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Newsline - October 5, 2005


RUSSIA-EU SUMMIT ENDS WITHOUT BREAKTHROUGH...
The EU-Russia talks in London between President Vladimir Putin, European Commission officials, and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 October 2005) ended with no tangible results and no agreements have been signed, RFE/RL reported on 4 October. Speaking at a press conference with Blair, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, Putin announced that process was made in easing EU visa regulations for some categories of Russian citizens, including businessmen, journalists, and students, and that a visa-facilitation agreement can be signed by the end of the year, RTR and other media reported. "We believe that these arrangements are a stage that would help us approach a visa-free regime," Putin said. In response, Russia agreed to readmit illegal immigrants arriving in Europe through Russia. "Komsomolskaya pravda" noted on 5 October that although Russia has such "friends" in the EU as Germany. France, Italy, Spain, and Greece, in general the EU "does not understand us." "We ask their help in observation of ethnic Russians' rights in the Baltics, but they say you should care more about Chinese, Vietnamese, or Tajik immigrants in Russia. Or we ask them to facilitate visa entry, but they say first sign border agreements with the Baltic states." VY

...AS PUTIN SAYS EUROPE SHOULDN'T FEAR 'ENERGY DEPENDENCE' ON RUSSIA
Answering a question at the same press conference about Europe's rising dependence on exports of Russian oil and gas, President Putin said talk of energy dependence "is exaggerated," RTR reported. About one-third of Europe's oil comes from Russia either directly or through middlemen, and some countries depend on Russia for 90 percent of their gas and "so far, no one has regretted this. Everybody is content," he added. "Russia is a reliable partner and never...failed her counter-partners in Europe," Putin said. U.K. Prime Minister Blair added that he does not think that "the relationship is one of dependence, either on the Russian side or the European side. But what it is is a recognition of a very strong set of mutual interests today," AP reported. He also noted that "whether it is in respect of Iran, or the Middle East peace process, or any aspects of countries surrounding the Russian Federation, the need for us to have that close working relationship is very clear indeed." VY

MOSCOW TO INSIST ON EXTRADITION OF FORMER ATOMIC MINISTER TO RUSSIA
Justice Minister Yurii Chaika said that the Swiss government's decision to extradite former Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgenii Adamov to the United States (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 October 2005) should be reversed and he should be returned to Russia as a holder of state secrets, "Rossiiskaya gazeta" and other media reported on 5 October. Chaika added that the Swiss argument that after being punished in the United States Adamov can be extradited to Russia doesn't work, as the countries have no extradition agreement. The Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) meanwhile denied Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov's statement that Adamov has not been in possession of state secrets since 2000 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 October 2005), "Rossiiskaya gazeta" reported. According to Rosatom, Adamov will be in possession of important secrets for at least six more years. Viktor Mikhailov, Adamov's predecessor as minister and now director of Rosatom's Strategic Stability Institute, said Adamov knows not only the most sensitive secrets of his sector, but those of the intelligence services as well as information transferred to Russian theoreticians and nuclear designers by the Foreign Intelligence Service and military intelligence. VY

PRO-KREMLIN PUBLISHER REJECTS ARTICLE ON MERGER OF RUSSIA AND KAZAKHSTAN...
The editor in chief of the influential weekly "Ekspert," Valerii Fadeev, who is reputedly an unofficial presidential adviser, said that an article in current issue of "Finans" magazine (http://www.finansmag.ru/20712) on the possible unification of Russia and Kazakhstan to pave the way for a third term for President Putin is wrong, TV-Tsentr reported on 4 October. According to the "Finans" article, the Kremlin is now planning unification not with Belarus, but with economically prosperous Kazakhstan, to keep Putin in office after 2008 and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has agreed to this. Fadeev rejected this premise, saying that Putin himself has not only repeatedly denied his intention to continue as president, but also conceptualized it. Putin said that the preservation of constitutional principles is much more important that personal ambitions and even public opinion, "and I agree," Fadeev said. "I believe that most voters, after the chaos of the USSR's disintegration and hardship of reforms, are lining up to vote once again for Putin, whom they associate with stability and economic improvement," he said. But this is a case where the "voice of the pro-Putin majority" should be ignored, Fadeev added. VY

...AS DOES KAZAKH DEPUTY MINISTER
Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Vadim Zverkov dismissed on 4 October as ridiculous the article published in the 3-9 October issue of "Finans" suggesting that the Russian presidential administration is studying the possibility of uniting Russia and Kazakhstan to form a new state in which President Putin would serve as president with current Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev as his deputy, Interfax reported. At the same time, Zverkov stressed that Russia and Kazakhstan continue to regard further "integration" as a shared foreign-policy priority. LF

RUSSIANS LIKE PUTIN, BUT WANT TO ELECT NEW PRESIDENT WITHOUT HIS INTERVENTION
A majority of Russians support President Putin but only 12 percent believe that he should choose his own successor, "Vedomosti" reported on 4 October. According to a poll conducted by the Levada Analytical Center in mid-September among 1,600 respondents, 44 percent said that they want Putin to stay for a third term, and 34 percent want him to go and allow the electorate to choose a new president without his intervention, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, 77 percent said that they wouldn't know whom to vote for in Putin's stead. VY

POLITICAL ANALYST TO RUN ELECTION CAMPAIGN FOR JAILED GRU OFFICER
Stanislav Belkovskii, the founder of the National Strategy Institute, will head the election campaign for the 4 December Moscow Duma by-election of jailed military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov, accused of the attempted assassination of Unified Energy Systems CEO Anatolii Chubais (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 and 29 March and 9 April 2005), apn.ru reported on 3 October. Kvachkov is running in the Preobrazhenskii District in southern Moscow. According to Kvachkov campaign spokeswoman Tatyana Mironova, Kvachkov, who is running on a national-patriotic platform, considers liberal Mikhail Khodorkovskii, with whom he once shared a prison cell (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 and 15 September 2005), an ally. She added that in the previous Duma election in December 2004, Kvachkov voted for the Motherland party. Meanwhile, Kvachkov's lawyer Alevtin Moshanskii said on 4 October that Kvachkov's candidacy papers have been signed by the prison director and he personally took them to the district election commission, as the documents sent by mail were lost, RTR reported. VY

ANOTHER ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM UNDONE
Russian President Putin has disbanded the Federal Agriculture Agency and reunited it with the Agriculture Ministry, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced on 4 October, Interfax reported. The agency was set up in March 2004 on the eve of the presidential election, when some ministries were merged and new federal agencies and services were set up (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10, 11, and 15 March 2004). Fradkov said "the ministry [alone] can better address the solution of systemic issues than the ministry and the agency duplicating each other." Aleksei Makarkin, deputy director of the Center for Political Technology, told gazeta.ru that the original three-part schema of the administrative reform, which created a ministry, service, and agency, was "pretty on paper," but "in some specific areas, this worked but in others it didn't, because part of the agency was artificially separated from the ministry.... In the area of agriculture, the splitting up of the Agriculture Ministry had a mechanistic character, [and] its abolishment is a corrective reform. Besides that, such a decision creates an important precedent -- it is possible to reduce the number of federal agencies into a few ministries." JAC

SIBERIAN REGION SET TO LOSE ELECTED LEADER...
Presidential envoy to the Siberian Federal District Anatolii Kvashnin has submitted a list of candidates for the post of president of the Altai Republic that does not include the name of incumbent President Mikhail Lapshin, Regnum reported on 4 October. Lapshin's term will expire in January 2006, according to Regnum. The list includes the names of State Duma Deputy Sergei Pekpeev (Unified Russia) and the director of the Federal Security Service in Chita Oblast, Vyacheslav Poletaev, among others. Lapshin has been under pressure for many months, having faced a vote of no confidence this year and a court case last year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 September 2004 and 1 April 2005). Answering reporters' questions about the candidates, Kvashnin said that the economy of the republic has taken several steps back and the level of unemployment has increased by 50 percent over an unspecified period of time. "Mikhail Ivanovich [Lapshin] works hard and does much, but, excuse me, [economic] growth is growth," he said. JAC

...AS CASPIAN LEADER LOOKS FOR ANOTHER TERM
Kalymkia President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has asked President Putin for an expression of confidence in his administration, Russian news agencies reported on 4 October. The press secretary for the presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District, Fedor Shcherbakov, told reporters that the envoy is currently conducting consultations with deputies in the republican parliament and leaders of political parties in the republic. Gazeta.ru noted that so far no regional leader who has sought a reappointment from Putin has been disappointed. It also noted that Ilyumzhinov is considered one of the "most odious" regional leaders. "In terms of the number of accusations of violating democratic principles, he surpasses even such overlords as [Bashkir President] Murtaza Rakhimov and [Daghestan's State Council Chairman] Magomedali Magomedov." Natalaya Manshikova, director of the Union of Rightist Forces branch in Kalmykia, told the website that Kalmykia's economy is one of the most depressed in the whole district -- second only to Chechnya. JAC

OLIGARCH ASSOCIATION SEEN BECOMING DE-POLITICIZED
"Komsomolskaya pravda" declared on 4 October that the appointment of former State Duma Deputy and former Economy Minister Aleksandr Shokhin as head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) heralds a new stage in the relationship between business and the state. "[Former RSPP head Arkadii] Volskii with his political connections and his extensive experience with the bureaucratic apparatus was an ideal lobbyist-defender for entrepreneurs against the pressure of the state machine," according to the daily. "Shokhin, with his experience working in the government, can become a mediator between the ministers and capitalists, who, whether they want to or not, must cooperate." Shokhin was elected last week after three votes were held, according to politcom.ru. Politcom.ru opined that the selection of Shokhin was the "more pragmatic" choice compared to his competitor in the race, RSPP Vice President Igor Yurgens. Yurgens and his supporters wanted to fight for the political interests of business; "however, many members of RSPP understand that under current conditions this is impossible." JAC

LEGISLATOR FINDS VOTERS LESS THAN LIVELY
Would-be Bryansk city legislator Viktor Chumakov has been tirelessly checking the voter lists in the city of Bryansk, and has discovered more than 500 "dead souls" on the list, REN-TV reported on 4 October. The Bryansk Election Commission had deemed that the voter turnout in the last election for city council was below the required minimum and declared the results invalid. However, Chumakov has found that there are dozens of names on the voter lists of people who are in prison serving long terms and have lost their right to vote. Chumakov has won more than one battle in court trying to win his right to serve on the city council but the election commission has been at a loss regarding how to cancel the cancellation of an election. There is no precedent for this, according to the station. JAC

MORE INGUSH LOBBY AGAINST PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO LAW ON REPRESSED PEOPLES
Individual groups of Ingush continue to address letters of protest to Russian President Putin and to the head of Russia's Constitutional Court, Valerii Zorkin, requesting that no changes be made to the 1991 Law on the Rehabilitation of Repressed Peoples, kavkazweb.net reported on 5 October, citing newsru.com. The parliament of North Ossetia appealed to Putin last month to annul the article of that law calling for the restoration of the internal borders between North Caucasus republics that existed prior to the deportation of the Chechens, Ingush, and other nationalities in 1943-44. Compliance with that article would entail the return to Ingushetia of Prigorodnyi District, for decades a part of North Ossetia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 September and 3 October 2005). The Committee of Soldiers Mothers of Ingushetia called the 1991 law "a sort of hymn to humanism," and warned that amending it would serve only to fuel interethnic tensions. A group of pedagogues from the town of Karabulak termed it "compensation for the inhuman treatment" of the Ingush during the years of Stalinist repression. And faculty members from an Ingushetian State University research institute argued that only "amoral persons" could adduce the slaughter of children in Beslan as their rationale for annulling the 1991 law. Meanwhile, in an interview published on 4 October in "Vremya novostei," Ingushetian President Murat Zyazikov dismissed calls for revising the law on repressed peoples as "blasphemy." Zyazikov said that the number of Ingush who fled Prigorodnyi District during fighting in November 1992 and who wish to return there has been finally determined at some 50,000, and he sees no obstacle to implementing Putin's decree calling for their repatriation by the end of 2006. LF

ARMENIA HOPES EU GREEN LIGHT WILL TRIGGER SHIFT IN TURKISH POLICY
In a statement released on 4 October, the Armenian Foreign Ministry expressed the hope that the decision the previous day by the EU to embark on accession talks with Turkey will impel that country "to open the border with Armenia as soon as possible," RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. The statement also reiterated Yerevan's hopes that "during the [accession-talks] process Turkey will recognize the Armenian genocide" committed in Ottoman Turkey in 1915. The statement noted that in a 28 September resolution, the EU called on Turkey to acknowledge the genocide, and termed such acknowledgement a prerequisite for eventual EU membership (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 September 2005). It is not, however, a formal precondition for Turkish accession to the EU. LF

DATE SET FOR ARMENIAN REFERENDUM
President Robert Kocharian signed a decree on 4 October scheduling the nationwide referendum on amendments to the constitution for 27 November, Noyan Tapan reported. At a meeting last month between Kocharian and the three parties represented in the coalition government, the date was tentatively set for 20 November (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 September 2005). LF

ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKER SAYS STATE SHOULD COMPENSATE FOR LOST SAVINGS DEPOSITS
Artur Baghdasarian demanded on 4 October that the government earmark funds in the 2006 draft budget for compensating those people whose Soviet-era savings bank deposits were wiped out by hyperinflation during the early 1990s, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. Baghdasarian claimed that at a meeting last week between his Orinats Yerkir party, its coalition partners, the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutiun, and President Kocharian, agreement was reached that the parliament will pass the draft bill calling for such compensation that he first unveiled last year. He warned the two parties not to renege on that agreement. Galust Sahakian, who heads the HHK parliamentary faction, told Noyan Tapan on 4 October that he believes an effort should be made to compensate for peoples' losses "in some degree" beginning in 2006, but he doubts international financial organizations will provide funds for that purpose. LF

AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITIONISTS END HUNGER STRIKE
Responding to a request by Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, the imam of Baku's unregistered Djuma Mosque, six members of the opposition Azadlyq election bloc suspended late on 4 October the hunger strike they began on 30 September to protest reprisals and violations by the Azerbaijani authorities of election-campaign regulations in the run-up to the 6 November parliamentary ballot, Turan and zerkalo.az reported on 4 and 5 October, respectively. Also on 4 October, Human Rights Watch released a statement (http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2005/10/04/azerba11819.htm) condemning police violence against opposition supporters on 25 September and 1 October and calling on the international community to demand that the Azerbaijani leadership respect the right to freedom of assembly. "Nezavisimaya gazeta" commented, however, on 5 October that the Azerbaijani authorities appear impervious to such international criticism and pressure and seem to care little if at all for international public opinion. LF

GEORGIA TAKES ISSUE WITH RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT ON SOUTH OSSETIA
In a statement released on 5 October (http://www.mfa.gov.ge/news.php?newsid=updates/EEkluAVylVCfcodjTx.php), the Georgian Foreign Ministry expressed "astonishment" that a statement released by its Russian counterpart two days earlier condemned the 20 September mortar attack from Georgian-held territory on Tskhinvali, capital of the unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia, but failed to demonstrate any interest in the investigation into the circumstances of that attack (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 October 2005). The Georgian statement also questioned why Russia did not consider it necessary to condemn the deployment of heavy weaponry in Tskhinvali on 20 September in violation of previous agreements; and it protested the Russian use of the term "president" with reference to South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity. Georgian National Security Council Secretary Gela Bezhuashvili, who met last week in Moscow with Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Valerii Loshchinin to discuss the rising tensions in the South Ossetian conflict zone, similarly told journalists in Tbilisi on 5 October that the Russian Foreign Ministry statement was "irresponsible" and "unfounded," Caucasus Press reported. LF

GEORGIAN OFFICIAL ANTICIPATES FURTHER 'PROVOCATIONS' IN SOUTH OSSETIA
Georgian Minister for Conflict Resolution Giorgi Khaindrava, who accompanied Bezhuashvili to Moscow last week, told journalists in Tbilisi on 4 October that the planned meeting between Kokoity and Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli has been postponed indefinitely, and that he sees little prospect of resuming talks on how to resolve the conflict between the breakaway republic and the central Georgian government, Georgian and Russian media reported. Khaindrava predicted further "provocations" in the conflict zone in a bid by South Ossetia and Russia "to mislead the international community," Caucasus Press reported. LF

SOUTH OSSETIA REFUSES TO HAND OVER SHOOTING SUSPECT
Also on 4 October, Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili demanded that the South Ossetian authorities hand over Ruslan Mamitov, one of three men believed to have opened fire on and seriously wounded two Georgians in the conflict zone on 1 October, Caucasus Press reported. Georgian police apprehended the other two suspects (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 October 2005). South Ossetian Foreign Minister Murat Djioev said Mamitov will not be handed over, while a spokesman for the South Ossetian Interior Ministry, which is holding Mamitov in custody, said he has admitted to opening fire on the Georgians as an act of revenge for the killing of his brother. LF

SOUTH OSSETIAN LEADER ACCUSES GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER
South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity responded at a press conference on 4 October at Interfax's Moscow headquarters to Georgia's accusations, Interfax and rustavi2.com reported. Echoing earlier allegations by lower-level Ossetian officials, Kokoity publicly accused Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili of ordering the 20 September mortar attack on Tskhinvali, saying that eyewitnesses can substantiate that accusation. Kokoity said that the accusations and criticisms leveled by Georgian officials against Russia's role in South Ossetia are part of a campaign to expel Russia from the South Caucasus, and he affirmed that Tbilisi is not empowered to insist unilaterally on the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeepers from the South Ossetian conflict zone. He warned that if Tbilisi abandons the conflict settlement process, the South Ossetian armed forces can and will guarantee the republic's security. Kokoity further denied that Russia has supplied the South Ossetian Army with heavy weaponry, explaining that the T-55 battle tanks in its possession were either captured during the fighting in 1992 or clandestinely sold to South Ossetia by renegade Georgian military personnel. LF

KAZAKH POLICE RAID YOUTH GROUP OFFICE
Nearly a dozen Kazakh police raided an office of a pro-democracy youth group on 4 October in Almaty, RFE/RL and AP reported. The raid, targeting the office of the Kahar (Hero) organization, was part of an investigation of the group for allegedly conspiring to overthrow the Kazakh government. The group was also alleged to have accepted "foreign financing" to fund its efforts, according to Kahar leader Bakhytzhan Toregozhina. She strongly rejected the charges and vowed to carry out their planned deployment of election observers to supervise the country's 4 December presidential contest. RG

NATO OFFICIAL INSPECTS KAZAKH PEACEKEEPING BATTALION
Visiting NATO special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia Robert Simmons inspected a Kazakh peacekeeping battalion on 4 October, according to Khabar TV. After witnessing a live-fire training exercise, Simmons praised the Kazbat peacekeeping unit for its "high combat readiness" and pledged to accelerate NATO cooperation activities with the Kazakh Defense Ministry. For its part, Kazakhstan has introduced broader military reforms in line with the NATO Partnership for Peace program and is planning to establish a new regional peacekeeping training center and to upgrade the Kazakh Military Institute of Foreign Languages into a regional educational center. Simmons also said that by the end of the year, NATO should adopt an individual action plan for Kazakhstan establishing specific recommendations for the improvement of the operational compatibilities of the Kazakh armed forces. RG

KAZAKH ENERGY MINISTER REPORTS ON PLANNED PIPELINE TO CHINA
Speaking at a press conference in Almaty, Vladimir Shkolnik said on 4 October that the first stage of the planned Kazakh-Chinese oil pipeline is set to be completed by December, according to gazeta.kz and "Kazakhstan Today." Construction of the projected 988-kilometer Atasu-Alashankou pipeline began in September 2004 and will have an initial annual capacity of 10 million tons, eventually increasing to 20 million tons (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 September 2004). RG

KYRGYZ PRESIDENT DOWNSIZES GOVERNMENT
Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev issued a decree on 4 October dismissing three deputy prime ministers and two ministers, the Kabar news agency and AKIpress reported. The decree relieved Daniyar Usenov, Medetbek Kerimkulov, and Ishengul Boldjurova of their posts as deputy prime ministers, and removed Tolobek Omuraliev and Toigonbek Kalmatov as ministers of local self-government and international integration and cooperation, respectively. The dismissals are part of an effort to downsize and reform government structures by reducing the number of ministerial positions. RG

TAJIK PARLIAMENT RATIFIES SECURITY AGREEMENT WITH AFGHANISTAN...
The lower house of the Tajik parliament voted on 3 October to ratify a bilateral security accord with Afghanistan, Avesta reported. The bilateral treaty, first signed in April during President Immomali Rakhmonov's state visit to Afghanistan, includes specific measures on cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism, and transnational organized crime. RG

...AND APPROVES ARMS AGREEMENT WITH THE OSCE
The Tajik parliamentary session also voted on 3 October to approve a memorandum of understanding between Tajikistan and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the proliferation and supervision of small arms and conventional weapons, according to Avesta. The agreement with the OSCE specifically sets forth coordinated measures to improve the monitoring and enforcement of laws governing the possession of arms and weapons. RG

TAJIKISTAN INTRODUCES ELECTRICITY RATIONING
Tajik Energy Ministry spokesman Nozir Yodgorov announced on 4 October new measures rationing electricity supplies, ITAR-TASS and Asia-Plus reported. The measures are to be introduced in all regions except the capital Dushanbe and seek to curb the country's rising electricity consumption. The rationing, to be effective immediately and lasting through April 2006, will result in the supply of daily electrical power being reduced to 10 hours -- five hours of electricity in the morning and five in the evening. In addition to curbing rising consumption, the move also stems from a decline in the water level in the country's reservoirs powering the main hydroelectric power plants. RG

TAJIK RAILWAY LINK TO RUSSIA RESTORED
After being closed for four years, the railway line from Tajikistan to Russia was reopened on 4 October, according to Asia-Plus. The resumption of railway traffic was marked in a ceremony attended by Tajik Transport Minister Abdurrahim Ashurov, Russian Ambassador to Tajikistan Ramazan Abdulatipov, and other officials. The Tajik-Russian railway line passes through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and has been suspended since 2001 when Russia closed the line after determining that Tajik rolling stock failed to meet Russian technical and sanitary requirements. Russia agreed to reopen the rail line only after Tajik Railways completed the modernization of its trains. RG

TURKMEN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH RUSSIAN TELECOM EXECUTIVE
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov welcomed on 4 October a senior executive of a leading Russian telecommunications firm to Ashgabat to discuss a possible investment in Turkmenistan, according to Turkmen TV. Niyazov and senior Turkmen officials met with MTS President Valerii Sidorov and reviewed the company's planed investment in the Turkmen cellular-phone and telecommunications sectors. The investment, to be financed by Russia's Rosbank, aims to expand Turkmenistan's cellular market from its current level of 50,000 subscribers, to between 250,000-300,000 mobile-phone users. RG

EU IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON UZBEKISTAN
In a meeting in Luxembourg on 3 October, the 25 foreign ministers of the European Union resolved to reduce aid, suspend a cooperation agreement, and impose an arms embargo on Uzbekistan, RFE/RL and AKIpress reported. The move is intended to punish the Uzbek government for its refusal to allow an independent investigation into the violent suppression of an uprising in the city of Andijon in May that left hundreds dead. The EU foreign ministers further banned Uzbek officials, who they characterized as responsible for "the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force," from traveling to Europe. The Uzbek government contends that 187 people died in Andijon and has strongly refuted reports that security forces opened fire on unarmed civilians. RG

FORMER LEADER OF BELARUSIAN POLES REFUSED ENTRY TO POLAND
Polish border guards on 4 October did not let Tadeusz Kruczkowski into Poland, arguing that he presents a threat to the country's security, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reported. Kruczkowski led the Union of Poles in Belarus (SPB) until March, when he was replaced by Andzelika Borys. The Belarusian Justice Ministry refused to recognize Borys and, with the collaboration of Kruczkowski, organized a new SPB congress in August, at which delegates elected a new SPB leader who is amenable to the Belarusian authorities. Warsaw said the August congress was orchestrated by Belarusian special services and refused to recognize the SPB leadership elected at that gathering (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 August 2005). Some Polish media reported during the Warsaw-Minsk standoff over the SPB that Warsaw has drafted a list of SPB activists banned from entering Poland for their collaboration with the Belarusian regime. JM

BELARUSIANS TO CONTINUE TO APPLY FOR FOREIGN-TRAVEL PERMIT
The Belarusian Constitutional Court on 4 October extended indefinitely the deadline for scrapping the country's Soviet-era foreign-travel permit system, Belapan reported. Belarusian citizens currently need to obtain a passport stamp to travel abroad. They have to fill out a special form and pay a fee of 127,500 rubles ($60) for a five-year travel permit. In 2002, the Constitutional Court recommended abolishing travel permits as of January 2006, arguing that the requirement infringes on citizens' constitutional right to freedom of movement. However, the government asked the court to extend the deadline, noting that it had failed to compile a computer database of persons subject to travel restrictions. JM

UKRAINIAN PREMIER SAYS PRIORITIES ARE ECONOMIC GROWTH, WTO ENTRY
Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov said in an interview with the "Financial Times" on 5 October that the first priority of his cabinet is to reverse the rapid slowdown of economic growth. The Ukrainian economy grew 2.8 percent in the first eight months of 2005, compared with 13.6 percent in the same period a year earlier. Yekhanurov also said he hopes the Verkhovna Rada will soon approve 12 government-proposed bills intended to support Ukraine's bid to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO). He added that he is not sure whether Ukraine will be admitted to the WTO this coming December, as President Viktor Yushchenko had aimed for. Yekhanurov confirmed that the Kryvorizhstal steel mill will go for a repeat privatization auction later this month. The mill was sold in 2004 for $800 million but the Yushchenko government canceled that tender. Now the minimum price for Kryvorizhstal has been set at $2 billion. Yekhanurov also said the government's drive to reverse privatizations made before Yushchenko came to power is "finished." JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PRAISES NEW CABINET
In a prerecorded interview with four Ukrainian television channels on 4 October, Yushchenko said that the cabinet of Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov is one of "the most pragmatic governments" that possesses "fairly ideal conditions to work productively." According to Yushchenko, Yekhanurov's cabinet will manage to stabilize the economy by the end of this year. Yushchenko announced that some regional governors will be replaced but did not specify the regions concerned. He confirmed that he is not going to undertake any "destructive actions" against the political reform that is due to take effect in January. Yushchenko did not rule out his political reunion with former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko but added: "It's impossible to make a technical repetition of that false start. We should speak about new qualities, new priorities, new relations. If Yuliya Volodymyrovna [Tymoshenko] identifies her goal as power and nothing but power, this is her choice. I'm not a partner here." JM

BOSNIAN WAR CRIMES PANEL NAMES 17,000 WHO TOOK PART IN SREBRENICA MASSACRE...
A commission investigating the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia-Herzegovina announced in Banja Luka on 4 October that it has compiled a list of 19,473 people who took part in the killing of up to 8,000 mainly Muslim males, and that it has identified 17,074 of the alleged killers by name, international and regional media reported. The commission will not publish the names but will hand them over to the Republika Srpska prosecutor's office, drawing special attention to individuals working in law enforcement, the judiciary, or as elected officials. In Sarajevo, the Office of the High Representative hailed the commission's work. That body was set up in 2003 by the Bosnian Serb authorities under international pressure and includes Muslims among its members. The Bosnian Serb authorities have acknowledged some of its previous findings, albeit in a low-key fashion. Previously, the Republika Srpska had sought to conceal or deny the truth about the massacre (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 and 12 November 2004 and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 6 September 2002). Throughout Bosnia, power remains chiefly in the hands of nationalists who were active in the 1992-95 conflict. PM

...AS NEW MASS GRAVE IS FOUND
Murat Hurtic, who heads a government forensics team in Bosnia-Herzegovina, said in Tuzla on 4 October that his staff has recovered the remains of 213 apparent Muslim victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in a mass grave in Liplje in northeast Bosnia, international and regional media reported. This seems to be a secondary mass grave, meaning that the victims were originally buried elsewhere and later exhumed with a bulldozer and reburied as part of the Bosnian Serb efforts to conceal evidence of the massacre. PM

BIG ANTICRIME SWEEP BY BOSNIAN SERBS
A joint operation by the Republika Srpska's prosecutor's office and police on 4 October in the Banja Luka area led to the arrest of about 30 people suspected of involvement in car theft rackets and other forms of organized crime, the daily "Nezavisne novine" reported. About 150 law-enforcement officers took part in the sweep. PM

SERBIAN PRESIDENT AGAIN CALLS FOR NEW ELECTIONS
Boris Tadic said in Belgrade on 5 October that Serbia needs new parliamentary elections because the governing coalition under Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has lost the trust of the voters, as public opinion polls suggest, the private Beta news agency reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 August 2005). He suggested that one way to bring about the dissolution of the parliament and the calling of new elections would be for legislators from other parties to join his opposition Democratic Party in a vote of no-confidence against Kostunica's minority government, which Tadic called "unstable." Tadic also stressed the importance of drafting a new constitution. PM

SLOVENIA OFFERS NEW CHALLENGE TO CROATIA
In the latest installment of the maritime border dispute that has bedeviled Slovenian-Croatian relations since independence in 1991, the Slovenian parliament voted on 4 October to set up a "protected zone" in the northern Adriatic, Reuters reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 August 2005, and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 17 October 2003 and 29 July 2005). Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel said that "the aim of this law is to protect sovereign rights of the Republic of Slovenia on the open sea." He also called for "a constructive dialogue with Croatia and Italy to work towards solving all questions regarding the Adriatic Sea by consensus." The Croatian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Slovenian move is legally null and void. Foreign Minister Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic called for international arbitration to resolve the issue. Rupel rejected arbitration if limited to the sea border dispute alone. Slovenia claims direct access to the open sea through the Bay of Piran chiefly on the grounds that it enjoyed such rights as part of former Yugoslavia. The Croatian interpretation is that the maritime boundaries of Croatia and Italy now block such access to the Adriatic for Slovenia. PM

PACE PRAISES MOLDOVA FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORM, OUTLINES FURTHER PRIORITIES
A session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on 4 October passed a resolution on Moldova, the Council of Europe website (http://assembly.coe.int) reported. PACE said the country has advanced significantly on the path of democratic reform during its 10-year membership of the Council of Europe, but stressed that a number of important commitments have not yet been met in a satisfactory manner. According to the resolution, the pace of reform has been slowed because, in parallel with working on its democratic institutions, Moldova has had to build its national identity and deal with a separatist regime and foreign troops in Transdniester. The resolution identified Moldova's priorities for the future as improving the functioning of democratic institutions, reinforcing the independence and efficiency of the judiciary, ensuring the freedom and pluralism of the electronic media, strengthening local democracy, raising economic performance, and fighting corruption and the trafficking of human beings and organs. JM

DECISION TO EXTRADITE ADAMOV COULD HAVE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES IN RUSSIA AND ABROAD
Switzerland's 3 October decision to extradite former Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgenii Adamov to the United States was not unexpected. However, it has unleashed a firestorm in Russian political circles and the media, threatening to become a major issue in U.S.-Russian relations for some time to come.

Adamov, who served as atomic energy minister from 1998 until 2001, is accused by the United States of embezzling some $9 million in assistance that was intended to boost security at Russian nuclear facilities. He also stands indicted in Russia on charges of abuse of office and embezzlement. But from the beginning, the case has had numerous and ominous political overtones.

Adamov's arrest on a U.S. warrant in Berne, Switzerland, on 2 May 2005 came on the heels of the 24 February Bratislava summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush. In the run-up to that summit, a document was leaked that indicated that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov had reached a landmark agreement granting Washington access to some of Russia's most sensitive nuclear facilities in order to ensure their security.

The leak outraged Russian nationalists, including many in the Duma, who forced the government to backtrack on the talks and, in the end, the document was not included on the Bratislava agenda. When Adamov was arrested just days later, the same conservatives were quick to condemn the move as an effort to pressure Moscow into granting U.S. access to the country's nuclear secrets. Despite the end of the Cold War, many in Russia continue to cling jealously to the country's military and civilian nuclear programs as indications of Russia's great-power status.

Since Adamov's arrest, Russian officials and observers have offered contradictory testimony as to whether he possesses any state secrets. Defense Minister Ivanov has said repeatedly that Adamov presents no threat to national security. He repeated this assertion on 3 October, according to ITAR-TASS. However, current Atomic Energy Agency Director Aleksandr Rumyantsev told Ekho Moskvy that "to be atomic energy minister means to know secrets." Former Atomic Energy Minister Viktor Mikhailov (who served from 1992-98) told ITAR-TASS on 3 October that "Adamov still knows state secrets.... As a minister, he knew the plans of our leading research centers, including the federal nuclear centers in Sarov and Snezhinsk."

Some analysts have speculated that Adamov poses another security threat, however. In a tacit admission of how deeply corruption has penetrated the highly sensitive nuclear sector, analyst Ivan Yartsev wrote for politcom.ru on 2 October that gaining access to Adamov would "help foreign secret services to acquire the loyalty of those Russian officials who worked with the former minister and about whom he possesses compromising information." "Most likely, if the extradition takes place, it would be logical from the perspective of state security to carry out a series of dismissals of such officials," Yartsev wrote.

Although it seems unlikely that Adamov knows details of scientific information, it is likely that he has policy information and other general knowledge that Moscow would be reluctant to risk revealing to the United States. In particular, Adamov was privy to policy discussions and planning relating to Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran and North Korea. He also was instrumental in drafting controversial Russian plans to import spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing and storage, a plan that the Russian government argues could bring in as much as $20 billion in revenues over 12 years. Duma Deputy Speaker Vladimir Zhirinovskii (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia) told RBK-TV on 3 October that "the goal of Adamov's extradition might be to get extra information about all agreements between Russia and Iran because all such agreements were reached when Adamov was minister."

Many in Russia have long suspected that U.S. objections to Moscow's cooperation with Iran is more about keeping Russia out of the lucrative nuclear-technology market than it is about the danger of weapons proliferation. The fact that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker chose 3 October to state that "no government should permit new nuclear transfers to Iran and all ongoing nuclear projects should be frozen" did not pass unnoticed in Russia. RIA-Novosti editorialized the same day that Russia's cooperation with Tehran "gives jobs to tens of thousands of people and hundreds of enterprises."

Finally, the Adamov case has drawn the attention of those in the Kremlin who have been working full-time for months now to forestall a "colored revolution" in Russia, which is preparing for national legislative elections in 2007 and a presidential contest in 2008. These officials have noted Washington's glowing praise of the revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, and, more ominously, U.S. statements in favor of more democratic political processes in countries like Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan. "The Russian authorities have long spoken of a likely effort by the West, and the United States in particular, to organize the next 'colored revolution' in Moscow to change the political regime and, possibly, to break up the country," Yartsev wrote.

In a commentary on politcom.ru on 27 May, Yartsev wrote that Adamov could play a role similar to the one allegedly played by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who was convicted by a U.S. court of embezzlement and money laundering in June 2004. According to Yartsev, Lazarenko's "information played a significant role in preparing the Orange Revolution."

As far-fetched as such speculation seems on a literal level, such theories definitely play well in Russia's political climate today and can be used to justify any number of domestic political developments, such as cracking down on foreign funding of nongovernmental organizations or discrediting opposition parties and figures with Western credentials. The Adamov case will likely have increasingly serious international and domestic consequences for some time to come.

NEO-TALIBAN SPOKESMAN ARRESTED IN PAKISTAN...
Pakistani security forces on 4 October arrested Mufti Latifullah Hakimi (also known as Abdul Latif Hakimi), international news agencies reported. Speaking to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said "at this time I can say that Abdul Latif Hakimi, the chief spokesman for the Taliban, has been arrested." Sherpao refused to provide further information on the arrest. Speaking with Reuters on 4 October, Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said he believes that Hakimi's "arrest will give certain important information because...he has close links with the Taliban leaders." Since 2003, many people have purported to speak on behalf of the neo-Taliban, however Hakimi has been the main voice of the movement since the latter half of 2004 (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 15 August 2005). During the rule of the Taliban, Hakimi served as head of the information and culture department in the western Herat Province and was also head of the justice department in that province. AT

...AS KABUL WELCOMES THE NEWS
Afghan presidential spokesman Khaliq Ahmad said on 4 October that the Afghan government is "grateful to hear" the news of Hakimi's arrest, AFP reported. "Hakimi was someone who claimed the deaths of so many innocent people," Ahmad said, adding that Kabul hopes that his "arrest leads to more arrests." Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zaher Azimi told AFP that Hakimi's arrest "is a strong step regarding fighting terrorism and [ensuring] security in the region." Thus far, the neo-Taliban has not publicly reacted to the arrest. AT

AFGHAN COMMISSION MEETS TO ENFORCE ISLAMIC RULES DURING RAMAZAN
A commission, established on the orders of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, to oversee the adherence of Islamic rules during the fasting month of Ramazan (Ramadan in Arabic) convened its first meeting on 3 October, the official Afghanistan Television reported on 3 October. The commission, under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Mawlawi Fazl Hadi Shinwari, decided on a 10-point program, which includes instructions to the national radio and television stations to broadcast religious programs and to private stations to refrain from broadcasting "immoral films and vulgar programs." In addition, all restaurants are to stay closed during the fasting period, from sunrise to sunset, and people who are not fasting "because of a religious excuse" will not be allowed to eat in public. The program also states that those "who break their fast without any justifiable excuse should be punished in accordance with the law," however it is not clear which law the commission is referring to or what the punishments would be. AT

KABUL SENDS FORCES TO QUELL DISORDER IN NORTH
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry on 3 October dispatched a unit of 300 rapid-reaction troops to Balkh Province in order to help local police and military forces restore peace to the region, the official Afghanistan Television reported. Protests began in Balkh in reaction to the assassination of Mohammad Ashraf Ramazan, a People's Council candidate who was gunned down in Mazar-e Sharif on 27 September (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 October 2005). Protestors have been demanding the removal of Balkh Governor Ata Mohammad Nur on accusations that he was involved in Ramazan's assassination. Nur has denied the charges and has promised to investigate the murder. AT

FIVE PEOPLE KILLED AND MANY INJURED IN BLAST IN SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN
Five people, including a woman and two children, died and 16 others received injuries in a bomb blast in Kandahar Province, Pajhwak News Agency reported on 4 October. The blast occurred in Spin Boldak, a town on the Afghan-Pakistani border. AT

IRAN OPEN TO RESUMING DISCUSSIONS WITH EU
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said on 4 October that Iran is willing to resume discussions with the European Union if there are no preconditions, Mehr News Agency reported. He said Iran must see acts of goodwill from the Europeans and they must act as though they really want to hold discussions with Tehran. One day earlier, foreign ministers of the Council of the European Union met and discussed Iran. They expressed full support for the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 24 September resolution, and they urged Iran to implement measures called for by the IAEA, including suspension of all fuel cycle activities. The council reaffirmed its support for a negotiated solution within the framework of the November 2004 Paris Agreement. BS

IRAN MIGHT RUN OUT OF OIL IN 90 YEARS
A conference on the Iranian nuclear program, "Iran in the 21st Century: Energy and Security," took place in Madrid on 3 October, IRNA reported. Morteza Alviri, Iran's ambassador to Spain and the former mayor of Tehran, said the conference is a good opportunity for the improvement of bilateral ties. Speaking at the same event, Deputy Petroleum Minister Hadi Nejad-Husseinian said Iran's oil reserves could be exhausted in 90 years, IRNA reported. Nejad-Husseinian said Iran's oil reserves stand at 137 billion barrels and its natural-gas reserves at 29 trillion cubic meters. He said the Middle East will become the world's biggest supplier of energy, and that is why "the ruling neo-conservatives" in the United States want to dominate the region. That also explains U.S. hostility to Iran, he said. He expressed the hope that Europe will become a more active player in the Iranian energy sector. Speaking at the same event, Deputy Foreign Minister Ali-Reza Moayeri said Iran will continue with its nuclear program, IRNA reported. BS

WOMEN TO DRIVE SCOOTERS AGAIN IN TEHRAN
Mohsen Ansari, head of the Tehran traffic police, said on 4 October that Iranian women will be allowed to drive motor scooters soon and can apply for permits, Radio Farda reported. In contrast with their Saudi Arabian counterparts, Radio Farda reported, Iranian women are allowed to drive automobiles. Women have not been allowed to drive motor scooters since the 1979 Islamic Revolution until the present because of the possibility that their "curves" might be exposed while doing so, but since approximately 1991 their being passengers on motorcycles or bicycles has been tolerated. Women's motorcycling classes were initiated in Iran three years ago, Radio Farda reported, but they were closed by the country's leadership. BS

TEHRAN AMONG WORST PLACES TO LIVE
In a survey of 127 major international cities, Tehran was rated one of the worst places to live, Radio Farda reported on 4 October. With a 52 percent rating from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), most aspects of living in Tehran are "severely restricted." The EIU survey considered more than 40 factors in five categories -- "Stability; Healthcare; Culture and Environment; Education; and Infrastructure." The Canadian city of Vancouver was the best place to live, and cities in Australia, North America, and Western Europe topped the list. Cities in the Middle East and Africa were the worst places to live. Tehran scored higher than Douala, Cameroon; Harare, Zimbabwe; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Lagos, Nigeria; Karachi, Pakistan; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Algiers, Algeria; and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. BS

IRANIAN JOURNALIST COMPLAINS OF SHOOT-TO-KILL POLICY
Journalist and student activist Amir Abbas Fakhravar, who has been on prison furlough since June, recently discussed the possibility of being sent back to prison, Radio Farda reported on 4 October. He told Radio Farda that after the June presidential election he and several friends decided they would not return to prison. He said his sister recently went to court to deal with the case of her imprisoned husband, Mehrdad Heidarpur, and the officials there informed her that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and the Basij have been authorized to shoot Fakhravar if he tries to elude them. BS

ARAB LEAGUE CHIEF SAYS ORGANIZATION TO TAKE MORE ACTIVE ROLE IN IRAQ...
Amr Musa told reporters in Cairo on 4 October that his upcoming trip to Iraq later this month will signal a decision by the organization to take a more active role in Iraq, MENA reported. Musa also said, however, that the Arab League's stance should not be equated with cooperating with the "occupation" of Iraq. He noted that the deteriorating security situation made it imperative for the organization to intervene in Iraq, according to MENA. Musa added that the Arab League is considering opening an office in Iraq, but he told "Al-Sharq al-Awsat," in an interview published on 4 October, that he is not optimistic about the security situation in Iraq. Musa claimed to the daily that the violence in Iraq is linked to the "ongoing manipulation [by multinational forces] of sectarian sentiments." Asked why the Arab League intervened in the drafting of the Iraqi constitution, he said: "I used no pressure. I dictated nothing to anyone. I just spoke from a particular logical viewpoint." KR

...AS SUNNI LEADER SAYS LEAGUE NOT SERIOUS ABOUT SUPPORTING CHANGE
Sunni leader Salih al-Mutlaq said that the Arab League member states are not serious about helping effect change in Iraq, "Al-Arab al-Yawm" reported on 4 October. "I have not felt any seriousness by any of the Arab states to stand by the Iraqi people at present. These states are still weighing things on the basis of their interests with the governments, rather than on their relations with the Iraqi people, who are fighting to keep this country Arab and so that it will not change its Arab status to another [status]. The official Arab stand is not compatible with that of [its] Iraqi brothers," al-Mutlaq said. He called for a "frank and clear stand on the Iraqi government, the constitution, and Iraqis" by the league. Al-Mutlaq criticized league member states, saying they are not doing enough to support the position of Secretary-General Musa. Asked if member states should establish relations with the Iraqi government, he said: "I believe that the strengthening of relations with this government will be a mistake. This government is breathing its last [breath], since it has only a few months left" in power. KR

UN CRITICIZES IRAQI NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The United Nations said on 4 October that it expects the Iraqi National Assembly to review a decision to change the language of the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) that will potentially affect the 15 October vote on the draft constitution (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 October 2005), Reuters reported on 4 October. "We have expressed our position to the National Assembly and to the leadership of the government and told them that the decision that was taken was not acceptable and would not meet international standards," said Jose Aranaz, a legal advisor to the UN electoral mission in Iraq. The assembly, in essence, defined the word "voter" in two different ways in its amendment to the TAL, Aranaz said, adding, "The interpretation, which we asked for two and a half months ago, came late and it came wrong." He said that the assembly's interpretation, if not corrected, will compromise the legitimacy of the referendum. KR

PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER CALLS FOR END TO MILITARY OPERATIONS AHEAD OF REFERENDUM
Hajim al-Hasani, speaker of the National Assembly, told Al-Jazeera television in a 4 October interview that military operations in predominately Sunni areas of the country must be halted ahead of the referendum vote on the constitution. "I have said much earlier that military operations in these areas must stop...so that it may not be said later that these operations were carried out in these areas to prevent their residents from participating in the referendum," he said. Al-Hasani called for "other solutions" to be found, adding: "It does not stand to reason to carry out such military operations in these areas, and for us to say on the referendum day that people did not turn out to cast their votes in the referendum, as happened in the previous elections." KR

MARSH ARABS DEMONSTRATE IN AL-BASRAH
"Thousands" of Marsh Arabs demonstrated in Al-Basrah to demand better living conditions and amenities, "Al-Zaman" reported on 4 October. The demonstrators gathered outside the provincial headquarters and submitted a letter to the governor demanding that the government "begin reconstructing the marshlands and compensating the inhabitants." The letter dismissed reports that claim major revitalization projects are being implemented, and said very little change has come on the ground since the fall of the Hussein regime. "Some local and international humanitarian organizations have exaggerated their achievements. We, the Marsh Arabs, have seen nothing of those achievements on the ground," the daily quoted the letter as saying. The letter further contended that "no one [is] paying attention to our complaints and demands." KR

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