report by international auditors arguing that bad management and dubious contract awards cost Telekom Srpske about $22.7 million annually. In related news, the Office of the High Representative noted that the replacement of the management of Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske earlier this year has not led to an end to apparent problems of fraud and embezzlement there (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 and 27 February and 7 March 2003). PM
U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS STILL SUFFERING IN ROMANIA
The U.S. Congressional Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the United States Helsinki Commission, said on 1 October that Romania has made major progress in the field of human rights observance and building democracy, but that more needs to be done, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. A Helsinki Commission briefing was called to discuss the status of ethnic minorities in Romania, the growth of civil society, the fight against corruption, and progress in democratic development. The commission said these issues are likely to affect the outcome of the parliamentary elections that will take place in 2004 or 2005. Members of the panel noted that Romania faces widespread poverty and that corruption and bureaucratic delays hinder foreign investment. MS
ROMANIAN HEALTH MINISTER COMES UP WITH EXPLANATION FOR ALLEGED PLAGIARISM
Health Minister Mircea Beuran, who was recently accused of plagiarizing French and U.S. medical treatises, said on 1 October that the similarities between some of his works and those of previously published tracts are due to the fact that "[medical] symptoms are the same everywhere and treatment for them is very often similar," Mediafax reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2003). President Ion Iliescu said the same day that Beuran has "done a very good thing: he checked how things are handled in the U.S. and in European states, but he should have mentioned that he was inspired by this-or-that work." Romanian media reported that Beuran's predecessor as health minister, Daniela Bartos, who was also one of the alleged "authors" of the plagiarized treatises, resigned from her position as a university lecturer rather than face sanctions. MS
ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT OPENS INQUIRY INTO ROMANY 'ROYAL WEDDING'...
Government Secretary Serban Mihailescu announced on 1 October that the authorities have opened an inquiry into the "royal wedding" of self-proclaimed Romany "king" Florin Cioaba's underage daughter, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 2003). Also on 1 October, police summoned the 15-year-old bridegroom, Mihai Birita, for questioning. He could face charges of sexual assault of an underage person, although he is himself underage. Birita told police in Sibiu that his marriage to 12-year-old Ana Maria was "our own decision," Mediafax reported. Cioaba on 1 October sent an "open letter" to European Parliament deputy Baroness Emma Nicholson in response to the letter she wrote to the Romanian government denouncing the "rape." Cioaba accused her of bringing the wrath of the international community on his family without being sufficiently informed of the case. "The sexual abuse about which you are talking is but an invention by the international media in its quest for scandals," Cioaba wrote. He demanded that the baroness "respect people's rights to self-determination, including their right to follow customs and traditions." MS
...WHICH IS TAKEN UP BY EUROPEAN COMMISSION
In a statement published in Brussels, EU Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou said that "Romania has embarked on...[the] eventual membership of the EU with all that this entails in terms of respect of fundamental human rights," Reuters reported. Diamantopoulou said that "when fundamental human rights and certain past traditions collide...it is the traditions that must adapt and the human rights principles that must prevail." The Greek commissioner also called on Roma to end what Reuters called "the double standard" of pleading for help in fighting discrimination, but abusing the human rights of its own people. "The Roma need to do their part by allowing their children...[the] fundamental right to emotional and physical development, ...rather than prematurely forcing them into adulthood," she said. MS
MOLDOVAN PREMIER SERENE ON ROMANIAN COUNTERPART'S VISA STATEMENT
Moldovan Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev said on 1 October that he considers "normal" his Romanian counterpart Adrian Nastase's announcement regarding the future introduction of visa requirements for Moldovan citizens, RFE/RL's Chisinau bureau reported. Tarlev said Moldova would have acted in a similar manner, had it been in Romania's position. Nastase on 30 September told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that Romania will have to introduce visa requirements for Moldovan citizens after finalizing its accession negotiations with the EU (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 2003). Tarlev also said the visa issue will be on the agenda of his planned meeting this month with Nastase. MS
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ADDRESSES PACE
Speaking before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on 1 October, President Vladimir Voronin said Moldova might not have overcome its political crisis in early 2003 without PACE's intervention, Flux and Infotag reported. Many of the events that took place between January and April this year, when large-scale antigovernment demonstrations took place in Moldova, remain unexplained and "bizarre," he said. However, he said one day he will reveal "the real objectives pursued by those who organized the anticommunist demonstrations." Voronin said neither of the two sides confronting one another during that period found it easy to accept PACE's recommendations. Nonetheless, he said, his administration "fully and unconditionally implemented the bulk of the recommendations, which restored political peace to the country." Voronin also said Moldova's aim to join the EU is "an ambitious and difficult objective," but his country has no alternative. This, he added, is also why Moldova has opted for federalization, since it is the only solution to reintegration "based on democracy and nonviolence." MS
BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER STRESSES NEED FOR UNITY ON IRAQ
Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski in his address to the UN General Assembly on 30 September said Bulgaria's highest priority as a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council is to build unity in that body, vsekiden.com reported. "Stability in Iraq is in the interest of the international community," Saxecoburggotski said. "Bulgaria is working on the diplomatic scene to find a formula that would allow the Iraqis to regain their sovereignty with the support of the UN." UB
BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS DEMAND HALT TO PRIVATIZATION
Opposition Socialist Party (BSP) Deputy Chairman Rumen Ovcharov said on 1 October that the government should halt all privatization deals, including the sale of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTK) and of regional electricity distributors, mediapool.bg reported. Ovcharov said global economic development prevents the sale of such electricity distributors at favorable conditions. Citing the examples of Denmark, Sweden, and the United States, Ovcharov demanded that Bulgaria's energy sector be restructured before it is privatized. He also announced that the BSP will challenge the BTK privatization because it is not in the country's interest (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4, 18, and 22 September 2003). UB
TEHRAN TRIES TO CONTROL DOMESTIC NUCLEAR DEBATE
Iran's Supreme National Security Council has submitted to the Islamic Culture and Guidance Ministry its assessment arguing that the mass media should, in the words of the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) on 20 September, "refrain from discussing arguments and analyses or raising any issues that might cause misperceptions about the [Additional] Protocol [to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT]." The Supreme National Security Council argued that media organizations should coordinate their reporting with government officials who deal with the issue, ISNA reported.
This is not the first government decree laying out the line the media should follow in reporting on domestic affairs. Considering officials' contradictory statements about the nuclear issue, which stand in sharp contrast with constant leadership demands for unity, it is not surprising that the government wants to control the reportage.
Iranian representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali-Akbar Salehi said on 22 September that Iran does not have the technical capability of producing the enriched uranium needed for nuclear weapons, dpa reported, citing state television. "For all experts, it is quite clear that the enriched uranium was not made in Iran, but imported, as the country is technically not capable of performing this process," he said. Salehi also said that Iran does not have the facilities or equipment for enriching uranium and rejected all accusations that Iran is seeking a nuclear-weapons capability.
Yet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a 17 September speech that Iranians have enriched uranium themselves.
A 25 September report from AFP, citing anonymous diplomats, said that UN nuclear inspectors have discovered traces of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in environmental samples taken at the Kalaye Electric Company near Tehran. The inspectors do not know if the HEU was produced in Iran or if it was on equipment that Iran imported from another country. HEU was previously found in samples taken at Natanz. There is speculation that equipment Iran purchased from Pakistan could have been contaminated, although Pakistan has denied providing Iran with nuclear technology
Further intra-Iranian controversy over the nuclear issue was revealed when a Foreign Ministry official said Tehran should have signed the Additional Protocol a while ago. If Iran does not want to produce nuclear weapons, Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Aminzadeh asked on 22 September, "Why do we hesitate to sign the [Additional] Protocol to show our friends that our nuclear program is transparent and open to United Nations inspection?" Aminzadeh said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), that Iran should have signed the Additional Protocol ahead of the September meeting of the IAEA's board of governors, and in fact, Iran should have signed it "several years ago." The international community will not allow Iran's nuclear program to progress if it fails to sign, he warned.
Luristan Province parliamentary representative Alaedin Borujerdi, who serves on the National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, on 23 September expressed strong disapproval of Aminzadeh's comments, Fars News Agency reported. "In principle, decisions in respect of such an important issue are within the jurisdiction of the Supreme National Security Council," Borujerdi said. "Such remarks will bear adverse repercussions for Iran." Borujerdi added that Aminzadeh should have defended Iran's stance and objected to the "unprincipled and illegal action of the [IAEA] board of governors."
Not only should Iran not sign the Additional Protocol, substitute Tehran Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati told his congregation on 19 September according to state radio, but it should withdraw from the NPT altogether. Jannati noted that North Korea withdrew from the NPT, and other countries have not even signed it. Under the more intrusive regime of the Additional Protocol, Jannati warned, inspectors could examine the parliament building or the supreme leader's office.
"In a nutshell, the Muslim people of Iran, the government and nation of Iran, will not accept this humiliation. And all of them will, God willing, stand firm against the criminal and conspiring America." After the crowd finished chants that included "Death to America," Jannati said: "We must one day finally settle scores with America. The horn of this ghoul must one day be cut off in this world. This cannot go on."
While they are not united on the IAEA's 12 September resolution on Iran or on the wisdom of signing the Additional Protocol, Iranian officials are unanimous in denying that they have any intention of developing nuclear weapons. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, for example, told the United Nations on 25 September: "Iran does not have a nuclear-weapons program, nor does it intend to embark on one. Thus we have nothing to hide and in principle have no problem with the Additional Protocol." Kharrazi prefaced that assertion by saying Iran will continue to "vigorously pursue its peaceful nuclear program."
President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami stressed at a 22 September military parade in Tehran, state television reported, that Iran has a defensive military strategy and has "no intention of gaining access to weapons of mass destruction." "Our region is the center of aggression, terror, and storage of weapons of mass destruction, and the center is the Zionist regime," he said. "The biggest atomic arsenal is in Israel and the worst kind of state terror occurs in Palestine."
Ayatollah Khamenei said in a 20 September speech to members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and Basij of Mazandaran and Gulistan provinces that concerns about Iran's nuclear pursuits are baseless. Khamenei warned that an unidentified enemy has launched a massive propaganda campaign against Iran, state radio reported. "They have launched a deceptive propaganda campaign, saying that the Iranian nation is making efforts to acquire nuclear weapons," Khamenei said. "They are trying to portray the Islamic Republic of Iran as a threat to regional and global peace."
AFGHAN LEADER WILL SEEK RE-ELECTION...
Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai told the BBC News "Talking Point Live" program on 1 October that he will be a candidate for the presidential elections in Afghanistan scheduled for June 2004, according to the station's website (http://news.bbc.co.uk). Karzai added that he is establishing his own political movement. The Afghan leader indicated that political parties will be banned from having their own militias. The law on political parties passed by the Afghan cabinet on 8 September stipulates that political parties may not "have military organizations or affiliations with armed forces" (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 18 September 2003). If Karzai is able to enforce the measure, most of his chief rivals -- both inside and outside his administration -- will either have to disband their forces or face elimination from the election process. AT
...BUT HINTS THAT ELECTION MIGHT BE POSTPONED
Karzai told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on 30 September that he has not ruled out postponing the Afghan presidential election slated for 2004, Radio Canada International reported on 1 October. The Afghan leader said his administration's goal remains holding elections by June because the UN mandate that provides legitimacy to the current administration expires on that date. However, Karzai added that Afghanistan lacks a list of voters and other essential requisites to holding national elections. A major hurdle, beyond the fact that Kabul's legitimacy does not extend to all parts of Afghanistan, lies in the fact that no one knows precisely how many people live in Afghanistan. The last census was conducted in 1975. AT
AFGHAN CHAIRMAN SAYS NO PLANS TO ELIMINATE TALIBAN
In his interview with the BBC on 1 October (see above), Chairman Karzai said his administration's policies do not include eliminating the Taliban. He said that only a very small minority of former members of the ousted Taliban regime is involved in terrorist acts. Karzai added that most ordinary Taliban returned to their villages, adding, "They are part of our country." Karzai said he is opposed to terrorism but not to peaceful Taliban, who are welcome "to come back to be part of Afghanistan." Karzai has sought to gain the support of some elements of the former Taliban regime in an effort to limit the destructive activities of neo-Taliban and bolster his own political standing among Pashtuns (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 3 July and 18 September 2003 and "RFE/RL Newsline," 2, 3, and 15 September). AT
PASHTUN TRIBES WANT REPRESENTATION IN LOYA JIRGA
Representatives of the Afridi, Mohmand, Safi, and Shinwar tribes demanded representation in the Constitutional Loya Jirga scheduled to take place in December, Afghanistan Television reported on 30 September. The tribal representatives from eastern Afghanistan met in Kabul with Mohammad Karim Khalili, a vice chairman in the Transitional Administration. Representing all of the attendees, one tribal leader said the Transitional Administration has not allocated a single seat in the upcoming Constitutional Loya Jirga for those four tribes. Khalili told the visitors to elect one individual to work as their representative with the administration in trying to solve the problem. Afghan civil-society representatives have complained that the allocation of 500 seats for the Constitutional Loya Jirga is somewhat unclear (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 17 July and 7 August 2003). AT
IRANIAN PRESIDENT PROPOSES NEW SCIENCE, RESEARCH, AND TECHNOLOGY MINISTER
In a 1 October letter to the legislature, President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami has proposed Jafar Tofiqi Darian as the next minister of science, research, and technology, IRNA reported. Voting on Darian's appointment is scheduled to take place on 4 October. Tofiqi currently serves as deputy for educational affairs in the ministry. Science, Research, and Technology Minister Mustafa Moin submitted his resignation in late July mainly because the Guardians Council had rejected a bill for restructuring his ministry. In early September, the legislature did not give his proposed successor, Reza Faraji-Dana, the vote of confidence he needed to start the job (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 4 August and 8 September 2003). BS
IRANIAN REFORMISTS DISCUSS UPCOMING PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
An anonymous member of parliament said that President Khatami and the reformist 2nd of Khordad groups will meet on 2 October to discuss the upcoming parliamentary election, "Entekhab" reported on 1 October. The election is scheduled for 20 February, and the main topics of discussion will be the "twin bills" and the conditions under which the reformist groups will compete in the election. One of the twin bills aims to reduce or eliminate the Guardians Council's role in vetting candidates for elected office, so its status will have a direct impact on the election. Although the legislature has approved the twin bills, the Guardians Council has rejected them. President Khatami has vowed that the legislation will win approval (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 October 2003). BS
IRANIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY CONCERNED ABOUT ELECTION SUPERVISORY BOARDS
Interior Minister Abdolvahed Musavi-Lari said after the 1 October cabinet meeting that he is concerned about the factional orientation of the election supervisory boards, ILNA reported. "We think that we are going to face difficulty when it comes to approving the qualifications [of candidates for the parliamentary election]," he said. In some places, he said, the boards are biased and favor a particular faction. Musavi-Lari suggested that there is little his ministry can do about this situation, saying: "Supervision is not in our control. They have already made their choices and done their work." The central Election Supervisory Board appointed Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati as its chairman on 20 September, state radio reported. Jannati is secretary of the Guardians Council, which is tasked with supervising elections. BS
KUWAIT REPORTEDLY FOILS ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE BIOLOGICAL WARHEADS OUT OF IRAQ
The Kuwaiti security services have reportedly foiled an attempt by Iraqi nationals to smuggle biological warheads and chemical "materials" from Iraq to a European country via Kuwait, "Al-Siyasah" reported on 1 October. An unidentified security source told the daily that the Kuwaiti Criminal Investigation Department seized the materials after that department tracked the Iraqi suspects upon their entry into Kuwait. The suspects were also reportedly in possession of stolen artifacts from the Iraqi National Museum. Kuwaiti Brigadier General Abd al-Hamid al-Awadi reportedly said the chemical materials alone are valued at around $60 million. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah released a statement on 2 October acknowledging the seizure of artifacts and "other items," but did not elaborate on what those items were, Reuters reported. In response to a question from "Al-Qabas" newspaper regarding the possible seizure of biological weapons, Reuters reported that al-Sabah said, "Up to now we have not verified this." Unidentified Kuwaiti security sources called the "Al-Siyasah" report groundless, Reuters reported. KR
IRAQI MINISTRY PLANNING CENSUS
The Iraqi Planning Ministry has formed a committee to prepare for a nationwide census, KUNA reported on 1 October. Planning Minister Mahdi al-Hafiz told the news agency that the census is an important step toward the transfer of power to a sovereign Iraqi government, because it will serve as the basis for the electoral process, as it will be used to compile a list of eligible voters for national elections. Al-Hafiz said he hopes the census will be carried out by next year. The census will also track the number of Iraqis living inside and outside Iraq, and will collect information about the ethnic and religious diversity of the country. The last Iraqi census, carried out under the deposed regime of Saddam Hussein in 1997, did not include the autonomous Kurdish areas in the north. The details of that census were not widely publicized by the regime. KR
IRAQI GOVERNING COUNCIL WARNS POLITICAL PARTIES, RELIGIOUS GROUPS AGAINST PARTISANSHIP
The Iraqi Governing Council has reportedly warned religious groups and political parties not to interfere in the employment policies of state institutions, KUNA reported on 1 October. The council said in a statement that one's qualifications and skills should be the only factor in ministries' decisions and administrative affairs pertaining to unemployment, promotion, and dismissal, and that partisanship should not play a role. The statement is likely related to an earlier decision by the governing council to consider reinstating some former Ba'ath Party members who lost their jobs as a result of the Coalition Provisional Authority's de-Ba'athification policy. KR
IRAQI WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL PROPOSED
The Iraqi Governing Council is preparing to form a war crimes tribunal to try members of the deposed Hussein regime for crimes against its citizens, washingtonpost.com reported on 2 October. "All these people who were buried in mass graves, all these people who were tortured, all these people who were forcibly deported, all these people who had properties confiscated were victims," council member Samir Shakir Mahmud said. "And they were victims in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions." Mahmud said the council is committed to seeing that justice is served, but added that a statute establishing the war crimes tribunal will address only "mass crimes," the daily reported. International human rights groups have expressed concern over an Iraqi tribunal process, and instead have called for independent international experts to oversee a tribunal. The United States opposes international proceedings for Iraqi war crimes and has said it prefers Iraqis to oversee a tribunal. KR
U.S. SUBMITS DRAFT IRAQ RESOLUTION TO SECURITY COUNCIL
The United States submitted a draft resolution on Iraq to the UN Security Council on 1 October, international media reported. The draft allows for a UN role in the rebuilding of Iraq, but reportedly falls short of meeting European demands for a concrete date for the transfer of power back to Iraqis. It does call for Iraq's administration to be "progressively undertaken by the evolving structures of the Iraqi interim administration," and calls on the Iraqi Governing Council to set a timetable for the drafting of an Iraqi constitution and a date for national elections. The draft also calls for the establishment of a multinational force to contribute to security in Iraq and calls on UN member states to contribute financial aid and troops to this end. U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte said on 1 October that the United States would like to see the resolution passed before the international donors conference on Iraq, scheduled for 24 October in Madrid. The U.S. holds the Security Council presidency for the month of October. The text of the draft resolution can be viewed on MSNBC's website (http://www.msnbc.com). KR